January 26, 2022

The Finest Video games of 2021


As we put together to shut out 2021, it’s time to look again on the video games that outlined the 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic claimed launch date by means of launch date as we moved by means of 2021, however the video games business stored chugging away. Even if the 12 months’s launch schedule was in a continuing state of flux, we nonetheless acquired a variety of nice titles in 2021. On this listing, we’ll recap the Finest Video games of 2021 and let you know what made each so particular.

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Be aware: Whereas I’ve dealt with most of those year-end gaming wrap-ups by myself previously, this 12 months I’ve some assist from considered one of SlashGear’s latest writers, Josh Hawkins. I’ll notice who’s chargeable for every entry with our initials (EA and JH) on the finish so it’s clear who wrote what. Welcome to the group, Josh! Let’s get into the video games.

Hitman 3

IO Interactive took the Hitman sequence to a brand new degree with its World of Assassination Trilogy, and Hitman 3 was an ideal ending to the newest saga of everybody’s favourite bald murderer. Within the third recreation, IO builds off the interactive environments that it has change into recognized for, and ups the ante much more by including in new methods to take out targets, in addition to new methods to traverse the world.

Maybe one of the vital thrilling issues about Hitman 3, although, was that it introduced the entire missions from the earlier two entries of the trilogy to the newest engine. This included new efficiency enhancements, new options, weapons, and instruments. With so many choices at your fingertips, Hitman 3 made taking part in as Agent 47 top-of-the-line sandbox experiences you will discover in gaming proper now.

Few video games managed to carry my consideration in addition to Hitman 3 did, and regardless of releasing at the beginning of the 12 months, I constantly discover myself revisiting Agent 47’s universe to attempt my hand at pulling off extra daring and spectacular assassinations. – JH

Loop Hero

There’s little question that the roguelike area is getting a little bit crowded right here in 2021. We’ve seen the style develop to be one of many dominant ones within the indie area all through the final a number of years, and there are such a lot of roguelike video games that it may be troublesome for brand spanking new titles to face out. That wasn’t the case for Loop Hero.

Loop Hero serves up loads of contemporary concepts and, like many roguelikes, is outlined by “simple to study, troublesome to grasp” gameplay. For nearly as good as it’s, Loop Hero could be essentially the most troublesome to explain recreation on this listing. A Lich has plunged the world into everlasting nothingness and it’s as much as gamers to rebuild it by putting buildings, enemies, and even terrain from a customizable deck of playing cards alongside infinite loops. Whereas the idea could also be a little bit meta, the core gameplay loop (no pun meant) is strong and given an opportunity, Loop Hero could have you theorycrafting essentially the most environment friendly decks and layouts very quickly.

Loop Hero is an ideal pick-up-and-play recreation for many who solely have a little bit little bit of free time whereas additionally being a recreation that you could sink your tooth into for prolonged durations. It affords a incredible spin on the roguelike style, and anybody who counts themselves as a roguelike fan ought to test it out. – EA

Sable

It may be simple to get misplaced in essentially the most explosive and action-packed video games, however Sable isn’t like that. As a substitute of infinite fight, Sable greets you with lovely vistas like slow-motion sunsets and the remnants of crumbling stone ruins. The sport is closely styled after fantasy RPGs like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, however with out all of the defending and discovering new weapons.

As a substitute of combating, you’ll spend your time exploring a good looking world that beckons you deeper into it with each passing second. Sandy banks unfold out earlier than you want an ocean, simply ready so that you can expertise the entire secrets and techniques that it has ready on the opposite facet of each dune forward of you. It’s a good looking title that does an amazing job of reminding you that fight doesn’t must be the centerpiece of a recreation for it to be an absolute masterpiece. – JH

It Takes Two

After It Takes Two, it’s clear that Hazelight Studios is a grasp of constructing memorable co-op experiences. Whereas the studio’s first recreation A Means Out could have had some flaws, it’s onerous to seek out a lot to criticize about It Takes Two.

In It Takes Two, gamers tackle the function of a divorcing couple who’re compelled to work collectively and look at the failings of their relationship after magically remodeling into dolls. The collaborative gameplay, which forces gamers to work collectively to unravel puzzles and progress by means of the sport, is top-notch, as is the voice performing and the writing.

It Takes Two is a really charming recreation and a very good co-op expertise that ought to be on the shortlist for everybody who hasn’t already performed it. It’s a type of genre-defining experiences that’s made even higher by the truth that it forces you to play by means of with a good friend or a beloved one. Whereas those that haven’t performed it but could have thought it was unusual to see it win Sport of the Yr at The Sport Awards, those that have performed it knew why it was chosen and why it deserved the glory. – EA

Resident Evil Village

It doesn’t matter what you consider Capcom’s resolution to take Resident Evil into the first-person perspective, there’s no arguing that Resident Evil Village is a RE recreation by means of and thru. The sport is chock stuffed with disturbing creatures, tense moments, and undead-slaying motion. There’s additionally a really cheeky vampire girl that everybody on social media fell in love with for some purpose.

In case you’re in search of an amazing horror recreation that doesn’t maintain again, then I extremely advocate trying out Resident Evil Village. The environments throughout the recreation are incredible, and it continues Ethan Winters’ story from the seventh recreation with a spectacular stroll by means of the villages and castles of Romania, a incredible change from the backwoods of Lousianna that we explored in Resident Evil 7.

There’s lots to love about the best way that Capcom blends motion and survival horror components in Resident Evil Village. It isn’t the purest type of Resident Evil you’ll discover on the market, because it has extra motion than the unique video games. However, for a sequence that has developed and altered lots over time, Resident Evil Village seems like the beginning of a stroll again to the roots of what made this sequence so good at first. – JH

Metroid Dread

The Metroid followers of the world must be among the many most affected person avid gamers round. They’ve been ready on Metroid Prime 4 for years, however the look forward to a brand new 2D Metroid recreation has been even longer (assuming we’re not counting the Zero Mission and Samus Returns remakes).

These 2D Metroid followers lastly obtained what they had been ready for this 12 months in Metroid Dread, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was a superb return to kind – a phrase you’ll hear greater than as soon as on this roundup – for the sequence, which has largely relied on spin-offs lately.

Metroid Dread just about has all of it – a superb map, tight controls, intense fight, difficult boss fights, and loads of secrets and techniques to seek out. In case you’re a Metroid fan, then Metroid Dread is sort of a dream, and it’s fairly probably the perfect recreation launched on the Nintendo Change this 12 months. Disgrace on Nintendo for making us wait so lengthy for a correct 2D Metroid, however bravo for knocking the primary entry in a very long time out of the park. Learn SlashGear’s full evaluate of Metroid Dread. – EA

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

I actually wasn’t certain what to anticipate when Sq. Enix introduced that it could be making a recreation for Guardians of the Galaxy. The consequence, although, is an absolute masterpiece in writing and design.

In actual fact, there’s a lot to like in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, that I preserve discovering myself revisiting a few of my favourite elements of the sport by loading up my outdated save recordsdata. The whole lot concerning the recreation hits residence for followers of the comics. The writing, the dialogue, all of it seems like it could match completely within a Guardians of the Galaxy comedian e book, and I’m all right here for it.

I’ll say that the sport’s fight does get a little bit outdated after some time, and loads of the battles begin to really feel a bit too samey. That being stated, the remainder of the sport is spectacular and price experiencing if you happen to’re a fan of the Guardians — whether or not that be James Gunn’s model or the unique comics model of the hero group. – JH

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 is lots like Forza Horizon 4 and 3, of that there isn’t any doubt. The sport modes are very comparable, the open world driving feels very acquainted, and even lots of the characters are the identical as a result of they’ve made the bounce from the earlier video games. In case you’ve performed Forza Horizon 3 or 4 earlier than, you have got a good suggestion of what to anticipate from Forza Horizon 5.

Nicely, you do and also you don’t, as a result of for as acquainted because the gameplay could be, it’s the in-game world that elevates Forza Horizon 5 above its predecessors. Mexico makes for a good looking location for the Forza Horizon Competition, and driving by means of Playground’s tackle the nation hasn’t gotten outdated but.

Although Playground is responsible of taking part in issues a little bit too protected with Forza Horizon 5, it’s nonetheless top-of-the-line open world racing video games ever made – if not the finest. The developer will need to take into account shaking issues up a little bit extra dramatically in future entries, however regardless, Forza Horizon 5 is a masterclass in learn how to make an open world racer not solely with compelling gameplay but in addition with a compelling world. Learn SlashGear’s full evaluate of Forza Horizon 5. – EA

Psychonauts 2

We waited 15 years for Psychonauts 2 and it didn’t disappoint. To name this one of many trippiest video games of the 12 months can be an understatement, however, to be fully sincere, it simply wouldn’t have felt the identical if it hadn’t been that means.

Like the primary Psychonauts, the second title follows Raz, the sequence’ fundamental protagonist. Raz is ready to dive into folks’s minds and assist them overcome the assorted psychological constructs they may have constructed up. It’s an attention-grabbing concept that’s made even higher by the colourful and frantic design that Double Wonderful has change into so recognized for over time.

The whole lot about this action-platformer feels good, from the environments to the music, and even the enemies that you simply face off towards. It’s an ideal callback to the action-platformers that I fell in love with rising up, and a very good strategy to proceed telling Raz’s story within the distinctive and pleasant world that Double Wonderful has created. My solely hope now’s that I don’t have to attend one other 15 years for a brand new Psychonauts recreation. – JH

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside was one of many highlights of the 12 months for me, and I’m shocked that I haven’t seen it included in additional year-end wrap-ups. Whereas the PlayStation 5 has had a number of spectacular exclusives this 12 months, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside is the one which bought me on the imaginative and prescient for the console.

With lovely visuals, nice gameplay, glorious voice performing, and even one thing of a heartwarming story, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside is sort of a playable Pixar film. I beloved Rift Aside from begin to end, and I’m wanting ahead to the following recreation with these characters.

As well as, Rift Aside makes good use of the PS5’s DualSense controller and SSD. It’s a next-gen expertise in a sea of cross-generation video games, and whereas I don’t assume it’s fairly to the extent of a system vendor, it does deserve a spot on the shelf for anybody who likes action-adventure video games. Learn SlashGear’s full evaluate of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside. – EA

Age of Empires IV

The Age of Empires fanbase generally is a onerous group to please. Whereas Age of Empires III is an efficient recreation in its personal proper, most followers have caught with its predecessor, Age of Empires II, for years. Microsoft’s current Definitive Version releases within the Age of Empires sequence solely rekindled that love for the franchise – Age of Empires II specifically – and as we approached Age of Empires IV’s launch date, many (together with myself) had been questioning if Microsoft may stick the touchdown in spite of everything these years.

Whereas Age of Empires IV isn’t excellent, it’s an excellent entry within the sequence. Ok, at the very least, to drag the Age of Empires II professionals away from that recreation after years and years of taking part in it. Personally, I’m terrible at Age of Empires IV, however even I can see that the gameplay is strong on this entry. It even provides you historical past classes as you play by means of the campaigns! What’s to not love?

Time will inform if these Age of Empires II veterans will in the end return to the sport they’ve known as residence for a few years, however the truth that lots of them are nonetheless taking part in Age of Empires IV as I write this ought to be a testomony to the notion that it’s no mere technique recreation. Whereas the graphics have been some extent of rivalry among the many fanbase, it’s onerous to seek out an excessive amount of else to complain about, so this can be a large win for a group that has been ready on a brand new entry for greater than a decade. – EA

Halo Infinite

If I’d have advised you in July 2020 that Halo Infinite was going to wind up on a finest video games of the 12 months listing, you in all probability wouldn’t have believed me. The main points of Halo Infinite’s troubled improvement are well-known at this level, and if there was any doubt, the marketing campaign demo we noticed final 12 months was a strong indication that each one was not nicely with Microsoft’s flagship franchise. The corporate delayed its recreation past the Xbox Sequence X launch window, however a 12 months later, Halo Infinite is lastly out and it’s clear the choice to delay was the fitting one.

Halo Infinite’s marketing campaign is sort of a departure for the sequence, being a semi-open world as an alternative of strictly linear. The open world really provides much more to the sport than I used to be anticipating, and I’m excited to see what 343 does with it in future campaigns, whether or not these are added to Halo Infinite as DLC or they’re launched as standalone merchandise.

Halo Infinite is certainly the perfect Halo recreation 343 Industries has made to date. There are some points surrounding the free-to-play monetization within the recreation’s standalone multiplayer mode – in brief, it’s too grasping – however the gameplay is completely stellar. I’m excited for the way forward for Halo, which is one thing I haven’t actually felt since Bungie had the reins to this franchise. Let’s simply hope that no matter 343 does subsequent with Halo, it contains the Grappleshot, as a result of whew child that’s a enjoyable device to make use of. Learn SlashGear’s full evaluate of Halo Infinite. – EA

Valheim

Usually, an early entry recreation wouldn’t make this listing by the straightforward undeniable fact that it’s thought-about unfinished. Valheim, nonetheless, is a particular case, as a result of even with lots extra work and improvement forward of it, there’s already loads of content material to get misplaced in.

Performed with associates, Valheim rapidly turns into top-of-the-line survival experiences in gaming in the intervening time. Its retro-inspired 3D graphics look completely lovely (when you get used to them, at the very least), and the entire recreation’s programs work surprisingly nicely even if we’d count on an early entry title to lack polish.

I’m tremendous excited for the way forward for Valheim, and I believe all survival followers ought to take a look at this recreation in the event that they haven’t already. Don’t look forward to its full launch, simply seize the sport and dive in. It isn’t typically that I like to recommend that folks purchase early entry video games so enthusiastically, however Valheim actually is one thing particular. – EA

The remasters, re-releases, and current-gen ports we beloved in 2021

On this bonus part, we’ll go over among the finest remasters and re-releases that launched in 2021. Remasters and remakes have change into commonplace within the business, and whereas a few of them will be blatant money grabs that look to monetize nostalgia and nothing extra ( you, GTA Trilogy), a few of them are made with dedication to the supply and change into the definitive strategy to play these video games from the previous.

First up is Mass Impact Legendary Version, which could simply be the perfect worth in gaming this 12 months. Packing not one however three remasters, Mass Impact Legendary Version updates top-of-the-line gaming trilogies of all time for contemporary platforms. It’s true that the primary Mass Impact remains to be a little bit tough across the edges, however even that recreation has a compelling story to inform, and it’s only a precursor to the outstanding Mass Impact 2 and Mass Impact 3. All Mass Impact followers have to take the Legendary Version for a spin as a result of there’s lots to like about it.

Sq. Enix’s Ultimate Fantasy Pixel Remasters additionally impressed this 12 months, although the most important drawback for us has been discovering time to play by means of all of them. Sq. Enix’s work to replace these video games with contemporary pixel graphics and a really superior remastered soundtrack gracefully ushers these old-school video games into the fashionable period. Whereas we’re nonetheless ready on Ultimate Fantasy VI, the primary 5 video games can be found on PC and cell gadgets. Right here’s hoping Sq. Enix decides to convey them to Xbox, PlayStation, and Change so our console brothers and sisters get to reexperience these classics for themselves.

Lastly, hats off to the parents at Sucker Punch for his or her work on Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Lower. Although the Director’s Lower is on the market on each PS4 and PS5, the latter platform is the one you need. On PS5, the visuals in Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Lower are merely gorgeous; there’s no higher strategy to describe them. The fight, as at all times, is on level whereas the narrative and artwork route seep fashion. At this level, Sucker Punch may announce one other re-release for 2022 and we’d be onboard given how nice Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Lower is.

Wrap-Up

Nicely, there you have got it: SlashGear’s finest video games of 2021. It’s a protracted listing that would have been even longer, and it’s proof that the video games business had a 12 months crammed with strong releases regardless of the COVID pandemic’s finest efforts to derail improvement. Because of all of those delays from the pandemic, we’re anticipating a fair greater 12 months in 2022, so prepare as a result of the releases are solely going to get higher from right here.

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