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The Respawn Station Awards

The Respawn Station Awards

There have been some amazing games released in 2021 from titles that took full advantage of last-gen tech to ones that pushed the boundaries of next-gen systems. This marks the first full year of not just the latest generation of consoles from PlayStation and Xbox but also the first year we've been on the air. Since we started in early 2021, we have seen some incredible support on the site and have had the pleasure to work with numerous developers and publishers who we are very fond of. While this isn't as significant as The Game Awards, we still wanted to take the time to recognize some games and the teams that made them possible.

GAME OF THE YEAR | Resident Evil Village | There were a lot of amazing games that came out this year and we had the opportunity to play quite a few of them. However, few games in recent years made us feel the same way Resident Evil Village did during its closing hours. Not only does Village have polished horror gameplay and puzzles that made Resident Evil 7 such a big hit, but it also builds upon the series lore in an amazing way, and the final product that Capcom has delivered is one that we won't forget anytime soon. Honorable Mention to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and Psychonauts 2.

BEST PLAYSTATION GAME | Deathloop | This was a very difficult category to sift through due to how many PlayStation exclusives were released this year. Any of the games on our shortlist could have filled this spot, but Deathloop takes the cake because not only does the game have Arkane's unique worldbuilding and varied gameplay, but also it has sharp writing that makes the game's repetitive premise a fun one to play. And we don't have a "Best Performance" category but if we did, it would be a tie between Jason Kelley as Colt Vahn and Ozioma Akagha as Julianna Blake for bringing their respective characters to life with their voice acting. Honorable Mention to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal.

BEST XBOX GAME | Halo Infinite | If you had us guess what the best Xbox game of this year would be in January, we would not have guessed Halo. That's not to say anything about 343 Studios, but more so a result of the bumpy "almost launch" from 2020 where the game's first look garnered so much bad press that the game was delayed by a year. We are happy to say that that delay has worked in the game's favor. Halo Infinite delivers one of the most satisfying free-to-play multiplayer experiences out there and though the story doesn't carry the same praise all the way through, it is still a game Halo fans will enjoy. And when Halo fans are happy, Xbox is happy.

BEST NINTENDO GAME | Metroid Dread | The Metroid series has historically sold very little compared to Nintendo’s other flagship franchises but if you were someone who hopped into Metroid Dread this year, you may find yourself confused as to why. MercurySteam has created a tense, challenging, 2D side-scrolling action-adventure game with intriguing backdrops, fantastic boss fights, and rock-solid movement controls. It’s not only a beautiful follow-up to 2002’s Metroid Fusion, but also proof that one of the Metroidvania genre’s founding franchises still has the ability to captivate people 35 years on from its original release. Honorable Mention to Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Remaster.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR | Knockout City | In a weird way, this category was pretty much made for Knockout City. When all of us watched the trailer for the game for the first time, we thought the game would be buried at launch. However, when it did release, three of us jumped in to give it a fair trial, and to say we were surprised is an understatement. Knockout City is a great-looking sports brawler that has an addictive gameplay loop that's fun to play with friends for hours on end. Honorable Mention to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.

BEST ACTION GAME | Far Cry 6 | Ubisoft really has the action-adventure formula down to a science. While this can be used as a negative, for us, this is what made Far Cry 6 so much fun. The new setting of Yara is lively and smooth gameplay, that is disturbed by the occasional bug, encourages ample exploration. There is a lot of value in Far Cry 6, and if you aren't burnt out on the gameplay loop, Far Cry 6 is a game you can sink dozens of hours into.

BEST MULTIPLAYER GAME | Halo Infinite | Pretty much everything we said about Halo Infinite in the Best Xbox Game category stands here. However, we want to add on the fact that Halo, especially on PC and next-gen consoles, has some of the smoothest FPS gameplay we have had the pleasure of playing this year. There were certainly problems with the game's progression system on launch, but the developers have made an active effort to address criticism and the game is all the better for it.

BEST SPORTS+RACING | Forza Horizon 5 | Though Riders Republic is a great new game in the racing genre, nothing quite beats the tried and tested Forza Horizon formula. Horizon 5 is the most polished game from Playground Games and the gameplay experience is unrivaled. For anyone who is able to run the game on next-gen systems or a high-end PC, the game is a visual treat. Often in our playthrough of the game, we would stop to take a second and look around at the landscape and marvel at the cars. Going into photo mode and seeing a car's surroundings reflect off of the polished hood is something that may never get old.

BEST INDIE GAME | Call of the Sea | While this game technically first came out in 2020 on Xbox and PC, it just got its PlayStation release this year and it is such an immersive game it had to get this award. We originally played Call of the Sea in December 2020 and revisited it this year on PlayStation and we can confidently say that it is still one of the best games that we have ever played. It was easy to get invested in the beautifully presented story of Norah, a woman in the 1930s who suffers from a terrible genetic disease, while she searches for her husband who had set out on an expedition to find a cure but went missing a few months prior. As you search the mysterious island that was Norah's husband's last known location, you must solve puzzles and explore to uncover all the secrets the island holds. The more the story unfolds the more you want to keep playing as you work towards the thought-provoking finale that will stick with you long after you've set down the controller.

BEST GAME WE PLAYED | This category is sort of a second Game of the Year, however, this time, each member gets one pick for their favorite game that they played this year. And the year of the game's release is irrelevant. 

  • Alexa | Resident Evil 3
  • Austin | Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Nick | Psychonauts 2
  • Sri | Tales from the Borderlands

MOST ANTICIPATED | Hogwarts Legacy | Many fans of Harry Potter have wanted to experience life in the Wizarding World themselves for a long time so when Hogwarts Legacy had its first reveal at the PlayStation State of Play 2020, it created a lot of excitement. However, with an original release of Holiday 2021 that was quickly changed to just a blanket 2022, anticipation for the game and more information from it has been high. Hogwarts Legacy will be an open-world RPG set in the 1800s that will allow players to dive into the Wizarding World without the risk of it contradicting or diminishing the previous stories told. *cough Fantastic Beasts cough* There still isn't much information about the game, but more is sure to come as it hopefully releases this upcoming year. 

As we go into next year, we will have lots of changes to the site, most of which will be addressed in an upcoming post that will be focused on those changes. But we do want to reiterate that this would not have been possible without you, the readers. You come to our site every week to read our latest content and that encourages us to keep making better content. It is crazy to think that in our first year, we have achieved so much, and we hope we keep on expanding and reaching new heights in the years to come. Thank you to you the readers, and thank you to the amazing game developers out there who gave us the stuff to talk about. And on that note, Happy New Year from everyone here at Respawn Station to you!

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