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The Game Awards 2021's Most Likely Winners | Screen Rant

The 2021 Game Awards will spotlight some of the best games that released this year, and though it may seem as if it's been a quieter year for games than usual, there was still a great selection of titles that launched. Now that some studios have adjusted to the transition to hybrid working, a lot of games that were put on hold are finally coming out. This being said, while many fans were disappointed that many of the games expected to release in 2021 were pushed back, there were still plenty of great games to enjoy. The Game Awards will recognise many of these titles across a wide variety of categories, ranging from Game of the Year to Best Audio Design.

The games up for Game of the Year are Metroid Dread, Deathloop, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, It Takes Two, Psychonauts 2 and Resident Evil Village. A mix of jury votes and audience votes will decide the winner and it will be hard to choose between those different experiences. All are well respected and deserving of the title, but The Game Awards will make its decision December 9th.

Related: Psychonauts 2 And Ratchet & Clank Show Platformers Are Still Worth Making

Looking to past years, it becomes a bit easier to discern who could come out on top. While the heavy hitters like Deathloop and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart will likely win Game of the Year, there are a lot of categories beyond that. Best Role Playing Game, Best Director, and Best Indie are all tough races in their own right. Each category celebrates a different part of game production and there are a lot of games this year with different strengths and weaknesses.

Previous winners of Game of the Year include The Last of Us II, Overwatch, Breath of the Wild and Dragon Age: Inquisition. All of the nominations for the award this year bring their own unique strengths to the table - Deathloop provides a dangerously addictive time travel hook and Metroid Dread provided some of the most satisfying 2D platforming in recent memory. Resident Evil is a return to the unnerving camp aesthetic of previous games and It Takes Two is a co-op experience with a twist. Psychonauts 2 provides an excellent story and sequel to a cult classic. However, the two games that feel like they have a real shot at winning the award are Ratchet and Clank and Deathloop.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart represents the power and excitement of the next console generation while Deathloop features a unique time travel feature and excellent gunplay. The former brings all the power of the next generation, with Insomniac's game providing a seamless graphical showcase of the PS5’s hardware. Given that the platforming and shooting sections are also well-developed, it has a strong chance of nabbing the Game Awards' top prize.

Related: Where The Next Ratchet & Clank Game Could Take The Duo

Deathloop uses its gameplay mechanics and ingenious narrative to rise above the other nominees, however. Its time loop-style gameplay allowing players to redo story beats with new information and weapons make it a great first-person shooter that also rewards exploration and different strategies. This experience feels less like an epic narrative but it's more focused than Ratchet and Clank. The gameplay and story of Deathloop excels where Rift Apart's may feel par for the course. The first-person shooter genre has seen scantly few unique iterations in recent years, but Deathloop is certainly one of them, making it a strong contender for Game of the Year.

Psychonauts 2 being a long-awaited sequel that finally lives up to the hype plus it being an extremely visually distinct game gives it an edge in most of the categories its nominated in. Due to Psychonauts 2's complete, engaging story and ending as well as its interesting level, character, and art direction, it is a safe bet for many of the directorial and narrative categories. It does have competition in the narrative department from Life is Strange: True Colors and It Takes Two, but what sets it apart is its cartoon-like atmosphere and its visual storytelling when inside characters’ brains.

In regards to the Best Indie Game award, 12 Minutes has an interesting hook and a cast to back it up. Much like Deathloop, the game plays with time, but 12 Minutes more intimately explores its time loop and asks the player to familiarize themselves with one apartment room and uncover every inch of it. The game’s high concept may make it seem like a shoe-in for the prize of Best Indie Game, but its challenger Death’s Door has been gaining praise since its release as well.

Related: Death’s Door: Getting Started Guide (Tips, Tricks, & Strategies)

Death’s Door has been getting press as an exceptionally designed dungeon crawler in an era when the genre has leaned heavily on randomization. Critics and fans are comparing it to top-down Zelda games like Link to the Past. Its isometric view and storybook-like build are both creative and beautiful. Its dungeons are designed around puzzles and combat in a way that feels rewarding and doesn’t require filler. Which one will win? It’s a toss-up whether the judges and audience decide to go for a more unique experience with 12 Minutes or a well-crafted classic genre update with Death’s Door.

Cyberpunk 2077 is nominated for best role-playing game, but given its rocky release and reputation, the category is sure to be dominated by the remaining JRPGs this year. All four other games (Monster Hunter Rise, Scarlet Nexus, Shin Megami Tensei V, and Tales of Arise) are critically acclaimed and all resemble epic fantasy RPGs like Breath of the Wild. Monster Hunter Rise is the returning champion, with its predecessor World winning in 2018, so it's safe to say it's in the running, but Shin Megami Tensei V may also stand a chance given its recency and interesting setting. All of the nominations have great stories, but the most likely winners will probably be the ones from pre-existing franchises due to their greater reach.

One of the best categories that The Game Awards offers is the category of Most Anticipated Game, and while it’s hard to speculate on which one will win, it always builds hype for what’s to come. Starfield, Breath of the Wild 2, Elden Ring, and more could make 2022 the best video game year since 2011. No matter what takes home the official trophy though, each nominated game represents the best of its genre, its platform, and its medium, and are all well worth playing.

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