Our individual Game of the Year articles allow our personable team of authors to share their personal PS5 and PS4 picks for 2021. Today it is the turn of the retro specialist Jamie O’Neill.
As in the Weezer texts, when I repeat the first two Euro-style 2D Run and Gun Turican games, I want to go back there for the reminder that my younger self is playing Amiga games with friends and family was a retro experience that filled me with joy. Chris Huelsbeck’s melodies were a big part of that joy, of course, but it was also the fond memories of Super Turrican from its re-release on the Wii Virtual Console, as well as the joy when I beat Mega Turrican without discovering the Mega Drive game is the real highlight the series. Turrican Flashback also added to my excitement for the A500 Mini’s release in 2022.
Nostalgia is the main fuel for my retro gaming appearance engine, and I found playing the 32 games specifically included in Capcom Arcade Stadium Packs 1, 2, and 3 deeply nostalgic. It felt like a historic journey through CP System’s arcade technology, with previously unconverted games like 19XX: The War Against Destiny and Progear highlighting to finally hit the console. 1989 was the year I went from being a video game fan to a certain obsession with games, and Capcom’s releases epitomize that with titles like Final Fight and one of my personal favorite games of all time, Strider.
In 2021, I was intrigued by Ratalaika releasing mega drive shoot-em-ups like Gynoug and Gleylancer, which have a rewind feature to get easy platinum to entice gamers to experience retro games. I’ve come to the conclusion that getting new players to old games is a good thing, but I also hope these people stick with it to see how far they can progress based on their skills alone. I think you can love a game without beating it, and Returnal embodies skill-based progression. Given Housemarque’s Bloodhouse roots in Shmups like Amiga Stardust from 1993, I find it really satisfying to go just a bit further in Returnal’s technically wonderful PS5 light show by dodging neon balls.
Initially, I found Guardians of the Galaxy 11-minute gameplay-first look to be a highlight of E3 2021, but I allowed myself to follow the bevy of internet doubters and then started complaining that it could end up being disappointing like Marvel Avengers. I was happy that Eidos Montreal proved me wrong, there gardener of the Galaxy turned out to be the most pleasant superhero gaming surprise since Batman: Arkham Asylum. It also goes well with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which is one of my favorite games of the past year that conveniently ties in with my number one number one by 2021.
2016 was a great year for Ratchet & Clank, with an animated film that I enjoyed more than expected and the remake of one of my favorite eighth generation console games. Insomniac Games expanded the remake’s triumphs in 2021, and I will remember Rift Apart as a showcase title for PS5’s first year. While the stunning tech is more noticeable than the gameplay, I still loved the visual gimmick of SSD diving between different environments. I find that Rift Apart offers a lot of convenience that is bursting with color and fun to top this list, and it’s no accident that run-and-gun gameplay in a sci-fi setting is a constant theme in mine Is game of the year.
What do you think of Jamie’s personal game of the year pick? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.