12 best video games of 2021
Even as some parts of the world start to open up again, 2021 has given us plenty of good reasons to stay inside and play video games. Those lucky enough to get a PS5 or Xbox Series X over the past year have had some truly next-generation experiences, while at the same time Nintendo Switch continue to receive exclusive excellence. And whether you’re a heavy PC gamer or still rocking your older generation console, plenty of good cross-platform titles have kept us glued to the couch and computers for weeks on end. .
Now that we’ve done the hard work of playing countless hours of video games this year, we’ve picked out games that are worth a try. And luckily for you, many of these great titles are currently on sale or available as part of Xbox Game Pass registration. Whether you’re looking to catch up on the holidays or need a great last-minute gift idea, here are the best games of 2021.
Arkane Studios has a knack for creating first-person action games that give players the freedom to be as stealthy, cunning, or as threatening as they want, and Deathloop takes that formula up a notch. other degree. This innovative time-loop shooter challenges you to destroy a range of targets in one day, resulting in a fun, addictive, action-packed trial-and-error puzzle that you’ll learn – and ultimately achieve. New possibilities – from each try. Deathloop’s gameplay is a blast whether you’re sneaking in strategy or wreaking havoc with supernatural powers, and the incredible performances of Jason E. Kelley (Colt Vahn) and Ozioma Akagha (Julianna Blake) will make You want to unravel this whole time travel mystery.
Forza Horizon 5 is not only a great driving game but also one of the best open world titles available today. Sure, there are plenty of fun races and challenges to tackle, but simply circling Playground Games’ beautiful arcade about Mexico – and destroying all sorts of havoc in the process – is the thing. keeps us glued to the wheel. Horizon 5 looks great whether you’re playing on PC, Xbox, or even the cloud, and its wide range of vehicles and activities will keep even the most dedicated driver busy for weeks on end. . It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of racing games or not; The latest Forza Horizon is a beautiful arcade that every gamer should experience.
- Forza Horizon 5 is also available with a Xbox Game Pass registration.
Halo Infinite strikes the perfect balance between evolving Microsoft’s flagship shooter series while delivering the core ingredients that made it so special in the first place. It would make this list solely for its free-to-play multiplayer feature, which took us countless hours to do thanks to the exciting tight gunplay and an exciting sandbox of weapons and abilities you have. can be used in any creative way. Seriously – you didn’t live until you stole a tank using a grappling hook.
But that sandbox opens up even more in Infinite’s campaign mode, giving you a huge open world to explore while still providing a compelling, cohesive story you’ll want to see. together. It’s big, ambitious, and takes some big creative risks, all while giving us the same sense of excitement and surprise we felt when we first hit the original Halo ring back in 2015. 2001 – or lose our entire social life to the Halo multiplayer in the years that followed.
- Halo Infinite’s campaign is also available with Xbox Game Pass registration.
After Resident Evil 7 brought Capcom’s survival horror franchise back to its roots, Resident Evil Village has built on that foundation and has grown stronger and better in every way. This first-person horror film takes you into a canyon-haunted European village, home to four distinct locations that each have its own unique flavor of Resident Evil. There’s the pure gothic horror of the castle, the tension of the foundry, the creepy swamps, and the haunted house providing for one of the most truly terrifying moments in Resident Evil history. It’s all tied together by some of the most satisfying battles and puzzles in the franchise, as well as a story so compelling we blew through the game for a weekend just to see it end. how to finish.
We didn’t expect one of our favorite games of 2021 to be a remake of a series we’ve spent over 100 hours on, but here we are. Mass Effect Legendary Edition has done a fantastic job in bringing BioWare’s beloved sci-fi role-playing trilogy to modern platforms, offering improved 4K graphics and some quality changes. A welcome amount of life without disturbing what makes these games so special. Heck, it even makes Mass Effect’s first battle really fun to play! Mass Effect features unforgettable characters, great writing, dynamic squad-based action, and an interactive story that lets you shape the story across all three games. This is one of the essential franchises of the game, and the Legendary Edition is the best way to experience it.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy after last year’s mid-range Avengers game, but we were certainly pleasantly surprised. Crystal Dynamics delivered a stellar role in our favorite spacefaring team, a team that combines thrilling superhero action with a compelling and emotional story that reminds us why. Why do we love these characters in the first place. Compress and shoot around as Star-Lord feels fluid and fun, and we had a blast that commanded Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot’s unique abilities in both combat and puzzle solving. But as with any great Guardians story, what really makes this title stand out is the interactions between the characters that will leave you laughing and giddy. Other than that, it’s really, really nice – especially on PS5 or Xbox Series X.
The medium is a nice surprise we might not have discovered had it not launched on Xbox Game Pass earlier this year. This innovative horror adventure requires you to solve puzzles and avoid deadly enemies while navigating both the real world and the spirit world – sometimes at the same time. Medium’s ability to display two game worlds in its entirety at once is a true showcase of the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s capabilities, and its short runtime and solid story are perfect for a weekend. spooky fun. Our only gripe with The Medium is its ending, so here’s hoping for more.
We’re not necessarily big Metroid fans and most have Metroid Dread enabled to check it out Nintendo Switch OLED for our review. Fast forward a few weeks and Dread is easily one of our favorite games of the year. The latest Metroid game is simply a perfect 2D action experience, with intense gun battles and memorable boss battles and an ever-expanding maze world inviting you to play. discovery while also intelligently propelling you towards your next goal. It is one of the best Switch games and a must-play for series enthusiasts as well as newbies.
We’ve always had a hard time getting into Capcom’s beloved but somewhat impregnable Monster Hunter series, but Rise is the last to stick around. Exploring Monster Hunter’s vast environments has never been more accessible and fun, thanks to new features like grappling hooks and an adorable new canine companion that makes it easy to get around and engage in adventures. The battle with the great monster. The game’s 14 weapons – operating in a range from giant swords to hybrid machine guns – are easy to use and master, and the classic Monster Hunter loop features slaying creatures and rewards devices. awesome is still as addictive as ever. Throw in some of the series’ best visuals to date (even on the old Nintendo Switch) and chaotic new Rampage missions, and you’ve got the best starting point for this enduring action RPG series. .
Even if we rate it as just a 3D platformer, Psychonauts 2 is one of the most exciting games of the year. Double Fine’s colorful quirky adventure gives you fun psychic abilities and has some incredibly creative level designs that help you really get into people’s minds to solve puzzles and beat the bad guys. But it’s the latter that is what makes Psychonauts 2 so special – wrapped in all the fun, brilliant visuals, and satisfying background is a truly moving story about mental health.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart ($49.99, originally $69.99; bestbuy.com)
The PS5 already has a stable proprietary system, but none of them show what Sony’s new console can do like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Insomniac’s stunning Pixar-esque shooting adventure is a true show of technique, as you can jump between an entire dimension in an instant without loading the screen to break the action. But the latest Ratchet & Clank game has more than slick 4K graphics and a great next-gen party game – it’s also simply a fantastic 3D platformer, with lovable characters, a bunch of fun weapons and some of the best storytelling in the entire series.
One of our biggest game surprises of the year, Splitgate has risen from relative obscurity to become one of the most compelling first-person shooters you can play right now. . It’s easy to see why – this arena fighting game superbly combines Halo’s weapons, Quake’s speed and movement, and unique abilities to create portals on the battlefield for all types of combat. Creepy creativity. The moment we first outmaneuvered our opponents by strategically shooting them through a portal, we were hooked for good. While we initially joined Splitgate to keep us until Halo Infinite, its distinct gameplay and frequent updates will likely keep it in our rotation for a while. Better yet, it’s completely free to play on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.