The year is wrapping up and with news kind of coming to creep before the boom of releases in February, now is a perfect time for the staff here at PSLS to look back at this year and name off their best gaming experiences released. This won’t be relegated to PlayStation consoles only, but you are free to flog the staff in the comments section should they veer off the beaten path. Only rules being, the game has to have been released in 2021. So, without further ado, here we go with our best games of 2021.
Annette Polis’s Best Games of 2021
2021 was jam packed with some pretty fantastic gaming experiences, and I was lucky to be able to cover some of them for PSLS. Like Tales of Arise, Scarlet Nexus, and Death Stranding Director’s Cut. I also spent a lot of time with the two MMOs I play; ESO added another solid season of content, and Fallout 76 tied up some Brotherhood of Steel loose ends with Steel Reign. But I think there were some real gems thanks to smaller studios. Wytchwood is one of those for me. It had adventure and humour and just hit all the right notes for me. And let’s not forget about how shocking it was that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy rolled in with low expectations and blew everyone away. So long and thanks for all the games, 2021!
This year hasn’t been the gaming oasis of fun that I typically enjoy, with life just refusing to take a backseat so I could enjoy the festivities. That being said, I completed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and had an absolute blast, as it perfectly captured what I enjoyed about the characters in an extremely fun experience. With a PS5 finally gracing my household in 2021, I was able to tear into Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart, which continued the success of the series and again was extremely top notch. Outside of those two, I really enjoyed two RPGs in Tales of Arise and Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars, both giving different experiences that were quality across the board.
Trying to get a PS5 was obviously pretty tricky but when I finally managed to get my hands on one the first thing that I tried was Astro’s Playroom. I didn’t expect much from it but I was blown away by how it used the new DualSense controller. It’s such a fun way to showcase the new technology and of course the game is chock full of nostalgic references to PlayStation’s history. I also loved Kena: Bridge of Spirits, an absolutely phenomenally beautiful game. It makes me excited to think of how gorgeous PS5 games are going to be in a few years time if this is what games look like at the beginning of the console’s life cycle.
PaulMichael Contreras’ Best Games of 2021
For me, No Man’s Sky is the game that keeps on giving. Expeditions launched this year, and to my great shame I didn’t finish the Pioneers expedition the first time around. Thankfully, Hello Games did a redux of them, and I was able to nab my Golden Vector ship the second time around. I may be playing on a PS5, but I continue to play the PS4 version of the game because of its compatibility with the PSVR. So I was very excited when we got our first glimpse at the PS5’s upcoming VR system, because all I can think about is playing No Man’s Sky in VR at a much better fidelity. So, yeah, No Man’s Sky created the best gaming moments for me this year.
It’s hard to call something “game of the year” when you’re in the middle of January, but that’s what Hitman 3 ended up being for me. The six expansive playgrounds gave Agent 47 another chance to do what he does best: eliminate his targets in a myriad of inventive ways. There was also the chance to replay Hitman and Hitman 2 with the benefits of the new game, such as improved graphics and far quicker loading times. When coupled with a whole year of free post-launch content and the promise of a second year to come, I look forward to spending more time in the world of assassination in 2022 too.
Besides being the first full year of the PlayStation 5 (and being lucky enough to have one), which was full of some really great games and gaming moments, the highlight for me this year was the launch of Supergiant Games’ Hades on PlayStation platforms. I intentionally held off on experiencing this masterpiece in early access and via its Switch launch last year. Despite all of the hype surrounding this Game of the Year for 2020, and the high expectations I already had going into playing Hades on PS5, it surpassed everything I thought it would be. I’d also be remiss not to mention Returnal this year; 2021 was a great year for roguelite loop games.
Zarmena Khan’s Best Games of 2021
Deathloop is one of the most unique games I’ve played in recent years and up there as my favorite video game of 2021. I was confused at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was hard to put it down! I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Life Is Strange: True Colors, both of which came with what I felt was a robust narrative and great setting. Outside of PS5, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Among Us and Knockout City on the Switch. The latter is an underrated gem. I’m not one to play multiplayer games but Knockout City’s dodgebrawl is a lot of fun, especially on a portable console.
To look back at more of 2021 in review, check out these articles.
What were you favorite gaming experiences in 2021?