The year 2021 saw the introduction of a slew of excellent new video games

The year 2021 saw the introduction of a slew of excellent new video games

Developed by Eidos-Montreal, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was only announced in 2021 and released at the end of October, but leaks and rumors and reports had circulated for years prior to that. Despite the fact that it was believed to be coming, and that recent Marvel video games barring those directly from PlayStation had largely been poorly received, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy managed to be a surprising breath of fresh air which offered a new take on what had been thought to be well-trod ground.

Despite the fact that everything in the world seemed to be working against it, the year 2021 saw the introduction of a slew of new excellent video games. This includes, but is not limited to, wholly new titles like Deathloop, fresh, new chapters in long-running franchises like Metroid Dread, and innovative entries like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which push cherished series to new heights. Despite all of the outstanding candidates, one title stood out as the single-player game of the year, combining its diverse characteristics into a very amazing totality.

Highlights

  • And what a cast it is! While there have been a number of iterations of these characters across comics, movies, and even video games previously, the team at Eidos-Montreal managed to distill their essences down into something approachable, while folding odds and ends from every corner of every universe into their own little world. Classic villains, heroes, and everything else you could possibly imagine are peppered throughout in a way that is approachable, but never quite steps over the line into overstuffed.

  • The title is notable for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones would have to be the fact that players actually only play as one character, Star-Lord. The rest of the Guardians — Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot — are all present, but players-as-Star-Lord instead function as the group’s leader, rather than some almighty deity directly overseeing every action and attack from the rest. It manages to make the main cast feel meaningful and independent in a way that not many video games accomplish.

Combine all of the above with fine-but-not-stellar combat gameplay, a multitude of accessibility options, more Easter eggs than you can shake a stick at, and it’s no surprise that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy ended up being our Single-Player Game of the Year.

It’s the core group of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot that shine throughout all of this. Deceptively simple writing is paired with stellar performances — vocal and otherwise — to weave a rich tapestry that turns a group of misfits and outcasts into something that truly resembles a family. If our personal truth is found through struggle and shared truth through struggling together, it seems fair to say that the Guardians get to the honest core of themselves before the end of the game.