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The WellPlayed Game Awards 2021 Winners

The votes are in and the winners have been crowned

Hello again December, don’t you just sneak up on us every year. The last 12 months have flown by for many reasons, both good and bad, with the constant stream of great video games releases being firmly in the former category. We’ve now had a full calendar year with the nu-gen consoles, with many developers finding their feet in these new waters, resulting in some absolute cracker titles that live up to the ‘next-gen’ label. Though we’ve seen plenty of delays and setbacks in the industry, it must be said that 2021 has more than delivered in terms of quality and that’s what we’re here to celebrate.

The fine folks here at WellPlayed have come together again to hand out our prestigious awards to the most deserving games. Once again using Zach Jackson’s perfect 3-2-1 voting system, which almost worked this year, we’ve narrowed down the best of the best in 11 different categories and, of course, awarded one title the coveted GOTY. Here are the winners of the WellPlayed 2021 Game Awards:

Game Of The Year: Resident Evil Village

Review Score: //  Publisher: Capcom  //  Developer: Capcom  //  Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Our review said:

Resident Evil Village is a technical masterpiece, featuring a fantastically realised and foreboding setting with a great sense of balance between action and horror elements. The king of survival horror refuses to relinquish its crown.

Indie Game Of The Year: Death’s Door

Review Score: //  Publisher: Devolver Digital  //  Developer: Acid Nerve  //  Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S / Switch / PC

Our review said:

Death’s Door feels great to play, it’s beautiful to look at, and the characters and world are beyond memorable – clock in and get your reap on.

Best Multiplayer/Live Service Game: Halo Infinite

Review Score: 8  //  Publisher: Xbox Game Studios  //  Developer: 343 Industries  //  Platforms: Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One/ PC

Our review said:

The refined and addictive multiplayer is a certifiable breath of fresh air, even if the menacing wind of microtransactions blows simultaneously.

Narrative Of The Year: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Review Score: 8  //  Publisher: Square Enix  //  Developer: Eidos Montreal  //  Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC

Our review said:

Witty, heartfelt and occasionally downright funny as hell, the narrative that’s told throughout this 15–20-hour campaign does Marvel’s cosmic characters proud. The story is incredibly well written and takes twists and turns that both comic and casual fans will enjoy.

Best New IP: Deathloop

Review Score: //  Publisher: Bethesda Softworks  //  Developer: Arkane Studios  //  Platforms: PS5 / PC

Our review said:

Deathloop takes Arkane’s well known brand of first-person action stealth and artfully melds it into a time-bending multi-assassination power fantasy.

Best Art Style: Deathloop

Review Score: //  Publisher: Bethesda Softworks  //  Developer: Arkane Studios  //  Platforms: PS5 / PC

Our review said:

Arkane is known for its ability to craft distinct and intricate worlds, and Deathloop is no different. There’s a retro ‘80s vibe to the experience blended with splashes of futurism which is an absolute delight from start to finish. Establishing self-contained biomes within maps has allowed the developers to break up the aesthetics but still tie them thematically to the whole, and I bloody loved it.

Best Game Design: Deathloop

Review Score: //  Publisher: Bethesda Softworks  //  Developer: Arkane Studios  //  Platforms: PS5 / PC

Our review said:

The danger of repetition in a time-looping title such as this is ever present, but Deathloop’s design is such that I loved returning and re-returning to every map, armed with the knowledge of my favourite routes or with new powers that made traversal and combat even more exhilarating. In this way, I feel like Arkane looked at games that specifically incorporate time as a main gameplay mechanic and cut out the things that most gamers hate.

Best Sound Design: Returnal

Review Score: 9.5  //  Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment  //  Developer: Housemarque  //  Platforms: PS5

Our review said:

Every detail, from the ancient yet futuristic technology to the wide array of exotic flora fuels uncertainty and trepidation. This creates a true sense of loneliness and fear that’s compounded by the game’s incredible audio (which really should be experienced with a headset). Guttural cries from enemies, the mechanical noise of a door opening, the unnerving squelch of nearby plant life, it’s deeply unsettling in the very best way.

Best Soundtrack: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Review Score: 8  //  Publisher: Square Enix  //  Developer: Edios Montreal  //  Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC]

Our review said:

No matter where you are in the galaxy, the scene is set by an incredibly 80s soundtrack that absolutely slaps. Bangers like White Wedding, Every 1’s a Winner and (Don’t Fear) The Reaper crop up predominantly while you’re aboard the Milano, but a random hit will also play during combat after a Huddle.

Best Performance: Maggie Robertson “Lady Dimitrescu” and Jason E. Kelley “Colt”

Review Score: //  Publisher: Capcom  //  Developer: Capcom  //  Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / PC

Our review said:

Every environment drips with a unique atmosphere, and there are also some fantastic larger-than-life characters (or simply larger than average door frames in the case of Lady Dimitrescu)

Review Score: //  Publisher: Bethesda Softworks  //  Developer: Arkane Studios  //  Platforms: PS5 / PC

Our review said:

The story and characters are engaging, anchored by Julianna and Colt’s relationship.

Best Aussie-Made Game: Unpacking

Review Score: //  Publisher: Humble Bundle  //  Developer: Witch Beam  //  Platforms: Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC

Our review said:

Unpacking is the perfect game to unwind with and provides unique and cosy storytelling through its simple point-and-click mechanics that will keep players wanting more.

Despite everything, 2021 really has been a brilliant year for gaming. With the promise of an even more stellar trip around the sun in front of us, let’s all eat far too much food and have a good old nap over the holiday break. The entire WellPlayed team wishes you a safe and happy Christmas filled with games, turkey and family.

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