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

  1. Psychonauts 2 : I guess it’s my GOTY because it genuinely surprised me as it’s not really my type of game. But it was so charming, colorful and just a brilliant game overall that it’s still, after the heavy hitters released, the game I enjoyed the most. I just could not put it down !
  2. Halo Infinite : Halo is back and it was familiar, but also very new with the addition of the grapple shot, bases to attack, marines to rescue here and there, a formula that should not have worked for Halo but was really well executed. I can’t wait for what’s to come next. Halo is finally back on track.
  3. Forza Horizon 5 : the juggernaut of the arcade racers is back once again and it just delivered on all front. Bigger map, many refinements in gameplay and graphics departments. It reminds me a lot of FH1 and 3 which are the best imo.
  4. Hitman 3 : almost forgot this one as it was a january release. I didn’t really got into the new games (I bought 1 and 2 but didn’t get far into them), but 3 was the definitive version that got me hooked on the guilty pleasure of assassination. And it also put an end to the trilogy with some of the most gorgeous levels in the series. And getting all that content updated to work on the new consoles is just how it should be done from now on. It cemented IOI as one of the best studios in the world in my eyes.
  5. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy : I was intrigued by that first presentation, bought it day one and I wasn’t disappointed. I mean, it’s exactly what I expected, but the story and characters where top tier in all media. I could not believe how well written it was…It ruined the movies for me. Yeah, it’s really that good.
  6. Battlefield 2042 : it’s Battlefield. Bigger maps, weather effects, tornadoes ? 128 players ? What ? When it’s good, it’s really good… But yeah, the rest of the time it’s kind of a pain knowing what could have been with more time and a real direction. It could be the perfect Battlefield game that will last you 10 years. I’m not sure with that one yet, but I still have my money worth I guess.
  7. The Ascent : beautiful sci-fi twin-stick shooter ? And it’s on GP ? Sign me in. Neon Giant is a studio we have to keep an eye on because these guys are talented. Art is gorgeous, graphics are out of this world and it’s like they know what they are doing. I can’t wait for their next game.
  8. The Artful Escape : Simple game, simple gameplay and story, but it’s a delight for ears and eyes. GP once again got me to play this gem.
  9. Outriders : all signs pointed to an okay game, but when playing it, you really get why it’s good. There’s classes, loot and a story that keeps you moving through a strange and ravaged world. It’s really a game that will keep me coming back and check the expansions because that cover, shooter and power gameplay is just so fun.
  10. Scarlet Nexus : It’s not a game I would have checked normally, but I was intrigued by the setting and gameplay and I think they got half of that right at least. Story is pure japanese non sense, but the two characters and stories intertwined, plus clever combat gameplay is what’s promising for this new franchise. Not sure it will get a second game though.

Ongoing games :

  1. Halo MCC
  2. Doom Eternal
  3. Gears 5

My 2021 GOTY list

  1. Forza Horizon 5

This is honestly the only one I can put in #1, the rest are not in a specific order, just generally the best games I played from 2021, that I remember anyway lol

Psychonauts 2

Death’s Door

Halo Infinite (Campaign)

The Artful Escape

Echo Generation

Little Nightmares 2

Ongoing games:

Overwatch, Halo Infinite MP? I guess, and Rocket League. I suck at them all btw.


My top 5:

  • 1: Psychonauts 2

  • 2: Halo Infinite

  • 3: Death’s Door

  • 4: Forza Horizon 5

  • 5: Resident Evil Village

  • Ongoing Game 1: Sea of Thieves

My personal favorite game of 2021 is Halo Infinite, HOWEVER I do think Psychonauts deserved GotY from my pov. Reason is, it is an expertly designed platformer with a really great story, amazing writing across the board, has super fun and deep mechanics, and the industry’s most inventive levels all built around thoughtful exploration of difficult mental health topics. It not only is great as something to play, it also has a great message, themes and treatment of cultural topics that all game designers should look up to. It is the best reflection of what interactive media can offer beyond mere filmic storytelling.

As for Halo Infinite and why it is my personal favorite game of the year, no other game in recent years has made me eager to come back to it in the way Halo has. I’m nearly done with my 7th campaign playthru already and have spent countless hours in MP without getting bored as of yet. There are a million reasons to dock pts from the game on paper, but the game is just so much to play, has so many small secrets to find and is so engrossing as a story that the missing elements only make me more excited about it, since I know those will fall into place in time long before I get bored with playing anyhow.

The landscape of possibilities for story/gameplay/characters/settings/etc that future campaign DLC can tap into is insanely vast. 343i had a host of impossible tasks with the game and I feel they basically pulled all of them off somehow. On paper the game should be a train wreck, but instead it is worthy of celebration and all the nods it can get. No other game has made me so excited to see where it goes in the future than Halo Infinite.


Just an FYI, you are free to edit your list after you posted it. Just make sure you edit them before the end of January.


Tales of Arise: despite my long knowledge about the series, but this release exceeded all my expectations. GOTY 2021.

Death’s Door: at first I thought it was a rouge like game but when I bought it, it was a pour SP adventure game and a very high quality indie game. IOTY 2021.

Hopes 2022 is better.

  1. Halo Infinite
  2. Forza Horizon 5
  3. Psychonauts 2
  4. Back 4 Blood
  5. Age of Empires IV
  6. Scarlet Nexus

Ongoing games:

  1. Sea of Thieves
  2. Fallout 76
  3. DOOM Eternal

Halo Infinite is my GOTY. 2nd best Halo in the series for me.

Sea of Thieves: a Pirate’s Life is probably my best experience this year after Halo. Loved it.


@SuikerBrood If a game released in Early Access last year on Steam, and this year had an official release is it eligible for the numbered list?

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  • 1: Metroid Dread
  • 2: Halo Infinite
  • 3: The Artful Escape
  • 4: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
  • 5: Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart
  • 6: Psychonauts 2
  • 7: Mario Golf: Super Rush
  • 8: The Ascent
  • 9: Knockout City
  • 10: Rocket League Sideswipe
  • Ongoing Game 1: Rocket League
  • Ongoing Game 2: Fortnite
  • Ongoing Game 3: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

I feel I’ve played a lot this year, but then its been mostly old stuff, so the list won’t be particularly big. In order of Awesomeness:

1. Forza Horizon 5

The Perfect Forza Experience, I put so many hours into the game in the opening weeks it was crazy. Though the music was not as good as prior games, the feel, look and fun of driving is the best its ever been. I really enjoyed making rainbow cars this time too…

5 Pinatas out of 5!

2. Hitman 3

Once again the perfect example of a series. Hitman 3 was so much (“fun” is the wrong word for a murder simulator :P) but just a perfect sandbox to explore. some nice gentle handholding if you wish it to introduce you to a level and help excite that imagination and some hints from challenges to really give you an idea of how best to Inhume your targets.

5 Clumsily dropped Banana peels out of 5!

3. Unpacking

A wonderful narrative and gorgeous looking (and sounding, so much individual foley work) game. As someone who has moved a great deal, and actually enjoys the introspective and retrospective nature or sorting and displaying your past belongings this really moved me. Add to that the natural and unobtrusive touches of femeninity made me identify with the protaganist and her life, and made me cry for the person I am now and always dreamed to be. Just a wonderful, simple, touching experience told with a soft hand.

5 Parcel tapes out of 5

4. The Artful Escape

A wailing joyous 2 hour long prog rock solo of a game. Colourful, funny and charming in equal measure and so gratifying to play as you run through various backdrops feeling every inch the rockstar you are in the bathroom singing into a hairbrush. Johnny B Good!

5 Jethro Tull’s out of 5

5. Genesis Noir

Part Noir murder mystery and part Brief History of time, as a lover of both I was intriuged, the developer manages to merge both perfectly and with wonderful visuals and audio cues to progress the experience with minimal handholding. A wonderful and different experience, if a little buggy here and there. You don’t have to save everyone.

4 divergent timelines out of 5.

6. Last Stop

A last minute entry. A tightly scripted story following three people all touched by the same supernatural forces in a particularly nicely understated and authentic representation of London and the UK. John and Jacks humerous Twilight Zone Story, Donna and her family, and Meena’s marriage and workplace woes are all compelling in various ways. In particular Meena is a breath of fresh air in the medium where its not often we see such a flawed, selfish, woman as a protaganist, I found her arc in particular fantastic. Let down a little by unexciting gameplay elements and the ending of the overlapping story feeling a touch “rushed” this is nevertheless an excellent narrative game told with snappy dialogue and great voice acting.

4 Oyster cards out of 5.

7. The Wild At Heart

A wonderful little Puzzle/Pikmin like, Joining Wake and Kirby explore the woods behind their houses as they are pulled into a world filled with magic, Guardians, an ancient evil and cute little spritelings. Gorgeous art is the backdrop to a touching story about childhood trauma which is told with a light touch and nuance in an almost Gaimanesque style. Hampered only slighty by the occasional mild bug, this is an excellent example of a Fairy tale in game form and well worth the 15 or so hours of investment it needs to complete.

4 Painful childhood memories out of 5

Ongoing Games:

1. No Man’s Sky

Game of the millenium gets better with every update and expedition

My god, its full of 5 stars.

2. Fallout 76

Good lord this was rough at launch, and was not so much fun to get to lvl 28 opening month. Since then though, NPC’s have appeared, questlines with decent rewards and more than “Ha! it was all a robot/computer you have been talking to all this time” twists/conclusions. At the same time has retained the same friendly community it had in the beginning. A perfect MMO Lite/Survival/crafting game for the long winter nights.

10 @outrigued 's out of @Knottian 's

And what were YOU supposed to be doing at work this afternoon…?



Top 7

  1. Record of Lodoss War-Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth-
  2. Backbone
  3. Halo Infinite
  4. The Wild at Heart
  5. Olija
  6. Unpacking
  7. The Curse of the Dark Gods

Ongoing Games

  • No Mans Sky: Expeditions Revisited
  • The Long Dark: Perilous Constraint
  • Atomicrops: Reap What You Crow

I didn’t get to finish these, but honorable metions goes to Chorus, Deaths Door and Psychonauts 2.

1.Record of Lodoss War-Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth-

Imagine one day you decide to go fishing in Game Pass Lake. And instead of fish it’s filled with beautiful gems, because all Game Pass games are beautiful. You catch a certain rock but you don’t quite know what type of rock it is. Is it the dark and gorgeous Garnet colored “Hades?” No that doesn’t seem to be it. What if instead it’s that astounding type of Opal named “Wasteland 3?” That doesn’t seem to be right either. Instead of tossing it back in the lake you decide to take out your polishing cloth and give it a good rub or two… And what’s this? A shade of yellow that glints so brightly between your cloth that you can’t help but get excited, you polish the rest of the rock before holding it to the sky so the sun hits it at just the right angle. It’s then you finally realize that you had just found the magnificent, absolutely beautiful, gold hued “Record of Lodoss War-Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth!” When I fired up this game I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. Everything from the music to the characters movements work extremely well in this game. If you’re someone that likes metroidvanias or were even thinking about downloading it, definitely give it a try! It’s on Game Pass!


Not sure how long this will be so as a TLDR, loved the game, gave me depression for a week. 10 out of 10!

More like a 7 or 8 out of 10, but I still enjoyed it.

So this game… I greatly enjoyed it’s characters and the story also pulled me in, but it also sits at a peculiar spot with me because it’s not a game I would easily recommend to someone looking for something new to play. For those that heard or played through the game, im sure you understand why. There isn’t a lot of times where I finish a game and feel hollow inside, like a part of me is missing, I want more of this game but there is none left. I remember feeling this way with the first Kingdom Hearts back when I played it on PlayStation 2 and I felt it with this game too. Really, when I first completed the game I wondered what bizarreness did I just witness… But the more I thought about it the few days after playing it the more I missed the characters, the more I missed playing through this game, and I would think to myself, what had I experienced and why did it happen? I want play through this game again, just to understand it more, but there’s also parts I don’t want to experience a second time. I know it’s weird and odd, but honestly after finishing it left me depressed for about a week.

Doing a bit of digging to find answers I had found that some of the dialogue closer to the end of the game was inspired by a therapy journal a dev had at the time. I can’t find the blog post but when asked about the back half of the game they (assuming a different person on the team) replied, “sometimes things just happen.” It might sound like a bad answer, but it can definitely be true. The 8 passengers who died alongside Kobe Bryant being a very good example of that. When a game has an effect on you that lingers after the credits had rolled, when you’re concerned about the characters and what happens to them, that’s when you know the game meant something to you and I genuinely can’t wait for the sequel to release.

Something else on the more personal side that I wasn’t sure I even wanted to bring up is there’s at least one character in the game that’s bisexual. It’s alluded to in a small bit of dialogue but the devs had mentioned on their Twitter that Howard is bi. As someone who doesn’t feel comfortable being open about my bisexuality (Living in a republican state that’s apart of the bible belt/I can’t tell you how many times i’ve felt uncomfortable when an associate catches me with my phone and asks, “Texting your girl?” When in fact im texting a guy), I appreciate how it was handled. It reminds me a bit of the character Kung Jin from Mortal Kombat X. The characters sexuality isn’t what defines them, it’s hardly brought up in the game. They’re just doing what they need to, and it just so happens that Howard is bi, and in Kung Jin’s case, gay. Sorry about the small soapbox. I could probably go on but i’ll digress. Representation is a good way for people to feel “seen.”

Just to be critical, as far as gameplay for this game, it’s pretty bare. XboxEra reviewed this game and I would have to agree with a lot of the points they made. After a certain point the game might as well be called a visual novel, because all you’re really doing is walking a character around while making dialogue choices. Early in the game there’s sneaking and a cool puzzle, but after that you’re doing neither of those things. To be honest, if I made this list solenly on gameplay then this game might not be on it. The graphics and lighting are good though, but it’s a game mostly to be played for its story.

3.Halo Infinite

343’s third attempt at their own Halo game. And much like The Lord of the Rings’ third movie, it could also be subtitled “The Return of the King,” right? Really though, that team deserves a lot of credit for the amount of effort it took to ship this game after the extra year. Not even mentioned releasing the multiplayer early. It really shows how much they care about getting it right this time around when they’re adjusting this game to what the fans want. “The game looks ugly,” lets stick it back in the oven for another year. “We dont gain enough XP,” we’ll adjust that as well. I know im speaking mostly about the MP and I only played a dozen or so matches of it myself, but I do feel like the team deserves more than just one point so I wanted to put it here.

4.The Wild At Heart

I had downloaded this when it first hit Game Pass, forgot I even downloaded it, and then it unfortunately became a casualty when I needed more space. I wish I had played it sooner but at the same time it got a big quality of life update not too long ago so maybe waiting paid off a bit.

This 2D styled Pikmin-like game has a really sweet, magically drawn art style. The characters are charming and I love the deep, magical forest the game takes place in. Being someone that likes to explore the whole map and resource gather, this game makes sure there’s always something on the map to collect.


I don’t always complete games that I start. But this one was interesting enough that I did. It was released early last year but if it wasn’t added to Game Pass recently I would have missed it. It’s a game about a guy who wakes up in a strange, foreign land after his schooner had crashed. I had mentioned this in the Game Pass thread but this game does a very good job in setting the atmosphere and tone for this mysterious, dark place. Making it feel like it’s a place you’re not supposed to be in. Alot of the aspects of this game mirror solo developer Thomas Olsson’s experience moving to Japan, and how alone he felt living there before finding friends. Even feeling a connection with some of the people he met even though they don’t speak the same language.

If this game were released in the late 80’s or early 90’s I think it would feel right at home on the Amiga, as it reminds me of games like “Shadow of the Beast.” Take “Out of this World/Another World,” Give it a more Asian inspired world. Remove half the cinematics (because the game had a lot), and replace the Prince of Persia-like controls with finer combat and gameplay. I feel that’s what you would get when playing Olija.

“I was playing a tune for this lonely tree. I wonder if he’ll ever grow back one day. Be gentle with the trees, my friend. Few men know as much as they do.”

One really neat detail they had put into this game. Every now and then when traveling though an area you might hear an instrument being played, adding to the immersion. Two or three screens later you walk past this guy and the music suddenly stops. “Oh. You scared me,” the guy says. He was the one playing the instrument you were hearing. After a bit of dialogue he’ll continue playing.


Simply put, it’s a puzzle game that tells a story as you complete the levels. It’s a really chill game to play on a cozy afternoon.

There was one moment where my jaw had dropped from how clever the storytelling was in this game. When she had moved back into her childhood room after living in the fancy downtown apartment with someone else. There’s a specific picture that you would assume belongs on the bulletin board with the others, but instead goes inside a drawer signifying she had broken up with who she was with. Just something I didn’t expect from a puzzle game like this. Cleverly done.

7.Curse of the Dead Gods

This released sometime before Hades had on console, and I decided to play it in preparation. Playing through Hades though I realized I preferred this game over it. The game and combat feels good to play and there’s more going on with the curse mechanic, along with how vital it is to keep your torch out so you don’t fall into traps, or receive extra damage. I know “Cursed Mesoamerican Temple” isn’t anything new but I really didn’t mind the setting in a rogue-lite.

Ongoing Games

  • No Mans Sky: Expeditions Revisited
  • The Long Dark: Perilous Constraint
  • Atomicrops: Reap What You Crow

I know I had the Outer Wilds and Streets of Rage 4 DLC here, and while I do enjoy both of those games I had these other two sitting in the back of my mind. These are two games that came out years ago with NMS releasing in 2016 and TLD releasing in early access on steam in 2014. These games released over half a decade ago and yet they’re continuing to get support to this day. Both Hinterland and Hello Games never gave up and they’ve never charged extra for their updates. That’s pretty awesome.

With that said, my notable ongoing games would have to go to Outer Wilds and Streets of Rage 4.


damn, OK. Gotta get back to this then. :fire:

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2021 releases

  1. Forza Horizon 5

  2. Halo Infinite

  3. Psychonauts 2

  4. Death’s Door

  5. The Artful Escape

  6. Narita Boy

  7. The Gunk

Ongoing Games

  1. SoT

  2. MCC

@SuikerBrood it’s a pity we can’t choose games not specifically released in 2021, because backlog is always the biggest chunk of my playthrough. XD


Ha, yeah. I agree :stuck_out_tongue: But that would kinda remove the whole concept of a Game of the Year…

• 1: Halo Infinite

They did it! 343i finally perfected a new age Halo that feels like the original but adds so much more. I really can’t imagine playing another Halo game without that grapple hook, so much goddam fun swinging around before taking a gravity hammer to a grunts head. Breath taking world that feels unique but still familiar. 30 seconds of fun to be had everywhere you go. Pretty much everything I wanted from a new Halo. And the MP is the chefs kiss. :video_game: On Game Pass

• 2: Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil REmake is one of my favourite games off all time. I liked 7 but just didn’t click with me. Now Village changed that and I was hooked from start to finish. It’s like a roller-coaster that still has down time to let you absorb the scenery and atmosphere.

• 3: Deaths Door

Zelda like game where you play as a crow… Count me in! Hard but fair and plenty of variety in combat. Excellent story, beautifully grim world and has my favourite soundtrack of the year.

• 4: Psychonauts 2

It’s like playing a Saturday morning cartoon with a melancholic story that you uncover as you jump and collect things through the story. First game of the year that had the Wow! Factor graphically. :video_game: On Game Pass

• 5: Haven

A game about love, friendship and a strange substance called flow. Really enjoyed the relaxing gameplay. Loved the chemistry between Yu & Kay as it reminds me a lot of my own relationship. The Soundtrack was good too.

• 6: Sable

It’s the Mobius art is what drew me in. It’s a chill game that is really about helping people along the way whilst finding who you are and what you want to do in life. Yep, another soundtrack that was top notch. :video_game: On Game Pass

• 7: Outriders

Played start to finish in Co-op and had an awesome time. Plays similar to gears and has sweet weapons and armour. :video_game: On Game Pass

• 8:? Will update if I get through my backlog in time.

• 9:? Will update if I get through my backlog in time.

• 10:? Will update if I get through my backlog in time.

• Ongoing Game 1: Halo Infinite MP

My go to MP game with family and friends. Just an absolute blast to play. Looking forward to new maps, skins and updates.


Halo Infinite

This is basically like a soft remake of the very 1st Halo and its just all the better for it. Its pure classic Halo CE. Its just awesome.

RE 8 Village

RE 7 was my game of the last gen and this just looks to build on it and like how RE 4 opened up the RE world to more vast and open environments RE 8 does just the same over RE7 and feels like some mixture of RE7 with RE4. Its just a shame the last section of the game isn’t a patch on the 1st part which is just incredible and the baby section truly horrific

Astro Playroom

I know it came out in 2020, but I never got my PS5 until Feb 2021. Its Just an amazing platform game with such genius level design and little touches that make the game a sheer delight to play.

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co-signed! FO76 is pretty fun now!


First update after finishing Record of Lodoss War and Warioware

1: Forza Horizon 5 2: It Takes Two 3: Psychonauts 2 4: Hitman 3 5: Omno 6: Blood Roots 7: Project Winter 8: A Juggler’s Tale 9: Mundaun 10: Genesis Noir

  1. Halo Infinite

  2. Forza Horizon 5

  3. Far Cry 6

  4. Hitman 3

  5. Microsoft Flight Simulator

  6. Guardians of the Galaxy

  7. Life is Strange True Colors

  8. Lost Judgment

  9. Deathloop

  10. Resident Evil Village

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