2021 Quarterlies! Vote for Qt3’s Best Game of 2021: “All these worlds are yours. Except Europa. Attempt no landing there.”

  1. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
  2. Monster Hunter Rise
  1. Old World
  2. Gloomhaven
  3. Slipways
  1. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
    An improvement over Pathfinder: Kingmaker - a game which I loved. So much stuff to do and less buggy than P:K was at release. Just fix the damn Loremaster prestige class already!

  2. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
    A chance to replay some of my favorite games with updated visuals.

  3. Solasta: Crown of the Magister
    Nice tactical combat and a welcome introduction to the 5th ed rules for me. Let down by the plot and the characters.

Dishonorable mention: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. An expansion that made the base game worse - at least at release and for the first few months after.

  1. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
  1. Northern Journey - an unforgettable experience that has far fewer flaws than you might expect from a solo developer’s first game. They tell you not to make that overly ambitious first game that’s in your head because you’ll invariably fail. This is what happens when you don’t fail.

  2. Death’s Door - my GOTY before Northern Journey came along, a superb rendition of classic Zelda gameplay brought up to whatever date was necessary to perfect this homage to exploration, combat and discovery.

  3. Arboria - I’m all about the weird this year, and this game turns the weird up to 11. It’s still basically an action RPG with more thoughtful action, influenced as many now are by the Hades metastructure, but with solid combat and that addictive loop of exploring rooms connected by corridors, with all manner of strange surprises within.

  4. Demeo - Currently VR-only, but some of the best times I’ve had gaming this year was in this virtual D&D style tabletop game where you fly over, around and into the boardgame dungeon, moving your pieces and throwing dice to overcome puzzle-like enemy combinations as a team, with all the shenanigans you’d expect when playing with a group that feel like they’re sitting around the same actual table.

  5. The Ascent - There are several games vying for the coveted fifith spot, so this may change. But right now I’m hot for The Ascent, which feels like a more open world version of Synthetik, one of my favourite, punchy twin-stick shooters. I guess this is Diablo with guns, then. Whatever, it’s stylish, has the most incredible futuristic city I think I’ve ever seen from an inclined 45 degree angle, and satisfyingly punchy combat.

Other games that I really enjoyed and keep thinking about… Necromunda: Hired Gun, Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector, The Gunk, Halo Infinite, Fire & Steel, Chorus, Unsighted, Sable, Cosmodread.

  1. Inscryption
    Worthy of the hype. Structured around a pretty solid card game, it throws enough game and story twists at you to keep you invested throughout its very reasonable length. Great to experience.

  2. Shin Megami Tensei V
    Demon collecting and fusion in the ruins of a near future apocalyptic Tokyo. Tangle with gods, get condescended to by angels, hang out with demons. All told, a solid 1:1 recreation of the high school experience.

  3. Old World
    This would likely be higher if I had started it earlier in the year (got into it after picking up GOTY Inscryption for a fiver on EGS during its winter sale). It’s chock full of nifty design choices that should revolutionize its genre, at least when it launches on a more popular gaming store. (Edit: tinkered with this some more that past week and am moving it up. Still haven’t got a full grasp of it and spent much more time with the games ranked above it.)

  4. Mario Golf: Super Rush
    After the disaster that was Mario Tennis: Aces, here’s a competent Mario sports title that, sure, has flaws but does enough right that it became a favorite ‘chill and decompress’ game for me.

  5. Wildermyth
    I played it more in EA in 2020 than in full release in 2021, but it’s a great little RPG with customizable campaign lengths and tons of other options to help you tailor the experience to your liking.

  1. Gods Will Fall One of the rare games I actually finished. And it was worth it, such a great little game.

  2. Resident Evil: Village not as good as RE2 Remake or RE4, and I don’t think it has enough replay possibilties, and it is not campy enough, but it has good momentum and some very creepy parts and amazing visuals and a good variety of setting, atmosphere.

  3. Rocketmen by Martin Wallace. I love this deckbuilder, mission to orbit, moon mars management game. Rock solid! You thin your deck by placing your cards on your launch pad. That’s brilliant.

  4. Aliens: Fireteam Elite It’s Aliens with a big heart.

  5. Manifold Garden Very elegant puzzles.

I wanted to add The Ascent but I am stuck in a mission, where I get swarmed by elite enemies. Need to go back at some point, I really liked what I played.

  1. Tainted Grail for the best, most thematic, boss fight music of all time

  2. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous love alt-ism

  3. Solasta while the graphics are primitive I enjoyed the combat system

Yikes, Valheim seems like so long ago, but it remains the best ‘OMG this is amazing’ buzz I had this year, especially in co-op. Also, I swear I thought it actually released last year, but appears still in early access, so is ineligible! Oh well!

  1. Monster Hunter Rise
  2. Dungeon Encounters
  3. Wildermyth
  4. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. Astronarch

Pretty weak year for me. Three ports and an indie darling that hasn’t swept me away in the first 5 hours. [EDIT] And I just bought Vampire Survivors so it can join the list!

  1. Nioh 2
  2. Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection
  3. Vampire Survivors
  4. Death’s Door
  5. Espgaluda II

Bring on 2022. It’s going to be amazing.

I think I only played 2 new releases last year, but both were excellent.

  1. Hitman 3
  2. Oxygen Not Included: Spaced Out DLC

I think my gaming has been more limited than usual in the past year, I’ve mostly played older releases, and I find my attention span is shorter so things I would’ve loved 5 years ago just can’t hold my attention. So here are the 3 games I played this year that I loved.

  1. Hitman 3
    I’ve loved the whole new 2016+ Hitman franchise and this year’s addition is no exception. This is one of the few games I return to over and over again. Hitman 3’s story is deeper than previous entries and it has some of the best murder sandboxes in the franchise: a nightclub run by a biker gang in Berlin, a high rise apartment complex hiding an expansive lab using unwilling human subjects for bioweapons experimentation in Chongqing, and a commercial vineyard in Mendoza with wine making equipment presenting interesting assassination opportunities.

  2. The Forgotten City
    Strangely this is not on Wikipedia’s list, but was released as a stand-alone game in July 2021. A really good time-loop mystery game set in an underground Roman villa. I really liked everything about this game: the voice acting, the mystery, the conversations, etc.

  3. It Takes Two
    My son and I have a blast playing through this zany co-operative adventure. The highlight was escaping from the bees using a glider made out of boxer shorts.

  4. Unpacking
    Added this one as a late edit. How could I forget? A really nice contemplative game that manages really strong, but subtle storytelling by having you unpack boxes. I love this kind of game.

Honorable mentions:
Overboard - I didn’t play this in 2021, but am playing it now on mobile and I really like it. Really great accretive protagonist (antagonist?) story told in Inkle’s signature style. Really cool that it’s precisely a reverse murder mystery.
Escape Simulator - Another 2021 game that I’m playing in 2022. Really fun as a co-op game. Expect to feel dumb compared to your friends.

  1. Returnal Easily my favorite of the year.
  2. Kena: Bridge of Spirits a bit old school but hit just right for me.
  3. Bonfire Peaks At times made me feel like a genius
  4. F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch A metroidvania I enjoyed more than Metroid Dread
  5. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth another metroidvania I enjoyed more than Dread

Honorable mentions: Chicory, Unpacking, Death’s Door, Psychonauts2, Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart.

  1. The Forgotten City Smart entertainment that began as a mod.
  2. Days Gone Another interesting Sony title that made PC last year. All these benefit from the production values apart from anything else, as well as not being sequels. Yet.

It was a pretty weak year for me. Played a lot of older stuff and went through the Epic freebies etc.

  1. Remnants of the Precurors
    Ray Fowler’s labor of love that updates Master of Orion. Folks can check out the dedicated thread. Icing on the cake, it has a manual written by Tom Chick. Shame that RotP does not support multiplayer as this would be a great game for a Tom v Bruce

  2. Wildermyth

  3. Caster of Magic for Windows
    I think that this counts as a 2021 release. Fantastic AI added to one of my favorite old games.

  1. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
  2. Wildermyth
  3. Trials of Fire
  4. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
  5. Solasta

Disco Elysium wasn’t on my original top 10 list in the previous thread because A) I didn’t realize it had come out this year until I saw @SadleyBradley vote for it and B) until yesterday I hadn’t even launched the game since it first came out and I wrapped it up (my last save game was late Oct 2019). But now I’ve gotten a chance to get back into it and it’s just so fucking good and my previous top five was the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, which I loved but I have to admit this would bump that down a notch, and thus off this list.

I’m so freaking happy to see Pathfinder and Solasta on so many lists - both are a huge part of what made 2021 one of the best years in gaming for me, I love them both dearly (for somewhat different reasons).

  1. World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic
  2. Inscryption
  3. Unpacking
  4. Halo Infinite
  5. Lake

@Sonoftgb @VogonPoet - You need to have the rank numbers before the bolded titles.

@sharaleo - You have to bold just the title, not the number.

@JonRowe - You need to bold the titles.

Does Valheim even qualify here?

  1. Solasta: Crown of the Magister
  2. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
  3. MLB The Show 21
  4. Surviving the Aftermath
  5. Farming Simulator 22