What was the best ongoing game of 2021? For this category in our Game of the Year awards, we look at titles that have continually received support over the past twelve months through updates and expansions.
With so many live online games in circulation, it’s always a tough category to judge, but even single player games are getting continued love and attention, morphing and expanding many months after their initial release. Here we highlight games that have been truly elevated thanks to the hard work of developers always in tune with their player communities.
With most of the PS5’s launch lineup having been pushed to 2022, Ghost of Tsushima was given a second chance to shine on Sony’s newest console. The game had already already been a huge success, despite its seemingly niche appeal, but it certainly helped to plug a gap in the PS5 release calendar with a major update and expansion.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut introduced a new chapter in Jin’s saga with the Iki Island DLC. It was a perfectly portioned expansion, compelling enough to draw samurai back into the action even if they’d spent dozens of hours felling mongols for a shiny platinum trophy. Overall, the Director’s Cut was a more polished version, enhancing Ghost of Tsushima with features such as Japanese lip-sync and director’s commentary, as well as PS5-specific improvements. You could barely draw a katana quicker than those load times.
It’s an aspect of the game that receives little media fanfare, though Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is worth noting. The surprise multiplayer mode has continued to receive new content and updates, including the excellent Rivals expansion.
– Jim H
Genshin Impact – Runner Up
Genshin Impact made waves when it first launched, bringing the culture of character-collecting gacha games to the mainstream like never before. Developer miHoYo also saw an opportunity beyond the typical mobile gamer market, bringing Genshin to PC and consoles, connecting these systems through cross play and cross progression.
Over the past year, the game has followed in the footsteps of other gacha hits with regular story updates, character additions, and limited time events. The scale of these updates goes above and beyond expectations, though, delivering brand new game modes, huge new continents to explore, and an ever-expanding experience that always promises a fresh new reason to return to the game. Now if you need me, I’ll be hoarding Primogems for the Raiden Shogun banner rerun.
– Miguel M
Dreams – Runner Up
If there’s one game we feel guilty for rarely checking in on, it’s Dreams. Despite our initial excitement and glowing review, Media Molecule’s genius game-making toolkit requires a particular mindset as you navigate menus to find fun player-made creations.
A lot has changed over the past twelve months, with a flurry of major updates. Most of these have been targeted at making the tools even more intuitive for budding creators while also making it easy to discover, play, and share the best Dreams projects thanks to events such as The Impys awards show and DreamsCom. It feels like there’s definitely a lot more to come next year, and hopefully the community will continue to grow with even better ways of sharing their creations with the wider world.
– Jim H
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Apex Legends
- Destiny 2
- No Man’s Sky
What games from previously years have been in your rotation throughout 2021?