Another year is almost in the books! COVID-19 has continued to dominate our personal and work lives, adding additional difficulty to what was already essentially “hard mode”. This has led to numerous delays in the gaming industry with several titles being pushed back to 2022. That being said, a lot of games were still able to launch this year, and a quality slate was still offered.
Personally, 2021 has been quite the year for me as I became a father for the first time in January. Our happy and healthy little girl brings me an enormous amount of joy, but she also sucks up all of my energy from my already low-energy body. After gaming very sparingly for the first few months, I’ve been able to play more after putting her down at night. Therefore, my list will be shorter than last year, since my ability to play games has plummeted. Without further ado, here’s my list!
Oozing with style, Deathloop is a blast to look at and play. With fantastic performances by Jason E. Kelley (Colt) and Ozioma Alagha (Julianna), the character design and character development impresses from the onset. Even though the game holds your hand a little too much, sneaking around areas, learning enemy patterns, and unravelling the mystery of Blackreef is a trip. If you like the movie Groundhog Day and the game Dishonored, then Deathloop will be for you!
It’s not easy being King. And sometimes, it’s not easy being the heir to the throne either. Players learn this quickly when they take on the role of Redgi the rat, whose kingdom is decimated by invading enemies. Part Souls-like, part Metroidvania, Tails of Iron has a unique art style and combat system that gives players plenty to gnaw on. Combined with lovely narration, music, and sound effects, Tails of Iron is a treat on the eyes and ears throughout the entire journey.
With incredibly tight controls, a unique aesthetic, and impeccable game design, Death’s Door stood out in an impressive year of indies. Drawing comparisons to the early Legend of Zelda games, Death’s Door carved its own path with an isometric viewpoint and different art design. For fans of combat based games with a Metroidvania flair, Death’s Door is a no-brainer.
Simply a technical marvel, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a perfect showcase for the PS5’s abilities. Seamlessly travelling from one dimension to another without a loading screen or jitter is a treat, the graphics are fantastic, and the game is a blast to play! With its already great, recurring cast of characters, new additions Rivet and Kit make the crew even better. Arguably the best Ratchet & Clank game ever made, Rift Apart is a must play for PS5 owners.
From the onset, Returnal astounds. Phenomenally developed game design, mechanics, art style, and storytelling make Returnal an unforgettable experience. Initially hampered by its lack of a photo mode and save ability, a recent update has thankfully added both of those features. Given the game’s difficulty, it won’t be for everyone. But for those willing to give Returnal a chance (and another chance, and another chance), they will experience a truly remarkable game.
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