The beginning of 2021 may have brought with it only a small drip of quality Triple-A titles, but things are starting to change as we enter the latter half of the year (crazy, we know). Being 6 months in affords us the chance to take a look back at the games that have impressed us most so far, heaping praise upon those that stand a good chance of making our definitive Top 10 list in the future. The following is by no means solidified, however, as we’ll continue to update this guide with what we think are the best video games of 2021 so far.
We’ve done this to point you towards the titles we think are worth checking out most, regardless of genre, platform or how much free time you have set aside to play. Be sure to check back each month to see if anything’s been bumped off or – even better – made a surprise appearance. Needless to say, if you’re unable to play everything and instead want to check out the cream of the crop, the following games won’t disappoint… We’ll even display each game’s best current price!
People said a fully blown Monster Hunter couldn’t be done on Nintendo’s trademark handheld. However, Capcom proved the naysayers wrong in March of this year by releasing the absolutely brilliant and innovative Monster Hunter: Rise. Again setting you and a team of friends off to slay down countless giant beasties, this is a well-realised version of this large-scale action that plays out near flawlessly in either docked or handheld mode. Upgrading your weapons, gear and tools through hunts also remains as fun as ever, and updates for Rise continue to roll out in the months since launch.
Hot off the heels of their last co-op driven adventure game, developer Hazelight studios yet again delivered in having pairs of players to work together in the utterly charming It Takes Two. The story centres on a married couple about to begin divorce proceedings, but just when it seems all hope is lost, they’re shrunk down to the size of an insect and forced to fight their way back to their daughter. It’s a two-player romp as you and a friend must navigate gardens, attics, bedrooms and more, all while solving creating puzzles and engaging in gameplay that always keeps you guessing.
It might lean a bit more on action than what Resident Evil 7: Biohazard players were expecting, sure, yet overall Village is an appropriately scary follow up. Yet again focussing on Ethan’s attempt to reunite his family, he must navigate various supernatural lords who each reign over a unique domain, solving puzzles and slaughtering any lycan standing in his way. If you’re in need of a campy fright-fest, Resident Evil: Village doesn’t disappoint as a successor to Resident Evil 4.
The Hitman franchise had once been on the ropes, yet IO Interactive pivoted back in 2015 to give Agent 47 a suave and sophisticated new spin. The stealth assassin formula was still an important ingredient, however, and it all comes full circle in this year’s excellent Hitman 3. Letting you explore such settings as a quaint English mansion, a five-star Dubai hotel and the rainy streets of Chongqinq, it’s up to you to use your wits and environment to take down targets as sneakily as possible. Especially when you consider than levels from Hitman 1 + 2 can be imported, Hitman 3 is the ultimate assassination sandbox.
Fans of third-person shooters and addictive roguelites will find both genres expertly blended together in Returnal. A PS5 exclusive that encourages players to continually experiment, adapt and react again and again during repeat runs, it may take a while to tap into Returnal’s rhythms but it all comes together beautifully when the mechanics click. Exploring the alien world of Atropos while trying to fend off legions of otherworldly beings never ceases to be a thrill, and expert Dualsense haptic feedback helps to better immerse you.
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