2020 was a solid year for gaming, but 2021 has the potential to be even better.
There are so many games I’m looking forward to playing in 2021. Many 2020 games lived up to the hype, others were slightly disappointing, and some even caught me by surprise. I’m hoping I play a lot of games this year which I can enjoy thoroughly and talk about for years to come. I couldn’t just think of 10 games, so here’s a list of 17 of my most anticipated games coming this year.
17. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (2021 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, PC, and Nintendo Switch)
This is an interesting concept, at least for a Lord of the Rings game. But, I can’t say I’m not interested. Although details are still minimal, I do know it’s a stealth game from the perspective of the character. I’m assuming it’ll go through some of the events of the films through his eyes, which I’m sure fans of the series will appreciate. Maybe there will be an original story thrown in there as well.
16. Neo: The World Ends with You (Summer 2021 on PS4 and Nintendo Switch)
The original The World Ends with You is considered an RPG classic from the beloved developer, Square Enix. Releasing back in 2007 on the Nintendo DS (also available on the Switch now), it’s been 13 years and fans can now look forward to a proper sequel (or prequel?). From the trailer for Neo, Square seems to be sticking true to the original’s formula while also taking advantage of the Switch’s hardware. The game’s art-style is what intrigues me the most and I’m looking forward to experiencing it, among other things, in its entirety.
15. GhostWire: Tokyo (2021 on PS5 and PC)
GhostWire: Tokyo looks very weird and unlike any other video game I’ve seen in a long time, at least from a gameplay perspective. However, from the setting, I’m getting plenty of Deus Ex and Cyberpunk 2077 vibes. It’s still too early to tell if this game will draw inspiration from that genre just yet, but I’ve been interested since its announcement. Most of the story is unknown, but most of the people of Tokyo have vanished and as the protagonist, you must use both magic and martial arts to fend off the ghosts who have taken over the city. This may be one of those surprising titles that’ll catch everyone off-guard.
14. Back 4 Blood (June 22, 2021 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC)
I can’t say I put in countless hours into the Left 4 Dead games back when they were popular. But, I always appreciated its concept and how you can have an endless amount of fun when playing with friends. It may not be Left 4 Dead, but it’s the closest thing to it and from what I’ve seen, it looks very enjoyable. The formula stays true to what made L4D so popular, while also adding some new gameplay elements to the game. Back 4 Blood might be a game I put more time into than I originally thought.
13. Gotham Knights (2021 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC)
It may not be the next Batman game set in the Arkham universe, but it seems to be pretty close to it. The Arkham series revolutionized the superhero genre in video games, so I’m glad DC is still determined to create quality games similar to that. From what I’ve seen, the gameplay is very familiar, but there are many new details. The fact that you can play as four different characters (Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Red Hood) while also playing with another friend adds a completely new dynamic to it all together. I’m looking forward to see how it all works out.
12. Elden Ring (2021? on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC)
Since its reveal back in 2019, little to nothing has been said about this project. Elden Ring has a ton of promise though, considering FromSoftware’s track record with the Dark Souls series. Plus, having George R. R. Martin involved as a writer makes it all the more interesting since he did such a phenomenal job with A Song of Ice and Fire, which is what inspired the hit series, Game of Thrones. Again, there isn’t much to say about this, but what has been said is the game is a “natural evolution” to the Souls series. Rumors also say it’s the biggest game FromSoftware has worked on, including a new open world experience and unique gameplay mechanics. I just hope I don’t rage quit one hour into my playthrough.
11. Hogwarts Legacy (2021 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC)
An open world Harry Potter RPG sounds too good to be true, but it’s indeed a reality. I’ve always thought this would be a great idea considering all the potential it brings. There’s no denying Harry Potter’s popularity thanks to the books and the box office hit films. Now, venturing into the video game world, I’m certain it’ll be a hit with the fans. From the trailer, the game looks visually stunning, but I’m more interested into how we’ll travel across this huge open world, how the game is played, and if we’ll run into any familiar faces along the way.
10. Far Cry 6 (2021 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Stadia, Amazon Luna, and PC)
The most recent Far Cry games haven’t quite lived up to the standard Far Cry 3 established, but most of the games that followed it are still very fun to play. From the trailers alone though, Far Cry 6 seems to be returning to that standard in more ways than one. Of course, the details are still scarce, but having Giancarlo Esposito playing a fascist dictator in a fictional island inspired by Cuba? Yeah, it sounds pretty intense already. It’s also rumored to have the biggest world to explore in the series with plenty of missions to complete. I’m a bit disappointed it won’t be making its initial February 2021 release date, but at least I’ll be able to play it later this year (hopefully).
9. Resident Evil Village (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC)
Resident Evil Village seems to be building off of the same atmosphere and gameplay Resident Evil 7: Biohazard established, which is a game I loved. In reality, the series needed a fresh start after going downhill with Resident Evil 5 and 6. Not saying those games are terrible, but they weren’t as good as 4 and didn’t really keep the focus on the horror. The new games seems like a perfect combination of horror and action, delivering a tense and terrifying experience throughout. Chris Redfield’s inclusion in this game also leaves me asking numerous questions I can’t wait to see be answered.
8. Deathloop (May 21, 2021 on PS5 and PC)
At this point, I’ll buy anything Arkane Studios is developing. Both Dishonored games and the company’s takes on Wolfenstein have been very entertaining, but Deathloop seems like a concept I haven’t seen yet. Some of the gameplay elements look heavily inspired by the Dishonored series, which is great, but it’s the story that has me even more compelled. As Colt, you play as an assassin who’s stuck in a time loop. You have to take out eight targets located on an island before midnight. If not, everything restarts until you get it right. But, you keep memories from the previous loop and you learn the patterns from the enemies to not repeat the same mistakes. There’s also a unique multiplayer option about ruining other player’s time loops in real time, which I want to see more of. Everything about this game screams original and I’m hoping it lives up to my expectations.
7. Kena: Bridge of Spirits (2021 on PlayStation consoles and PC)
Since its reveal, I’ve wanted to know more and more about this game. The animation seems to be right up my wheelhouse since it reminds me of Pixar and Disney films, while some of the gameplay elements look inspired by games like Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda series, with Kena wielding a staff and a bow, rolling, and using light and heavy attacks. There hasn’t been much footage revealed other than the announcement trailer, but it does come from a new studio, Ember Lab, who has hefty experience in the animation realm. They also seem to have crafted a solid team to bring this game to life. This can easily be a flop since it’s a first for this studio, but I have faith and optimism it’ll be a worthwhile game many players will get immersed in and love.
6. Halo Infinite (2021 on Xbox consoles and PC)
My excitement for Halo Infinite is more cautious optimism than anything. Halo 3 is my favorite first-person shooter ever and one of my favorite games of all time. But, every other Halo release to follow was a pretty big disappointment. I believe the developers got lost in their own ambitions and strayed away from what made the series so great by adding too many gimmicks and gameplay elements the fans rejected. If I’m being honest, Infinite seems to be going down the same path with sprinting, Spartan abilities, and even a grappling hook. I mean, these things could work if incorporated properly, though. As a fan, I can’t help but hope this is successful. The first look was a bit underwhelming, but recent images of the game have returned a little bit of excitement. Plus, the game’s multiplayer will be free, which is great.
5. Avowed (2021 on Xbox consoles and PC)
Although the release date is still unknown, I have a good feeling Avowed will release later this year. Obsidian Entertainment has been on a roll lately with The Outer Worlds and the underrated Grounded. Now, its next RPG is Avowed, and it’s looking to be a rival to The Elder Scrolls series. I believe this is a good thing, considering the next TES game might not release for a few more years. Based on the first trailer and Obsidian’s track record with open-world RPG’s, Avowed is one of my most anticipated games of the year. Its setting seems very interesting, even in a teaser that’s a little over a minute long. There will be plenty of fantasy gameplay elements as well, which is promising. I’m looking forward to learning more and putting countless hours into it.
4. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (2021 on PS5)
We’re finally getting a new Ratchet & Clank game after almost five years. PS4’s Ratchet & Clank is an absolute blast, but it was more of a re-imagining of the first game. Regardless, I had a lot of fun playing it and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new entry. As with every new sequel, new features are always introduced, and Ratchet and Clank will be traveling across multiple realities through rifts in order to stop the main antagonist. From the gameplay footage, it still has the typical feel of prior games in the series while also having plenty of new additions. This is one of the best and most consistent gaming franchises of all time and I’m glad there’s more coming.
3. Horizon Forbidden West (2021 on PlayStation consoles)
I’m sure most people hold Horizon Zero Dawn in high regard and rightfully so. But, sometimes I feel it’s slightly overlooked due to the time it was released in. The game released just days before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while also releasing in the same year as games like Super Mario Odyssey, Persona 5, and Nier: Automata. It was a pretty stacked year, but Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best games I’ve ever played. The story was very unique compared to other games I’ve played, and the combat was always fresh and delivering something new. The potential to continue exploring this world has always been there and Forbidden West will do just that. This might end up being the best game of the year.
2. God of War: Ragnarok (2021 on PS5)
2018’s best game of the year, possibly the decade, is getting the sequel it deserves and I think it’s coming sooner than many people expected it to. The original God of War series is critically acclaimed for reinventing the hack-and-slash genre and taking it to new heights with stunning visuals and an immersive story. However, 2018’s God of War reinvented the series, opting for more of a third-person perspective and focusing the combat more on unique combinations and move-sets rather than mashing buttons together (not saying it wasn’t more complex than simply button-mashing). It also feels more like a cinematic film experience rather than just playing through a game. The cut-scenes and animations seamlessly transition unlike anything I’ve seen (up until the point of its release, at least). I can only imagine Ragnarok will take full advantage of the PS5’s hardware and make this game an even better overall experience for the player. Although improving on the first game will be a hard task, I believe it’s also very possible and in more than capable hands. Kratos and Atreus’ story is far from over and it’s only going to get grittier.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel (2021? on Nintendo Switch)
Yes, I still don’t know when this game will be releasing. I really thought it had a good chance to come out in 2020. But, maybe the game simply wasn’t ready yet, and COVID-19 probably played a factor. Regardless, Nintendo is hard at work on its development and I have a good feeling it’ll finally be ready to release this year. Although surprising since Nintendo usually doesn’t make direct sequels to most Zelda games, Breath of the Wild‘s world is simply too good not to return to and take advantage of to tell more stories and create new experiences. I hope it delivers the same freedom to explore the world like the first entry, but I do hope some traditional features make a return as well, such as larger scale dungeons to master and a more focused story. But, without a doubt, this is my most anticipated game of 2021.