Deathloop is one of the most innovative games from a major publisher that I’ve ever played, using the time loop mechanic to fantastic effect. With lots of clever puzzles and engaging combat, as well as a genius multiplayer element, this is one of the best games of 2021 yet.
Biomutant is a charming open-world RPG that is blatantly aimed at children, with a low difficulty level and overly cutesy tone that will likely put off older gamers. Combat is fun with a large range of craftable weapons and mutant powers at your disposal, but boring puzzles and a barebones story means there isn’t much else here to keep you captivated.
Dirt 5 isn't the next-gen technical showcase you were probably hoping for, but its excellent off-road tracks are an absolute delight to race on while superb modes such as Arcade, Playgrounds and Online/Offline multiplayer provide enough gas in the tank for numerous revisits.
Crusader Kings 3 is a fantastic entry in Paradox's historically-rooted strategy series. New RPG elements help to create a more engrossing character-driven experience, while lots of quality-of-life improvements make it more accessible and digestible to both Crusader Kings veterans and newcomers. There are still a couple of issues, such as as inconsistent AI-controlled allied armies, but this is still nonetheless one of the absolute best strategy games you can currently buy.
A Total War Saga: Troy is a superb entry to Creative Assembly's strategy series, with both combat and diplomacy proving incredibly addictive. However, there have been a few tweaks to the Total War blueprint in order to accommodate the Bronze Age setting. Hardcore Total War fans may be dismayed by the lack of unit variety, but newcomers may well relish the simplified approach. The new economy system also adds a new depth to diplomacy and strategy, making non-combat play significantly more enjoyable no matter your Total War experience level. And with a smattering of Greek mythology, Troy feels one of the most distinctive entries to the series yet.
XCOM 2 is a challenging and engrossing turn-based tactical shooter, and seeing it running on the the Nintendo Switch is very impressive. However, there are a number of performance issues here, including immersion-shattering frame rate drops and frustratingly long loading times. There's no doubt that XCOM 2 is best played on a PC with a keyboard and mouse, but if the Switch is your only gaming platform then this is still a worthwhile buy, albeit an expensive one.
Valorant is one of the best tactical shooters in recent memory, featuring superb precision gunplay and an expansive class system for an abundance of depth. With ruthless headshot damage, accuracy proves more important than rival online shooters which may put off casual players. But for those looking for a challenge in an ultra-competitive setting, Valorant is essential – especially since it's free to play.