2021 is drawing to a close(!), and all things considered it’s been a pretty great year for videogames. Before we begin our annual GOTY countdown next week, let’s invite Tony Wilson of Framework for a look at five of our favorite downloadable expansions this year, after which we’ll dig into the Game Awards, some big Assassin’s Creed news, and the most expensive gaming accessories you’ve ever bought.
Question of the Week: This one’s a two-parter:
1) What was your favorite DLC/expansion that came out this year?
2) What’s your personal Game of the Year for 2021?
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6 thoughts on “2021’s Best DLC – Vidjagame Apocalypse 450”
QOTW: My answer for both questions is Hitman 3. The year-long drip feed of community contracts, escalation missions, new items to unlock and the seven deadly sins themed elusive targets kept me coming back to a game that released in January all year long. At release the game included updated and optimized campaigns from the previous two games and a set of maps that really just felt like a fitting master thesis on the whole series. With ioi landing the perfectly fit Bond license and interviews stating that this would be the last we would see of Agent 47 for a while it had the tone of a bittersweet swan song…
Then the game made back its development cost in the first week, sold 300% more copies than Hitman 2 by April and became the most successful game in the franchise by November. The trilogy that was almost snuffed out by Square Enix and couldn’t afford cutscenes in the sequel has now reached 50 million players. Suddenly ioi’s thinking “maaaaaaaybe we make some more Hitman” and staffs up to the point where they have more people working on it than they did at release. They just announced plans for a year 2 with graphical updates, new maps, modes and story content. So it might be my game of the year next year too.
QOTW1: Animal Crossing 2.0 update is my favorite DLC of the year. My younger kids love doing the morning stretches with me, Brewster adds a chill vibe to the town, Harv’s island means I might actually finish my museum for the first time, and with the return of gyroids I can finally complete my dream of filling my bathroom with an army of singing , dancing, dongs.
QOTW2: Psychonauts 2. Still haven’t finished it, but as a game I backed many years ago it’s satisfying to see it reach completion. The classic platforming action and great writing are really hitting nostalgic sweet spot. Here’s hoping I have time to finish it over winter break.
QOTW: #1 Its a cop out but I’ll say patch 6 for Baldur’s Gate 3. Now I can play as a dragon blooded halfling sorcerer. #2 Maybe a strange answer, but my game of the year for 2021 has to be Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. Its long early access came to an end in April, which means it was actually released in 2021. The official launch also brought with it the unit creator which added a whole new layer of depth. This led to me rediscovering the game earlier this year and enjoying it quite a bit.
QOTW 1: I think the best expansion this year is the second fighters pass for Smash, which I count because every character was revealed this year. Kazuya being in the game is cool by itself, but I think that Steve from Minecraft and Sora being included means that this really is the last Smash game that Sakurai will make. Although there were some disappointing characters, this is still a great bookend to a great series that celebrates video games. I only wish Nintendo was more eager to do this kind of thing with Mario Kart.
QOTW 2: My favorite game of 2021 is Deathloop. To me, it really highlights what a fun game should be. Whenever an Eternalist kills me, I don’t get mad at the game or want to stop playing, I just want to try again because I just love how this game plays. It’s fun to go stealthily and it’s fun to go in guns blazing. It’s fun to listen to Cole and Julianna interact with each other. This was the same way that I felt with games like Ghost of Tsushima and Spider-Man where I was disappointed to have to stop playing. I really am excited to see what else Arkane will do after this game.
My personal game of the year is the miracle that is Star Wars CCG GEMP. The Star Wars Customizable Card Game has been out of print for twenty years, but a group of volunteers called the Players Committee has an agreement with Lucasfilm and Disney to continue producing cards, including a rules enforced online version of the game called GEMP. Technically GEMP has been around for a few years, but the GEMP player base has grown a ton in 2021(we recently hit 300,000 games played). Quarantine made it so that in person organized play had to go away for a while. Fortunately, GEMP was there to pick up the slack. The game is incredibly complex and every single one of the thousands of cards has to be programmed into GEMP individually by one of the crazy volunteers. I could go on an on, but it’s seriously a miracle that this thing exists.