The results are in! The Gameluster staff has determined our winners across 19 categories to celebrate the best and brightest of video games this year! We've put together a video here that explains why each winner is the best of their category as well! Make sure to watch. Below are our categories with the winners in bold. Each of these were voted on by our 15 staff memebers with a point-buy system on the votes. Let us know what you think at Twitter.com/gameluster !

Note: Our cutoff window of eligibility is release between December 10, 2020 and December 3, 2021.

Life is Strange True Colors

Best Narrative

For outstanding storytelling, dialogue, and use of narrative that could only be done in games.

  • The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Don't Call it a Comback

A remaster, remake, director's cut or similar that came out this year and made a game better than it's ever been.

  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • Death Stranding Director's Cut
  • Stardew Valley 1.5
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERGRADE
  • Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Nier

Biggest Disappointment

A game we had high hopes for that let us down one way or another.

  • GTA: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition
  • Twelve Minutes
  • Biomutant
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Nintendo 64 Online

Best New IP

For a compelling new world with never before seen characters, stories, and places that leaves us wanting more.

  • Death's Door
  • DEATHLOOP
  • Sable
  • It Takes Two
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits

It takes two

Best Loop Game

Yeah, there were a lot, huh.

  • Loop Hero
  • Returnal
  • DEATHLOOP
  • The Forgotten City
  • Outer Worlds: Echoes of the Eye

The Tearjerker

A game that brought tears to our eyes, whether with genuine joy or sorrow.

  • Life is Strange: True Colors
  • It Takes Two
  • Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

Indie Game of the Year

The best game from an independent developer with a smaller budget and team that stands up to and even surpasses the experiences AAA games can deliver.

  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  • Death's Door
  • Little Nightmares II
  • Valheim
  • Loop Hero

Best Villain

For the most formidable and memorable villain in gaming this year, who either represented evil and chaos in a fresh way or made us sympathize with their plight.

  • Anton Castillo (Far Cry 6)
  • Julianna (DEATHLOOP)
  • Lady Dimitrescu (Resident Evil Village)
  • Iron Man (Persona 5 Strikers)
  • Activision Blizzard

Far

Jolly Vibes

The game that just made us feel great this year, whether alone or with friends. This is a game we play to escape the stress of the real world.

  • Mario Party Superstars
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • It Takes Two
  • New Pokemon Snap
  • Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp

Excellence in Diversity

For stepping above the status quo in representing racial, gender, or sexual minorities in gaming as real, three dimensional characters.

  • DEATHLOOP
  • Boyfriend Dungeon
  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Deaths door

Best Soundtrack

For excellence in using score and soundtrack to capture and define moments and vibes.

  • Persona 5 Strikers
  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • Deltarune Chapter 2
  • DEATHLOOP
  • Shin Megami Tensei V

Excellence in Dog

The best boy.

  • The Dogs You Can Pet Now (Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut)
  • Professor Mirror's Stoutland (New Pokemon Snap)
  • Chorizo (Far Cry 6)
  • Cosmo (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Annoying Dog (Deltarune Chapter 2)

SMT V

Best with Buddies

For a game in which playing alongside friends elevates the experience to incredible new heights.

  • Jackbox Party Pack 8
  • Valheim
  • It Takes Two
  • Halo Infinite (Multiplayer)
  • Back4Blood

Best Living Game

For a game that has been receiving continual updates, expansions, and new content for at least a year and is better than ever.

  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • Fallout 76
  • Apex Legends
  • No Man's Sky

P5 strikers

The Forgotten Stepchild

The game that got the highest ranked votes without getting a nomination for anything.

  • Psychonauts 2

It's Not You, It's Me

For our favorite game that didn't win anything.

  • Returnal

Game of the Year

To celebrate the game this this year that showed the best gaming has to offer over any other; whether its innovative gameplay, a fantastic story, mastery of a genre or all of the above.

  • NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22
  • DEATHLOOP
  • Metroid Dread
  • Shin Megami Tensei V
  • Little Nightmares II

Angry with us? Vindicated by our choices? Make sure to shout us out on Twitter either way !