What’s up gamers, I’m August – more commonly known by my moniker, Bread. Alongside my co-host Greg (WayneGregzky), we form the duo that makes up the *mostly* gaming podcast Bread Radio. Truth is, Bread Radio started as somewhat of an audio diary for me to get my thoughts out into the void, using my favorite hobby as the medium. Whether the void was ready for those thoughts or not is a topic for another discussion…
So here we are, the year 2021. 2020 part 2 as some have chosen to call it, and I tend to agree. One more in the books. The gaming industry is thriving in the internet age, and with it comes all the trappings of any continually growing market. Business decisions, battle passes, weapon and character skins, and corporate greed sets the backdrop for what otherwise should be an exciting time for fellow fans of our favorite pastime. The direction of our industry is an ongoing, endless, and necessary discussion. But for now, I’ll focus not on what divides us, but what brings us together – unquestionable, infallible, Game of the Year lists.
Bread’s Game of the Year 2021
10. Hell Let Loose
Alright, let me get this out of the way: I love shooters. Any game of the year list I’ve made has been littered with games of the gun-toting variety, this year being no exception. While I haven’t put the hours into Hell Let Loose that I think it deserves for a full review, I’m glad it’s here. Where Battlefield stumbles, Hell Let Loose picks up the pieces, providing an experience of all out warfare that’s both accessible and nuanced. The cherry on the top for me? The community that HLL has proctored is welcoming and built around learning. Your mileage may vary.
** Thanks to Pat from Gaming Fyx for turning me on to this one!
9. Chivalry 2
When Chivalry 2 hit the market, I’d been in a rut. Gaming, career, everything. I just wasn’t finding much fun in some of the games I was playing. Chivalry 2 is fun. The control scheme was foreign to someone like me, and initially I felt Chiv to be clunky. The more I played still, I realized it wasn’t a clunky hack n slash in a shiny new package, but instead a fun multiplayer game with a high skill ceiling. That doesn’t matter. I’m still terrible at it. But there’s something to be said about a game that’s still fun while you’re not playing well.
Few games burned as bright as Valheim during its (early access) release this year. I couldn’t put it down. Not since Minecraft has something in the survival/crafting genre truly grabbed me in the way that Valheim did. The low poly art style, mixed with modern lighting techniques, painted a world that was equal parts extraordinary and frightening to explore. I will admit that towards the end of my time with Valheim the normal survival game trappings of endless loot circles wore thin on my patience, but getting there was well worth the unspoiled experience.
7. Super Animal Royale
Yes, it’s yet another battle royale. Hear me out. Super Animal Royale takes the BR formula and makes it 2D. Your character – a tiger, or cat, or sparrow, or raccoon even – faces off in solos, duos, or squad based combat to be the last fur buddy standing. The matches take 15 minutes max, and can be experienced on a variety of platforms with cross-play AND cross-save. You could have sold me on that alone. It’s the perfect game to wind down on after a night of Halo or Valorant. That’s my theme this year. I just want to play games that are fun. Did I mention its cross-play and cross-save?
It’s “Halo meets Portal” Splitgate’s website proudly proclaims and well, they nail that much. Some of the weapons and maps feel torn straight from the disc of Halo’s of old. I’m not a copyright lawyer or anything though, so from me, it gets a pass. Splitgate (and Super Animal Royale above) is a game that gives me a small inkling of hope for the free-to-play, battle pass laden asteroid headed straight for our planet. It has cross-play implementation that’s getting better by the update, and it’s damn fun to boot. How it survives in a post-Halo Infinite future is anyone’s guess.
5. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
I just don’t understand Insomniac Games. They pump out great game after great game, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is par excellence. It’s hard for me to forgive them taking out the very best weapon for their 2016 edition, the Groovitron, but Rift Apart still shines where most games in the series have – blowing up enemies in style. The story is nothing to write home about, but the addition of Rivet to the lore is a welcome addition that I can only hope is expanded upon in future volumes. Can they bring back Jak and Daxter already?
4. Halo Infinite
Okay, maybe this is a little too early to put this high. As of writing this, I have yet to play Halo’s campaign (it released today). Still, when I play Halo Infinite I feel good. Most of the time. Battle pass and progression woes aside, 343i has released a Halo that really feels like Halo again. Playing with my pals, fragging out, winning every game (ha), something about it just makes me yearn for the days where we didn’t have a care in the world. Just a few xbox’s, a couple tv’s, and too much soda. Now all that’s left is to figure out if the world is ready for more Master Chief. And if 343i is the studio to steward Microsoft’s flagship back to its place on video games’ Mount Rushmore.
3. Hitman 3
If you’ve ever listened to Bread Radio before, you know I love Hitman. IO Interactive takes all the learnings of the first two entries and improves upon the Hitman formula yet again. There’s something about the sandbox in Hitman that is so damn – and here’s that word again – fun. I’m a big fan of games that say ‘yes’ to the player. Can I hit this guard with a fish? Yes. Can I dance at this rave? Yes. Can Hitman 3 be on my Game of the Year list? Yes!
2. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
I’ll be honest, I thought this game would suck. Surprise! Guardians of the Galaxy rocks. It rocks hard. It rocks in the way that makes me want to tell people about it, like I’m telling you about it now. It rocks because you can take down baddies while listening to Pat Benatar or Rick Astley. Guardians is probably my surprise of the year. There is a decent amount of shooting, but you never feel like you’re just wandering from arena to arena. The chit-chat from the rest of the Guardians is lively and well voiced. And while I never outright laughed out loud, the humor fits with the brand without making you roll your eyes too hard. Give me more single player experiences like this, please.
Arkane has another wicked title under their belt, and a universe worth expanding upon (more on that later). Deathloop somehow managed to take the best parts of Dishonored and cranked it up to 11. Not to be outdone, Arkane’s level design is front and center. Blackreef was a true joy to explore during every portion of the day. Peeling away the secrets the island had to offer made progression feel natural, and not at all tedious. If I died, so what, I learned something new for the next loop, and I could use it to devastating effect. The powers changed the gameplay in a significant enough way that your entire strategy would differ on subsequent runs. I experimented until I found the style that fit me just right. It was beautiful.
One of my only gripes was that it ended before I was ready. The island still holds secrets that I aim to find out, but I’m unsure where the future of the franchise lives with Microsoft now owning Arkane. Still, Deathloop takes my top spot for Game of the Year 2021. Check it out.
Thanks for reading my top 10 or for scrolling to the bottom of the page to see what I picked as my number one game of 2021. It’s Deathloop, by the way. Big thanks to the whole team at Super GG Radio for giving me the opportunity to write this for the site.
– August aka Bread
Bread Radio: Gaming