AAA of the Year: Resident Evil Village, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Deathloop

Third Place – Resident Evil Village

Capcom’s management listened to players who found the previous installment in the series too scary, and deliberately decided to make Village less creepy. Nevertheless, the game did not hit the outright pop, as it did with Resident Evil 6 . The eighth part of the series is still a solid, gloomy horror with a recognizable aesthetics, in places quite nervous and tense, albeit not able to scare you into complaints in reviews. And the variety of locations and situations in the game is such that everyone will find something to their liking.
Fans of the fourth part were brought to an Eastern European village with crazy cult inhabitants. Those who have sunk into the soul of PT Kojima will surely love the puppeteer’s creepy mansion. Admirers of the Gothic will find vampires and werewolves in the vicinity of the village, fans of Lovecraft – a fishman. Moreover, Capcom in some unthinkable way managed to connect all these ideas with evil corporations, biological weapons and other permanent clichés of the franchise. How cleverly they were tied is another question, but who cares about the rationality of Resident Evil’s plot? Moreover, this plot gave us, perhaps, the most memorable female character from the games of recent years. It’s a pity that the date with the charming lady Dimitrescu was so fleeting.

Second Place – Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Who would have thought that Square Enix , having failed loudly with Marvel’s Avengers , would take revenge in just a year, and that its next game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy , would become one of the highlights of the outgoing season? The developers focused on the most elaborated linear levels, full of battles, chatter and jokes from charismatic characters. Classic. There are no sandbox elements usual for AAA projects with a million of the same side effects, there are no premium shops with pumping accelerators. Instead of boring grind, races across locations are accompanied by dialogues, dialogues, dialogues … Inventive, reckless, friendly. As if the player is not protecting the galaxy from a space cult, but communicating with old friends at a picnic in a nearby constellation.
Even the action in Sentinels turned out to be not at all what one would expect from a superhero action game. Instead of simply calling out opponents, the Star-Lord player gives orders to his comrades, and Groot, Rocket, Gamora, and Drax deal with problems. Such an unusual system really knocks out of the comfort zone: according to the sensations from the gameplay, it is in a sense similar to a martial art, rhythmic and musical in its own way. The developers were able to bring back at least some sense of novelty to AAA games. And they made me seriously worry about the fate of the harmful raccoon and the talking tree – it costs a lot.

Worthy of a Mention

And now we will briefly tell you about those who just barely made it to the top three.
With Hitman 3, everything is clear: IO Interactive does not do hack. Epic, large-scale, high-quality. The developers have polished the social stealth formula to the ideal and are not planning to change anything in it. Therefore, of the innovations, the third part offers only a spy camera. But each of the six gigantic missions is like a separate game with its own mood, surroundings and a bunch of ways to spectacularly deal with goals. So there is no shortage of variety.
With Forza Horizon 5 similar story. The developers have kept everything for which the fans love the series, but the shortcomings, too, seemed to be carefully transferred from the previous parts. Nonetheless, it’s still a great sandbox arcade racing game with excellent graphics, where you can get stuck for dozens of hours.

First Place – Deathloop

Yes, the finalist is controversial this time. If you want, you can rightly blame Arkane Studios for many things, but the most significant drawback of their new work – repetitiveness – is the inevitable price to pay for the implementation of the time loop around which the whole idea of Deathloop revolves . Remember Groundhog Day – you will immediately understand why the idea is not so easy to implement. And the gameplay involves a lot of different mechanics: there are elements of detective, metroidvania, and roguelike. Arkane’s signature immersive foundation, of course, is also present: multi-level locations are filled with secrets, plot details and dozens of alternative paths. And it all works like a clock.
However, what Arkane has done best, and what is simply impossible to find fault with, is the immersion in the era of the 1960s. This is the time of hippies, rebellious youth and hedonism, when everyone thought that he would live forever. In Deathloop, a small group of the best representatives of a generation – scientists, creators and party-goers – are stuck in a temporary anomaly on a small island, where every bump screams for freedom of expression. Bright colors, music as if from comedies with Louis de Funes , echoes of the sexual revolution. For a unique opportunity to fall in love with the swinging era, get fed up with it, hate and, finally, shoot all these pretentious hippies, Deathloop wins first place.
For the AAA gaming industry, 2021 is a good year, if only because it is over. And also the opportunity to draw conclusions (especially for giant studios) that there are no unsinkable titles. There are many potentially cool releases ahead of us: Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League , God of War: Ragnarök , Elden Ring and STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl . We really hope that, keeping in mind the harassment that gamers have arranged for the elite of the gaming industry, the developers will try to bring their creations to mind before release. Then the difficulty in choosing the best AAA game of the year will lie in the abundance of applicants, not in their scarcity.

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