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The Game Awards – Gaming Community’s “Oscars Night”!

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The Game Awards 2021

Its that time of year… 

Time for the gaming community to come together and celebrate the best games of 2021. For years now, Geoff Keighley has hosted the Oscars of the gaming community, and has built it into a truly incredible event. So much so that The Game Awards has started to eclipse even E3 in the minds of most of the gaming community. So, it’s only right that the writers here at Portals decided to get together and put our personal winners out for the world to see! 

Lets get to it!

The Game Awards GOTY
Nominees for Game of the Year

Lets get the big one out of the way…

Every year, there is a huge debate among the gaming community around who should win Game of the Year, and this year will be no different. While I do agree that this year’s nominations are a bit underwhelming, there were some truly incredible games released in 2021. For me this was a pretty easy choice, but I seem to be alone among the writers with my choice. 

Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me)Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

BrainxCandy, RavenCromwell, & Spazz BhabieResident Evil Village

I chose Ratchet & Clank for one major reason. Not only was it an incredible game, but it is also still the best example of what we can expect from PS5 games moving forward. It’s graphically stunning, has very few performance issues, and has been a great example of how the Dualsense controller can be used to really make you feel like you are part of the game. It also happens to be a VERY fun game. In a year of delays and underwhelming releases, this was a great release!

My Wildcard Choice – Eastward – This was by far my favorite game of the year and should be getting more recognition in my opinion. If you haven’t seen or heard of this game, PLEASE check it out!

The Game Awards Best Action Game
Nominees for Best Action Game

This was an interesting one for me. Normally action games are what I am drawn to, but this year I didn’t get to play any of the nominees after they launched. I played a bit of the Back 4 Blood beta, but otherwise I haven’t been able to pick them up. That said, I did watch most of them and again, this was a relatively easy choice for me. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me) – Returnal

BrainxCandy – Chivalry 2

Spazz Bhabie & RavenCromwell – Back 4 Blood

For me, Returnal was the clear choice. House Marquee is known for their top down “bullet hell” style games, but for this they took a formula that they were already very good at and flipped it into a third person shooter. Returnal still has all of the fast-paced action that they are known for, but it’s done in a way that feels new and exciting. They absolutely knocked it out of the park with Returnal. 

The Game Awards Action/ Adventure

Tying into the Best Action category, the Best Action/ Adventure game category brings us another great selection of games to choose from. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me) – Metroid Dread

BrainxCandy, RavenCromwell & Spazz Bhabie – Resident Evil Village

Metroid Dread came out of nowhere for me. I have been looking forward to Metroid Prime 4 for a while, but this one came out of left field and was exactly what we needed from the Metroid series. 

The Game Awards Best RPG

Overall, this was a STRONG year for RPG games, including CyberPunk 2077. There were some absolute gems that were released this year, both from estalished and new franchises. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me) – Shin Megami Tensei V

BrainxCandy, RavenCromwell, & Spazz Bhabie – Cyberpunk 2077

Shin Megami Tensei V takes the crown for me, but I can definitely understand giving Cyberpunk the nod. I recently played through Cyberpunk on PS4 for the first time, and while the game still has some serious issues it is at least playable. The story is strong and the game is enjoyable when it works. 

The Game Awards Best Ongoing

This is always an interesting category. Every year you have games like Fortnite and Apex Legends listed, but this year we have started to see a resurgence in MMO style games that has carried over into Best Ongoing.  

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me), & RavenCromwell – Final Fantasy XIV Online

BrainxCandy –  Genshin Impact

Spazz Bhabie – Fortnite

“I chose Fortnite to win this category for several reasons. For starters, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite make more money than Apex. I really enjoy the fact that Fortnite has more players. I feel that Fortnite is a better selection due to the competitiveness of their Battle Royales. Whenever you are battling to win a Battle Royale, it is just you and your opponents, and you are allowed to build to help you win and get out of tough situations a lot easier. Apex makes the game feel more fast-paced while playing, and more difficult to gather supplies in the game, and you can’t surround yourself with anything to protect yourself. I feel not as much under pressure while battling in Fortnite. I like the idea that you can gather your supplies through damaging houses, cars, and anything redeemable that is breakable through the game. As the graphics are very much different in nature on Fortnite compared to Apex. I really like the fact that Fortnite allows a special type of currency, called V-Bucks to purchase in-game items compared to Apex. Also, you get the option to purchase daily updated items as well. Fortnite even goes to the extreme to allow artists and streamers to have themselves added as characters in-game with the benefits of additional purchasable items, as well as concerts.”
The Game Awards Best Narrative

This is another category that gets me excited every year. I feel like one thing that gets overlooked in gaming a lot is the writing that goes into our favorite games, so having a category dedicated to the narrative aspects of these games is empowering to me. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me), BrainxCandy, & RavenCromwell – Life is Strange: True Colors

Spazz Bhabie – It Takes Two

For us, the consensus was Life is Strange. Let’s face it, there hasn’t really been a bad Life is Strange game. They may feel a bit lacking on gameplay, or even a little like they are trying to be hip at times, but the story is almost always fantastic. I also love the art style of these games, and this one is no exception. Overall, this was a strong year for storytelling in games, and Life is Strange is deserving of the win here. 

The Game Awards Best Art Direction

This brings us to our final category of for current games, and it’s another that I think is very underrated. We have had some truly special games in the past that have either won or been nominated in this category, from Cuphead beating out Horizon Zero Dawn and Breath of the Wild in 2017, to Control beating out the favorites to win (Gris & Death Stranding) in 2019. This year, largely due to the new consoles coming out allowing studios to truly focus on graphical power in 2021, has some truly special nominees. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me) – Kena: Bridge of Spirits

BrainxCandy – The Artful Escape

Spazz Bhabie & RavenCromwell – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

This is one that I really struggled with, as I feel like every nominee could win this year. For me, Kena is just a step above everything else that is nominated this year as it looks like a Pixar movie in video game form. Hats off to all of these teams though for providing some truly stunning games this year!

The Game Awards Most Anticipated Game

As we wrap up The Game Awards for 2021, we look ahead to the games that have been announced for next year and beyond. 

 Selections:

ThisRandomDad (Me) & Spazz Bhabie – God of War Ragnarok

BrainxCandy – Starfield

RavenCromwell – The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

All of the games listed are going to be special, but for myself God of War (PS4) was one of the best games that I have ever played. Not because of the tight gameplay, but the story that it told was truly masterful. I can’t wait to see where they take the series in Ragnarok!

So there you have it. These are not all of the categories, but they are the ones that stood out to us. Make sure that you vote for your favorite games using the button below, and I will make sure to update this post on 12/9 as the winners are unveiled!

Huge thanks to BrainxCandy, Spazz Bhabie, and RavenCromwell for helping with this post! 

Business

Labor Board Says Activision Blizzard Illegally Threatened Staff

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Activision Blizzard

The United Sates National Labor Board says that Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind such games as Call of Duty and Overwatch, illegally threatened staff and enforced a social media policy that conflicts with workers’ rights, according to Bloomberg.

This yet another negative mark on the company, and comes following a complaint filed with the NLRB filed against Activision Blizzard that claims employees were being threated for discussing wages and working conditions via the company’s internal Slack channel.

If Activision Blizzard does not settle this issue, the company will receive a formal complaint from the National Labor Relations Board’s regional director in Los Angeles.

 

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Take-Two Interactive Acquires Zynga

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take two interactive

Take-Two Interactive has officially completed it’s acquisition of mobile studio Zynga, following shareholder approval from both parties being completed last week.

With the acquisition, Take-Two now owns all outstanding shares of the company for approximately $12.7 billion, in what that company is describing as a “pivotal step” in their plans to expand their mobile side of offerings..

“We are thrilled to complete our combination with Zynga,” Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick said in an official announcement. “As we bring together our exceptional talent, exciting pipelines of games, and industry-leading technologies and capabilities, we believe that we can take our portfolio to another level of creativity, innovation, and quality.

“We are eager to continue building an unparalleled portfolio of games that will reach broader markets and lead to continued growth for this next chapter of Zynga’s history” Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau said.

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Gloomhaven Heading to Consoles in 2023

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Gloomhaven

Popular tabletop game ‘Gloomhaven’ will be making it’s highly anticipated debut on consoles sometime in 2023, according to an announcement made on the Asmodee Digital account on Twitter last week.

According to the rundown: “Whether you are drawn to Gloomhaven by the call of adventure or by an avid desire for gold glimmering in the dark, your fate will surely be the same. Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the acclaimed board game, mixes Tactical-RPG and dungeon-crawling.”

Check out the cinematic trailer for the PC version of the game, released in October 2021, below:

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