Which was your favorite?
2021 may not go down in history as the greatest year for gaming, but it definitely produced some standouts. While many games failed to deliver, these ten blew away the competition. Here are the absolute best video games of 2021, ranked.
The Far Cry series continues to prove that explosions, eccentric villains and an open-world island paradise are a winning formula for gaming fun. Huge kudos to Giancarlo Esposito as the big bad here and the team at Ubisoft for continuing to deliver hellzapoppin fun without resting on their laurels too hard.
Ever since it was rebooted, the Hitman series has absolutely nailed the choose-your-own-murder strategy as they placed Agent 47 in exotic locales and tasked him with taking out high value targets. As the series continues to evolve with new challenges and poignant parodies of potential real-life targets, Hitman 3 more than earns its spot on this list.
Innovative time-looping gameplay and a mysterious story that’s part Edge of Tomorrow, part Memento make Deathloop a memorable experience that not everyone got to play since it’s a time PS5-exclusive game. Xbox and PC gamers can look forward to Deathloop’s sci-fi shooter mayhem when it finally is allowed to launch outside of Playstation 5 in fall of 2022.
It’s rare to see a VR game that’s worthy of a Game of the Year list but I Expect You to Die 2 is the most polished VR game yet, with production values that are through the roof. From Wil Wheaton’s awesome voiceover work to challenging level design and an overflow of style, this is a must-have for any VR gamer, whether they’ve been there since the beginning or are just trying VR on a Quest 2 for the first time this holiday.
The beloved Psychonauts has finally gotten a proper sequel and it’s hard not to be charmed by it. Fantastic styling and voice work complement the platforming action found here in a world that’s different enough from the original without ever losing sight of what made Psychonauts great. Doesn’t hurt that it’s free with GamePass either, like all the other Xbox exclusives peppering the list this year.
Boasting beloved characters, awesome platforming, crazy gunplay and absolutely gorgeous graphics, Rift Apart is easily the best PS5 game of the year and provides a glimpse into what Sony’s latest hardware can really do. Ratchet and Clank is that old fashioned kind of game that made video games popular in the first place and should be considered essential for anyone lucky enough to have a PS5 at home.
Nintendo Switch’s biggest exclusive of the year was nearly two decades in the making. It was worth the wait. Metroid Dread is a 2D platformer that picks up where Samus’ story left off several console generations ago. The level design is absolutely top notch and the progression is supremely satisfying as Samus’ bag of tricks grows until she’s able to take on anything the treacherous world can throw at her. Metroid Dread isn’t just a great game, it’s a reminder that Nintendo has mastered first-party games that deliver fan-service like no one else can.
Oddly wrapped in the façade of a couple’s therapy session, It Takes Two has story and character choices that are sometimes out of place in the world of gaming where explosions and deathmatches are the default. Under that façade, however, lies some of the most innovative, addicting, varied and challenging co-op gameplay ever created that will give gamers a sense of satisfied accomplishment upon the completion of each level.
It’s not a stretch to say that Forza Horizon 5 is the best game ever in the Forza series. The new entry in the series is set against the backdrop of the Mexican landscape, is loaded with a huge variety of races, barn finds and challenges and is simply stunning in terms of graphics, with the enormous list of drivable cars looking gorgeous. No Forza game has been nearly this addicting in the past and with seamlessly integrated online play, the game is infinitely replayable.
Xbox made everyone wait an extra year to get their hands on Halo Infinite and the extra time was worth it. The legendary series that helped catapult the Xbox into direct competition with Playstation continues to be the high point of shooters. Major changes like a shift to open-world exploration and the addition of a grappling hook to add intense verticality to the game join the rock-solid gunplay and combat that have been a hallmark of Halo since 2001.
Opposite the awesome campaign and intriguing continuation of a 20 year long plot is Halo Infinite’s competitive online that pits players against each other in a wide variety of fights to the death. Master Chief never looked better and a Halo game never made gamers feel more deadly. Halo Infinite is a game that’ll remain in high regards for a long time and deserves its praise at the top of this list.