The 2021 Player 2 Video Game Fantasy Draft – The Selections
A back-to-back champion, a glut of new faces, and a wide range of diverse games on the docket for 2021. That’s right, it’s draft time. The Player 2 Video Game Fantasy Draft for 2021 is well underway, and while selections have been locked down for more than a month now, today, we bring those selections, as well as the thoughts of those who picked them to you. Of course, some have been unfortunately delayed in the subsequent weeks, and that’s why we’re bringing back the mid-year selection. Contestants in the initial draft for 2021 had three core selections and a wildcard, with their fourth pick to be made in the middle of the year to round out their suite of titles.
The usual scoring rules apply, the top-scoring SKU (on Metacritic) of a game corresponds to the points awarded. No ports, remakes, or remasters *unless substantial extra content is added* are allowed
*Editorial note* We’ve used Metacritic scores for many years to underpin the competition, but just last year we were added to Metacritic’s roster of represented publications. To ensure no conflicts of interest arise, anyone who selected a game in the draft will NOT be doing any review coverage of the game to ensure our reviews still hold the utmost integrity.
Without further adieu, let’s see what everyone selected, shown in the order that they made their first selection
- Horizon: Forbidden West
- God of War: Ragnarok
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits
- Wildcard: Gran Turismo 7
So really, who knows what’s gonna happen this year? Maybe aliens will invade, or the world will catch fire, or video games will become reality and we’ll all learn how to become spellcasters. Making predictions is pretty hard right now. But based on current information and the way the world is still turning, I’m gonna quietly hope that Horizon Forbidden West follows in the footsteps of its predecessor and is amazing, and that God of War releases, and that the rest of Kena: Bridge of Spirits is as good as incredible as what we’ve seen so far. I didn’t mean to choose a bunch of Playstation exclusives, so, whoops, but also no regrets – they tend to be the best games. Come through for me Sony, I’m putting all my damn faith in you.
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Bravely Default II
- Open Roads
- Wildcard: The Forgotten City
As previously just a spectator of the draft, though never a participant, I knew the leniency some of the newest writers for P2 get might not extend to me. Luck was on my side to have an early pick in the first two rounds, though my hopes of a steadfast steed to pin my hopes to were cruelly dashed when the P2 Collective vetoed my first choice, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, as perhaps not being enough of a change to be eligible. Once I was certain the path was closed to all, I moved onto the next contender from my shortlist: Monster Hunter Rise.
The last original in the series, Monster Hunter World, did quite well critically. While the Ultimate update of Generations didn’t do as well as its 3DS counterpart, there was a lot of buzz online around the Rise demo, which made it the ideal first choice. In a similar vein, my second choice of Bravely Default 2 was partly based upon how the demo had been received, though in researching the potential choices, some comments by the producer of Bravely Second made me believe Square Enix had gone into BD2’s development with something to prove. I knew the feeling.
What happens next was a gamble. Beleagured by a large gap between rounds two and three, and the more obvious titles being snapped up by other picks, I had to go for choices that could be amazing, if risky. Open Roads by Fullbright could do well critically. Gone Home was a revelation and Tacoma was solid. My wildcard is absolutely that. A dart thrown sightless in the dark that could hit its mark or disappear entirely. The Forgotten City started life as a Skyrim mod and had a fantastic reception, but can it translate over to a new setting and engine, while still keeping what made it special? Was it game-good, or merely mod-good?
This could be a good year, or merely a strong showing. Without a hideous misstep, I’d expect something around 245 on these. Whether that’s good enough to take on Jess’ collection of future Playstation Number Ones? We’ll have to see.
- Nier Replicant ver 1.22474487139
- Solar Ash
- New Pokemon Snap
- Wildcard: Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin
As a new contender in this year’s P2 Draft, I’m keeping it a little more under the radar… before coming in with a clutch win, kicking everyone else to the curb. Everyone loves an unexpected upset, right?
I’m beginning off the year with Nier Replicant, because hoo boy, the gaming sphere is NOT ready for the discourse on this game. There’s a very good reason this PS3 era gem gained cult classic status, and with the heavily rumoured addition of new content further linking this game to 2017’s true GOTY Nier Automata? Y’all ain’t even ready! On the other end of the spectrum, New Pokemon Snap Looks like it will be this year’s Animal Crossing New Horizons – in that it’s going to be all over Twitter. Solar Ash is a bit more of a dark horse pick honestly, but between the excellent Hyper Light Drifter and the Gravity Rush vibes I’m pulling from this one’s debut trailer, I have a hunch it’s gonna be a crowd-pleaser. Finally, given Monster Hunter’s newfound popularity and the universal appeal of Pokemon, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is my fingers-crossed backup for when one of these amazing-sounding games either gets delayed or tanks completely.
Can we pull it across the line? I have high hopes, but if I’m honest, I really think Jess is going to smash the rest of us this year. That sure is one lineup that’s tough to beat!
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- The Medium
- 12 Minutes
- Wildcard: Psychonauts 2
This year I am quite happy with my picks. After suffering from multiple delays last year I went with titles that are sure to be released in 2021. I think quite a few people will be surprised when The Medium scores really well, Ratchet and Clank is a safe as houses bet and 12 Minutes is just the type of off-beat indie that scores well with critics. The added bonus this year is that Psychonauts 2 was still available when it came time to pick my wild card. Tim Schafer gold right there folks.
As for my competition, Jess seems like she has solid choices but is relying on GT and God of War 2 to come out this year, that might be a wish too far. Paul is also relying on a suss choice with BOTW 2 and I am still not convinced that both Deathloop and Gotham Knights will set the world on fire. No, I think my biggest challengers this year are Shaun and Rob. Shaun has gone the safe route with tried and true choices and Rob has grabbed some under-the-radar titles that have the potential to win big. When all is said and done, it is anybody’s game, with the released date god a fickle beast at best.
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
- Ghostwire Tokyo
- Persona 5 Strikers
- Wildcard: Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
After a year of big sacrifices, I needed some space to consolidate and lick my wounds in delightful comfortable games. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury felt like a riskier bet than many may think – the staleness of the platformer in comparison to Odyssey is evident and the additional game mode may not be enough to save it – but it gave me a familiar Nintendo coziness. Similarly, the next D&D Dark Alliance is a pick based on a reverie of my experience with the PS2 versions of the original Dark Alliance games. Ghostwire Tokyo was to let me relive the joyful moments that Ikumi Nakamura presented on stage in E3 2019 (before she left the project that September, and before the dark times of COVID-19), but it is Persona 5 Strikers that I have yearned for the most with a wonderful combination of JRPG, modern Tokyo, and musou gameplay.
- Hollow Knight: Silksong
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
- Wildcard: Gotham Knights
Well the heat is on me isn’t it! It’s mighty hard to win two in a row, letalone three, you’d have to be pretty great huh? Well, this is my chance to enter a legendary category, by winning three straight P2 Fantasy Drafts! The competition is certainly more fierce that ever before I’d contend, so I’m definitely going to need Breath of the Wild 2 to launch this year to get by (unlike last year where I won despite it netting me a 0), I’ll also need to make a savvy pick at the mid-year draft. I’m happy with my hand, though there are still question marks for varying reasons upon them all (quality or 2021 release). If it all comes together though, I reckon greatness is within reach. In the meantime, I need some bad luck to befall my primary competition, Jess (she’s already lost GT7, and I have mya doubts about God of War), Sarah (who is off to a flyer) and Shaun (who has a solid bloody list). Fingers crossed!
- Hitman 3
- Far Cry 6
- Oddworld: Soulstorm
- Wildcard: Broken Roads
With a much bigger card of speculators this year it was a challenge to get the games that I really wanted to pick. There was a bit of head-scratching and internet searching to figure out what to pick next, and while I am not 100% happy with my picks I am already off to a strong start with Hitman 3. I find myself hoping that after a 3rd and 2nd place that this would be my year to take the title, but with picks like Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok, Jess is a title contender if they score the way most people expect. Once again the eyes will be on Paul James to see if he can pull off a hat-trick. With Hollow Knight: Silksong and BOTW 2 in his picks I expect another strong showing, hopefully, though I can finally get that first place trophy.
- Resident Evil Village
- Dying Light 2
- Wildcard: Shin Megami Tensei V
My picks mirror the reigning champs strategy of selecting games that actually release, with all of them confirmed for 2021 explicitly or having almost no chance of being pushed back. Resident Evil Village looks to follow in the footsteps of RE7 and 2 which were both extremely well received, alongside Returnal which sees Housemarque stretching themselves with a new IP that’s shaping up to be an indie showcase for the PS5 hardware.
Admittedly my choice of Dying Light 2 may be a result of my own excitement for the title, as well as the belief that it can’t possible get bumped…can it? Meanwhile, SMTV should have a whole host of people eager to check it out following the success of Persona 5, so I’m hoping it can at least pull an 80 or above to round out my scores – at the end of a day, even a 70 is better than a 0 in the P2 Draft!
- Halo Infinite
- King of Fighters XV
- Wildcard: Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
All bets are off. It’s no longer about winning, coming first or doing our best. We can’t let Paul take the draft 3 years in a row! This year is a combined effort of the entire Player2 crew to score block Paul’s dream run! Sorry buddy, we all love you, but we’ll never hear the end of it if you take first place again.
- Elden Ring
- Total War: Warhammer 3
- Back 4 Blood
- Wildcard: Warhammer 40K: Darktide
Bit of a different pick this year due to that dickhead Corona messing things about and reducing the number of picks from 5 down to 4. But given that I am a shocker when it comes to these things I’m quietly happy about this. First cab off the rank, Elden Ring. We still know bugger all about whatever the hell it’s going to be, but with Miyazaki at the helm, I am confident that whatever the hell it is, it will be awesome.
Next up, Total War: Warhammer 3. Hot damn did you see that announcement trailer this week. Kislev, Bear cavalry, and demons. So many demons. TW:WH3 will be the final chapter in the TW:WH series and in true form, Creative assembly are releasing Mortal Empires game mode for the third installment. If you may not be aware of what the mortal empire game mode is, It’s the full map, from each game and EVERY faction included. Sure end turns may be epically long, but you have something like 900km2 of land to rampage across!
Back 4 Blood, It’s like left 4 dead, but more bloody? No that’s not right, Left 4 dead was pretty bloody, just ask the classification board… Not much information out there about this, but given the history of the developer, I am pretty confident it’s going to be a tried and true formula that is enjoyable for many many hours. Warhammer 40k Darktide. Read the previous paragraph, but replace Left 4 dead with Vermintide. LET’S GO, FRIENDS!
- Axiom Verge 2
- Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2
- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
- Wildcard: Sports Story
When it comes to my picks, I’d rather focus on smaller titles, if only because they’re more likely to hit their niche than bigger AAA efforts. Especially after Cyberpunk’s reception.
My first pick is for Axiom Verge 2. It’s a “safe” pick, as it’s not likely to be a dramatic diversion (mechanics-wise) from the first game, which gives it a good chance of getting a solid score, and consistency is surely a good factor over the long term for sure.
As for the crew’s picks? Well, I’m sure I’m not alone in going down the indie path with one’s picks (like Paul with Hollow Knight: Silksong), but I won’t lie, there are a few choice grabs in the first round which I feel will go down well – Jess with Horizon: Forbidden West, Sarah with Super Mario 3D World, and Nick with Monster Hunter Rise.
Those are the selections in the 2021 Player 2 Video Game Fantasy Draft. Who do you think has the early upper hand? Let us know what you think, but things can change, the mid-year selections are still to come!
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