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Published: 14/May/2021 11:43by Daniel Megarry
2021 isn’t over yet, but it’s never too early to start celebrating the best video games the year has to offer. From horror survival Resident Evil Village to the latest addictive Monster Hunter title, here are the games you need to play this year.
With two new consoles – the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S – still fresh off the market and ready to show the world what they can do, and the Nintendo Switch continuing to captivate players everywhere, 2021 has the potential to be an incredible year for gaming.
Despite many of the most-anticipated releases like Hogwarts Legacy and Gotham Knights being delayed until next year, we’ve already had new titles from major franchises like Hitman and Pokemon, as well as some genuinely incredible original IPs like Returnal and It Takes Two.
This list will be updated as more titles get released throughout the year, but for now, here are Dexerto’s favorite video games of 2021 so far.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Stadia
After the game-changing Resident Evil Biohazard restored faith in the survival horror franchise, Capcom had to pull something epic out of the bag for its highly-anticipated sequel. Fortunately, Village delivered, giving players heart-pounding action and genuinely terrifying scares in equal measure. It’s also got some of the best original characters in gaming, headlined by the viral sensation Lady Dimitrescu – affectionately known as ‘tall vampire lady’ by fans – and the return of longtime fan favorite Chris Redfield. Whether you’re a series veteran or you’ve never tried a Resident Evil game in your life, it’s a must-play experience.
Read our Resident Evil Village review here.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
You might not have expected to see New Pokemon Snap on this list, but the latest spin-off in the popular Nintendo franchise has completely won us over. Instead of the usual catch ’em all gameplay, you’ll be taking pictures of over 200 Pokemon species across the gorgeous Lental region in order to get top marks from Professor Mirror. It might sound too simple – and a little strange – to actually work, but give it a chance and you’ll see just how charming, relaxing, and surprisingly addictive this game can be.
Read our New Pokemon Snap review here.
We called Returnal the “first true must-play PS5 exclusive” in our review, and we meant it. Players take on the role of Selene, an astronaut who’s crash-landed and isolated on a shape-shifting alien world where she’s forced to fight for survival in a torturous loop. Each time she dies, Selene restarts her journey with different items at her disposal and an environment that’s constantly changing around her. The result is an incredibly unique game with endless replayability and new challenges at every turn, all helped by stunning visuals and DualSense features that really push the PS5 to the limit.
Read our Returnal review here.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC (Epic Games Store)
More than two decades after PlayStation classic Abe’s Oddysee put the Oddworld franchise on the map, a true sequel has finally been released. Soulstorm is a brutal and beautiful 2.9D platformer that’s packed with head-scratching puzzles, stunning cinematics, and dark humor. Most importantly, it has plenty of heart and a message to share that still remains relevant today. If you can get past the high difficulty level, you’ll find Abe’s journey is a very rewarding one.
Read our Oddworld Soulstorm review here.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Monster Hunter Rise builds on the solid foundations laid by its predecessors and takes the franchise to even greater heights, introducing a canine companion known as Palamute, a Wirebug feature that allows you to zip through the air, and high-octane fights against devastating new monsters that really capture that primal ‘man vs beast’ feel. If you’ve never played a Monster Hunter title before, Rise is the perfect time to dive in; it’s one of the best titles currently available for the Nintendo Switch.
Read our Monster Hunter Rise review here.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC
If Pixar made a video game, it’d probably look something like It Takes Two. The latest multiplayer-only release from Hazelight Studios is an absolutely stellar game that oozes with imagination. Whether you’re battling an astronaut baboon in outer space or solving puzzles in a frozen Swiss town, you’ll never know what’s coming next as no two levels are alike. With plenty of pop culture references and easter eggs to discover, you can feel the love and care that went into making every moment of the game special. Enlist the help of a friend or loved one and get ready for one of the most memorable gaming experiences this year.
Read our It Takes Two review here.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Stadia
Hitman 3 brings a show-stopping end to the World of Assassination trilogy, following the genetically-engineered assassin Agent 47 as he travels around the globe on a mission to take down the secretive organization known as Providence. With incredible graphics and the ability to carry out contracted assassinations in a variety of stunning real-world locations including Dubai, Mendoza, and Berlin, the latest from IO Interactive kicked the year off with a bang, and definitely deserves a place on your must-play list for 2021.
So there you have it – all the best games of 2021 so far. With plenty of exciting new releases still on the horizon, this list will surely grow as the year rumbles on, so check back soon for more incredible games.