Spotlight

XboxEra Community Game of the Year

Another year has passed by, which means the XboxEra community has had the chance to vote on their favourite games of the previous year. In January our community members on the XboxEra forums have entered their lists of the games they enjoyed most in the Year of the Ox.

This time around we’ll have three categories. These are:

  • Best Ongoing Game
  • Best Independent Game
  • Game of the Year

The votes have been counted. Let’s get started.

Best Ongoing Game

Just like last year, the efforts by Rare updating their pirate adventure game haven’t gone unnoticed within the XboxEra community. 2021 saw the release of Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life, a collaboration with Disney on Pirates of the Caribbean content along other new content in Rare’s new Seasons model. And this week we’ll see the release of Sea of Thieves: Season Six. The top five voted ongoing games as voted on by the XboxEra community can be seen below:

  1. Sea of Thieves
  2. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  3. Fallout 76
  4. Rocket League
  5. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Best Independent Game

A surprise hit on Xbox got a lot of love from the XboxEra community. Death’s Door beat the big indie hit It Takes Two. The top 5 as voted on by the XboxEra community can be seen below:

  1. Death’s Door
  2. It Takes Two
  3. The Artful Escape
  4. The Ascent
  5. Unpacking

The XboxEra Community Game of the Year

Now, onto the main course of our awards. The twenty best games as voted on by our community. We’ll share the top 20. The entire list will be available on our Community Forums. Every game on this list will be accompanied with a quote from our community. It is a community vote afterall!

20. Far Cry 6

Number twenty on our list is Far Cry 6. The Ubisoft Toronto game in the well known franchise didn’t end up high in most lists posted by our community members, but did get some shoutouts. Our user Peter42O had this to say about it: ”Far Cry 6 was great and enjoyable for what it is thus far, the last three games are nowhere near what Far Cry 3/4/Primal were for me”

19. The Forgotten city

A game that hasn’t garnered as much attention as many other games on this list is The Forgotten City. It did capture the hearts and minds of plenty of members in our community, for example from DeoGame: ”In a year dominated by timeloop games, Forgotten City is without question the best one. A short but sweet experience, Forgotten City combines deep moral questions with an engaging story and unique structure. Few games released in recent memory have felt as feature-rich or well-realized as this.”

18. Ratchet & Clank: RIft Apart

A PlayStation Studios game in our top 20? Yes! Our community plays all kinds of games. The other PlayStation Studios game Returnal ended up just missing this Top 20. Our community member Harley‘s comment on Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was short and sweet: ”Gorgeous and breezy.”

17. Tales of Arise

While Tales of Arise didn’t feature on most of the lists submitted by our community members, when it was featured it scored well. MaskoPower is very clear about it, but just couldn’t convince enough community members to follow suit: ”This release exceeded all my expectations. GOTY 2021.”

16. Unpacking

Who else than our beloved community member Cerysnetics to tell you all about Unpacking? Cheerleading the game to even greater heights, Unpacking just misses out on a top 15 spot. Cerysnetics has the following to say: ”A wonderful narrative and gorgeous looking (and sounding, so much individual foley work) game. As someone who has moved a great deal, and actually enjoys the introspective and retrospective nature or sorting and displaying your past belongings this really moved me. Add to that the natural and unobtrusive touches of femeninity made me identify with the protaganist and her life, and made me cry for the person I am now and always dreamed to be. Just a wonderful, simple, touching experience told with a soft hand.”

15. Scarlet Nexus

Another Japanese title in our XboxEra Community Game of the Year list? Yes! With high praise from our users such as PhantomFox: ”Best new IP of the year, in my opinion. Although the combat has some room for improvement, using your psychokinetic abilities added a unique touch to it, and the abilities provided by your teammates allowed for multiple approaches to combat. It was very fun overall.”

14. Age of Empires IV

A PC-only strategy game in an Xbox community list…. times surely are changing. Who else to quote for this PC-only title than myself? As a big real time strategy fan I was both excited and nervous for Age of Empires IV. Early reception wasn’t universally positive, but in the end the game turned out very well.

13. Lost Judgment

One of our staff members Jordi was among the many fans of Lost Judgment: ”I absolutely would say this was my most memorable experience in 2021. Whilst the storyline has mixed criticism, the narrative is dark, gritty and engaging. It achieves this whilst adopting what the Yakuza games are great for, side quests, mini games and more. Lost Judgment is my game of the year for 2021.”

12. Outriders

A divisive game which was played by many of our XboxEra community members. The strenght of Game Pass has surely contributed to Outriders’ inclusion in our list. Our member Jeans noted: ”All signs pointed to an okay game, but when playing it, you really get why it’s good. There’s classes, loot and a story that keeps you moving through a strange and ravaged world. It’s really a game that will keep me coming back and check the expansions because that cover, shooter and power gameplay is just so fun.”

11. Metroid Dread

B-RexTheT-Rex ”I love Metroid Prime, and I’ve never played a 2D Metroid game prior to Dread. My friend loaned me his copy for a weekend, and that was literally the most I’ve played my Switch in years. I gave his copy back after beating the game, and then bought my own copy just to beat it again. Here’s hoping we get Metroid Prime 4 before I have to repay my student loans.

10. The Ascent

Jeans ”Beautiful sci-fi twin-stick shooter ? And it’s on Xbox Game Pass? Sign me in. Neon Giant is a studio we have to keep an eye on because these guys are talented. Art is gorgeous, graphics are out of this world and it’s like they know what they are doing. I can’t wait for their next game.

9. The Artful Escape

One of the independent titles that captures the hearts and minds of our audience, The Artful Escape did well in this list. Our editor-in-chief Sikamikanico chimes in: ”Arguably more an experience than a game, it nonetheless took me on an incredible audio and visual ride, a journey of self discovery across the cosmos. As always, the really good games made me feel different emotions this year, but the journey of Francis Vendetti was full of a range of incredible highlights, and even dredged up feelings of my own childhood dreams of rock’n’roll stardom.”

8. Resident Evil Village

If you’ve got a PhD you must know a few things. And our community member Master Lee PhD surely does know a thing or two about games. Regarding Resident Evil Village, these were his thoughts: ”Resident Evil REmake is one of my favourite games off all time. I liked 7 but just didn’t click with me. Now Village changed that and I was hooked from start to finish. It’s like a roller-coaster that still has downtime to let you absorb the scenery and atmosphere.”

7. Hitman 3

Hitman 3 released early in the year, which might have hurt its chances for a higher position. Though, seventh isn’t bad at all. This is what pip-boy3000 thought about it: ”A great conclusion to arguably the best trilogy of recent times. This series epitomises everything that is great about gaming.”

6. It Takes Two

Thanathorn: ”I’ve not been playing a lot of coop or multiplayer games the past few years but I couldn’t skip Josef Fares next game and I’m glad I didn’t. It Takes Two is one of the greatest coop platformers since Rayman Legends and probably the most unqiue one ever made.”

5. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Our community member Mesiac had something to say about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. ”What can I say, while I’ve loved previous Eidos games, I did not expect to have this game in my top 10 list, particularly at the top. This game’s marketing failed it, because it’s a fun, well-told adventure, with great pacing and likable characters that you just don’t seem to see much these days. Highly recommended.”

4. Death’s Door

Obviously we had to include the opinion of our review editor; Doncabesa. Among his top games in 2021 was Death’s Door. ”It tells a simple but moving story. The combat is both methodical and well balanced. It all serves to add up to a massive surprise hit for me, and I can not wait to see what this incredible two-man studio (with lots of partner help) is working on next.”

3. Forza Horizon 5

The Horizon series has been the shining light of the Xbox first party stable for years now. The fifth installment was no exception in that regard. ”The reason I love Xbox. Playground Games are magicians in the open world art and graphics. Seasonal events are so addictive.” were the words No1-HoloLens-Fan chose to describe it.

2. Psychonauts 2

Forza Horizon 5 was played by more people for sure. But Psychonauts 2 has captured the imagination of more people in the XboxEra community. The second game in this psychedelic platforming franchise reached the second place in our Community Game of the Year vote. One of our most active members Mort had this to say: ”My biggest surprise this year! I can’t be the only one who slept on the acquisition of Double Fine back in 2019? Not my prefered genre either, but this was an incredible game! Great gameplay, fantastic environments, good story and characters. Great game!

*drumroll*

1. Halo Infinite

With an unsurprising might Halo Infinite was chosen as the Game of the Year by the XboxEra Community. The sci-fi shooter in this defining Xbox series was by far the most picked game. To celebrate the winner and end this years Community Game of the Year, here’s a beautiful quote from our member Hearthian ”343’s third attempt at their own Halo game. And much like The Lord of the Rings’ third movie, it could also be subtitled “The Return of the King,” right? Really though, that team deserves a lot of credit for the amount of effort it took to ship this game after the extra year. Not even mentioned releasing the multiplayer early. It really shows how much they care about getting it right this time around when they’re adjusting this game to what the fans want.”

Thanks everyone for voting. We’ll be back next year!

Want to learn more about our XboxEra Community Game of the Year? Visit our forums for more information!

Pieter "SuikerBrood" Jasper

29 year old gamer who grew up with Commander Keen and Jazz Jackrabbit. A PC Gamer. (Sorry, not sorry). Dutch, but actually Frisian. Loves Age of Empires, Sea of Thieves and wishes for a new Viva Piñata.

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