- Disgrace of the year
Well, 2021 can rightfully be considered one of the most disastrous years for the gaming industry. The amount of trash content was off the charts: EGS and Apple litigation, Mass Effect camera angles, a huge class action lawsuit from California against Activision/Blizzard, a remaster of Saints Row, Cyberpunk 2077.
All this pales in comparison to GTA The trilogy. Crooked models, terrible animations, numerous bugs – all this will be a nightmare for Rockstar games. The absolute winner in this category is Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.
- Best original soundtrack
For any game, for high-quality immersion, awareness of the atmosphere, an appropriate soundtrack is required. In 2021, there are probably more nominees in this category than in any other.
This and The Medium – the legendary Yamaoka, causing flashbacks from Silent Hill; and Subnautica: Below Zero, where the musical accompaniment is inextricably linked to the gameplay. In Subnautica, music can relax, in some places it can escalate drama, but in other places it can remain frighteningly quiet.
There are also representatives of other musical genres: Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods is not Mick Gordon, but hard-rock is always a powerful soundtrack, under which it is no sadder to destroy the devil’s offspring.
The magnificent indie game Inscryption is a combination of gloomy and lamp-hearted in one bottle. The soundtrack perfectly suits both the atmosphere of this card game and the gameplay.
Other nominees include Resident Evil: Village, Little Nightmares 2, Deathloop. Each of these games also has a great soundtrack, but the community has made its choice, and (unfortunately for some, fortunately for some), it’s none of the above nominees.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the winner in this category. The licensed compositions in Guardians are an art form in their own right. Rock in the style of the 80s and OST, and in all this you can feel the incredible energy and atmosphere.
- Best Third Person Action
Among the main favorites in this category are Hitman 3, Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Let’s briefly go over each of them.
The entire Hitman series is truly unique. The games in this series, due to their concept, have great replay value, so that the players do not lose interest in it. The gameplay of Hitman 3 has one trick, which is in complex, interesting and intricate locations, which makes you want to go through the game every time.
Returnal cheerfully broke into the gaming market, so much so that it became one of the favorites in the nomination – 86 and 7.3 points on Metacritic from critics and users, respectively. Returnal represents the best traditions of the action genre in all its glory: there are so many bullets that they cover the entire screen; the main character, of course, has a cat hook, and can also move in all possible directions.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an amazing project. The player expects a lot of running around, platforming, and just like in Returnal, the most striking manifestations of the action genre. Jet speeds and portals will definitely not let you get bored.
And finally, the winner of the nomination is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In addition to the excellent soundtrack, which was appreciated by the gamer audience, the story of the Guardians of the Galaxy is rich and interesting. Perhaps the action component in this game is not enough compared to its closest competitors, but this did not bother users in any way.
- The best strategy
There have always been few strategies in the gaming industry compared to other game genres, and even more so good ones. But 2021 has found something to please a sophisticated audience.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the sequel to the popular game Jurassic World Evolution, which opens a new chapter in the history of the franchise and develops the innovative ideas of the management simulator released in 2018. Reviews on Steam are “very positive” and “mostly positive”. The project is definitely worth paying attention to.
HumanKind – against the background of the mastermind (I’m talking about Civilization), this is a fresh, new and bold project. Visual and interesting combat in which your actions as a player REALLY affect the outcome of the battle. Diplomacy is also real, which is influenced by many factors (religion, laws, the amount of valuable resources). In the end, you are leading the whole of humanity, not a separate civilization.
New, bold projects and continuations of already finished ones, but not as great as, for example, the same Civilization, are often not without flaws. That is why neither HumanKind nor Jurassic World Evolution 2 are winners.
Winner – Age of Empires 4, one of the founders of the RTS genre, won as the best strategy game of 2021. Nice picture and smooth gameplay – the developers did not spoil what everyone loves this series for. But this also leads to a minus of the game – the gameplay has remained unchanged compared to the previous series, and therefore seems outdated in 2021.
- Best race
Among the main favorites in this nomination are both well-known series projects and new experiments. Forza Horizon 5, Destruction AllStars, MotoGP21, F1 2021, Hot Wheels Unleashed, Riders Republic are all major races of 2021.
Let’s immediately note the winner – this is Forza Horizon 5. Stunning landscapes of Mexico, legendary cars, a world full of colors and inspiration – all this did not leave the audience indifferent.
Of the other nominees, I would also like to draw attention to the Riders Republic – a huge world with the opportunity to participate in completely different sports: this is cycling, skiing, snowboarding, and even wingsuit – a paradise for athletes and those who want to relax from a hard day’s work .
- Best Horror
2021 was not rich in horror, but it gave us very high-quality projects.
Little Nightmares 2 – the charming horrors of the first part are back in an adventure game with suspense. On a difficult journey, the main characters, the boy Mono and the hooded girl Six, will face many new threats from the terrible inhabitants of the world around them.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach is another episode in the popular FNAF series. This time we play as the boy Gregory, who was locked up for the night in Freddy Fazbear’s Megapizzaplex. The game is striking in its scale, and as for the plot, it completes the whole cycle about the animated animatronics in a good manner.
The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game. This is a game in which you can explore two worlds at once: this is necessary to progress through a fascinating story.
Resident Evil: Village – the 8th part of the legendary series found a huge response from the players, and took the prize for the best horror of 2021. I think the explanations are superfluous, and Village rightfully bears the title of the best horror of 2021.
- Best RPG
This nomination presents not only Western games, but also the creations of our domestic developers.
Scarlet Nexus – about this game, you can say that it turns the soul inside out and leaves you with only one thought: did I spend 100 hours on this? The junction of technology and psionics, the world of the future, and 2 sentimental stories.
Atom RPG is another project of domestic developers. Post-apocalyptic indie game inspired by the most RPGs of the genre: Fallout, Wasteland, Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate. After the exchange of nuclear strikes between the USSR and the West, only the Soviet wastelands remained from the player’s homeland. The main task is to explore the new world on the fragments of the old one.
The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is a game of domestic developers. Everything is thought out in this game: from the setting, which is made in the style of an interactive book, to the huge branching of the plot, and as a result, a truly huge replay value.
Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous is a canonical RPG that shows all the bright features of this genre, and also the winner in this category. But If you don’t like to clean dungeons with a lot of rooms – the game is definitely not for you.
- The most technologically advanced game
Kena: Bridge of spirits – an action adventure game about a young spirit guide Kena, who uses her magical abilities to help dead people in the transition from the physical world to the world of spirits. The graphic style, soundtrack and design received excellent ratings, which made the game one of the favorites in this category.
Returnal, a familiar 3rd person action game, was also nominated for the most spectacular game. We can agree with this: first, all the power of your device is spent on drawing each seam on the character’s costume, and then special effects are generated when shooting, flying projectiles, millions of particles and many shiny balls for the remainder.
Resident Evil: Village – the best horror game of 2021 boasts not only an excellent storyline and gameplay. Game design immerses you in an atmosphere of mystery and fear so much that the legendary franchise becomes one of the favorites for the prize in this category as well.
Metro Exodus Encanced Edition is a reconstruction of the 2019 project for a new light design. Now every little detail becomes a focus of light. It turned out a complete change in the appearance of some locations in the game due to the endless ray tracing. The game was praised for its excellent visuals at the exit, and with new technologies, Metro is rightfully in the favorites of the nomination.
Forza Horizon 5 is the flagship game for the Xbox series X, thanks to the procedural generation of a huge amount of detail in the location, it takes the voices of the players. Well, as noted, the landscape diversity of Mexico is done on a stunning visual level.
Nomination Winner – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Locations with a huge amount of detail, animation indistinguishable from the film, ray tracing not only in the pupils, but also in the glass. On any, the smallest sleeve, you can see all the details. It can be said that the winner is the apotheosis of all previous nominees, and it is difficult to disagree with this statement.
- Best co-op of the year
Back 4 Blood is not the new Left 4 Dead that the vast majority of gamers expected. Some chips in the project raise doubts whether they are really necessary. However, the co-op experience of the game certainly eliminates all shortcomings.
GTFO – in an extreme team shooter, players must fight as a single unit – or everyone will die in a terrible underground prison. The main thing for the players is to remember the rules of the “four Cs”: speed, stealth, strategy, well-coordinated teamwork.
Operation: Tango – saving the world alone is not easy. The solution is simple – it is enough to have a friend who will play the role of a hacker, and with the help of voice communication, players will be able to rid the world of the impending cyber threat.
It takes two is the clear winner in this category. A lot of obstacles, a lot of locations, a lot of interactive items – success depends only on you and your friend. The game is the embodiment of all the bright (and not so) features of the cooperative genre.
- Best Story
The nomination will be opened by the winner of the last one – It takes two. A touching, heartfelt story about how difficult it is to live together will not leave anyone indifferent. A husband and wife about to divorce must overcome all their differences for the sake of one, higher goal – to get out of the enchanted world.
Psychonauts 2 is a platform game about incredible psychic powers and mysterious conspiracies. The plot touches on serious topics in a comical wrapper: loneliness, alcoholism, hopelessness. The project is a great continuation after 16 years.
Inscryption is a dark and intriguing card adventure. At first glance, the plot may seem simple and uncomplicated, but this is only at first glance …
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, already familiar to us, takes the award for the best story. The main and completely unexpected discovery of 2021, in which the creators invested in inventing a world, stories and characters in which, after many hours of playthroughs, you fall in love.
- Best Single Player First Person Action
Far Cry 6 – You can talk a lot about the fact that the Far Cry series of games, and Ubisoft themselves, are no longer the same. But with the gameplay component, no cardinal changes have occurred – you can still go head-on with a machine gun, or remove all enemies quietly, like an assassin.
Halo Infinite is the biggest Master Chief story campaign in the history of the series, and the old-school gameplay is still as beautiful as it was 20 years ago.
Deathloop – A collection of new and unique mechanics encourages the player to use different tactics. This is not Dishonores or Prey, and yet, this is the best first-person action game of the choice of the editors of StopGame.ru.
Resident Evill: Village is a great combination of thoughtful survival, purebred horror and sometimes straightforward action. The multiple nominee and winner in other categories takes the award here too.
- Best Indie Game
Inscryption is a bold experiment with genres for an indie project. A card adventure that blends deckbuilding, room-inspired puzzles, and psychological horror into one.
Cruelty Squad is the main “meme” of 2021. No one expected this from a strange game, but reviews on Steam and the press come down to one thing: “Oh my God, what a game!”. And it sounds positive.
Nomination winner – Black book. All you need to know about this game is that you can play the fool in it. But seriously, this is a great game from domestic developers with card combat, and moral dilemmas that really affect the plot.
- Best remaster
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster – pixels on big screens. These are the only changes, but this is also a remaster, the main task of which is to improve the graphics.
Crysis Remastered is the same story as FF. Familiar landscapes without dramatic changes. Of course, except for the graphics.
Nier Replicant, the prequel to the masterpiece NieR:Automata, boasts masterfully restored graphics, a compelling storyline, and more! What is the question of popularity? Nyashnye anime – tyanochki or a deep plot, revealing at best after 7 passage?
Resident Evil 4 VR – when familiar zombies are presented with a new perspective and new control options – the remaster can already be said to be more than successful.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition – new textures and effects that do not spoil either the atmosphere or the picture. Quite the contrary – the gaming experience feels smoother and more modern.
Alan Wake Remasterd – except for a few minor details, the game has remained the same with all its advantages (to be fair, and disadvantages too).
Diablo 2: Ressurected is a remastered version of Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction add-on, and is also the winner of the Best Remastered award. The gameplay has not undergone significant changes, the same story with the plot. The main difference was the updated graphics – the old 2D sprites were replaced with full-fledged 3D models with support for resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD.
2021 is a controversial and controversial year for the gaming industry. It can be described as “There is a spoonful of honey in a barrel of tar.” He gave us a few, but incredible and high-quality projects, but at the same time, he gave us a lot of disgrace and disappointment. And yet, every gamer among all the releases of 2021 will be able to find something to their liking.