Game of the Year 2021 – Best PC Game

game of the year 2021 best PC game

While there was a valiant effort to break the pattern by the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move, the gaming PC has always had something of a hegemony over pointing at things and clicking them. It’s part of what makes them so great for point & click adventures, deep strategy games (both real time and turn-based), management sims and ultra-competitive action in first person shooters.

But there’s other advantages that PCs have as well, the openness of the platform making it a place where so many innovative indie games take their first steps, many of them starting life in Steam Early Access. It has the added advantage of receiving the most releases every year, hoovering up indie titles, blockbusters, and even console exclusives as well. One rig to rule them all? Probably, but if you want to stay on the cutting edge, it’s going to cost you.

GOTY 2021 Best PC Game Winner

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There are games that are fundamentally linked to their host platform, and for a certain generation of PC owner, Age of Empires might as well have been the only game released on it. Thanks to the series being revitalised in recent years via a run of remasters, you might think that’s still the case, but in 2021 the PC received its truest, and freshest, new entry in the series in the shape of Age of Empires IV.

While the original game set out the blueprint for the modern RTS, the newest entry refines and updates it into a form that’s both immediately recognisable, but also perfectly in tune with where the genre has gone in recent years. While the strategic combat and township building is more extensive than ever before, and done with some serious visual pinache, it’s the way that Relic Entertainment have put history at the centre of Age of Empires IV that really puts this RTS once more at the forefront of the genre. There are times where Age of Empires IV feels like a playable medieval documentary, and I mean that in the most positive way possible.

– Dom L

Valheim – Runner Up

Evidence that, collectively, we’re still very much in love with Viking video games. Valheim has largely been overlooked during the 2021 awards, though it’s hard to ignore the impact this game had at it launch into Early Access, luring throngs of players with its fantasy spin on the sandbox genre.

In a year where many of us delighted in the power of new consoles and graphics cards, Valheim manages to be one of the best-looking games. Sporting a deliberate art style that invokes a chunky, late 90s “PS1” look, this was combined with a game world fogged in mystery with intuitive building and survival mechanics. Even if you don’t fancy playing Valheim, it’s well worth following the community to see what wondrous creations they come up with.

– Jim H

Humankind – Runner Up

Humankind is an excellent RTS that finds everything that you likely already know and love about the genre, and just puts a slight twist on all of it. The result of this is a game that is more than happy to cradle newbies with a plethora of tutorials, but also one that’s happy to confound and amuse long-time fans of strategy games by making the familiar a little hard to recognise. Plus, and this is a big one, it’s just a lot of fun.

– Jason C

Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list!

What games have you been pointing and clicking at through 2021? Let us know in the comments.

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