What a year it's been for Xbox, eh? Well, what a six months-or-so in particular. It's been capped off today with the reviews for Halo Infinite, the vast majority of which have been highly positive, and yet somehow it still isn't topping the Metacritic ratings for Xbox in 2021 — a testament to how strong the showing has been this year.
That said, we had to wait until July to get our first major release from Xbox Game Studios of 2021, and it wasn't actually a new release per se, with Microsoft Flight Simulator making the jump from PC to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. It subsequently went on to achieve a 90 Metacritic rating - just slightly short of the 91 on PC.
Next was Psychonauts 2, and we all know how good Psychonauts 2 is! We ended up giving it a rare 10/10 score here at Pure Xbox, although the Metacritic rating settled a bit lower at 89 (PC). Head of Xbox Phil Spencer also went on to state that Double Fine's latest title was his Game of the Year for 2021 — high praise indeed!
If you want to include Deathloop, we can. This was a PlayStation 5 timed console exclusive back at launch in September (and it stays that way for an entire year), but due to Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, it bizarrely ended up falling under the Xbox Game Studios banner. Xbox can't take credit for it, but the 88 Metascore looks good on paper!
October gave us a PC exclusive in the form of Age of Empires IV, which might have gone somewhat under the radar due to its absence from consoles, but nevertheless drew critical acclaim, landing another impressive Metacritic rating of 81. Here at Pure Xbox, we said it "reminds us why we fell in love with the RTS genre".
Microsoft arguably saved the biggest two for last in November and December, with the former giving us Forza Horizon 5. To no surprise, the latest entry went on to achieve massively positive review scores — in fact, according to Metacritic, it was the highest-rated Xbox Game Studios title of 2021 with a whopping 92 rating on Series X.
And that brings us to Halo Infinite. Master Chief's latest adventure begins this Wednesday (with the multiplayer already available in beta form), and based on 69 reviews so far, it's sitting on another impressive 87 Metascore for Xbox Series X. It's been a long wait, but 343 Industries has definitely rewarded our patience.
What a year for Xbox. What a year for Game Pass. And the best bit — there's so much more to look forward to in 2022. Phil Spencer and his team will surely be doing everything they can to surpass this year's accomplishments, but for the time being, we think everyone involved in Xbox Game Studios deserves a big pat on the back this Christmas.
How would you grade Xbox Game Studios' output in 2021? Let us know down in the poll below.
Definitely an 'A' year. Kudos to all the teams + studios, thank you.
I went a solid B for 2021, due to the long wait and also they are cross generation games.
Next year we should get some new generation only, Starfield for example.
B Because we didn't have anything for the first half of the year but the quality of games has been great. It all began with Flight Simulator which is amazing then Psychonauts 2 extremely fun Game. Forza Horizon 5 which Is insanely addictive and Halo Infinite which I can't wait to play. There's also Age of Empires which was well received by critics.
Overall it was a fantastic year for Xbox. I cannot wait for next year, can only imagine what Redfall, Starfield and Forza Motorsport are going to be like. We will also see a lot more XGS Published 3rd Party Exclusives like Contraband and As Dusk Falls. Great time to own an Xbox
Most exclusive games have come out just recently. However, there were several timed exclusives that scored well such as the Medium, the Ascent, Yakuza, and Death's Door. These almost made up for not having the big AAA games from Xbox Studios.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (probably the first new-gen game), Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite have made the first year of Series X/S a very good one considering that generations start slowly. The future is brighter with so many Xbox Game Studios but please make Banjo-Kazooie.
IMO, if this year is an "A", what will next year be? I think the flow of quality games needs to be more consistent. This year has been good, but it makes me VERY excited for 2022.
@GhanaViking More specifically I'd give it an A-, as others have rightly said it's a back loaded year. But the quality, including Deathloop, is undeniable.
But don't do a Cyberpunk and start assuming 2022 games will be GOTY bangers Besides i'm convinced many games will move to 2023.
Regardless i'm more than happy with the present and very excited for the future. It's felt like a LONG wait since the 360.
I went with a 'B' because no Hellblade 2. That's my most anticipated Xbox console exclusive 😁
Still, a great year for MS and Xbox 👍
Agreed. I keep coming back to that creepy Hellblade 2 trailer every once in a while (the one with Senua chanting) and it sure will be spectacular when it launches.
Also, there's still The Gunk that I'm anxiously awaiting in a week or so.
As for MS's next console- with covid causing so much havok I doubt we will see it soon.
In terms of new exclusives which is the reason I joined xbox for gamepass I'd have to say a C from me, took them until the last three months of the year to put out some games (one not even out yet)
Definitely looking forward to next year more with starfield and hopefully some surprises (hoping for State of decay 3)
@Medic_Alert I believe next year will be one of my best years of gaming and seriously can't wait.
For xbox we have starfield, redfall and stalker and fingers crossed state of decay 3
For playstation we have God of War, Horizon forbidden West, GT7, Forspoken and maybe the KOTR remake
For Nintendo we have BOTW2, pokemon legends, splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, new Kirby game, rune factory 5 and hopefully Metroid 4
Third party we have Tiny Tina, Dying Light 2, Harry Potter game, Gollum, suicide squad game, overwatch 2 etc...
Wow, what a year 2022 will be
Definitely an A for me. Loved the whole year. Had some fantastic experiences with strangers and friends/family online. Game pass keeps giving and Microsoft rewards is paying for my sub and more. Glad I made the switch.
I think it's fair if not overly obvious that anyone giving it a C is bias to a favourite system and anyone giving it lower is here in vapid hope to negate all the success of Xbox. it's become painfully sad to witness some of the most pathetic and poorly covert gamers scurry on here to try downplay everything Xbox is doing right. They know who they are. Is it insecure issues or is it just the need for attention? To constantly look and nitpick problems so that they can feel better about whatever it is they need feeling better about is kind of, well, tragic. Either they're trolling or they are genuinely of a negative dispositions which in turn leads to a propensity for whining and baiting and indulging in a disputatious desire to climb some metaphorical superiority high ground. It's strange, and God imagine knowing them in real life, energy vampires the lot of em. Furthermore tho it must be hard for them seeing Xbox games overall score surpassing PlayStation 😂😂😂
I just think, every time I see their comment, "wow, they made time to write that, they come here to actually complain and argue"
@FriendlyOctopus what was tedious? I gave a genuine score of a C from me, Halo isn't out yet so I can't say if I like it, Im not interested in Flight simulator and the only other game I've played from xbox studios is Forza which was really good.
If I happen to like halo infinites campaign and Gunk then I suppose that C would turn to a B
B it is! amazing year but there's always room for improvement. I still have to wait to see how good Halo is though.
I played all the mentioned games and i gotta say they are all very good, but none of them were as memorable as some of Sony's first party games.
Obviously this year was much better for xbox nonetheless.
Glad i joined gamepass this year
I was happy playing Nioh Collection on ps5 until forza and halo came out and have not turned on the ps5 since. Great end to the year for xbox and starfield and elden ring are my most anticipated games for next year.
I read the title wrong and thought it was about Gamepass 🤣 so I voted A but for MS studios I’d give them a B. They’ve ended the year very strongly but the rest of the year has been pretty quiet, I expect things to pick up next year.
I think the most important thing is Phil and co have fixed their game pipeline, the future is bright. Feels like this thing is finally back on the rails with the upward trajectory of the 360 days. Xbone launch fiasco and dearth of games officially in the rearview.
This is an A grade from me for sure. Microsoft has consistently delivered the kind of games that appeal to me and my interests. Flight Simulator is probably one of the best things I have ever experienced on a game console, and it goes beyond merely being a video game, it's a tool for getting you into the world of flight, and a great means to explore the world from your couch. Forza Horizon 5 is one of the best things a car enthusiast like myself could ask for, with endless fun and a massive list of cars to upgrade and customize, it's something I can never get tired of. Halo Infinite is turning out to be the best FPS I have played in a long time, and it's already become a definitive multiplayer experience.
Right now, I am very satisfied. This has been an amazing year for gaming... so long as you have an Xbox.
A purely for Psychonauts 2, which is also the best game released this year imo.
Gonna go for a solid B here, since the Series X really had a slow start, but finally got rolling (for me with Psychonauts and Flight Simulator, than Halo Infinite). The game patches upgrading them to Series X and the bonus backwards compatible games were icing on the cake.
Microsoft Studios get a B from me.
But Game Pass gets an A+
Strange poll as we can’t play the flagship game. Guess we have to take the critics at their word.
I gave them a B. Solid year, but not what I’d expect from an A year. I feel Sony had a better first half, Microsoft a better second half. I wouldn’t grade either an A.
As the title suggests- we’ve been spoiled. This has been an amazing year for Microsoft games and even more amazing for GamePass members. The only downside is knowing how many years of effort it took to produce all these games also means we will probably not see another cornucopia of awesomeness like this for a while.
I gave this year a B....because I think next year is when we will really see their A game
B, i mean look Infinite is clearly a GOTY contender and so is Forza 5 but other then MS Flight Sim it hasn't exactly been a diverse year for Xbox games and is overall just another Xbox year with the same games what hopefully changes in the coming years. I mean that top image i can't help but smirk at with Deathloop not on Xbox yet and PN2 being multiplatform.
Its a great year for sure don't get me wrong but if you're not a Gamepass convert and don't care for Halo or Forza then its pretty lackluster for 1st party games what thankfully doesn't apply to me but for those what does well yeah.
It’s about time we had an xbox series x/s game only and not an engine used for back pat.
I know this is specific to XBGS games but I am also still looking forward to The Gunk, hopefully it won’t disappoint. As far as we understand, it’s as first party as Ori. Might be done by an indie studio but seems to be owned by Xbox.
Went for a C but it was borderline B. Very empty first half of the year is the main reason for a drop.
I went for B. Halo was meant to release last year and Flight Sim was released last year too. Gears Tactics 'didn't' seem to count when it 'launched' on consoles with the Series S/X launch because it too came out on PC earlier when talking about 'launch day exclusives' - according to 'everyone', Xbox had NO exclusives at launch yet we got Series S/X versions of FH4, Gears 5 and also Gears Tactics came to console.
That first half of 2021 was supplemented by 3rd Party Game Pass releases - like MLB21, Outriders, the Medium etc.
Deathloop was part funded by Sony (and of course MS money to finish and polish) and still not available to 'Xbox' hardware, Psychonauts 2 maybe doesn't feel like an Xbox Studio game as its multi-platform. Flight Sim came out last year and AoE4 is PC only. Only 2 of the 6 games, 1 of which was meant to release last year 'feels' like a brand new Xbox Studio game, exclusive to Xbox (and that means on Console too). I respect that MS had to honour agreements when acquiring Zenimax & Double Fine and both Psychonauts 2 & Deathloop are part of those 'legacy' agreements. Of course, MS's money in the latter stages may well have helped their 'metacritic' scores but as an 'Xbox' gamer, these don't 'feel' like Xbox Studio games to me as a result.
After thinking it through maybe a B is a bit high but at the end of the day, 4 games released to Xbox Consoles and the momentum is positive - even if the year started slowly. Ending strongly with a LOT of games to look forward to deserves a B
Only Forza and Halo for me this year as games I really wanted to play. I haven’t played Halo yet.
I need to check out Psychonauts 2, personally I can’t say grade because honestly I don’t believe it is. But they’ve had a better year than Sony for sure. Some of the comments here I find bizarre mind you. You’d believe Xbox smashed it and couldn’t have done anymore.
I've only played Forza 5 out of those which I'm enjoying (though more of an evolution that revolution compared to FH4), but looking forward to Flight Simulator if/when I get a Series X.
Not sure what to grade it as though as there's been lots of good games out lately. I'd say that Xbox's greatest work this year has been with Game Pass adding more games and rolling out the Cloud.
Can't wait until they're hitting a release every 6-8 weeks
Tap here to load 34 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...