In addition to our picks for indie and AAA Game of the Year, we also wanted to highlight 2021's best games in other categories from multiplayer to horror, and everything in between. Join us for some of the best of the best! 

Prima Games | Best Of 2021 Awards

Best Multiplayer Game (Jesse)

Multiplayer games have always been a staple of video games. Whether we’re talking about splitscreen versus or online ranked. Almost every game that comes out has multiplayer components built-in. This year was exceptional when it came to great games to play with friends.

Of course, Halo Infinite was not only released a few weeks early as a surprise to fans, but smaller titles like the dodgeball action game Knockout city and a *checks notes* Pokemon MOBA took the scene by storm. It was a hard category to declare a winner, but Halo Infinite reminded us so much of what playing Halo back in the early 2000’s felt like, while also forging a new and important path forward in 2021. 

 

  • Halo (Winner)

  • Chivalry 2 (Runner Up) 

  • Pokemon Unite

  • Monster Hunter Rise

  • Knockout City

 

Best RPG (Lucas)

Last year around this time I asked, will 2021 be the year of JRPGs? I’m pretty sure the answer is, “hell yeah.” Not everything was good as anticipated, but what was good was damn good. And these are the best of the bunch.

It came down to SMT V or Tales of Arise; SMT V’s intense vibe won out in the end. Then Jesse showed us Wildermyth, a game that stands out enough to leapfrog Arise to the runner-up spot.

 

  • SMT V (Winner)

  • Wildermyth (Runner Up) 

  • Tales of Arise

  • Super Robot Wars 30

  • Deltarune Chapter 2 

 

Best Games As A Service (Jesse)

Every year we talk more and more about ongoing games. Titles that live well beyond their release year, and it seems silly to not give them recognition for some of the amazing stories these games can tell.

Of course, it’s been a huge year for FFXIV with the Endwalker expansion, having to stop the sale of the game twice because it’s too popular, and continued transparency unrivaled by anyone else in the industry. 

 

  • FFXIV (Winner)

  • Fortnite (Runner Up) 

  • Destiny 2

  • Pokemon Unite

  • Apex Legends 

 

Best Remake/Remaster (Team)

Remakes and remasters are more prevalent now than ever before. With game preservation a constant topic, especially over here at Prima, it’s always interesting to see which games get brought over to modern consoles and PC for new and old audiences to enjoy.

NieR Replicant was all of this and so much more. Refined combat, new story beats, and even an entirely new ending. It’s hard to beat such a masterful rework of an already incredibly special game. NieR Replicant feels and plays like a modern video game, despite all of the original flaws, and without sacrificing what makes the game unique. 

 

  • Nier Replicant (Winner)

  • Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster (series) (Runner Up) 

  • Pokemon D/P 

  • Sonic Colors

  • Mass Effect

 

Best Soundtrack (Morgan)

The soundtracks for No More Heroes 3 and NieR Replicant are both varied, diverse, and dynamic, which made it hard to pick a winner. In the OST for No More Heroes 3, you have beautiful guitar melodies, energetic, action-packed battle music, thoughtful arrangements, and more.

There’s a little something for everyone in NMH 3’s OST. The same can be said of NieR Replicant’s soundtrack, which boasts powerful orchestral tracks with haunting vocals, poignant piano arrangements, and emotional tracks capable of moving you to tears.

While the OST for NMH 3 slightly edges its way to victory with the sheer breadth of music that it tackles, both of these OSTs are must-listens, even if you don’t plan on playing the games they accompany.

 

  • No More Heroes 3 (Winner)

  • NieR Replicant (Runner Up)

  • Guardians of The Galaxy

  • Guilty Gear - Strive-

  • Eastward 

 

Most Tragic Delay (Lucas)

I bought Resident Evil Village in like, October, and a sticker for Re:Verse as a free bonus was still on the shrinkwrap. It can’t get more tragic than that. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker was a small delay, but such an event release for the year and near holidays eager fans had made plans, taken time off, and so on and so forth.

Director Yoshi-P was well aware, and was so down about it he went to pieces on a livestream. We felt for Mr. Yoshida of course, and we wanted to include this for the waves of support the FFXIV community responded with. That’s the opposite of tragic, but the kind of empathy we want to see more of in the gaming community. 

 

  • REverse (Winner)

  • Endwalker (Runner Up) 

  • Playdate

  • Dying Light 2

  • Vampire The Masquerades Bloodlines 2

 

Biggest Surprise (Lucas)

What sort of criteria makes for a surprise? We have several: announcements, our newer favorite gimmick, “shadow dropping” and even just better than expected reception.

While we were more lukewarm on Metroid Dread than most, there’s no denying how utterly shocking it was to see that logo appear. 15 years of quiet mourning for the once-cancelled Dread turned to unhinged joy. And for Halo: Infinite, it just didn’t make sense!

After a huge delay and reports of further struggles, it felt impossible for any piece of Infinite to launch early. Frankly, it simply wasn’t conceived as a possibility in the first place. Yet it did, and people love it. 

 

  • Metroid Dread Reveal (Winner)

  • Halo Infinite Multiplayer Shadow Dropping (Runner Up) 

  • Guardians of The Galaxy

  • Animal Crossing 2.0/Happy Home Paradise

  • Scarlet Nexus

 

Best Horror (Morgan)

It was incredibly difficult choosing between Mundaun and The Medium as both were ambitious and innovative in their own way. With Mundaun, the unique visual design and superb psychological, atmospheric horror approach made it a standout release in 2021.

Featuring hand-penciled art and a chilling setting in the Swiss Alps, Mundaun is a game that instantly makes you feel on edge. With The Medium, you have its dual-reality gameplay mechanics which are truly stunning and hold up remarkably well, even in comparison to what other next-gen games have done to push the medium forward in 2021.

Not only was the dual-reality mechanic creative and fun to play around with, there was more meaning to the story than some may realize with references to real historical events from the developers’ home country of Poland. 

It’s this ability to talk about painful topics on both a country level and a personal level that helped the game’s story transcend being a generic horror mystery, to a more complex discussion on trauma as a whole. Despite what some may say, The Medium really isn’t a “medium” game by any means.

 

  • The Medium (Winner)

  • Mundaun (Runner up)

  • RE Village

  • Little Nightmares 2

  • Returnal