‘Forza Horizon 5’ tops the list of the 10 best video games of 2021 | Nation
Microsoft’s investment in studios begins to pay off as Xbox Game Pass creates stellar game lineup
Nothing went as planned this year. Chip shortages continued, making the latest generation of consoles difficult to pick up. Most video game events like E3 and GDC have gone virtual as the pandemic lingered. Long-awaited titles have been postponed for a few months.
That created a stacked lineup for 2022, but that doesn’t mean this year was devoid of big games, it’s that the 2021 crop may pale in comparison to others.
With fewer blockbuster deals from PlayStation and Nintendo, this year was dominated by Microsoft as the company’s investment in studio acquisition started to pay off and this helped its Xbox Game Pass service to s ‘implant more firmly. This is reflected in the top 10 games of 2021, which contains several titles from Xbox Game Studio.
1. “Forza Horizon 5” – Can a racing game win the game of the year? Of course, it can if it innovates enough and transcends the genre. The title of Playground Games does both because it takes players and the eponymous festival to Mexico.
The developers capture the essence of the country and transport players to an ever-changing open world. The developers are bringing the idea of seasonal weather back to the map, and they’re adapting to deserts, jungles, beaches, and cities in Mexico. More importantly, Playground Games has cleared the bar when it comes to race design and side quests. Players can race with monster trucks at one point and at another point they will explore ancient ruins.
The diversity of activities seems wacky, but somehow it all makes sense in the context of the festival and the racing game. Jump into a mode to create user-generated activities, and players are sure to have content they can enjoy on their own, in competition, or in co-op.
“Forza Horizon 5” isn’t just the best racing game to release in years. This is the best game of the 2021 period.
2. “Deathloop” – The concept of time loops has been around for decades, but strangely video games haven’t capitalized on it, except for a few cases like “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”.
“Deathloop” puts the players in the role of Colt Vahn, an amnesiac who wakes up on Blackreef. The island has been repeating the same day over and over again for years, and Colt and his nemesis Juliana are the only ones with previous memories of what happened over multiple cycles. Players will need to break the loop by taking out the island’s leaders in one day.
It requires exploration, investigation, and clever use of the powers Colt absorbs. It’s a brilliant shooter that skillfully combines storytelling and gameplay.
3. “Monster Hunter Rise” – In recent iterations, Capcom’s flagship action role-playing game has become more accessible. It removed awkward mechanics that weighed down on players and increased difficulty in order to focus more on actual combat skills.
With “Monster Hunter Rise”, Capcom adds new mechanics such as the Wirebug and the Palamute which increase the maneuverability and traversal of the map. This accelerated the hunts and made it cheaper to grind parts. All of this brings out the best in the franchise while downplaying the flaws that once held it back.
4. “Halo Infinite” – After years of testing, 343 Industries has finally got the franchise back on track and the team is telling a story that befits Master Chief’s stature. This entry almost feels like a franchise reset that brings the series an open world and an intriguing story that’s told in the media or in the middle of things.
Meanwhile, multiplayer feels more polished than ever, and it accentuates just how different “Halo” feels from its peers. The smooth movements and arcade action are a reminder that great shooters don’t fall into one type of box.
5. “Psychonauts 2” – After more than 15 years, Double Fine has finally released a sequel to the cult classic and it’s every bit as worthy as the original. This follow-up fixes gameplay flaws while maintaining that sleek platform.
What makes “Psychonauts 2” great is that the story and mission design work together wonderfully to tell a story of regret, forgiveness, and redemption.
6. “Resident Evil Village” – Capcom’s franchise overhaul continued with this entry that adds more action to its survival-horror formula. As Ethan Winters, players are tasked with saving the protagonist’s kidnapped girl. This takes Ethan to Eastern Europe, where he must fight a group of monstrous inhabitants of the village led by the mysterious Mother Miranda.
7. “Returnal” – Housemarque’s foray into creating a roguelike survival horror game was brilliant. In the shoes of Selene, a pilot who crashes on the mysterious planet of Atropos, players will have to find a way to escape from the surface fighting horrific creatures and hostile natives. The game combines the concepts of hellish shooters that the developer excels at with the exploration elements of a third-person adventure game for a truly unique experience.
8. “Back 4 Blood” – Turtle Rock Studios has made a triumphant return to the cooperative genre they helped establish. With this spiritual successor, the developers keep the feel of “Left 4 Dead”, but they update the mechanics with a card system that improves replayability as it allows players to customize their heroes and the challenges they face in as survivors of a zombie apocalypse.
9. “Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart” – One of the reasons this franchise has been so successful compared to its peers is that it has been able to escape the children’s ghetto. The franchise has taken on more complex themes and introduced more fascinating worlds. While previous games had a Pixar vibe, “A Rift Apart” strives to create an vibe comparable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the titular heroes travel to an alternate reality to stop Emperor Nefarious.
10. “Metroid Dread” – Decades in the making, this entry is a fitting finale to the saga that began with the original NES game. Samus’ investigation of the planet ZDR turns into an effort to save the galaxy as she discovers the origins of life forms linked to her past – the Metroids, the Chozo, and the X Parasite. What sets this entry apart from the rest are the tense moments where nearly invincible EMMI robots stalk the bounty hunter through the rooms and hallways of the planet.