It’s been a strange year for video games so far. The long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic on game development didn’t really feed its ugly head until early 2021. That led to a sudden wave of delays, which ran out of calendars. release of the year once a month.
Even so, 2021 has seen a surprising string of successes, from established franchises to brand new properties. We haven’t been buried in new releases for the past six months, but there’s something worth checking out every few weeks. For those looking to play catch-up this summer before the peak holiday season, here are the best games we’ve played in 2021 so far.
It takes two
Josef Fares, the eclectic game director known for his unfiltered rants, likes to make big claims. When his multiplayer game A way out released, he seems confident it will change the way the game is played as we know it. It didn’t, even though the game was received positively enough. So when It takes two was first announced at The Game Awards, and Fares began spewing winged praise, some understandably skeptical. This time, though, he wasn’t overly encouraging; It takes two is really good.
The co-op adventure shines through with its ever-changing awesome multiplayer mechanics. In one level, players will solve puzzles with hammerheads and nail guns. In another way, they are shooting down waves of wasps. Every hour of the game is completely unique and always make sure to treat both players as protagonists. While some have taken issue with the game’s oversimplified divorce story, it’s hard to argue with it from a purely gameplay standpoint. It has the confidence of a classic Nintendo platformer.
Read ours It takes two review
Monster Hunter Rise
The Monster Hunter series is not very novice-friendly. It features complex actions, loads of materials, and a headache-inducing interface that will make even the most seasoned gamer pass up. Monster Hunter Rise still have those hurdles, but it’s the closest the series comes to an accessible experience (thanks in no small part to the fact that it’s on the Nintendo Switch).
Monster Hunter Rise includes all the hallmarks fans have come to know and love, like oversized weapons and giant monsters. But it’s the new features that make it shine. The Wirebug mechanic adds new movement options to the game to make traveling through the map easier. Rampage battles are a neat addition, adding tower defense battles to the mix. Take in some excellent online multiplayer and you have the recipe for a hit in the beloved franchise.
Read ours Monster Hunter Rise review
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
In early 2021, PS5 crashed. Everyone wants to get into the system, but there aren’t many new games to play on it. With games like Gran Turismo 7 and God of War delayed, it looks like the console will have trouble landing a killer app within the first year of its launch. Enter Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is the first genuine system seller of this console generation.
The 3D action platformer does what the series have always done best: It offers thrilling set-ups and lots of innovative weapons to play with. What makes Rift Apart What really stands out, however, is its use of PS5 hardware. It’s an engineering masterclass that uses the system’s super-fast SSD to create dimensional jumping magic tricks. It’s the first game that really feels like we’re in a new era of gaming – and it’s fun to boot.
Read ours Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart review
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Super Mario World 3D was one of the last Wii U keepers to make the switch to Switch, but it was well worth the wait. The platform has always been quietly one of the best games to sit on Nintendo’s failed console, and it’s time for it to get a second chance with a broader player base. Those who haven’t had a chance to play it must experience one of Mario’s most exciting and exciting adventures.
It can’t Super Mario World 3D that makes this package a must-have; it was the original packaged game that came with it. Bowser’s Fury is an excellent Mario game in its own right, giving players a Super Mario Odyssey The sequel takes place in a series of islands. It was a brief experiment with the Mario form, but one that resembles the future of the series. The open-world setting fits perfectly into this genre, as Mario can jump from island to island to collect Cat Shines. Expect the next main Mario game to take some cues from it.
Profit is the kind of left-side hit that makes the game industry go wild. Developed by Hosuemarque, the sci-fi roguelite has always intrigued Sony’s State of Play presentations. It definitely made a statement with its creepy atmosphere and “bullet hell” 3D gameplay. Turned out, Profit bit by bit is as appealing as it looks, giving the PS5 a compelling original character.
There are so many things to love Profit. Shooting in third-person is fast and furious, it creatively mixes genres and has a puzzlingly realistic story. It’s a game that doesn’t feel like it’s been cast into an AAA mold. It’s a completely original project, combining influences to create something completely new. This is also the best performance of an external DualSense controller Astro’s Playroom, which uses haptic feedback to bring its alien world to life.
Read ours Profit review
Speaking of unexpected hits, Scarlet Nexus really come from nowhere. The RPG was featured in some of Sony’s early PS5 presentations, but the news was a bit muted as its launch drew closer. That can be cause for concern, but thankfully, the Scarlet Nexus turns out to be a great hidden gem.
The game is most notable for its combat system, which allows the player to chain ridiculous combos together and unleash a series of elemental attacks. It feels a bit like PlatinumGames titles like Chain of souls emphasis on sharp action. A mystical story and memorable characters pull the whole package together, making it an RPG that should be on any RPG fan’s backlog this summer.
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When it comes to the Hitman series, there’s a fitting saying: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. On paper, Hitman 3 virtually identical to the previous two games in the series. It has the same great stealth gameplay that turns assassinations into one big puzzle. It’s more of the same, but that’s not something to complain about with this solid rock franchise.
Instead of reinventing the franchise, Hitman 3 just raise the ante by delivering some of its strongest levels to date. Agent 47 sneaks through a sprawling vineyard, a giant skyscraper in Dubai, etc. Best of these is the game’s Dartmoor level, which is a full “whodunit” movie in which the Agent 47 can take on the role of a detective trying to solve a murder in the family. Or he could skip that quest altogether and poison the target’s tea. That freedom makes it a memorable ending to the World of Assassination trilogy.
Read ours Hitman 3 review
For those looking to dive deeper beyond this year’s premium releases, there are plenty of excellent releases to watch. Chicory: A colorful story is a beautiful painting adventure, Overboard! is a backlit murder mystery and Apple Arcade subscribers shouldn’t fall asleep nên Fantasian. However, there is an indie that you really need to see to believe. Before your eyes is a game controlled entirely by the blink of an eye.
The game has a truly one-of-a-kind premise. It connects to a webcam and tracks the player’s blinks. That system is used to tell a story about a character at the end of his life reliving his memories. Every time a player blinks in real life, they’ll skip in time – you’ll literally blink and miss it. What begins as a cleverly controlled experiment turns into a remarkable story that features some unexpected emotional twists. You may find yourself trying to keep your eyes open as tears flow.