The year is finally coming to a close, so naturally that nears it’s time for a round up! Welcome to GamEir’s Games of the Year! This year, we also asked our community in Discord for their picks, so we have even more variety!

Graham of the Year

In a trying couple of years I’m going with an unorthodox choice with my GOTY because my choice is Final Fantasy XIV. Now that does cover Endwalker the 2021 expansion of Final Fantasy XIV so I guess it still counts.

Final Fantasy XIV is without a doubt one of the most engaging and emotional gaming experiences I have had in recent years. As a fan of the JRPG and RPG genre I found this top tier. Even with Tales of Arise and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV out this year I found myself constantly coming back to this game. Perhaps it was the award worthy story, the enchanting world filled with eccentric NPCs or maybe it was that I got to go on a proper adventure with my friends who I couldn’t see due to COVID.

Whatever reason I find myself completely enamoured by Final Fantasy XIV and can’t wait to experience what is sure to be an emotional and thrilling climax.  

Darragh of the Year

“This is how you died”. That’s how Project Zomboid starts: by telling you in no uncertain terms that you will, eventually, fail. The seething hordes of putrid undead, the elements, or your own mistakes will, unavoidably, kill you. This is how you died. How, and how long from now, is up to you. It’s horrifying. It’s brutal. Frankly, it’s awful. I can’t get enough of it.
Project Zomboid is a punishing, brutal zombie survival game set in a fictionalised Kentucky in the 1990s. The last human survivor in a sea of undead – or one of a few survivors, if you’re playing multiplayer – the only goal is to prolong your life. What I love about PZ is how meticulously simulated everything is. You can only see zombies if they’re in front of your character. If you jump from a 2nd story balcony to escape a horde, odds are you’ll injure yourself and spend the next while stuck indoors with a broken leg. Accidentally cut yourself climbing through a broken window? Better make sure you find a tweezers to get out the shards of glass, and some antibiotics to stave off infection. There’s true terror in realising the last zombie attack left you bleeding – did they manage to bite me? A single bite is always, always fatal. Eventually.
I’ve lost many hours to Project Zomboid this year, and several beloved, long-lived characters. With the recent multiplayer update, I’m 100% certain I’ll lose even more next year. If you decide to play, be sure to let me know… How did you die?

Niall of the Year

Bowser’s Fury.

Yep, my game of the year is a short additional campaign to the excellent rerelease of Super Mario 3D World. Yet more than any fully priced standalone title I’ve played this year, Bowser’s Fury is so jam-packed with new ideas and charm that it more than justifies itself. A thrilling look at a potential new direction for 3D platformers, this small open-world consists of platforming challenges that would constitute a normal single level, this new free-form approach is fresh and truly brilliant. Having rediscovered their love of open-world platforming in Mario Odyssey this is both a logical progression and a completely unexpected turn for the series, the kind of lateral thinking that has kept gaming’s mascot comfortably in his throne for the last 35 years. Capping it off with the constant threat of kaiju destruction and some of the best, jazzy tunes you’ll hear in a game this year, Bowser’s Fury is a triumph.

Honourable mentions to Metroid Dread and Halo Infinite for resurrecting two of the greatest “sci-fi cool armoured person shooting aliens” franchises.

Jade of the Year

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but my game of the year is Jurassic World Evolution 2. From the moment this game was announced, I knew it would be a big one for me. My childhood was Zoo Tycoon, and my favourite movie is Jurassic Park. So the JWE series is a dream come true.

As far as a park builder goes, this game is great. The additions of aquatic and flying exhibitions adds an extra something that I haven’t seen since Zoo Tycoon 2. On top of all this, the game does have really fun missions and campaigns. Above all though… IT HAS DINOSAURS!! I don’t care how old I am, I love dinosaurs with all my heart. So yeah, without a doubt, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is my ultimate game of the year.

Jurassic World Evolution 2

Community Games

Now, for our community’s picks! We heard from our friends Pat, Jack and Jake, and they all had some fun picks too!

Pat: I’ll keep it simple! Ratchet and Clank Rifts Apart, because there’s something so satisfying about blowing up your enemies with ludicrously dangerous weapons!

Jack: While I know by technicality it’s a remake, Shining Pearl takes my GOTY spot for 2021, simply due to its charm. As soon as I fired it up and started playing it, it felt as if I had been transported back to 2007 and only started playing it again for the first time.

Jake: I feel like Halo Infinite is up there, loved it. Honestly I feel it takes the gameplay atleast back to the originals, the open world just works with the new gadgets, the enemies are fun to go against, it’s a ton of fun.

On that note, that’s it from us here at GamEir for the year. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support, and wish everyone a very safe and Happy New Year. See you on the other side.

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