XboxEra Community Game of the Year 2021 - Post your lists!

Welcome to the XboxEra
Community Game of the Year Awards
2021

It’s 2022! This means we can look back at the games we’ve played and enjoyed. To celebrate the year 2021 in gaming we’ve created a XboxEra Community Game of the Year Awards vote. At XboxEra we enjoy all platforms and all games. So, all platforms are eligible. If you enjoyed an amazing Stadia exclusive, include it in your list!

Everyone can nominate 10 new games & 3 ongoing games. Number 1 on your list will receive 10 points and number 10 will receive 1 point. You can nominate three ongoing games. Number 1 will receive 10 points, number 2 will receive 8 points and number 3 will receive… 3 points.

The rules

  • Original release in 2021 (So no late PC ports or late Xbox ports. Sorry.)
  • No Remasters
  • No early access titles
  • No re-releases
  • For best ongoing game only games are eligible which have had significant updates in 2021. Titles include No Man’s Sky, The Elder Scrolls Online, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sea of Thieves, Fortnite, Microsoft Flight Simulator, etc. (No 2021 releases!; Halo Infinite, Age of Empires IV, New World, etc.)

The list

  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • 6:
  • 7:
  • 8:
  • 9:
  • 10:
  • Ongoing Game 1:
  • Ongoing Game 2:
  • Ongoing Game 3:

Oh, and we’d love to see some explanations why you’ve picked what you’ve picked. It’s fun to read! And it’s fine to only do a Top 5, Top 3 or Top 8 if you haven’t played 10 games in 2021 which you liked!

Deadline is January 31st

6 Likes

This is going to require a lot of thought especially if I don’t want to accidentally forget one of the small yet wonderful indie style games or mistakenly list a game which was really a 2020 release but I was late to pick up.

2 Likes
  • 1: Age of Empires IV

My indisputed number one. Before it released I was a little nervous if it would turn out to be decent, but World’s Edge and Relic have surprised me with this one.

  • 2: Forza Horizon 5

These games are just great. I love driving around in them. I hope they keep on making these for years to come.

  • 3: F1 2021

Didn’t play as much as I did with F1 2020, but Codemasters has delivered a great F1 game again, for both amateurs like me and people who can actually play racing games.

  • 4: Before We Leave
  • 5: Dorfromantik
  • 6: Townscaper
  • 7: Last Stop
  • 8: Stronghold Warlords
  • Ongoing Game 1: Fortnite
  • Ongoing Game 2: Sea of Thieves
  • Ongoing Game 3: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
5 Likes

I will change my list this month, hopefully. But currently is:

  1. Lost Judgment
  2. It Takes Two
  3. Psychonauts 2
  4. Forza Horizon 5
  5. Metroid Dread
  6. Hitman 3
  7. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond
  8. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
  9. Mario Party Superstars
  10. Unpacking

Honorable mentions 11. Death’s Door 12. Cyber Shadow 13. Warioware: Get It Together

My list is waiting for Record of Lodoss War and Halo Infinite. I wish I could play Ratchet & Clank, but surely I won’t find a PS5 until the deadline. After that I’ll write a bit about each game.

First Update: Record of Lodoss War is really great, just Halo Infinite lasting.

5 Likes
  1. Halo Infinite - I’ve never been the biggest Halo fan. I haven’t disliked them, but I just haven’t loved them the way so many do. So it was a huge surprise to me that I’m indeed loving this as much as I do. As seems to be the mantra when discussing Halo Infinite, the game is just pure, unadulterated fun. From the gameplay (that grapple hook man… genius) to Cortana and Chief’s interactions, to the dialogue spoken by the different enemies, to the various Easter eggs, to the Banshees startup sound being the original Xbox sound… the game just oozes charm and fun. I love it whole heartedly. This is all about the single player. I haven’t touched the multiplayer, and I doubt I will.
  2. Psychonauts 2 - I’ve been a Tim Schafer fan since the LucasArts days. Day of the Tentacle is probably my favourite game of all time. So I was expecting to love this game, and love it I did. The only surprise is that it’s not #1 on this list.
  3. Backbone
  4. Forza Horizon 5
  5. Hitman 3
  6. Unpacking (my comments on this can be found here)
  7. The Gunk
  8. Omno
  9. Townscaper

Ongoing Games

  1. No Man’s Sky
  2. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  3. Sea of Thieves

Note: Have not yet played It Takes Two. It’ll certainly be played at some point, but not before Jan 31st.

5 Likes
  • 1: Lost Judgment - This is most definitely my GOTY for the year. RGG delivers once again with the best combat they’ve created yet. It also boasts a fantastic story with some great characters. Many hype boss fights throughout with a great OST, in true RGG fashion. There is so much side content in this game, with lots of fun minigames such as boxing and dancing. And even the school stories have an interesting story! Also, that finale, damn.
  • 2: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - A game that really surprised me. You can really tell that the developers were passionate about the game, with an abundance of references to the comics found throughout. I mean, they even created a brand new rock album just for the game! All the characters have a lot of personality, and the dialogue can really be funny at times. I found the combat to be quite fun too, despite only being able to play as Star-Lord. And I have to say, this game stunned me from a graphical standpoint.
  • 3: Forza Horizon 5 - I’ve always loved the Horizon series, and this one is no exception. This game easily has the best map to drive around in with a great variety of landmarks, biomes, and cities. Considering this along with the seriously impressive visuals and variety of activities to engage in, this is probably my favorite in the series so far.
  • 4: Halo Infinite - The gameplay here is Halo at its best. Exploring Zeta Halo was a great deal of fun, loved just storming an outpost with a squad of marines. Although the main missions were not my favorite in the series, I found the story told to be good, with the game hitting your feels at several moments. The multiplayer needs a bit of work in some aspects, but it serves as an incredible foundation for the future, and I can’t wait to see where they go next with both the SP and MP components.
  • 5: Scarlet Nexus - Best new IP of the year, in my opinion. Although the combat has some room for improvement, using your psychokinetic abilities added a unique touch to it, and the abilities provided by your teammates allowed for multiple approaches to combat. It was very fun overall. The story was interesting, but it went in a direction I was not a fan of near the end. Enjoyed the addition of the hideout, and the game’s got a great OST and artstyle too. I really hope this game ends up getting a sequel.
  • 6: Psychonauts 2 - This one was a delight to play. It is perhaps one of the most creative games I’ve ever played. Each level felt unique, the casino one was my favorite. Collecting collectibles was also pretty satisfying, and the game felt very polished. So yeah, dope game.
  • 7: Tales of Arise - It’s a good game overall. The game would’ve been higher on the list if it weren’t for the final third, which I found to be an absolute slog, highly souring my opinion of the game. But, that aside, the combat is probably the best aspect of the game, at least when you aren’t faced with the absolute damage-sponges that are the bosses/mini-bosses. The dungeons were fun aside from the final one and the story was good, if you, again, pretend the third act just doesn’t exist. Also, incredible artstyle.
  • 8: NieR Replicant ver. sqrt(1.5) - An extremely unique game that could only come from the mind of Yoko Taro. It becomes so much deeper after you’ve completed the game for the first time, and really makes you think. Decent combat, amazing music, and a great artstyle.
  • 9: Hitman 3 - I actually haven’t played any of the other Hitman games, but I received this one as a gift from a friend. And boy, I really did enjoy it! The game provides you with a great variety of options to play the game the way you want to, which really adds to the replayability. The second level of the game, Dartmoor, particularly shines.
  • 10: Outriders - This game certainly has its flaws, particularly in the back half, but I did find it to be a great deal of fun playing through it with a friend, so I’ll give it a spot on the list.

Additionally, my honorable mentions go to The Ascent and PSO2: New Genesis.

6 Likes
  1. Halo Infinite
  2. Psychonauts 2
  3. The Artful Escape
  4. Death’s Door
  5. Forza Horizon 5
  6. The Ascent

Ongoing Games:

  1. Sea of Thieves
  2. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  3. Minecraft

It’s time for someone to acknowledge how great the support for Sea of Theves is.

There were a few games I played and enjoyed but not enough to push as best games of 2021. I wanted to play It Takes Two but never got around to because of scheduling troubles.

Honorable Mention for enjoyable Indie Games:

  • Rain on Your Parade
  • Omno

Halo Infinite as the first spot was so far ahead of everything else, owing a lot to how much fun the world mechanics are, how great the campaign is, how engaging the multiplayer feels, and how well it sets up for future expansions.

Psychonauts 2 is such a fabulous game while covering such touching topics. If only there was some way to expand or extend the experience, it may have taken the number one spot.

The next three spots were all very close to each other yet well behind spot two. I opted to elevate the smaller titles because what they delivered with a significantly smaller teams is amazing.

The experience of The Artful Escape was simple yet evoked youthful energy and hope.

Death’s Door is such a polished experience with beautiful music and graphics and isn’t as punishing on deaths as others in the genre, though it could use some tweaks to the primary story boss fight for accessibility.

Forza Horizon 5 is an extremely polished FH experience and is so easy to get into and burn through hours at a time regardless of what you want to do.

5 Likes

1. Halo Infinite.

A surprise no:1 for me, I was not expecting it to top the other two on the list but it did. The campaign is excellent, the new open worldish direction feels spot on for Halo. The MP is excellent too! The new story, cast and the incredible gameplay secured the top spot.

2. Forza Horizon 5.

I knew this was going to be good, FH4 was such a good game. But the fifth game really managed to improve everything! Cars and driving feels much better, more weighty, and the campaign and progression is much better structured than the previous game. The online services being kinda broken and the PC-cheaters lost the top spot though. With a solid online service and optional cross play this would have won.

3. Psychonauts 2.

My biggest surprise this year! I can’t be the only one who slept on the acquisition of Double Fine back in 2019? Not my prefered genre either, but this was an incredible game! Great gameplay, fantastic environments, good story and characters. Great game!

4. The Artful Escape

Managed to finish this in time for the deadline and holy crap, it was good! Not often a game like this lives up to the expectations but this one did for me. What an awesome audiovisual experience!

Ongoing Games:

1. Sea of Thieves

I haven’t played this as much as I should, but the ongoing support for the game is great. I fell off it a bit, the ganking gets old very fast and gets in the way of enjoying the game for me in the long run.

Most of the other games I have played this year are either from the backlog or not really GOTY material.

6 Likes
  1. Halo Infinite Honestly the game is fire while there where some issues the gameplay and foundation is fantastic and it can only go up from here. Loved every second of it and the MP is insanely fun.

  2. Nier Replicant The game is carried by it’s crazy storytelling while showing off some amazing boss fights. The art and world is inspiring. Such a unique game with the several endings. Play play play

  3. Scarlet Nexus Pleasant surprise, insanely fun and great story

  4. Outriders My favourite coop experience this year it was so much fun to use my teleport abilities in combination with buble and moding the best weapons for your build. Also love me how aggressive the AI is. You where always on your toes and couldn’t hid for eternity like in gears.

  5. Tales of Arise While the story is just a bad copy of Xenoblade :nerd_face: the gameplay was very fun and made me play until the end. Love to use the different abilities in combination. Towards the end I got exhausted tho. Maybe due to the awful plottwist :smiley:

  6. Psychonauts 2 Creative platformer with some awesome ideas. Sadly the story wasn’t a homerun for me and the platforming was a little easy in my eyes.

  7. It takes Two

Well fun game and very creative but I find it too easy and most lvls where just a gimmick to me. Sometimes less is more. Story is sweet but predictable.

Definitely

Yeah got nothing else as if now while there where many games. I don’t consider any of them to be a goty contender. And yeah mostly played Yakuza throughout the year😅

Ongoing:

  1. Sea of Thieves
7 Likes

Top 5 of 2021 https://ggapp.io/Khalid117/lists/top-5-of-2021-z_NjLfAx

No ongoing game I’m still playing since Halo got 100% of my attention now

6 Likes

Love it.

1 Like
  1. Lost Judgment: The best Yakuza game since Yakuza 0. Lost Judgement feels like one of the most complete games in the series with it’s 3 fight styles, mini games and full fledged high school stories which could be a game of it’s own. This was the game i was most addicted to in 2021.

  2. It Takes Two: I’ve not been playing a lot of coop or multiplayer games the past few years but I couldn’t skip Josef Fares next game and I’m glad I didn’t. It Takes Two is one of the greatest coop platformers since Rayman Legends and probably the most unqiue one ever made.

  3. Resident Evil Village: This game is the ultimate homage to Resident Evil 4 and it felt good to relive that experience. Village isn’t the best Resident Evil game ever made but it’s well worth the time of any horror game fan.

  4. Life Is Strange: True Colors: One of the most touching games of the year and another strong entry in the LIS series.

  5. Halo Infinite: probably my favorite Halo campaign since Halo 3 and easily the best gunplay in the entire series. Every game needs a grapple hook from now on.

best games that didn’t come out in 2021:

  • Dragon Quest Builders 2
  • AI: The Somnium Files
5 Likes

My top 10:

  1. Chicory: A Colorful Tale - A lovely indie gem, criminally overlooked. A wonderful story that deals with some serious topics such as depression and imposter syndrome, all wrapped in a beautiful aesthetic and world. The soundtrack is also incredible. Loved this game.

  2. Death’s Door - Another overlooked indie, it’s such an impressive game from top to bottom. From the way it teaches you to play, the slow ramp and balance of difficulty, the look, the feel…this is gaming at its finest. It doesn’t hurt that it also has a fantastic soundtrack and gives off serious Zelda/Ghibli vibes.

  3. Psychonauts 2 - I’m a Double Fine fan, enjoyed the first Psychonauts, but was floored by the huge jump in quality of this one over anything else DF has done. A masterclass in design, storytelling, and heart. Snubbed at TGA for certain.

  4. Hitman 3 - The most replayable game on my list and a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. I loved just about every level in this game, I loved the dynamic storytelling, and the watercooler moments. How I attacked a mission might have been completely different than you, and that both are viable make this amazing.

  5. Metroid Dread - Nintendo showing the world how a Metroid game is done. Yeah, they had Mercury Steam develop it but it has that Nintendo touch of quality that many games are missing. It looks great, it’s challenging, and most importantly feels amazing to play. I love how they given character to Samus and I hope to see more from the series in both 2D and 3D!

  6. Deathloop - This one took a few hours to click, but once it did I had a heck of a good time. The banter between Colt and Julianna is top tier, the gunplay, movement, and overall gameplay are classic Arkane but still manage to feel new and innovative. This one will be awesome for Xbox fans on GP in 2022.

  7. Halo Infinite - I’m not big on multiplayer games which is why this is lower on my list. The campaign is classic Halo but updated. The grapple shot is so additive to the game, the open world the perfect size to explore. Chief is humanized and vulnerable in a way he’s never been before. I really enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and I came in with high expectations.

  8. Resident Evil Village - Village is the RE that I love. It has its scary moments but is also so darn goofy and campy in a way that only RE can be. While VII veered hard into pure horror, Village manages to thread the needle perfectly. Plus, Ethan is the dumbest but most likeable MC this year. A gamer’s game.

  9. Eastward - Heavy 16/32 bit vibes, a Zelda/Earthbound feel, and absolutely killer soundtrack and graphics. Play this if you have a spare 25-30 hours and want too see art in action,

  10. Sable - I don’t know how this ended up on my top 10 but here we are. There’s just something about this game that I love, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It just feels mysterious and I love it.

6 Likes
  1. Forza Horizon 5
  2. Halo Infinite
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. It Takes Two
  5. Inscryption
  6. Outriders
  7. Hitman 3
  8. Psychonauts 2
  9. Bravely Default 2
  10. Pokemon Snap
6 Likes
  1. Halo Infinite
  2. Forza Horizon
  3. Tales of Arise
  4. Psychonauts 2
  5. The Ascent

Ongoing Games

Sea of Thieves Microsoft Flight Simulator Mincraft

5 Likes

:slight_smile:

  1. Halo Infinite - Superb gameplay, 30 seconds of fun seamlessly adapted to an open-world.
  2. Psychonauts 2 - Weird and fun, witty humor and thoughtful storytelling that doesn’t treat you like a moron.
  3. Forza Horizon 5 - Playground does it again.
  4. Death’s Door - Charming little game packed with nuanced secrets and puzzles, topped with engaging exploration.
  5. Deathloop - A neat experiment from Arkane.

Ongoing games:

  • State of Decay 2
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Sea of Thieves

Xbox owned 2021 as far as I’m concerned.

2 Likes
  1. Psychonauts 2 - Almost a perfect game for me. One of my favorite platformers of all time. Great story. Charming. Funny. 10/10
  2. Forza Horizon 5 - A great improvement on a great franchise. Nearing perfection. 9.5/10
  3. Halo infinite - Sublime multiplayer. Fantastic Open World. My favorite Halo Campaign. But it has some flaws that hold it back a bit. 9/10
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy - Great Story. Great voice cast. Funny. Combat holds it back a bit. 8.75/10
  5. It Takes Two - Great Story. Great Variety. Great Co-op. Had the single funniest scene in a game this year (for me). A bit too long and too many cut-scenes (with the frakking book…) 8.5/10
  6. Deathloop - Arkane goodness, but a step down from DisHonored. 8.5/10
  7. The Forgotten City - Great Story. Great time loop sandbox. 8.25/10
  8. The Artful Escape - Fantastic Art and Music. 8/10
  9. Omno - Fantastic little “zen” game. 8/10
  10. Lost Words: Beyond the Page. I cannot remember the last time a game snuck up on me like this. I went from “wtf is this garbage” to “why is everyone not talking about this?” over the course of a couple of hours. 8/10

Best Ongoing game:

  1. Sea of Thieves
8 Likes
  1. Forza Horizon 5: Reason I love Xbox. Playground Games are magicians in the open world art and graphics. Seasonal events are so addictive.

  2. Halo Infinte: Chief is smooth af to traverse with Grappling hook.

  3. Psychonuts 2: Haven’t seen a game more creative then this one. Double fine are gems.

  4. Ascent: Art and density in the game is top notch

  5. Outriders: Well I didn’t play many games to fill up my list of 2021. This game is decent.

Ongoing games:

  1. Marvel Avengers: DLC so far has been great

  2. Minecraft Dungeons: Just love this game :heart:

5 Likes
  1. Halo : Infinite
  2. Forza Horizon 5
  3. Football Manager 2022
  4. Back 4 Blood
  5. Far Cry 6
  6. MS Flight Simulator
  7. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania
  8. Battlefield 2042
  9. Age of Empires 4
  10. F1 2021

Ongoing games:

Slay The Spire, Diablo 3 Eternal Collection

Halo gave me the same feeling as playing the original on Xbox 20 years ago. Such good feeling gameplay.

FH5 is probably my fav openworld racer ever, FM22 is the best it’s been in years and still the digital crack I come back to with every new version.

I need to buy Inscryption, Griftlands and Shin Megami Tensei V.

5 Likes