I was torn with whether it was or not Disco Elysium: The Final Cut would be a reasonable recommendation as one of the best games of the year. But in my opinion, the experience in this ultimate version of ZA / UN’s exceptional RPG is worth a place here.
This largely comes down to what must have been a gigantic task of adding voice acting to the entire cast. I’m not one to shy away from extensive reading, but the charisma of the VO cast really helps keep you completely hooked on what’s going on at any given time. Special shoutout to Mikee W Goodman, whose performance as a large and bizarre selection of characters stood out to me as particularly appealing after my first throughput. Not only the guttural voices inside the protagonist’s head either! I’m specifically talking about one of the game’s older characters that I dare not spoil.
This compliments an already amazing project from ZA / UN. The internal artist talent of Kaspar Tamsalu and Aleksander Rostov portrays a poor city filled with scars after conflict and the capture of the equally devastated police detective who stumbles around in it. Special mention goes to Anton Vill, who painted the supernatural and unsettling mindset of the game.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is one of those games that gets stuck in your head long after you hit it. You will wash up at night and wonder “What’s inside that storage container?” or “Is there really a greater power pull than shooting yourself in the head?” It sticks to you, like PVA glue. You will find small scratches of it under your fingernails, long after you think you have cleaned it.
It touches on some heavier topics, but if you’re happy to defy the occasional and completely conscious discomfort that the game exposes you to, I promise you it’s a deeply touching experience. It’s also a bit artistic, so you can talk to all your friends about it and sound wildly pretentious if that’s your thing!
Legends about Runeterra
I remember first downloading Legends of Runeterra when it first came out and not thinking too much about it. It was fine, an adaptation of the hugely popular day devastating software League of Legends, but it did not really capture me. Going back in recent months has revealed that even though I had pushed this digital card game out of my mind, it had slowly turned into one of my favorite time vampires.
Obvious additions, like that there are now far more cards and seasonal match passes, are of course good. But there are also alternative game modes like the all-new Path of Champion that add a lot of extra content that you can chew through. You do not have to develop a love to fight against other players to get something out of Legends of Runeterra.
It’s also one of the best online card games out there in terms of giving you free stuff. It’s only a matter of time before you’re able to build a tire you want, allowing you to jump back into a hassle-free process without anything overly frustrating leaking out and ruining things.
Guilty Gear Strive
This game stands out as one of my favorites in 2021 due to the fact that it injects some fun into a genre that had a tough time during COVID and lockdown. Many fighting games out there, your Tekkens and Street Fighters, suffer from hard net code which makes it difficult to play online. Guilty Gear Strive has great net code and is a super fun fighter to start!
It’s a high-damage, fast, ultra-cinematic fighter developed by Arc System Works. Even if you are not a vitter, it is worth picking up because of deliberately low barriers to entry, with plenty of depth to grow and get better. It also helps that it looks beautiful, genuine Imperial Mint levels of eye candy here.
It revived my passion for the genre at a time when I was struggling to justify investing some time in it. I even traveled to Ireland for a tournament last month where I got body from strangers. But losing to strangers and getting drunk is kind of what that kind of game is all about, so thank you Guilty Gear Strive for allowing me to do it again.
As VG247’s new live service game writer, I must also mention that I actually enjoyed MiHoYo’s Gaccha nightmare game Genshin Impact! Those with a keen eye may have noticed that my character’s name is “Who Cares” in screenshots. That’s because when I first picked it up, I thought Genshin was a bad game for losers.
Over time, it grew on me. In 2021, with the release of Inazuma and a big increase in the game’s history, I found that I really had fun going through the game and navigating through all the new content. For those who want to play a really enjoyable party-based action RPG, Genshin is a great option even now. Just do not go and blow thousands on digital girlfriends, buddy.
For more on our selection of the best games of the year, head over to our GOTY 2021 archive page.