Call of Duty: Vanguard does have its moments, even if they are quite few and far between. The campaign goes back and forth between innovative and entertaining, to repetitive and bland, while the Multiplayer and Zombie modes don’t bring anything new to the table other than how impressive they look.
Mario Party Superstars is an enjoyable ‘Best Hits’ collection of the series, including 100 classic mini games and 5 boards that all feel distinctive. But with the lack of modern features such as co-op play and motion controls, it’s clear this entry is prioritising nostalgia over innovation.
After stumbling out the gate with last year’s Avengers, Square Enix has managed to steady the ship with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. For the story alone, the game is well-worth playing, but it’s the abundance of lore, well-written dialogue and gorgeous locales that elevate it as one of the best Marvel games to date.
Back 4 Blood is an excellent co-op zombie shooter, with a card-based perk system and wonderfully satisfying gunplay building upon the fantastic foundations of the Left 4 Dead series. But if you’re planning on playing solo you may want to stay clear, with a design clearly optimised for multiplayer.
Alan Wake Remastered is a solid visual update to a classic survival horror game that first debuted on the Xbox 360. Though the gameplay does on occasion feel a little dated by today’s standards, the game’s solid writing and upgraded graphics make it an excellent game nonetheless.
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.
Deck Nine and Square Enix took a gamble on making Life is Strange: True Colors a full game from the get-go as opposed to an episodic adventure. But the decision has paid off, delivering one of the series’ more refined entries to date. Haven Springs is a joy to explore, and Alex’s emotional journey is one that will stay with me for a long time to come.
Nearly two decades after its first entry, the WarioWare series still knows how to keep things feeling fresh, and the series’ chaotic bombardment of microgames is as addictive as ever. While the experience might not be as rich as say The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey, Get it Together! is still tons of fun to play.
Sonic Colors Ultimate unfortunately is a bit too slow for me, with repetitive gameplay and outdated visuals for 2021. It’s definitely better than some of Sonics’ latest outings, but there are still better games out there if you want to play as the speedy blue hedgehog.
Psychonauts 2 is a fun, endearing puzzle platformer full of quirky challenges and entertaining dialogue. If you’re a fan of the original, or just enjoy platformers, Psychonauts 2 is a great purchase. The only downside is that its graphics and combat mechanics can feel a little outdated.
While most of the puzzles are enjoyable to solve, I wasn’t so keen on a select few objectives that required me to collect a number of orbs within a time limit without disturbing the roaming guards. I also wish that the flying mechanic hadn’t been introduced, since it only seems to be included to support the story rather than offering any enjoyable gameplay mechanic, which is odd since it featured so heavily at the beginning.
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.
Resident Evil Village is a great followup to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that will delight any horror fan looking for a new game to scare the [censored] out of them. The only downside is that its increased focus on combat can feel a little jarring, especially when playing at lower difficulties.
If you have a PS5 then you need Returnal. The game will absolutely trounce you with everything it’s got, but once the mechanics start to resonate and the overarching narrative gradually falls into place then it becomes near-impossible to put down. Returnal sets a new standard in the roguelike genre.