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5 Game of the Year contenders like Deathloop for 2021

Stuck in a deathloop (Image via Deathloop)
Stuck in a deathloop (Image via Deathloop)

Upon its release, Deathloop was considered a serious Game of the Year contender for 2021. It is set on the subarctic island of Blackreef. Situated in the 1960s, Deathloop plays out over the course of a single repeating day.

Playing as Colt Vahn, the players in Deathloop are tasked with breaking the time-loop by killing all the other Visionaries whose lives power the loop. The primary antagonist of the game is another Visionary called Julianna. Like Colt, she can also keep her memories from previous deathloops.

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The chemistry between the two has been lauded. The two major characters being people of color has also been seen as a progressive move. But what has received the most praise is the gameplay. There are a plethora of skills, guns, gadgets and powers in Deathloop to choose from while combining stealth and parkour. Accompanied by colorful aesthetics and a potent narrative, Deathloop boasts of a unique, at times Tarantino-esque gameplay.

Vivid (Image via Deathloop)
Vivid (Image via Deathloop)

This list points out five other games like Deathloop that are serious contenders for the title of Game of the Year for 2021.


More titles that are Game of the Year candidates like Deathloop

5) Psychonauts 2

Coming out more than a decade after Psychonauts 1, Psychonauts 2 has got everyone agreeing to one point - that it was everything that one could have hoped for from the long-awaited sequel.

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Psychonauts 2 is set in a fictional world where psychic powers exist. The Psychonauts are an espionage agency whose aim is to keep peace, foster research of the mind, and develop technologies. The player controls Raz and his quest to uncover the mystery around his family and the organization.

Much like Deathloop, Psychonauts 2 creates a unique mind-bending environment for the players to immerse themselves in. The work of the voice actors, especially Jack Black and Elijah Wood, heightens the emotions present in the game. The trippy world of the game is like an addictive ride of brawling and bashing and exploring the psyche.


4) Returnal

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Returnal is a rogue-like third-person shooter released exclusively for PlayStation 5. The game follows Selene, a space pilot, after she crash lands on an alien planet called Atropos, looking for a white shadow signal. She chooses to explore the planet, and a little while later, she comes upon corpses of herself. Similar to Colt in Deathloop, Selene is stuck in a time loop.

Being rogue-like, combat in Returnal is frenzied and chaotic with gorgeous animation and particle effects. The game especially shines in how it tells its story. As the players go further and further, Selene finds logs left by her previous iterations.

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The narrative often has a sublime horror to it, a surreal retelling of something that has happened. Players peel back the mystery layer by layer to answer their questions.

Despite being rogue-like, what Returnal achieves through its story is one of the most visually stunning and emotionally appealing games of the year, with a distinct soundtrack to get lost in.


3) Life is Strange: True Colours

True Colours is the fifth game in the Life is Strange series and builds up as a sequel to Life is Strange 2. Unlike the previous games, it was not episodic and was released completely.

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Players control Alex Chen, who has psychic empathy and can experience the emotions of others. Her interaction with the feelings of others makes an interesting gameplay mechanic. The story revolves around her quest to figure out the mystery surrounding her brother's death.

The setting of Haven Springs is considered to be the best that the series has had to offer. The possibility of experiencing others' emotions, pain, and trauma becomes a little window into other people's lives and what they are going through.


2) Sable

The visual design of this game is breathtaking. The vast expanse of the world lies in front of the players as something like a ritual of passage, and all they need to do is explore it. Sable is a coming-of-age story that manages to capture the yearning to let loose in one last act of freedom.

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In the beginning, Sable, the protagonist, leaves her nomadic village for a ceremony called the Gliding. She is provided with a bike and a stone which, after visiting a shrine, allows players to glide from any height. Now all she has to do is go out into the world to discover herself.

This artistic masterpiece does not try to overcrowd its map with repetitive inane interactives. It remains simple. There is no combat to get involved in. Players can simply explore while solving puzzles, visiting places and finding new clothing to equip.

Being (Image via Sable)
Being (Image via Sable)

Sable is a breath of fresh air during a time that has been dour and isolating. Like Deathloop, the game has a distinctive zesty art. Players are sure to relish the bright colors popping up, soothing music, and the journey they take in discovering themselves.


1) It Takes Two

This thrilling adventure game from Hazelight Studios follows a married bickering couple planning to get a divorce. They tell their daughter, who creates two dolls and wishes that they stay together. Soon they find themselves trapped inside the hand-made dolls.

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It Takes Two depicts the beautiful journey of a couple rediscovering what makes a relationship tick and how to rekindle their lost spark. Guided by a talking relationship therapy book, the couple realizes their love for each other as the game progresses.

The narrative requires the couple to work together, making the two players play cohesively while solving puzzles and participating in minigames. The game can be played online or in a local split-screen co-op between two players. Like Deathloop, the game has gorgeous graphics to immerse themselves in, and players will have a great time solving the puzzles as they repair the relationship.

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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