Our individual Game of the Year articles allow our lovely team of writers to share their own personal PS5 and PS4 picks for 2021. Today, it's the turn of freelance video editor Liam Richardson.
5. It Takes Two
It Takes Two felt like it arrived completely out of left field. I wasn't a huge fan of A Way Out — feeling it bit off slightly more than it could chew — but with It Takes Two developer Hazelight really hit its stride. This is a phenomenal co-op game that not only understands what makes cooperative play fun but is excited to show you its ideas like a child gleefully digging through a toybox. Throughout its lengthy 12 hour campaign, the game frequently thrusts entirely new mechanics onto you, resulting in a thrill ride that never grows stale. Sadly, the whole thing is let down by its rancid protagonists who I genuinely despised with the burning heat of a thousand suns. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.
Other than its gorgeous next-gen visuals and ludicrously fast loading times I wouldn't say that there's anything particularly special about Ratchet & Clank's PS5 debut. It's just another Ratchet & Clank game. That's not a bad thing, though! There was something extremely comforting about spending time with two old friends, and it was pleasant to become acquainted with two new ones thanks to the introduction of fresh-faced duo Rivet and Kit. Rift Apart felt safe — perhaps too safe — but there's a place for games like this, I think. A joyful interplanetary romp. Lovely stuff.
Resident Evil is on a winning streak at the moment, and as a huge "Resi Head" (this is what we fans call ourselves trust me don't Google it) I couldn't be happier. Case in point: Resident Evil Village, a game that proves the ageing series is far from running out of steam. Village feels like it finally solved the tension that lies at the heart of most mainline Resi games, successfully marrying action-packed shootouts with scream-inducing horror set-pieces thanks to a refined pace that keeps things moving forward at a decent clip. There's a lot to see in Village, even if your time there feels potentially a bit too brisk by the time the credits roll. It's a promising template for a follow up to build upon, however, and I can't wait to see what's next.
2. Hitman 3
Is it possible to talk about Hitman 3 as a singular release? Because... it's not really, is it? It's more of an expansion pack to developer IOI's incredible world of assassination sandbox than an individual game. If you already own Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2, Hitman 3 simply rounds off an already content-rich package, gluing on a couple of exceptional new levels and making everything look prettier when played on Sony's shiny new system. In isolation, Hitman 3 is a moreish globe-trotting stealth game about killing people in ridiculous ways. Paired with its predecessors, Hitman 3 becomes an essential purchase for anyone with a penchant for fibre wire and a passion for expressive gameplay. Superb.
1. Death's Door
I could spend an entire year sitting within the halls of Death's Door's reaping commission, a bureaucratic establishment rendered entirely in monochrome that serves as the game's hub world. It was here that my affection for Acid Nerve's Zelda inspired release solidified into genuine love. It is a peaceful place, one that offers much-needed respite from the grim cold word that lies behind its heavy wooden doors. Out there is violence. Decaying monsters that must be dealt with. Crumbling ruins that must be navigated. Difficult quandaries about mortality that must be pondered. But in here, things feel safe. Its music — soft and warm — is underpinned by the tips and taps of your corvid colleagues as they work away on their miniature typewriters. Tiny woodland creatures (the only things rendered in colour here) coo as they follow you around its endless maze of cobblestone pathways. I like Death's Door a lot. It is a remarkable, special thing.
What do you think of Video Liam's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.