As I’ve done the last couple of years, I wanted to sit down and rank my favorite Platinum trophies of 2021. The year was comprised of a decent mix of Platinums from some new favorites, revisiting some games through remasters or just getting some cheap automatic Platinums for carrying over a PS4 save to a PS5 version of the game. So here’s my full ranking of all of my 2021 Platinum Trophies.
21. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a Platinum Trophy that I should have had in 2020 but because of some quest glitches that I needed for the 100% completion “Completionist All the Way!” trophy, I had to wait until the game got some patches in place to fix the bugs. Additionally, the “Overdesign II” trophy where you had to “While on fire during a fight, kill 3 hard difficulty soldiers without breaking their shields” was some absolute horse shit and seemingly also bugged because I spent probably 10 hours just attempting that trophy alone before finding some reddit post telling me there was an issue and it should pop if I went to some other town and then back to where I had been attempting it. That’s a one-two punch of “fuck this noise” that landed Valhalla at the bottom of the Platinum Trophy list. Only reason I got it was out of spite at that point.
20. Marvel’s Avengers (PS5)
After being one of the first 50 Platinums for the PS4 version of Marvel’s Avengers, I was hopeful I would be able to decipher the someone complicated way of transferring the PS4 save to the PS5 version of the game quick enough to achieve the same feat on the PS5. And for a couple days there, I was on the list. Alas, by the the time the dust settled, my 100th Platinum missed the cutoff by about 15 minutes. Oh well. I’m still #39 on the PS4 list.
18. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS5)
Like Marvel’s Avengers above, I didn’t really have to put any significant work into getting these Platinums as I had already done so with the PS4 versions of the games and the trophies automatically triggered by carrying over a save. These two get the slight edge over Marvel’s Avengers though because the save transfer process was infinitely easier here. Plus, I realized I did have to actually a bit of extra work on my Jedi Fallen Order transfer because I apparently hadn’t saved after popping my final “Green Thumb” trophy the last time. So I had to go to the ship and inspect my terrarium on the PS5 in order to pop the trophy and secure the Platinum.
16. Maneater and Control (PS5)
Unlike the previous three games, I actually had to replay the PS5 versions of Maneater and Control in order to unlock these Platinums but both of them were mindless enough fun during the somewhat light beginning of 2021 that I knocked them out within a couple days of each other back in February. I was probably also burning through some TV show or something while I played through these two.
13. Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3)
I replayed the Mass Effect trilogy twice in 2021. With the Legendary Edition remaster on the horizon, I found myself too eager to jump back into them so I booted up my Xbox and replayed through the games on Game Pass during that slow start to the year I mentioned above. When the remaster eventually launched though, I hopped in once again and blazed through all three games in the series. And with the awesome decision to not lock the Platinum trophies behind Insanity difficulty playthroughs (instead adding separate DLC-like trophies for those accomplishments), it meant I was able to get the Platinum for each of these phenomenal games for the first time. I ultimately probably had more fun with this trilogy than a lot of the games further down on the list but I have already played these enough that I’m fine letting some of the smaller titles ahead get a spotlight.
Maquette caught my eye when I would walk by Annapurna’s booth at PAX East 2020 but the lines were always so long for it that I never really gave it a go. I was still planning on picking it up though, so when it was announced that it would be launching as a PlayStation Plus offering, I was happy to get it there. I loved the design and story of this puzzle game. The only reason it doesn’t really climb higher on the list is because a good portion of the trophies were “speed run” trophies where you had to go through each chapter within a set time limit. Most of these were easily manageable once you knew the solutions but there were a couple that cut it pretty close and trying to follow along with a video walkthrough isn’t exactly the most fun trophy hunting experience.
I originally checked out Carto as an Xbox Game Pass title and had a great time with this one, another small puzzle adventure where you could move and rotate tiles on a map and the world around you changed accordingly. I enjoyed it so much that I made the decision to purchase it over on PlayStation and go for the Platinum, which was a mix of normal story progression trophies and some clever extra puzzles hidden throughout the game’s levels. Nothing too crazy about this one. Just made for a good time.
10. Psychonauts 2
So I admittedly don’t actually have the Platinum for Psychonauts 2. I played it on Xbox Game Pass because I didn’t know if I was going to enjoy it well enough to justify spending the money on it on PlayStation when I could just check it out on Xbox instead. But man did I love this game. It cracked my Top 5 for the year overall (and was even Frank’s Game of the Year). I became so enamored that it has become one of only a handful of Xbox games where I have the 1000/1000 Gamer Score. So until I eventually decide to pick it up on a sale on PlayStation and replay the game/Platinum it there, I’m giving it an Honorary Platinum and the #10 spot on this list.
Ikenfell was my first Platinum of 2021 as I raced to finish it for inclusion in my 2020 Game of the Year conversation (it was #12). I ended up finishing the game and getting the Platinum back on January 1st to kick off what (as it turned out) would be one of my most productive Platinum years to date. Ikenfell was a wonderful title and the game’s excellent accessibility options make finding all the collectibles for the Platinum a treat, rather than a slog.
8. Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn was another one of the many games I checked out in early 2021, while I waited for a lot of the titles I was more excited about to start launching later on. It was a game I’d heard great things about from a few years back (so much so that I bought it on some PSN sale somewhere along the line) and I finally loaded it up on a bit of a lark. Another puzzle game with an incredibly brilliant design as you are an insurance adjuster tasked with uncovering the story of the ill-fated Obra Dinn’s final voyage. I loved playing through the game on its own. Deciding to go after the couple extra trophies I needed for the Platinum was a fun (if a bit time-consuming) exercise, especially the “Captain Did It” trophy, where you basically pin every death on the ship’s captain.
7. Life is Strange: Before the Storm
After playing through Life is Strange: True Colors, I decided to finally sit down with Before the Storm and experience the prequel story centered around the friendship of Chloe Price and Rachel Amber. While it ultimately probably sits at the bottom of my Life is Strange rankings, it was still a heartfelt and emotional story and has me excited to revisit the original game with the imminent Remaster. As with all of the Life is Strange games, the Platinum hunt isn’t particularly difficult, especially thanks to their excellent Scene Select option to replay certain moments to find the (in this game’s case) graffiti that I missed the first time around.
6. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy was, from its announcement, a “wait and see” kind of game for me. I was totally ready to skip over it in favor of other stuff this year. But between some solid word of mouth and getting it half price on a Black Friday sale, I dove in and had a good time with it. It had some really crappy RNG trophies where you needed to kill certain enemies (who might only appear in one chapter of the game) with specific team member combo attacks (which you have no control over), but other than that, this was a fun game and had some of the most interesting collectibles of the year, which made hunting them down well worth the effort.
5. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Insomniac is really good at making games. I’m glad they get to do it a lot. They’re also getting better at handling their trophy lists. I remember going for the Platinum for Ratchet & Clank (2016) and loathing some of the post game grinding (even after playing the game twice I hadn’t max leveled all of the guns and there are barely any enemies to fight post game, which made it take forever). Rift Apart fared much better, thanks in part to a battle arena that made a lot of the weapon-based trophies pretty easily manageable (the “Return Policy” trophy was notably irksome because it wasn’t exactly clear how “Kill 10 Enemies by Returning Shots with the Void Reactor” worked but we made due). And at least this one didn’t require a full New Game+ replay (like Spider-Man: Miles Morales) just for a single trophy. You had to start a New Game+ to get one or two guns that were only sold there but if you were otherwise efficient, that first run through the game was enough.
TOEM was a charming surprise of a game this year for me. Subtitled “A Photo Adventure,” the game mostly consisted of wandering around small black and white areas, talking to various NPCs for quests, and then finding and taking pictures of the things they asked for. In addition to the typical story and completionist trophies, this was another fun puzzle adventure where solving the clues of the trophy descriptions to figure out what you needed to take extra photos of was just a small bit of extra fun. Plus, the developers placed all of their pets around the world to add to your compendium, which was a joyous delight.
3. Yakuza: Life A Dragon
2021 was the year I finally started to check out the Yakuza series. I began the year playing through Kiwami 1 and 2 and then Yakuza 0. And while I did a lot of the side stories across all three of those games, the trophy lists are insane and fall into my “not a chance” category. But Yakuza: Like A Dragon, with its shift to a JRPG gameplay style, was the one I was really interested in checking out after the buzz it got in 2020. And I’m also no stranger to the JRPG grind so as I fell more and more in love with the game and started looking at the trophy list, it seemed mostly doable, if I could figure out a good spot to grind for the super difficult Level 99 Post-Post Game Mega-Dungeon. I did and spent like a week straight just grinding in the sewers of Kamurocho with Ichiban and his crew, leveling up everyone in like half of their available classes to get a bunch of stat boosts. One tough ass dungeon later and I had my first Yakuza Platinum. Not bad for 159 hours of gameplay…
I was mostly content to keep all of the games I replayed on the back-half of this list to allow the new ones I played more of a chance to shine. But Hades is just too good of a game. And I went well above and beyond what I played when I originally put time into the game in 2020 on the Switch. If I’d actually thought I was going to get the Platinum on this one early on, I would have switched up my keepsakes more regularly so I didn’t have to spend the last day or so on the hunt just grinding to get all of them to Max Rank for the “Friends Forever” trophy. But because the gameplay is just so deliciously fun, I didn’t even really care too much. Hopping back into Hades was such a joy and it was nice to add another Supergiant Games Platinum to my collection after Pyre.
1. Life is Strange: True Colors
Life is Strange: True Colors was in the running for my Game of the Year before I wrapped up the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker expansion and decided to go that route instead. But seeing as I’ll never ever ever get the Platinum for Final Fantasy XIV, the latest Life is Strange title will take the top spot on this list. Like Before the Storm and all of the other Life is Strange games, there isn’t exactly much of a challenge behind the True Colors Platinum (but after all of the work I put into the Hades and Yakuza: Like A Dragon Platinums, I’m kind of okay with that). Playing through the story will net you the story trophies, then there’s clean-up in finding all of the memories (each of which provide great little nuggets of history or insight into the characters throughout the game. There are a few fun miscellaneous trophies too, though, like the one where you “Help the Jelly Bean Counter win the contest” at a festival or “Help the Hoodie Guy find his dog.” All around, a great game and since I felt a little bad about it not winning my overall Game of the Year, I’m giving it my Favorite Platinum of 2021 consolation prize.