Video games continue to push the storytelling and cinematic aspect of the medium by featuring phenomenal performances by top actors. From an astronaut lost on an alien planet to a human pulled into space for life and an alternate reality version of a much-loved hero, there’s a wide variety between all of our picks in performances.

Here are our picks for the Best Video Game Performances in 2021.

5.) Jason E. Kelley as Colt Vahn in Deathloop

Gaming history is filled in amnesiacs who talk to themselves, but Jason E Kelley’s performance as Colt Vahn would have to be near the top. For a man fated to repeat the same day over and over again unless he can break the loop, he sure can crack some jokes, keeping the tone light when bantering with Julianna or trying to get out of a tight situation.

Hearing Colt think he’s found a solution only to find another problem that he needs to solve was a delight. Kelley also brings it when more dramatic and emotional moments are needed, ensuring that Colt Vahn is one of the most interesting characters you will die as this year.

– Ashley Hobley

Deathloop Review

“Colt Vahn is the sturdy centrepiece of the narrative”

4.) Erika Mori as Alex Chen in Life is Strange: True Colors

Life is Strange is a franchise that has been built upon its characters– characters that players can connect with on a deeper level. Erika Mori brings life to Life is Strange’s new protagonist, Alex Chen. Erika’s performance brings Alex to life as she struggles to find her place within her new home Haven Springs. Life is Strange is a franchise that is no stranger to complex issues, and Erika‘s performance brings emotional weight to Alex’s encounter. Alex never feels like she is trapped within the perception of Good vs Bad choices, and Erika brings this to life as players can see Alex as a character trying to make decisions and handle her powers based upon her morals and beliefs.

– Ciaran Marchant

Life is Strange: True Colors Review

“You can read Alex’s and see where her thoughts are currently lingering without any words”

3.) Jennifer Hale as Rivet in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

I wasn’t bored of Ratchet as a character, but once I got to see/hear Jennifer Hale bring Rivet to life, I quickly began to have a new favourite. Rivet is a fun and loveable alternative universe Lombax who has gone through trials and tribulations. The differencing factor is that her universe is under the rule of a villain, whereas Ratchet’s isn’t. Through Hale, Rivet is a fighter with a heart of gold and a passion for fixing wrongs done throughout the galaxy. One of this year’s most memorable characters, a brilliant new addition to the Ratchet & Clank universe, and one of this year’s best performances from Jennifer Hale.

– Dylan Blight

2.) Jane Perry as Selene in Returnal

Returnal is a game that uses audio logs, visual cues and self-narration from its protagonist to drip feed a tense and atmospheric narrative. Jane Perry‘s controlled performance as Selene makes the game’s story as gripping as it is from the initial crash landing up into the shocking and confusing ending. 

Through most of the game, Selene is relatively calm, but Jane Perry breaks loose into fits of frantic during some audio logs and crippling despair in some of the game key cutscene moments. There’s not a pivotal scene I could point to as the moment Jane Perry solidified herself on this list, as it’s her work throughout the entire game as she’s such an integral piece of doing Returnal’s narrative work. 

– Dylan Blight

Returnal – PlayStation 5

1.) Jon McLaren as Star Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Jon McLarens’s performance as Peter Quill/Star-Lord was great among a year of great performances. Of course, this elevates his performance, but he was still a standout amongst a well-performed cast of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. As the leading man, he does get a lot of room to convey a range of emotions — exasperation with Rocket, confronting things from his past with Ko-Rel and learning dark details of the histories of his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy. Jon Mclaren shows off an emotional range while still being cocky and a bit annoying, as Star-Lord is meant to be. Even with the amount that the Guardians never shut up in this game, you never tire of hearing Jon McLaren’s Star-Lord deliver a quip or break up a fight.

– Wil James

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review

“Comparisons to the cinematic universe are unavoidable, but the main cast all do a great job capturing the characters in their unique way”

Dylan Blight, Ashley Hobley, Ciaran Marchant, Wil James compiled this Top 5 list. The Video Games nominated must have released or had a sizable update within December 13th 2020 – December 13th 2021 and have been released in Australia.