End of Year 2021: Our Favorite Games of the Year!

2021 is over, and 2022 has started! We’ve voted on our favorite games of the year, and this is what we chose.

Thank you for participating in the Waypoint Community’s End of Year event of 2020! The conversation threads will remain open, so you can keep talking about your favorite experiences of 2021 as much as you want! Here’s hoping 2022 will be full of great experiences, too.

You can find the hub thread for the Waypoint Community’s End of Year 2021 here.


Game of the Year
Inscryption - Daniel Mullin Games

Inscryption was another in a legacy of mind-bending meta-games from Daniel Mullin. It appears to be yet another rogue-like deck-builder. Framed as found footage, you start off sitting across the table from a shadowy figure playing a card game. But over the playthrough, the game goes through a series of dramatic transformations that made our jaws drop. It constantly had us puzzling over the nature of the game, eerie riddles and our relationship to card games. LONG LIVE NOB.

Other Nominees: Metroid Dread, Deltarune Chapter 2, Forza Horizon 5, Guilty Gear Strive, Returnal


Favorite Narrative
Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine

Psychonauts 2 , developed by Double Fine Productions, came from a long pedigree for strong writing. A long-awaited sequel to a cult classic, it was almost a given that the game would be well written. Somehow the game goes above and beyond those expectations. It explores themes of consent, shared trauma and family baggage with compassion and care. Psychonauts 2 showed us humanity in a time when many of us needed it.

Other Nominees: Wildermyth, The Forgotten City, MARVEL’s Guardians of the Galaxy
(blurb written by @notanimal)


Favorite Game Music
Sable - Shedworks

Sable is a sci-fi coming of age story draped in a stunning nostalgic style. Its soundtrack was composed by Michelle Zauner, also known as Japanese Breakfast, and it fits the vibe perfectly, with soft synths and ethereal textures. Video games often avoid having vocals, but Zauner’s voice is heard throughout the soundtrack, adding humanity to the world that brings it further to life.

Other Nominees: Guilty Gear Strive, Deltarune Chapter 2, Inscryption, Loop Hero


Favorite Game Feel
Metrod Dread - MercurySteam

Metroid Dread , after well over a decade of mystery, finally released in 2021. It’s the first time Samus has been a side-scrolling hero in years, and blitzing through an alien planet has never felt so good. Samus had all sorts of equipment with old favorites and new tools. Grappling hooks, micro-missiles, screwattacks, air-dashes, you name it. All help you to zip around and blast enemies into goo.

Other Nominees: Inscryption, Returnal, Monster Hunter Rise


Favorite Presentation
Inscryption - Daniel Mullin Games
&
Sable - Shedworks

Tied for favorite presentation, we have Sable and Inscryption. Inscryption’s style is a unique one. Much of it’s assets are borrowed, yet are unmistakably unified through a distinct direction and vibe. Its artstyle transforms over the course of the game, but always looking and feeling deeply memorable, always punctuated by synthesized groans and paper flips.

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Sable’s cel-shaded art style is stunning and instantly recognizable, evoking the art of Moebius and nostalgic science fantasy. It invited us to explore ancient ruins and glide across beautiful pastel dunes.

Other Nominees: Psychonauts 2, Deathloop, Mundaun, Forza Horizon 5


Favorite Multiplayer
Halo Infinite - 343 Industries

Halo Infinite is the sixth (or fourteenth) entry in a series esteemed for its multiplayer. The multiplayer was free-to-play on launch, seeing a huge explosion in players. While the Battle Pass is rocky, the fact of the matter is that we love owning and getting owned by energy swords.

Other Nominees: Hell Let Loose, Guilty Gear Strive, Deathloop


Favorite Ongoing Game
Final Fantasy XIV - Square Enix

Final Fantasy 14 originally launched in 2010 and had a troubling start, but over the course of the past decade, the game has steadily become one of the most popular and beloved MMORPGs on the scene. Roughly every year, massive expansions have been added to the game, and this year, Endwalker , the fourth expansion, finally was released. The expansion added new classes and concluded the Hydaelyn–Zodiark arc, and it was released to widespread acclaim.

Other Nominees: Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Genshin Impact

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