Best of 2021: Gaming

Updated: Dec 25, 2021


2021 marked the first anniversary of our brand-new generation, headlined by the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles. Ignoring the obvious supply chain issues that plague players’ abilities to nab either hardware, many next-gen software releases surprised, wowed, and delivered this year. Of course, surefire successes like Forza Horizon 5 from Playground Games were expectedly entertaining and enjoyable. However, other titles, either painted in cynicism before release or having a low marketing profile, came out to surprising fanfare; not least in this category are Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and The Forbidden City. The latter game in particular was sweetened by its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass. Indeed, Xbox Game Pass had a spectacular year in 2021, bolstered by the “surprise” launch of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer in November and eventually its campaign in December. And PlayStation’s offerings were nothing to sneeze at either, with Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Deathloop earning numerous honors for Game of the Year.



Like 2020, 2021 was a great year for gaming. It was far from the spectacular showing of 2018 with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man and likely 2022 which has collected a hefty backlog of delayed games due to development pipeline disruptions. What 2021 did have, however, was such a variety of unique experiences that truly the phrase “there is something here for everyone” was realized. Without further ado, here are the games that HBB Reviews is cementing as the most impressive, fun, and exciting of 2021!

 

Best Narrative:


Winner: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal/Square Enix

Image Courtesy of Square Enix

Honorable Mention: The Forgotten City - Modern Storyteller

Image Courtesy of Modern Storyteller


Best Gameplay:


Winner: Halo Infinite 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios

Image Courtesy of 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios


Best Technical Achievement:


Winner: Forza Horizon 5 Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios

Image Courtesy of Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios


Best Game:


Winner: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal/Square Enix

Image Courtesy of Square Enix

Honorable Mention: Halo Infinite - 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios

Image Courtesy of 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios

Honorable Mention: Sable - Shedworks

Image Courtesy of Shedworks

 

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 2021 was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, published by Square Enix. It featured a rich, cinematic narrative with the five titular heroes and their quirky team dynamics. The dialogue that Eidos Montreal has written here is some of the best that the medium has seen, and it is by far one of the best adaptations of the Marvel source material to date. In fact, one could even argue that it surpasses James Gunn’s two films. In addition, the gameplay borrows much from turn-based action RPGs like Final Fantasy VII Remake and bombastic adventure titles like Marvel’s Avengers and Ratchet and Clank to create a unique infusion that is rarely borrowing. The game may occasionally slip into familiar repetition in its second act, but it never falters in momentum, still holding your attention firmly thanks to the strength of the narrative and characters. For all of this and more, HBB Reviews proudly awards Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as our Best Game of 2021.


Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 2021 was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, published by Square Enix.