The EZA Community Top 20 Best of 2021!
#12: Forza Horizon 5 - 7 points
#2: 1 (Phbz)
#4: 1 (JDINCINERATOR)
HM: 1 (ffff0)
Release date: November 9
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
DIPSET last edited by
Forza Horizon 4 was up there as one of the best games I played in 2018 and it turned me onto Forza when I didn't have a lot of love for the series after trying the Xbox One mainline games. But driving around a rainy UK listening to Hospital Records DnB and driving an Aston Martin on a film set as a mission was pretty damn cool. So I'm all in for FH5!
But.... I barely played it...
My PC works for mostly everything other than new release video games. I can squeeze maybe another year of juice out of it, but I didn't want to ruin the experience by playing it in subpar frame rates. The game looks awesome but a bit samey. Without playing too much of it, I can safely say it's GOTY material, but I didn't play enough to constitute a vote.
Other game devs, take note! Just give me a £2M performance sports car in the first scene of the game and let me drive the shitboxes for fun later. No need for me to work my way up from a Soviet Union vehicle to a McLaren over the course of 20 hours. Do what FH5 does 🙏
I don't quite like Horizon 5 as much as Horizon 4 but it has the absolute best intro of any racing game bar perhaps GT6. FH5 is a fiesta like no other and it's truly a holiday for cars. The excess is plenty but it's all top-drawer and I think it's probably the most popular racing game to come out in quite some time. GT7 has its work cut out for it.
Forza Horizon has done its hardest to appeal itself to me, from a combination of setting, fun DLC, and being all arcade-y as opposed to the Simulation style of its Motorsport counterpart and GT competition.
However, it's a racing game, and an iterative one at that. Now, it's not as egregious as the yearly release of other franchises, but buying into a Forza game is kind of like not having incentive to purchase a previous entry, and concerned about being too late into getting an entry before the next one comes along. Don't get me wrong: They look GORGEOUS and seem VERY approachable and not intimidating at all... I just have personal hangups/lack of time to really feel like it's worth to jump into. But good on it for being an excellent game.
ffff0 last edited by
Forza Horizon 5 is my #7 of 38. This is a hard game to pin down my feelings about. On one hand, it's excellent from start to finish and it allows you to do what you want how you want. On the other, it didn't have huge impact on me because Forza Horizon 4 was similarly excellent. On top of that, all 2021 games felt lackluster for me because of how much my last year’s GotY (Cyberpunk 2077) pushed the bar and my expectations.
With all that said I still think that Forza Horizon 5 is an excellent pick for anyone who doesn’t hate driving in games (even for those, who doesn’t like racing games).
#11: New Pokémon Snap - 8 points
#3: 2 (Shoulderguy, Capnbobamous)
HM: 2 (JDINCINERATOR , Axel)
Release date: April 30
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Genre: First-person rail shooter, Photography game
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Shoulderguy last edited by Shoulderguy
I've wanted a sequel to Pokémon Snap since I played it years ago on Nintendo 64 and it finally happened! New Pokémon Snap is such a jolly and relaxing game that stays true to the gameplay of the original. It’s the perfect follow-up to a one-of-a-kind game that I thought was forgotten to time. Also, the photo customization was surprisingly enjoyable and easy to use. I posted some of my pictures here in the forums and I have many more photos saved on my Switch. Hopefully we don't have to wait 21 more years for the next game to release.
While I didn't have an N64 as a kid, I caught a full playthrough of the original Pokemon Snap (I can't remember if it was by EZA or someone else), I was enamored by it. So much so it made me hop on the bandwagon of, "Why did this NEVER get a sequel?!"
While that fervor diminished to the point I have no interest in watching a playthrough of New Pokemon Snap, it makes me happy it exists. I wonder what the thought process was for taking so long and why now was the time to finally deliver a second game.
New Pokemon Snap is a dream come true. I haven't been much of a Pokemon fan since my single digits yet Pokemon Snap's breezy photo-snapping gameplay is so therapeutic and tranquil that it doesn't bother me one iota. The sense of discovery is wonderful to behold too and my oh my how gorgeous the game looks on the Switch, it's sparkling with beauty and diversity. I wish there were more games like NPS and Toem, games that prioritize taking photos casually and surprising you with discoveries.
Axel last edited by Axel
I never played the original, but I picked this one up to see what the fuss was all about, and I loved every minute of it.
The main appeal is the Pokémon themselves, and if you have no affinity towards the series it probably won't do much for you with its gameplay alone. But sometimes you just want a chill, low-stakes, fun distraction and this is exactly what this game provides.
It also has way more content than I originally expected (plus the free DLC that came later), so I feel like I got my money's worth.
It reignited my love for Pokémon and I ended up getting Sword a few months later, so good job Nintendo, you got me there!
Phbz last edited by Phbz
I love FH5, I guess everyone has that one franchise which returning to is like comfort food. Since FH3 horizon became that game to me.
For a couple of weeks I'll be deep into exploring a new world, checking and tweaking every vehicle from an hyper car to timeless classic. For petrol heads is the video game version of Top Gear - without the racist boomer. Since 3 track design is impressive AF and 5 just improves it. It's a dream game made real and I can't get enough.
My main dislike is the general cool vibes attitude which makes me want to barf.
#10: Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... - 9 points
#1: 1 (Sheria)
#4: 1 (NeoCweeny)
HM: 2 (Crepe, DIPSET)
Release date: AS: April 22, NA/EU: April 23
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing, hack and slash
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Nier Replicant almost made my list. It's such an excellent action role-player and seeing as I didn't spend much time with Automata, Replicant showed me exactly why people love the franchise. If there's one thing that has stayed with me since I completed Replicant it's the Repose theme right here:
Despite Ben's love for Nier, (and of the franchise, especially Automata, by the wider community), it's not for me because it's a little too weird for me personally, every game having several endings is too much, and the switch-up of gameplay styles is another turn off. Yet the thing that I hear the most praise for is actually the one thing I'm interested in about it all: The soundtrack.
ffff0 last edited by
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 is my #17 of 38.
There’s definitely something in this game, but there’s too much repetition, gameplay isn’t that interesting and visuals are outdated. However, music is indeed great.
Crepe last edited by
Sadly, I didn't get to play Replicant as much as I'd hoped. And it currently is somewhere buried in my backlog.
I'm kind of late to its posting, but Tales of Arise was amazing. I can't say that it's flawless, but it is a delight for classic J-RPG fans and it has tight gameplay that I honestly wasn't expecting. This was the first Tales game I played to completion, and I had assumed I would have to helicopter-mom the AI in battles like in FF7 Remake. Sometimes you'll have to make adjustments for boss fights, especially in post-game content, but the AI was pretty good on their own most of the time and that impressed me.
E_Zed_Eh_Intern last edited by
Nier was the game that was in my 80gb backwards compatible PS3 when it caught the YLOD. I will never stop blaming the series for my loss.
DIPSET last edited by DIPSET
Nier Replicant v1.22... would've never made my list in any other year where I played more games. This has to be one of the most infuriating, not fun, bang your head against the wall pain in the ass games I've ever played.
Yet–I enjoyed my time with it... (?)
Here was the carrot dangling over my head from Ben's EZA review:
"If there's one thing to know upfront, it’s that Nier is misleading. The beginning of the game is comparatively mundane for the most part. You kill sheep to gather meat, learn about what appears to be the most generic villain ever, the Shadowlord, and get a basic grip on combat. Nier seems so similar to any other typical RPG, but just as you're about to get lulled into a false sense of security, it slowly and masterfully starts to unravel [...]
The best part is that the questions it evokes are amply fulfilled with gigantic payoffs."
And in the spirit of everything Nier, I actually found Ben's statement here to be quite misleading. Because the villain, your quest, the twists; it all stays generic until the very biter end. Those payoffs are so incredibly small, require hours of mindless repetition to reach, and could be streamlined into 2-3 less endings. It isn't that he doesn't preface the grind, but it's more like he implied that something dramatic will change in the game to go from generic, to original. But in the end, you still fight boring shadow people and collect crafting items, and run around bland over worlds right until you roll credits for the 5th time.
So why do I like it? For starters, it's funny that Replicant is the remake when in reality, Nier Automata is almost like a remake of this game. Almost every twist and beat from Replicant is nearly identical in Automata but executed so much better. Therefore, it's fun to go back and check out the bones of the series. The skeleton or blueprint for an incredible sequel.
Most of the characters and their relationships among one another boil down to your typical anime nonsense. At one point, Emil says something like, "I used to be sad because I didn't like my body but then you came along and now I have confidence again." Ya know, your usual feel good schlock skin deep characterization. But it's still executed surprisingly well due to some really above average acting. So the acting kinda reels you in to come to love these characters.
For example, Grimwoir Weiss is such a fun character. He is a smarmy sarcastic sentient book who represents the player and sometimes says what we're thinking. He's one of the instances where Nier Replicant thinks it's clever and actually is. The game might make you run on foot from one town, back the way you came, then back to the town, then back the way you came in a painfully drawn out fetch quest. And in comes Weiss to numb the pain: "Why can't these people all live in one town?" he says in his smug accent.
So all in all, it's the small touches that make this game fun. The subtle acting from Weiss, the incredible looping songs that bring an element of size, scale, and intrigue to the world. There is always the implication that this world is a lot bigger than it presents itself due to the music upping the scale and letting your imagination take over.
I don't think it's a great game but I'm glad I played it and saw the prototype for it's fantastic sequel. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't intrigued by the history here and I especially wouldn't recommend everyone see all 5 endings though because it's painful and has virtually no rewards.
But I'm glad this exists and is preserved properly on PS4.
#8: Kena: Bridge of Spirits - 10 points
#3: 1 (Brannox)
#4: 2 (Shoulderguy, bam541)
HM: 3 (Sentinel Beach, NeoCweeny, Axel)
Release date: September 21
Developer: Ember Lab
Publisher: Ember Lab
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
#8: Deathloop - 10 points
#3: 1 (Sheria)
#4: 2 (Sentinel Beach, ffff0)
HM: 3 (Shoulderguy, bam541, kindiman)
Release date: September 14
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 5