Let’s be real; in a lot of ways, this is my real Video Game of the year list for 2021. Between my feeling that 2021 has been something of a dry year for major Video Game releases, combined with the fact that I’ve had limited time, money and access to the new platforms with which to play these new video games.
Thus, I’ve had a lot more enjoyment in playing older games in 2021. Both old favourites and games I never ground around to till this year.
For the past few years, I feel like I’ve been bending my personal rules for what qualifies for my Top Ten lists at the end of the year. Over the course of the past few months, I felt like this was going to be the year where I just went ahead and broke the rule entirely, simply listing the ten games I had the most fun with of the course of the preceding 12 months. Regardless of when they came out.
In the end though, I didn’t want to lose sight of the original purpose of my top ten “Best of Year” list and decided to split the lists into two and talk about both of them. It’s only fair considering there are 4 games on this list that would defiantly make their way onto the main list given the opportunity.
Rather than write about these games once per day, I’m going to break them into chunks and then dedicate more time to the games I feel I need to. So let’s continue:
Old Game #4: Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
Played on Xbox One X | Released May 2021 | Developed by Bioware
Is this cheating? This is definitely cheating. But honestly, while the first game included in this trilogy re-release felt like it got a lot of work, the second and third games mostly feel the same as they did back when they came out with maybe a little graphics sprucing.
I love Mass Effect. I feel like I’ve made that abundantly clear over the years I’ve been writing this blog. Hell, I gave Mass Effect 2 my favourite game of the decade between 2010 and 2019. Which is just one part of three great games contained within this: The Legendary Edition. I felt a little conflicted about where exactly to put it on my end of year list writing extravaganza.
Not where to place it mind you, more like, which list am I going to include it on? My new one or my old one?
No doubt, the Legendary Edition came out in 2021, I should know, I played them and wrote four lengthy posts about each part individually. And after spending all those hours playing through the grand epic of Commander Shepard, I mostly came to realise that almost all the heavy refitting to the trilogy was focused on the first game.
With Mass Effect 2 and 3 getting little more than some perfunctory updates and a glossing over in the graphics department. And in all honestly, I can’t call two thirds of this release a new game from 2021. As great as those games are and as much as I enjoyed revisiting them. They’re just the same experience I could have gotten from playing them on PC with some pretty basic graphics mods.
So, for that reason I’m going to put Mass Effect: The Legendary Edition (specifically Mass Effect 2 & 3) on this list containing old games.
Do I really need to go into any more depth? I mean, just read any of these posts about my feelings on the Mass Effect franchise and you’ll come to see why I don’t need much of an excuse to replay them, much less a whole new shiny re-release that let’s me spend time with my favourite cast of video game characters in the galaxy:
Mass Effect 2 is still on of the best video games of all time in my eyes and for all the problems I had with Mass Effect 3 and it’s ending when it came out, today I have nothing good things to say about it. Especially the final evolution of the trilogy’s gameplay, which is just oh so satisfying to play.
I had to stop myself from just going back and starting a new game from the beginning after I was finished. I couldn’t afford to spend another 120 hours on this when there were so many other games I had desperately neglected around that same time.
So yeah. Mass Effect is good. Go figure.
Old Game #3: Apex Legends
Played on Xbox One X | Released February 2019 | Developed by Respawn Entertainment
Ever since I gained access to video games with an internet connection, I’ve come to realise I have consistently found myself having an “always game”: A game that is always in my rotation (and is almost always an FPS) that I spend some hours playing every single week without fail. Then, it becoming my most played game during those drier spells where there isn’t much coming out.
Eventually, after some significant time investment, the game will fall away, either through diminishing support from the developers or a very gradual waning of my interest in it. The original game I treated like this was Halo 3 and then Reach after that. Then it was Destiny, then Overwatch, then Destiny again.
Today, and for the past couple of years, that game has been Apex Legends. A game I have been playing so much 2021, even at the expense of other, newer more relevant games over the course of the year. Ironically, it’s the release of a Halo game that’s made me take the biggest break from Apex I’ve had in a while. And that’s only mostly because I want to invest some time into it before I finalise my Top Ten games list for the year.
The sad thing is, the more I play Halo; In my head, the more I’m just thinking of Apex.
And 2021 has been a pretty great year for the game in my opinion. Season 8, 9 ,10 and 11 have brought us four new Legends in Fuse, Valkyrie, Seer and Ash, four new weapons in the 40/40 Repeater (which stinks), the Bocek (which I stink with) and the Rampage and the CAR. (Which I love both of.) We also got a whole new, tropical map in addition to the changes to the existing ones.
Not to mention a whole new Arenas mode, all the weird lore, limited time events and modes that have popped up over the course of the year. While everyone on my friends list refuses to play anything but Call of Duty, I happily play Apex all on my own. And I’ve gotten reasonably okay at it. I mean, I’m never climbing out of Gold rank on console, but I’ve made my peace with that.
Sure, I have my problems with the game. Sometimes I have to basically give up on playing when I really want to because the game’s servers are lagging terribly at times, and I think their cosmetics store is embarrassingly expensive. Especially when there is an event that involves as new Heirloom for a character.
But there must be enough people out there paying the absurd amounts of money for all of these skins that they’re holding fast on when it comes to their costs. So I suppose I have to look at the bright side and applauded them for making a crap ton of money from the game. I suppose it’s only going to make the game better in the long run.
Apex Legends is a still a super solid Battle Royale game, my game of choice in the genre. And one that I feel has a surprisingly high skill ceiling, which is probably why I play so badly if I’m even remotely tired or not focused. But hey, they must be doing something right If I can’t keep away from it.
And Watson finally got a buff, so I don’t have to feel dumb about playing her anymore. Now Crypto just needs another little buff.
So yeah; another year and another excuse for me gush about my continuing love affair with Apex Legends, and also me lowkey hoping someone reads this and invites me to start playing with them…