Best of 2021: The Games That Defined The Year

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Gaming is still an art form that lacks the proper respect it deserves, but that does not change the fact that the gaming industry is bigger than almost all other entertainment industries combined. Which means that there are a plethora of stories to be told and experiences to be had from this medium. Sadly, this year was not the best for the storytelling or originality department. Two major consoles were released last year, but the majority of their big name titles were pushed back due to Covid. So, several of the most anticipated games of 2021 were pushed to 2022. Still, this does not mean that 2021 was not without its gems. On the contrary, there were many games to sink your teeth into this past year. These are the best of the lot.

BEST SPORTS/SIMULATOR

Forza Horizon 5

Quite possibly the best racing game ever made. This game drops you right into the race from minute one and has you hold on to your controller for dear life.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

This game takes the entire world and makes it your playground. You can literally fly over Mount Everest or a family home you’ve long forgotten. The experience is absolutely exhilarating.

 

BEST DIRECTOR’S CUT/REMASTER

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

One of the greatest RPG series of all time got a very spiffy upgrade. This is a perfect excuse for those who’ve never experienced these 3 great games to finally see what they were missing.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Releasing Super Mario 3D World on the Nintendo Switch would have been enough for most fans, but throwing the original Bowser’s Fury in the mix makes this a no brainer.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut

This is simply just a more beautiful version of the already amazing looking game. The creators also added fantastic expansion into Iki Island that makes going back to Tsushima well worth your time.

Death Stranding Director’s Cut

One of the most brilliant games ever made just got so much better! The additions include everything from expanded weaponry and missions, to fun ways to send packages like catapults and ramps. However, it’s the fantastic story that will wrap you up all over again.

 

BEST NARRATIVE

Life is Strange: True Colors

Easily the best in an already wonderful series, True Colors tests your patience at times, but there is so much heart here that it’s hard to leave it for long. Plus, unraveling the mystery is quite a good time.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Not only does this game have some very memorable level design, but almost nothing happens in it without the characters having a dialogue with each other. And when those characters are Rocket, Groot, Quill, Gamora, and Drax, it’s really hard to go wrong. A total blast!

It Takes Two

This family friendly game combines brilliant gameplay with one of the most original stories in all of gaming. And it lets you do it all in split-screen co-op. We need more games like this.

Lost Judgement

The most compelling story with the most compelling characters of the year. The studio that brought us the Yakuza series has begun to branch out in the last few years and American gamers are reaping the rewards. This on is a don’t miss!

 

BEST HORROR

Back 4 Blood

If you are a fan of the Zombie Mode in Call of Duty or enjoyed Left 4 Dead years ago, then this is the game for you! 4 players get to fight through hours of challenging levels and thousands of zombies. Sounds like loads of fun to me.

Resident Evil: Village

This series tried to branch out all over the various mediums this year and most of it was not so great. Luckily, they did it perfectly in the medium that mattered most and delivered one of the best Resident Evil games ever made. Some of the stuff in this game will scare the shit out of you!

 

BEST SCI/FI FANTASY

Persona 5 Strikers

Taking the turn based action out of this fantastic series turned out to be an inspired choice and a wonderful excuse to spend more time with the Phantom Thieves.

Deathloop

One of the most original games in years. This game takes the FPS genre and turns it on its head with a time loop concept that forces you to figure out every targets patterns and how to get them where you need them to kill them all in one day. The challenge is a true testament to how games can be manipulated to deliver some thing fresh.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The only game all year to really show the power of the next generation consoles, this sequel to the Ratchet & Clank series could have easily gotten by on its amazing graphics and just stuck to gameplay that already worked. Instead, Insomniac delivered an insanely beautiful, fun, and original sequel that gave us an unforgettable glimpse at what the PS5 is capable of doing. The future is so exciting!

Halo Infinite

Who would have known that all you had to do in order to reinvigorate a series that I have long been bored of was just make it open world. Well, that’s overly simplistic. There’s also a compelling story, memorable characters, and a new multiplayer that is quite a lot of fun, but it’s the sandbox aspect that works so brilliant fly for Thai series. In fact, the only thing I can complain about is that we have to wait until May to play this fantastic campaign through in co-op. I can’t wait to see how much fun that’s going to be!

Nathan Ligon
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