I don’t know if 2021 (as a year) was better or worse than 2020 — they were both pretty rough! — but I find myself feeling a tad more optimistic than I did before. We could hem and haw about it until the cows come home, but I do believe that ’21 was a much better year for new releases in ’20, so I don’t feel the need to go overly snarky and make my list entirely out of remasters. This was a great year for games, and I want to recognize the wide variety of brand-new, original releases that captivated me throughout the year.
Last year I was feeling a bit snarky after what I thought was a pretty underwhelming year for new releases, so I populated my top 10 list with nothing but remakes and remasters. I still stand by this choice, as it allowed me to somehow award Dragon Quest XI my Game of the Year three times in a row. Thankfully, 2021 has proven to be a much stronger year. I’m also feeling less dour than I was at the end of 2020, so I wanted to do the inverse and focus this year’s GOTY list on only truly new releases.
Another year, another top ten.
2020 was much easier to break down in terms of games that were my favorite to play, and the number one was such a standout. 2021 was a very different year. While a lot of players complained about a lack of meaningful triple-A titles early on, I found myself overwhelmed by exceptional smaller games — I really struggled to pick which I liked the most.
Longtime listeners of the old podcast might remember that Metroid Prime is my number one game of all time. While it isn’t a title I’ve had a lot of occasion to talk about publicly, Prime was actually what made me start to approach videogames as something more than toys, and it ultimately led to me finding GameCritics.
Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles, we discuss general impressions, ideas, and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: Kitaria Fables available on PS4, PS5, XBO/X/S, Switch, and PC, developed by Twin Hearts and published by PQube.
During the (approximately) six hours I’ve spent in the Lands Between during the recent Elden Ring closed network test, my initially-high expectations were quickly met — and then surpassed with ease. The feeling I was left with after the trial period is one of genuine interest and intense anticipation to dive back in. It seems that not a single minute of the three full years FROM Software reserved to develop this vision went by in vain. I was also glad to see that George R.R. Martin’s contributions are present and impactful, his influence seen in some deep layers of lore, worthy of peeling off and revealing one by one.
The title of this article says it all. Rad custom art by @Alex_Connolly!
Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, developed and published by Snapshot Games.