AGDQ 2021: Six PlayStation speedruns you won't want to miss

By Luke Albigés,
Charity speedrun marathon Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 is in full swing, with a packed week of 24/7 game-breaking action lined up to carry us all the way through to next weekend. As well as a ton of multiformat stuff (most of which is traditionally played on PC in the interest of cutting down load times and improving performance), there are a good few PlayStation games getting the speedrun treatment as well. We've gone over the full schedule, and pulled out a few choice highlights, which you can find below. Bear in mind that times listed are subject to change, as these events tend to fall behind schedule more often than not, and if you can't catch the runs live, you should be able to find VODs on the GDQ YouTube channel a few days after the initial stream.

Aridia

Ratchet & Clank

NG+, by PerilousPeanut — Sunday January 3rd, 8:26pm UTC
Ratchet games are something of a GDQ staple, and NG+ runs are especially entertaining since everything is unlocked from the off, opening up some impressive strats and extremely quick level clears. With an estimate of just 31 minutes here, we'll be expecting to see exactly that, showing off everything from simple tricks you can replicate at home (such as wrench cancel jumps, which let Ratchet move much faster than intended) to more complex skips that you'd struggle to pull off without a ton of practise. This was the first of two Ratchet runs at the event, with a race of Going Commando coming up on Wednesday night as well, so you can still catch that one if you missed seeing this one live.

mgs4

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The Boss Extreme, by Jaguar King — Monday January 4th, 7:27am UTC
We love to see top MGS players show off their skills on the frankly absurd top-end difficulty levels, and Jaguar King has proven himself to be a boss when it comes to tactical espionage expertise — as well as having top times in all mainline Metal Gear games on Extreme, he was the first player known to get the 'Big Boss' title in a single-segment MGS4 run on stream. Considering how popular the original trio of Metal Gear Solid games are among speedrunners, MGS4 isn't seen quite so often (partially because it's thought to be the toughest run of the lot), so this should serve as a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours.

wild arms

Wild Arms

Any% (no ACE), by cha0sRTA — Tuesday January 5th, 5:39am UTC
JRPG speedruns are always awesome, since they tend to lop tens of hours off the games' typical run times. This PS1 favourite has now been cut to below the 90-minute mark — a suitably wild twenty times faster than the game's estimated 30-hour casual runtime — by this very runner, cha0s, who has held the world record in this category for the best part of four years now. For those who aren't clued up on their speedrunning acronyms, ACE stands for 'arbitrary code execution,' a method of making very specific strings of actions to reprogram system memory and get games to do things that were never developer intended (usually skipping straight to the credits in speedrunning usage), so fun as that can be, we won't be seeing any of that here.

haunting ground

Haunting Ground

A Ending NG+, by Ecdycis — Wednesday January 6th, 6:32am UTC
We'll be honest: until we saw Capcom's Haunting Ground, a spiritual successor to the Clock Tower games, on the AGDQ schedule last week, we'd completely forgotten that it even existed. Still, it's the kind of oddity that a lot of people probably didn't even know existed at all, and those are always fantastic to see showcased at major events like this. Ecdycis runs all kinds of horror games, so you should be in safe hands with this one. Worst case scenario, it's followed up by a classic Resident Evil run, so you can tuck into a delicious Jill sandwich if Haunting Ground leaves you hungry.

timesplitters 2

TimeSplitters 2

Hard Story, by EmosewaMC — Friday January 8th, 7:02am UTC
While the series is better known as a multiplayer classic, the story modes for both TS2 and Future Perfect were also perfectly fine, especially considering the state of the FPS genre on console at the time of release. That said, they're also known for being pretty challenging, so we're looking forward to seeing the current world record holder in this category show off TimeSplitters 2 at its hardest. Considering EmosewaMC tends to run the GameCube version of the game, it'll be interesting to see if there's a specific reason why the PS2 version is being shown off instead at this event.

E3 2017

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

Any%, by Froob — Saturday January 9th, 3:28am UTC
If you've ever played a Yakuza game, you'll know just how ridiculous it is to think that any of them could be beaten in just a couple of hours. What's crazier, though, is that one guy is capable of doing that to all of the Yakuza games, all the while being an immensely entertaining presenter. Froob is something of a legend in Yakuza speedrunning, and his combination of skilled play, expert series knowledge, and engaging commentary makes every run a delight that just flies by.

Looking forward to checking out any of these, or got another suggestion from the full AGDQ 2021 schedule that our readers might enjoy? Let us know below!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.