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The Best And Worst Parts Of The 2021 Game Awards

The 2021 Game Awards were a rush of announcements, prizes, and live musical performances. A night of epic highs and lows, the event gave gamers a lot to unpack.

Just as promised, a number of huge games were revealed for the first time over the course of the ceremony. From "Alan Wake 2" to "Star Wars: Eclipse" to "Slitterhead" and more, there's no shortage of new titles on the way. On top of these intriguing reveals, there was a  lengthy gameplay trailer drop for "Senua's Saga: Hellblade II," a surprise skit by Debra Wilson promoting "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League," an impassioned statement condemning harassment in the gaming industry by host Geoff Keighley, and an opening song by none other than Sting.

With all that jam-packed into the evening, it's natural that some moments stood out while others fell flat. Out of the countless memorable parts of the 2021 Game Awards, these are a few of the best and worst parts.

BEST: Josef Fares' reaction to It Takes Two Winning Game of the Year

Out of all the great titles nominated for Game of the Year, seeing the award go to a unique co-op only platformer made by a fairly small studio was special. "It Takes Two" charmed critics right out of the gate, and fans have felt the same way. After a couple of hours of other premieres and prizes, the anticipation for the Game of the Year announcement was through the roof.

And it was a hilarious and heartwarming moment when Josef Fares, founder of "It Takes Two" studio Hazelight, got the big news. The crowd roared in applause as he pumped his fists in the air and waved his hands in celebration. He called the moment "unreal" and surprised the crowd with some excited expletives. Calling back to an infamous moment from the 2017 Game Awards, Fares exclaimed, "the Oscars got f***ed, because the Game Awards are getting way better."

He thanked his "beautiful team" and dedicated the award to his daughters, one of whom is on the way. The crowd laughed as he humorously declared his love for his family, saying, "If you don't have children, go get them! I mean, it's the best thing that can happen." Wrapping up with a beaming smile, Fares thanked everyone again, his infectious joy closing the event on a positive note.

WORST: Fans wish Imagine Dragons didn't perform

Though the two-song set by JID, Imagine Dragons, and Supergiant Games' Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett at the Game Awards was generally a hit with hardcore fans, it also quickly became the performance Twitter couldn't stop roasting. As much as Korb and Barrett's harmonies and JID's tight rap verse stole the show, especially for fans who knew "Build That Wall" from Supergiant's "Bastion" and "Enemy" from Netflix's "Arcane," it seems that many would have preferred to keep Imagine Dragons on the bench.

As popular as the "Believer" band has become, they have frequently become the butt of jokes and memes in recent years. Though it seems they all just want to be big rockstars, many Game Awards viewers wished Imagine Dragons hadn't rocked the boat at all. Fans put it bluntly on Twitter, with one even joking that Imagine Dragons should apologize to Darren Korb. As another wrote, "that was the first and hopefully also the last time I listened to Imagine Dragons." 

Fan opinions aside, there wasn't anything objectively "wrong" with the performance, but Imagine Dragons seemed to clash a bit with Supergiant's specific audio aesthetic in particular. One might think that an audience of gamers would embrace a band with "Dragons" in their name, but in reality, many fans would prefer the idea of Imagine Dragons appearing at the Game Awards to stay a fantasy.

BEST: An Elden Ring Double Whammy

"Elden Ring" fans got more than they bargained for at the Game Awards. In addition to winning the title of Most Anticipated Game for the second consecutive year, "Elden Ring" revealed a brand new trailer. With over three minutes of cinematic, story-driven content, the latest glimpse at the long-awaited George R. R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazak collab delivered.

Fallen demigods and rulers are described by an off-camera narrator as footage of forests, throne rooms, and other mysterious scenery is showcased. One line of this opening narration stands out in particular: "The Elden Ring was broken, but by whom, and why?" 

Battle ensues as a fight between a warrior and a beast is highlighted, both described as "the mightiest to remain." Once the warrior kills the beast, glowing beams of light that look like a flower begin to emerge from his back and blossom. The trailer wraps up with more foreboding narration, which implores the player to "take the crown." As the trailer ends, the narrator is revealed to be the glowing, ghostly woman with one eye teased in a prior gameplay trailer.

This trailer managed to somehow propel the hype for the year's Most Anticipated Game into the stratosphere, and fans went wild in the Game Awards livestream chat.

WORST: The Among Us VR game nobody asked for

It's safe to say no one expected an "Among Us" VR game announcement at the Game Awards, because why would they? "Among Us" has proven to be quite popular in the last year, though a big part of its appeal is that it's free to play on mobile devices and affordable on  consoles. It's also a pretty simple game of sneakiness and suspicion, so some fans feel like a VR version is an unnecessary step.

The very short trailer for "Among Us VR" showed the inside of a spaceship from a first-person perspective. For any player who has dabbled with classic "Among Us," the design aesthetics probably looked super familiar right away. It's since been confirmed on the official game site that the upcoming 3D VR version of "Among Us" will take place in the Skeld, the original game map.

According to Innersloth's update, players can expect "all of the core mechanics of teamwork and betrayal [they] know and love." VR players won't be able to join in with classic players, and the only real feature highlighted is the capability to have real emergency meetings. For fans who already have a VR console, "Among Us VR" might make a lot of sense, but a number of fans have expressed their distaste for the format's pricey barrier of entry. Others have already resorted to making memes out of the announcement. Nonetheless, some fans have shown interest in the new version of the game, including superstar streamer Valkyrae.

BEST: Wonder Woman Announcement

After an introduction in which Game Awards host Geoff Keighley celebrated the fact that the game hadn't been leaked beforehand, "Wonder Woman" was officially announced through a brief teaser featuring suspense-building close-ups on Wonder Woman's signature armor and lasso. 

Superhero games are all the rage these days, with the "Batman: Arkham" and "Marvel's Spider-Man" games being two of the most celebrated franchises in recent memory, but the mega-popular Wonder Woman has never starred in one of her very own until now. Though the beloved superhero has been featured in other games (per Green Man Gaming), the fact that this is the world's introduction to her as a lead video game protagonist makes the news even more impactful. "Wonder Woman" will be published by WB Games and developed by Monolith Productions, the team best known for "Middle-earth: Shadow of War" and "F.E.A.R.," among other successful games. Release date and console info for "Wonder Woman" is still unknown, but one thing's for sure: fans of the character are unbelievably excited.

The 2021 Game Awards gave players plenty to look forward to and celebrate. Based on what was revealed, one thing's for sure: 2022 is going to be a huge year for gaming.