That’s it! Another year gone, and boy what a year it’s been for gaming. On the one hand we’ve had some incredible games released, while on the other, some of the highest redundancies we’ve ever seen across the industry, plus we saw the biggest acquisition of all time go through as Microsoft finally paid up for Activision Blizzard.
Never mind all of that though, Game of the Year is all about celebrating the incredible gaming times we had this year, as we ask our team to try their hardest to pick just one title that stands above the rest for them.
What’s your personal Game of the Year? It might not be mentioned here, it might not be in any of the “official” nomination lists, it might not even have been released this year. Let us know in our Discord.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Spider-Man 2 | James Parry
Friends, I have failed. When trying to choose the gaming experience I’ve loved the most this year, it’s a total dead heat between Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man 2, and I’m not even mad about it.
Both games are follow-ups to adventures I really enjoyed, both bring plenty of new fun to the table and both build on the magic of the first instalment.
For Survivor, the galaxy opens up to a wider variety of worlds and level styles, introducing different saber stances and lots and lots of new environmental puzzles to challenge you. The combat and core gameplay are solid, and the story carries you through the entire game, engaging and emotive from start to finish.
And, most importantly, BD-1 is still a dude.
While it’s still New York you’re swinging (or gliding) around as both Spideys in Spider-Man 2, the map has been expanded to include more of Queens, Harlem and Brooklyn as well as Manhattan, and there’s plenty of new side activities to try out here as well.
The story also takes centre stage throughout, and, like Survivor, it’s the characters and how much you care about them which really draws you into the world and begs you to explore and have a great time with them.
Traversing the city remains a grin-inducing activity, as you dash from one spontaneous side mission to the next, begging for the experience not to end. Combat builds on the foundations of the previous game here as well, giving you some fun new abilities to master, and some hard-as-nails baddies to bash up.
When both of these AAA experiences have been made with so much care and thought, and especially when they are tied to franchises I’m already invested in, how could I ever choose between them?
(Oh, and stay tuned for a full review of Spider-Man 2 soon, hopefully before the end of the year.)
Roboquest | Chris Brand
It was a tough decision this year and one I didn't make until the very last minute. Starfield was in my top spot for the longest time but numerous bugs, and other annoyances, slowly turned me away. Though it still has a place in my heart, and I'll likely revisit it in the future, I've got to go with RyseUp Studios' first-person shooter/roguelite hybrid, Roboquest.
It's been in preview for a while but the full release dropped last month with a ton of new content, bringing the total number of playable classes to six and adding more weapons, items, levels, bosses and probably more that I've missed. What started as a fun little distraction which I discovered through Game Pass, turned into one of the better shooters I've played, and not just this year. The developers under-promised and over-delivered, meaning my realistic expectations were surpassed.
The overall aesthetic is reminiscent of Borderlands, but the two play very differently. Roboquest is fast-paced and frantic and thrusts you forward with a punchy soundtrack and a timer indicating just how close you are to losing that precious S rank. It can seem rather unforgiving at first but progression feels steady and natural, as you acquire permanent upgrades, uncover different routes, and find hidden secrets. However, it's made more accessible by a difficulty setting which goes from the, almost too easy, Discovery, to the punishingly hard Guardian IV.
Gameplay itself is incredibly smooth. It quickly becomes second nature to slide and jump everywhere, with unlockable gadgets adding new layers to the movement and emphasizing the verticality of the levels. The random selection of weapons, items and perks available in each attempt keeps things fresh, as no two runs will be exactly the same.
If you're getting burnt out on huge, complex, single-player sagas, Roboquest is the perfect palate cleanser to finish the year off.