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

  • 1: Forza Horizon 5

by a country mile

  • 2: Psychonauts 2
  • 3: Halo Infinite
  • 4: The Pedestrian
  • 5: The Forgotten City
  • 6: Genesis Noir
  • 7: Unpacking
  • 8: The Artful Escape
  • 9: The Ascent
  • Ongoing Game 1: Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Ongoing Game 2: Skyrim
  • Ongoing Game 3: Sea of Thieves

Didn’t play too many big 2021 games. Omno and The Gunk were also nice. Biggest laugh was definitely The Procession to Calvary but it counts as a 2020 game here :roll_eyes:


I felt compelled to edit my list with an addition of “Last Stop” I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the character arcs (Especially the best, Meena), not perfect but an another excellent example of a solid narrative told well.

More Unpacking and Genesis Noir love!

I just had chance to start on The forgotton City, but I’m already loving it.

  1. Hitman 3
  2. Lake
  3. Halo Infinite

I didn’t play many games last year that released in 2021 - mostly back catalogue but these are the three I finished of note


oo I just started Lake yesterday. Liking it so far.

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  1. Halo Infinite

  2. Resident Evil Village

  3. Forza Horizon 5

  4. Scarlet Nexus

  5. Guardians of the Galaxy

  6. Psychonauts 2

  7. Biomutant

  8. The Medium

  9. Omno

  10. Cris Tales


Ok, it’s time. Let’s do this. Before I start, I want to preface this as follows. SMT V and Age 4 have distinct chances of making my list retroactively, but I will not be able to see the game through to fruition for a while. I’m busy and it’s long. I have also not played every game this year. RE Village, Inscryption, Death’s Door, Scarlet Nexus, Chicory, Far Cry, Kena, Unpacking and Nier.

With all of that being said, let’s begin.

  1. Forza Horizon 5

I’ve wavered on the top 2 choices, but ultimately, I settled on Forza Horizon 5 for the top spot. A masterclass technical achievement that doubles as a game that is just damn fun to play. From the diverse open-world to the refined mechanics, Playground Games are in top form here and reiterate exactly why they may just be the best Xbox studio. Couple this with additional great content, surprising depth in the side-stories and some jaw-dropping setpieces and Horizon 5 is just the complete package.

  1. Halo Infinite

I have had my doubts. Severe doubts. Which is why I’m glad to give a mea culpa here. Halo Infinite is a stellar shooter. The campaign is as fun as Halo has ever been, with much welcome openness and exciting bosses and missions. The multiplayer is a delight I have sunk way too many hours into. Infinite may not be a perfect game, but it’s pretty damn close to a perfect Halo game, and it bodes very well for the future of the franchise.

  1. Psychonauts 2

Legacyquels rarely go well. Oftentimes, part of the magic is missing. Be that the creatives, the vision or the soul. Even games, although a more comforting media for the genre, has had its own share of struggles. One need only look to Duke Nukem Forever. That’s why it’s all the more impressive that Psychonauts 2 is just about every bit as good as its trailblazing predecessor, and in some aspects (most notably gameplay) even better. The game is a delight from start to finish, absolutely stuffed to the brim with creativity and imagination.

  1. Hitman 3

In a way, it’s almost shameful how little attention this game got. Not just an amazing technical accomplishment, Hitman 3 is also a love letter to open-ended gameplay design. Endlessly replayable, exciting and stuffed with value, it’s an example of GAAS done right, and one of the few remaining examples of the joys of gameplay systems in an increasingly homogenized industry.

  1. The Forgotten City

In a year dominated by timeloop games, Forgotten City is without question the best one. A short but sweet experience, Forgotten City combines deep moral questions with an engaging story and unique structure. Few games released in recent memory have felt as feature-rich or well-realized as this.

  1. The Artful Escape

Much like The Forgotten City, this is another example of a smaller scale title punching far above its weight. A visual treat, The Artful Escape is a trip that is best experienced. No words really do it justice. Just play it.

  1. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

While people were rightfully skeptical, GOTG is an absolute delight. A strong story, excellent dialogue, jaw-dropping visuals and pitch-perfect performances make this feel right at home with the MCU’s finest outings, but the gameplay is no slouch either. A surprising amount of choice and consequence, even if not game-defining, add a ton of character to this game and the unique combat system, which has proven kinda love it or hate it, has me firmly in the love it crowd.

  1. It Takes Two

It’s hard to argue against a game like this winning GOTY. While it’s messy, chaotic and scattershot, it is also positively bursting with heart and a genuine love for and desire to improve upon the media of video games. This is a game that is constantly surprising, oftentimes delightful and above all, completely unafraid to always swing for the fences. And 9 times out of ten, it hits it outta the park.

  1. Lemnis Gate

This one doesn’t get talked about as much which is quite a shame, as frankly it should. Lemnis Gate, while not perfect, is a truly unique spin on the FPS genre that beautifully meshes strategy with cathartic shooting fun. I have played several matches against my friend and they are some of my most memorable gaming experiences of the year.

  1. The Medium

Shocking, scary, tense and exciting and an amazing technical showcase to boot, The Medium was everything I was hoping it would be and made for a great treat in early January.

Honourable Mentions:

12 Minutes: Not for everyone, definitely for me.

Deathloop: Rock solid game but a noticeable step back in terms of immersive design for Arkane.

Returnal: Haven’t beaten it, won’t make the list, but it is mechanically very well realized.

Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart: An exceptionally crafted game, but the core gameplay loop is still not a favourite and the price was very high given the length and replayability.

Hades and MSFS: I want to put them on the list but that’s cheating IMO. They had their shot last year and Flight SIm made it (and Hades did retroactively).

Ongoing Game 1: Sea of Thieves Ongoing Game 2: Hitman 3 (it basically had a year) Ongoing Game 3: Microsoft Flight Simulator


Great list and write up @DeoGame :smiley:

The good thing about Hitman III going to gamepass is that I hope more realise just what a “perfect” experience and package it is.

I wish I had played more Returnal before I sold the PS5, what I played really was a great game, which like Deadcells before it, sucked me into the “roguelike” genre.

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Yeah, I really hope the Hitman Trilogy hitting Game Pass exposes it to a new audience. I fell in love with the series after the first hit GWG a few years back.

Wish I got more into Returnal. Just not really a Roguelike person.

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Love it @DeoGame

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Looking through peoples lists I have to give some sort of honorable mention to games like Genesis Noir, Unpacking and Twelve Minutes. Good games, but to me not enough to go on my GOTY-list. I may be too harsh, but I only put the extraordinary ones on mine.


But the cool thing in threads like this one is that we may see a game in a list and then maybe decide to check it out (especially now with Game Pass!), games that we probably wouldn’t try out before so putting not only extraordinary games in our lists is a good thing IMO.

To be honest after this thread I downloaded The Procession to Calvary and Unpacking so it works for me! :gimme:

Mort I don’t know if you have played it already or if you are even interested in it but you should check out The Forgotten City! :partying_face:

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Hilarious game which would have been on my list if it wasn’t a 2020 game. Brilliant!

Yeah, I need to check out Forgotten City… I have it installed and ready to go, might make the list if I get around to it before the end of Jan!


Thanks! :slight_smile:

Eh screw it. Not sure how many more games I’ll be able to get done by the end date, so here we go!

  1. Lost Judgment - This is the must play of the year, imo.

  2. NieR: Replicant ver 1.224744… - a remake/remaster in one. Even if it doesn’t count, it deserves the spot.

  3. Life is Strange: True Colors - the feels

  4. Halo: Infinite - I missed Halo and I’m glad the community seems mostly positive about it. Just wish the campaign didn’t leave me so… confused?

  5. Scarlet Nexus - Loved this game, but the actual action was still a bit wonky by the end of it. Really hope they do a sequel for this.

  6. Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy - surprise of the year!

  7. Resident Evil 8: Village - The game I constantly seem to forget came out in 2021. Aside from pacing issues in one spot specifically, its a very good time!

  8. It Takes Two - fun game with a friend!

  9. Unpacking - tugged at emotional strings in a cool way, while keeping it all subtle.

  10. Omno - very chill game.

OG1: Sea of Thieves - Pirates of the Caribbean was huge and wonderful!

OG2: Jump Force - They finally gave us some fan favorite characters that people have been begging for since launch, its just upsetting they’ll be closing down ranked stuff later this year. Hopefully they return with a sequel and work on the issues plagued with the first game.

OG3: Dead By Daylight - this should be higher, but jeez Behaviour needs to work on their QA

Need to still play (and my mess with list): Tales of Arise, Forza Horizon 5 (I’ve barely touched it), The Artful Escape, 12 Minutes (hate the controls), The Ascent (I might just finish this solo), Death’s Door (love what I’ve played, just need to be in the mood for it)


I started Scarlet Nexus a few months ago but got distracted and forgot to get back to it, I definitely will at some point.

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  1. Halo Infinite

Absolutely a terrific experience from start to finish. Really enjoyed my time with it, and it reignited my interest in the franchise and world of Halo. Even got me reading the books that I’ve owned for ages and never found the time to start. It is a well deserved return to form for the series and I’m looking forward to what comes next.

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy

What can I say, while I’ve loved previous Eidos games, I did not expect to have this game in my top 10 list, particularly at the top. This game’s marketing failed it, because it’s a fun, well-told adventure, with great pacing and likable characters that you just don’t seem to see much these days. Highly recommended.

  1. Psychonauts 2

Double Fine still have it. I played Psychonauts 1 not that long before 2, for the very first time, and it was incredible to me how starting 2 really felt like I was continuing the adventure with the same characters and all the same beats, when there was such a long gap between the games. The characters, art style, music, writing, everything is fantastic and enjoyable. Truly a great game.

  1. It Takes Two

Wow! The production values really saw a step-up from A Way Out. This was such a fun game to play through with a friend. It always kept the gameplay fresh and entertaining. I think the story started to drag a little in the backend, but overall I really enjoyed my time with it and can’t wait to see what Hazelight do next.

  1. Death’s Door

If there weren’t such amazing games above it in my top 10, this little game would be number 1 for its soundtrack alone. It’s an absolutely beautiful game with a terrific atmosphere and though the gameplay is somewhat simple, it’s still challenging and engrossing. It deserves all the accolades it gets.

  1. Forza Horizon 5

A beautiful game with tight gameplay that just innovates enough to keep the formula entertaining. You can’t get a better chill experience than this. While it’s online functionality was a little spotty, I still have enjoyed my time with it so far, and it’s earned its spot on my SSD until the next one comes out.

  1. Hitman 3

IOI delivered another fantastic addition to the series and a warm farewell to this trilogy. While it’s budget constraints were obvious at times, it’s a beautiful game that delivers excellent gameplay in a superb package with just enough hooks in the story to keep you interested while staying out of your way as you repeat the missions again and again to see all the hidden elements. While I’ve never really cared much for 007, I’ll be paying attention to Bond due to IOI alone.

  1. Hades

Seemingly as a staple of their games, just like Bastion and Transistor before it, Hades is a masterclass of an indie with a striking art style, a beautiful soundtrack, and fantastic voice acting and writing. If I enjoyed the rougelike mechanics a little more, this game would be higher on my list. It still managed to keep me hooked for a good 20 hours which is no mean feat with rougelikes.

  1. Resident Evil Village

I really enjoyed this game, it felt AAA in all the right ways, but I felt it played it a little safe and it didn’t capture me as much as VII. As usual with RE games, the first third was the best part of the game, and the back third was filled with crazier and crazier twists that just don’t hold up to scrutiny. I look forward to seeing where they take the series next however.

  1. Twelve Minutes

Ok, this one’s controversial. It definitely isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t do everything right, but it’s a true indie experience that will engross you all the same. It’s got beautiful music, great acting, charming little touches throughout, let down by its writing and a lack of really interactive setpieces. I still think this game is worth trying out, despite its flaws, I really enjoyed my time with it.

Honorable Mentions: Back 4 Blood, The Gunk, Far Cry 6, Tales of Arise, The Medium.


2021 turned out to be a surprisingly good year however I played a lot of old games last year while Metroid, Hitman 3, It Takes 2, RE Village and Deathloop all remain in the backlog. For those that I played:

  1. Halo Infinite
  2. Psychonauts 2
  3. Death’s Door
  4. Forza Horizon 5
  5. The Ascent
  6. Guardians of the Galaxy
  7. The Artful Escape
  8. Outriders
  9. Cyber Shadow
  10. Blood Roots

Best ongoing game: Halo Infinite

Best game that no longer qualifies for this list but should: Hades


It puts a massive smile on my face that so many liked Unpacking as much as I did :smiley:


Hades was great :+1: It caught me by surprise.


There are 12 days left to vote for your GOTY picks. Don’t forget to post your lists! :slight_smile:

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