The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2021!



  • 2021 was another year that was heavily impacted by COVID. But somehow, many great new games managed to release last year and we are here to honor the best.

    Over the past 3 weeks, 18 people voted and nominated 52 different games.

    These are the top 20 games of 2021!





  • 0_1645646478219_Persona 5 Strikers.jpg

    #20: Persona 5 Strikers - 5 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (ffff0)
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 1 (Capnbobamous)

    Information

    Release date: February 23
    Developer: Omega Force, P-Studio
    Publisher: Sega
    Genre: Action role-playing
    Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • As I mentioned below, I have not had enough time with this game to decide whether it deserves a top spot but I will say the visuals look just as good as P5 so far, even on Switch. It definitely feels like Persona. The only other musou I have played was Hyrule Warriors and that felt nothing like Zelda from me from the get go. So, so far so good. If we redo this down the road, I'm pretty sure this game would make my list.



  • Strikers is a cool Musou style take on the Person franchise and it's refreshing to play a more immediate experience without the turn-based RPG trappings. I do feel like Persona 5 has been milked a bit but when there's a ceaseless amount of coolness about it then complaining seems kinda mean. Musou games can lose some players rapidly thanks to repetition but because Persona has such a strong base with its story and characters it's never a problem. I feel Musou-style games should be geared towards a story and character-heavy focus otherwise there's little reason to care about what's going on.



  • While it's been heavily documented on these forums I'm not a Persona person, I respect Atlus doing something different with it and providing something fresh for the franchise. But beyond that, I can't really contribute more here at the start of another 20 (instead of 25 :-L)



  • I’ve heard from Ben that Persona 5 Strikers is good, but I still expected just a solid spin-off. However, it’s much better – it’s a genuine Persona 5 part 2, only with different combat and progression. Really enjoyed all my time with it, and I even liked it’s combat more than the one from the main game (but that’s a matter of taste of course). Also, since it’s on PC, it doesn’t have to compromise it’s visuals to try to hit target frame rate, which is very appreciated.



  • 0_1645734663153_Guilty Gear.jpg

    #18: Guilty Gear Strive - 5 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (NeoCweeny)
    #2: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 0

    Information

    Release date: June 11
    Developer: Arc System Works
    Publisher: JP/NA: Arc System Works, EU/AS: Bandai Namco Entertainment, JP: Sega (Arcade)
    Genre: Fighting
    Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Arcade

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • 0_1645734734210_Behind the Frame.jpg

    #18: Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery - 5 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (bam541)
    #2: 0
    #3: 0
    #4: 0
    HM: 0

    Information

    Release date: August 25
    Developer: Silver Lining Studio
    Publisher: Akupara Games, Akatsuki Taiwan, Inc.
    Genre: Adventure
    Platform(s): PC, MacOS, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • You did it @bam541 !



  • For Guilty Gear: Strive, it was the game of mid-Summer, right after most everyone had their summer presentations and it was also a game of interest in the different Fantasy Critic leagues that I both was a part of and was following. So I heard a good deal about Strive, but alas, as a button masher, I can't get into fighting games.

    For Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery, I never heard of this game before typing this comment.



  • The Guilty Gear series is so amazing and Stive is another fantastic instalment. A shame that it got so overlooked.



  • Oh shittttttt I didn't expect this at all, lol. Behind the Frame is one of those games that looked like a real good time but you still don't expect much out of, and yet it really impressed me. I bought it for like 5 US$ on my Android phone and decided to play it before going to bed while I was tucked in my bedsheets. 1.5 hours later I was crying like a baby, I didn't expect to resonate with the game so much. I think the last time I cried like this was with Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1 which had an amazing ending. Back to the game, the gameplay is a no-frills point and click adventure, it's nothing like most point and clicks that tend to frustrate you with weird-ass puzzles. Gameplay wise it's very straightforward, but that actually accentuates the brighter qualities of the game even more: the beautiful art style and music especially makes it so easy for me to be sucked into the simple yet effective story. It's a great example of something being more than the sum of its parts. I truly believe that Behind the Frame is a 10/10 game, for such a small, cheap game to wreck me like it did, it's masterful.

    As someone who's number 2 fav game of all time is Persona 5, I can't say I really care for Strikers. It is what it is.

    I've been meaning to get into GG Strive but I just couldn't find a good time for it so I haven't bought it yet. I did try out the betas before release, had a great time with the game itself.



  • 0_1645823934974_Returnal.jpg

    #16: Returnal - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 0
    #3: 1 (Crepe)
    #4: 0
    HM: 3 (JDINCINERATOR, Hazz3r, brunojoey)

    Information

    Release date: April 30
    Developer: Housemarque
    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Genre: Third-person shooter, roguelike
    Platform(s): PlayStation 5

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • 0_1645824010207_Halo Infinite.jpg

    #16: Halo Infinite - 6 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 0
    #3: 1 (kindiman)
    #4: 0
    HM: 3 (Brannox, Phbz, DIPSET)

    Information

    Release date: December 8
    Developer: 343 Industries
    Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
    Genre: First-person shooter
    Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • Halo Infinite

    Oh lord where to begin?

    Okay, so all in all. Halo Infinite is a solid core for not only a live service multiplayer, but also for a single player / co-op mode. There is a lot to like about the core of the game; especially compared to Halo 4 and 5 which really didn't have a strong identity in the shooter market. Infinite at least feels different from Apex or COD or Fortnite, etc.

    But—it also doesn't quite feel like Halo. Vehicles feel waaaaay off. Weapons and movement feels almost over animated. Some guns just aren't smooth such as the zoom in feeling way too snappy and unfluid on the Sniper or BR (worth noting that the Sniper is still outright bugged 3 months after launch).

    Basically, 343i said, "We're going to cut corners to deliver a game first and foremost." Fair enough, they delivered a solid 7/10. I respect the corner cutting for the greater good. But the game has A LOT of work to do.

    It's in my HM's for satisfying me enough for a certain period of time during a slow year for me. It feels unpolished, unrefined, and is extremely lacking in content compared to prior Halo's. Halo 1-3, and Reach felt polished, fluid, and basically perfect at it's core on Day 1. This isn't nearly anywhere close to that level. But it's amusing at least.

    --

    Returnal

    Not much to say. It looks right up my alley having seen gameplay and reviews. Prior to launch, I thought animations looks a bit janky, but in context, everything is just intentionally fast and lacking weight in favour of a snappy quick pace.

    The only Rogue-like I've played was Inscryption and I really see the appeal of the genre, so I'll dig into Returnal eventually.



  • Halo Infinite is #10 on my list. I mostly just played the single player and it was the most fun I had with a Halo campaign since Halo 3. The gameplay is the best it’s been in a long time, it feels great to play, and grappling hooks make every game better. The story is more focused and toned down from 4 and 5, which is a good thing. The open world sections are not revolutionary but it was fun to explore and just do Halo stuff. I was worried for 343 Studios after that gameplay reveal trailer, but Halo Infinite is a good game and a great foundation for them to build on.



  • For Returnal, I still think it's not a good name and for bullet hell, it's the breakthrough hit across all avenues Housemarque FINALLY gets after being forced to give up their twin-stick arcade shooters. While it doesn't hook me, like another game should crack our countdown later, it makes me stoked a solid developer get massive success they've deserved, even if the game isn't for me.

    As for Halo, it ranks 6th place out of eight games to get my votes. It would have topped my HMs, but a game I was able to play (which I DON'T think will make it) pushed it and others down. To talk about Halo, I'll break it up into two parts: Multiplayer and Campaign.

    Multiplayer - I'm not a Multiplayer person and Halo, like many popular shooters, has way too many trolls and jerks, so I put in the 10 matches of Versus for the achievement and bounced. But I like the concept of the Academy being a one-stop shop of a Tutorial without there being one as part of the single player. I wish the very small story content was either incorporated into the Campaign or not there at all.

    But I got to say: Bot Bootcamp RULES. For a LOT of the achievements (not all of them sadly), they can be done in this mode, and a very little amount of times have I had teammates who would be annoying like trying to knock me off a ledge in Oddball for example. With the rework of the Battle Pass progression system, I put in my six matches a day (Of which I'm going to do as soon as I finish this comment) then I'm done. I'm only about 15 or so levels to go, and when I hit 100 for the achievement, I'm dropping Halo until the next story content comes because my GOD am I sick and tired of being stuck with Oddball, Strongholds, and Slayer on like, four maps.

    Campaign - I've said several times with how Halo 5 was such a massive disappointment for me if Infinite didn't do enough narratively. Thankfully, I enjoyed it enough to be still interested in the future. It didn't blow me away like I hoped, but it does have it's moments. I think the strongest aspect, hands-down, is the Grappleshot combined with the open-Ring world. Now the Grappleshot ALONE is such a fantastic piece of traversal, and I want it in EVERY FPS going forward. But running around, happening upon a Banished group, and coming away with a field of corpses behind was so good. I enjoyed some of the tasks like taking out the HVTs, finding Skulls, Spartan Cores, and named weapons, or wiping out a base, but having a large portion of the backstory behind Audio Logs you can't find most unless you have a guide (and can still be missed).

    Overall, I liked the game as a whole and relieved it's as solid as it is. Shoutouts to @Phbz, @DIPSET, and @kindiman for voting for it as well!



  • Infinite is my favourite Halo, when it comes to gameplay. Never had so much fun playing any game in the series yet Reach is still by far my favourite.

    Sadly it's underdeveloped in many areas, even more frustrating because even with its shortcomings it still delivered an hell of a game.

    Special mention for the voice work on the NPC's during combat and such. I think what they did here is just simply incredible and unmatched. The chatting was always present in Halo but they really outdone themselves. It's great for world building but it also brings a lot of truly funny comedy to the series.

    I want the to keep on this path but truly commited.

    I hope they release more SP content and I think this might be awesome with co-op.

    The online has the merit of having me playing it for a couple of weeks, which is a rarity. But it's too unambitious for such a big title.

    --

    Returnal is that one game that makes want to buy a PS5. I have the feeling I'm going to love it. Hopefully it will come to PC.



  • Halo Infinite is my #33 of 38.

    I’ve played through all Halo games twice (last time in 2021) and both times it was an extremely boring experience. I didn’t enjoy gameplay, I didn’t care about the story or characters, and even level design felt very generic. Halo 4 was the best one, but only comparatively. Still, I was open-minded for Halo Infinite and was ready to like it. I like open worlds after all.

    Unfortunately, Halo Infinite is the same Halo game. I can’t explain why but shooting enemies just doesn’t feel fun and soon I’ve started just running toward objective and ignore encounters as much as I can. Open-world exploration also didn’t grab me – there isn’t much to see here and incentives for finding the spot doesn’t seem good enough. Story was once again completely forgettable. Driving controls are terrible, especially right after playing Forza Horizon 5. And I didn’t like that your ability and grenades are mapped to the same types of buttons – too often I throwed a grenade instead of using my power-up (yes, I know that I can remap buttons). I also played one multiplayer match and it wasn’t immediate fun.

    So yeah, Halo games are still not for me. But it’s probably good that they feel so different – the more types of shooters there are, the better.

    As for Returnal, I’ve learned the hard way that playing a rogue-like without a trainer is a waste of my time, and since this game is not available on PC, it’s an easy skip.