In a fraught year, Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye reminds you what matters most

Staff Picks

The PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to our main Game of the Year Awards 2021, each member of the PC Gamer team is shining a spotlight on a game they loved this year. We’ll post new staff picks, alongside our main awards, throughout the rest of the month.

It’s frustrating that nobody will let you spoil Outer Wilds. I’m desperately waiting for the moment where we all agree that it’s been long enough since the game’s 2019 release to gush about it. It’s the kind of game where you want to share stories about how you stumbled on each morsel of information and what puzzles flattened your brain. And most of all, I want to talk about that ending. Someone called Outer Wilds the only truly melancholy game, and not only is this correct, its ending heightens this, not because of its pessimism about the end of the world, but because of its optimism.

Echoes of the Eye makes that frustration worse. The DLC, or sequel, or expansion—however you want to call it—repositions the main game’s perspective on the ending of the universe. If the original is about curiosity of the unknown, Echoes of the Eye is about the fear of what you don’t understand—and the grip this fear can have on every part of your life. The way it wraps up, while brief, is almost as heartbreaking as the original ending, especially if you complete the base game again.

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