As I’ve said in the past, I’m just one guy running this site. As such, I don’t have the finances or time to play absolutely every game. Sometimes, I don’t get to games “on time” and well after they’ve been out and praised. Look at Persona 5. Took me a few years to get to that one.
So, as I typically do each year after the holiday break, I’m presenting you with games that should of been included in the End of Year awards, but missed the cutoff. Better yet, I’ve decided to combine it with my Game Crash Awards Superlatives in what I hope will be both information and entertaining.
Unlike my more serious awards back in December…you know, the more standard categories, these superlatives are a bit wackier and cover some topics you may not have realized. So, here are the games that didn’t make the Gamer Crash Awards for 2021 but totally should have. Enjoy!
Game That Would Have Made So Many Award Lists Award – Death’s Door
I say this often with indie games, but Death’s Door is one that snuck up on me. I can remember seeing news about it launching, and even then reading all of the praise. However, it wouldn’t be until the game was announced for consoles that I really started paying attention. Cut to a Steam sale and that was the point of no return.
I was such a dummy for sleeping on this game for as long as I did. Death’s Door is a really cool isometric action game where you play as a Crow, who essentially is a reaper of souls. Things go wrong during a routine reaping and you’re sent out on a quest to recover three giant souls while ultimately uncovering a plot inside of the agency you’re apart of. I was also pleasantly surprised by the humor both from certain characters (lookin’ at you Jefferson) as well as the UI, such as what happens when you cut a sign in half.
Visually, the game is gorgeous with dulled colors and interesting locations to explore. In fact, players will be upgrading weapons and abilities, which means backtracking is an important part for those who want to unlock all of the secrets the game hides away. Combat is fast and involves plenty of dodging, else death will come quickly to the player. The soundtrack is fantastic as well, dynamic based on what’s happening on screen, rising and falling based around the intensity of the fight.
For those who want a bit more out of this 8-10 hour game, there’s a secret ending that will push players a bit further than they expect.
Best Support Tool Award – Grappleshot from Halo Infinite
Seriously, whoever implemented this tool needs a big raise. Inside of Halo Infinite, Master Chief has new support tools at his disposal including a dash, drop wall, and threat sensor. However, the first tool players get is the Grappleshot, a device that not only let’s players pull items towards them or close the distance on enemies, but basically turn into Spider-Man to quickly climb or traverse the land much faster than normal.
I absolutely love this tool and it feels so satisfying to use. There’s a definite weight to it, you can feel the momentum with it. Scaling mountains in the game’s open world feels great, and really opens things up in terms of movement and traversal. You can even upgrade it to reduce the cooldown timer and add a Superman like ground smash when tethered to enemies. This is a tool that makes you feel powerful on so many levels.
Rejected By The Rim Award – Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition
Is there anything more of a slam dunk than packaging beloved old school Grand Theft Auto games with a modern sheen? I mean, it should have been easy.
However, developer Grove Street Games seemed to release a hot mess with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition. Packaging GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, the November launch was met with criticism from fans and critics alike due to glitches, bugs, strange visuals, and plenty more.
Fans posted plenty of memes and other things online, one of which showed that the rain in San Andreas really hurt the eyes while also going through solid objects. The issues became so bad that Rockstar was forced to apologize for the game’s state, while also returning the original games back to Steam. However, more controversy erupted when fans realized that only those who purchased the new game on PC could get access to the old games.
Biggest Disappointment of 2021 – Battlefield 2042
I really don’t know where to begin with this one. The marketing trailers and pre-launch information would have made you believe this was the next-gen Battlefield fans were waiting for. What we got was a game with a big identity crisis along with feeling unfinished. A lot of legacy features, like a scoreboard, were curiously left out, and now require months of development time to bring back in. One of the pillar game modes, Hazard Zone now feels abandoned by players, and the game’s population has declined rapidly since it launched. In fact, it’s PC population has dropped so low that older Battlefield games now have a healthier population of players.
Compounding that fact was the extended holiday break taken by the developers at DICE. That’s not a criticism in the slightest, it’s typical and expected. However, it’s clear that the game needed more time in the oven and the deafening silences for nearly a month only accelerated its rapid decline.
I fully expect the game to improve, I mean, it already has a bit through numerous updates. However, there are some core elements which can’t be easily fixed as they were more design decisions. I love the Battlefield franchise, but there’s just something that feels off about the 2042 experience. From a fan perspective, it’s incredibly disappointing, but hopefully through future updates and content additions, the game can get at least closer to that Battlefield feel. It currently has a big uphill climb, so we’ll see if post-launch updates can revive the player base or if it is indeed a lost cause.
Pixar, Eat Your Heart Out Award – Kena: Bridge Of Spirits
Kena: Bridge of Spirits was a stunner to me when first revealed. The other intriguing aspect about it was that it was the first ever game from Ember Lab, an animation studio. Well, I’m happy to say that not only does the game look gorgeous, but it’s wonderfully made as well.
I kind of expected the animations to look good for obvious reasons, but the team really knocked it out of the park. Honestly, this could and should be a Netflix series. The little Rot creatures are beyond cute and the world is just a really interesting place.
Interestingly enough, the game itself is pretty compelling and a little more difficult than I anticipated. Bosses hit hard, so players will want to make use of all of the tools and upgrades to be found. There are puzzles to solve, and corruption to remove in the world. The story surprisingly deals with heavy topics of regret and loss, but also of hope as well. It’s not a super lengthy game, but one I’d definitely recommend.