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PS.Blog Game of the Year 2021: The Winners

With the polls closed and your votes counted, PlayStation Blog’s Game of the Year 2021...

With the polls closed and your votes counted, PlayStation Blog’s Game of the Year 2021 winners can be revealed. Another huge turnout saw heated voting across multiple categories, with many games going neck and neck for top spots throughout the voting period, while last minute twists kept category placements changing right up to the close of the polls.  

A big thank you not only to everyone who voted and made this year’s counts a compelling watch, but to all the studios nominated for bringing us another excellent year of gaming. 

Now, on to the winners! 

Best New Character  

Lady Dimitrescu | Resident Evil Village

Rather fittingly, Countess Alcina Dimitrescu’s vote count overshadowed other nominees in one of the most popular categories this year. In a franchise already rich in captivating – and terrifying – villainy, Lady Dimitrescu stood tall. From stalking players through the hallways of her lavish homestead, to cutting them to the core with retractable claw-like nails and tongue-lashings, she was an unforgettable presence. 

Rivet | Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Tenzo | Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut

Alex Chen | Life is Strange: True Colors

Best Story 

Resident Evil Village

From the Baker family’s moldy bayou abode to the treacherous lands surrounding Castle Dimitrescu – Ethan Winters simply can’t catch a break. The story of Resident Evil Village begins with deceptive simplicity: a man, his new family, and a tragic past colliding with a troubled future. Capcom does a wonderful job gradually building upon the scope and bombast of Ethan’s quest for his daughter. Once the embers fade on the explosive finale, you may find yourself wondering how this tale began in a quiet home. 

 

Life is Strange: True Colors

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Best Art Direction 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The voting race for Best Art Direction was a nail biter, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart takes the top prize. Insomniac Games has been refinding the vivid intergalactic art style of Ratchet & Clank since the PS2, and it shines in this premiere PS5 outing. Ratchet and Rivet’s expressive faces shine with new levels of detailed animation. The PS5’s super-fast SSD creates a kaleidoscopic collision as artistically contrasting dimensions quickly collide. Despite the scale of the adventure, Insomniac still manages to fluidly transition from frantic gameplay to cinematic cutscenes. Little Nightmares II takes second place with its unnerving locales, and It Takes Two secures third thanks to its irresistible little-people-big-world aesthetic.

 

Little Nightmares II

It Takes Two

Hades

Best Soundtrack   

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

The infectious exuberance of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy extends beyond its snappy dialogue and eye-popping alien vistas. Eidos-Montréal crammed a real who’s-who of 1980s chart-toppers to convey, with music, the same over-the-top excitement found in its gameplay – and then went the extra mile to create a fictional ‘80s metal band that could easily slot into a metalhead’s modern playlist. And let’s not forget the sweeping, adventurous score… just an audio treat to behold.

 

Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island expansion

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139

Best Multiplayer Experience  

It Takes Two

A moving story about divorce and reconciliation, a wise-cracking talking book, and an army of militarized squirrels are just a few of the highlights found in It Takes Two, but these take a backseat to the incredible gameplay. Hazelight Studios’ genre-spanning adventure is built from the ground-up with two player co-op in mind, so whether you find yourself shooting nails into walls for your partner to swing from, reversing time to save them from certain death or riding frogs through the garden together, you’ll always have a buddy by your side during this joyous adventure. An instant multiplayer classic.

 

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Battlefield 2042

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

Best Sports Game  

FIFA 22

EA’s FIFA 22 promised a true next-gen football experience and it did not disappoint. Its HyperMotion technology brought us a more authentic and fluid football experience, while the use of 3D Audio – pulling us further into the match than ever before – paired with the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, letting us feel the game in our hands as it played out on the pitch. EA truly delivered FIFA’s most true-to-life football experience to date.

 

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Riders Republic

NBA 2K22

Best Accessibility Features      

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut

As well as the numerous other updates made to Ghost of Tsushima for the Director’s Cut, Sucker Punch also made significant improvements to the game’s accessibility. Four new pre-set control layouts, larger text and subtitle sizes, the option to lock on to enemies, and directional haptics on the DualSense for the Guiding Wind brought the stunning adventure to more players than ever before.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Far Cry 6

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Use of DualSense 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Few gameplay features make the DualSense wireless controller hum like a creative arsenal. For fans of the Ratchet & Clank series, it may come as little surprise that Rift Apart is an excellent showcase of the controller’s haptics and adaptive triggers. You can truly feel the difference, whether blasting the humble Burst Pistol or unleashing the rumbling devastation of the Negatron Collider. Insomniac Games takes it a step further, allowing players extra finesse depending on how far they press the R2 adaptive trigger (e.g. press 50% to display throw arc, fully press to fire). From immersive gameplay to increased control, the proof is in players’ hands.

 

Ghost of Tsushima Directors Cut

Returnal

Resident Evil Village

Best Graphical Showcase      

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

According to the fans, Insomniac Games stuck the aesthetic landing by taking home both Best Art Direction and Best Graphical Showcase this year. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s Photo Mode is a wonderful way to appreciate the studio’s attention to detail, zooming in on the tiny Lombax hairs across Ratchet’s incredible face to the texture of his little brown nose. Even more, spectacular visual effects and lighting help sell the game’s innovative weaponry. Few players will forget the first time they fired the Topiary Sprinkler at a massive boss, and watched in disbelief as the creature was instantly covered in countless tiny leaves. All these elements meld into a delightfully hypnotizing visual.

 

Resident Evil Village

Far Cry 6

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Best Re-Release  

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is more than a standard re-release. Sucker Punch’s gorgeous adventure returns with a brand new story chapter, a whole new island to explore and updates to riotous multiplayer Legends. That’s before even mentioning its DualSense features, super fast loading, 3D audio and resolution and frame rate options that only PS5 can offer. Ghost of Tsushima was always a breathtaking experience, but the Director’s Cut introduces changes that elevate it to another level.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139

Independent Game of the Year   

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

This category witnessed the closest race of the awards, as two games remained neck and neck during the voting window. In the end though, Kena: Bridge of Spirits snagged the Platinum, with Hades earning a well-deserved Gold. With Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! and Disco Elysium bagging Silver and Bronze respectively, this category showcased the high calibre – and diverse experiences – of independent studio output this year. 

Hades

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

Disco Elysium – The Final Cut

PS VR Game of the Year         

Hitman 3

Bringing Agent 47 to PS VR resonated with fans: Hitman 3 dominated voting for this category. Adapting the world of assassination to the platform allowed players to appreciate IO Interactive’s densely populated, richly detailed sandboxes – and discovering the inventive takedowns within – in a whole new way. And as an unexpected bonus, VR support extended to the first two games as well.  

Doom 3 VR Edition

Sniper Elite VR

I Expect You To Die 2

PS4 Game of the Year  

Resident Evil Village

Satisfying gunplay, memorable encounters, plot twists aplenty. There was much to commend in Capcom’s continuation of Ethan Winters’ story. And that’s even before you appreciate the studio’s daring yet successful jigsawing of four distinct horror subgenres – one for each of the four Lords you’ll face – and amalgamating them into one cohesive whole. Everyone would find something to fear in Village: everyone who played found another incredible installment to the Resident Evil canon. 

It Takes Two

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Far Cry 6

PS5 Game of the Year  

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Ratchet & Clank’s return was a celebration not only of the beloved duo, but of the cutting edge tech under the hood of the PS5 and immersive features of the DualSense controller. The dimension and planet-hopping adventure packed in thrilling and increasingly creative combat (Rifts and Topiary Sprinkler FTW) platform challenges, mini-games and more. And of course, we were introduced to Rivet and Kit, who quickly became new PlayStation icons. 

Resident Evil Village

Returnal

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Most Anticipated Game of 2022 and Beyond

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

The first reveal of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 at PlayStation Showcase earlier this year offered a tantalizing glimpse as to what’s in store for Peter and Miles next. And there’s plenty to get excited about in the immediate future: with Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West out in February, 2022’s off to a great start. 

Elden Ring

Horizon Forbidden West

Hogwart’s Legacy

Studio of the Year   

Insomniac Games

Considering its Super Heroic feats late last year, you’d have understood if Insomniac would have had a quieter time of its these past 12 months. Instead, the studio barely broke its stride heading into 2021, delivering not only a PS5 showcase title in the shape of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, but bookending its year’s accomplishments by teasing its Super Heroic future. Little wonder then it took the top spot as Studio of the Year. 

Square Enix

Capcom

Bandai Namco

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