2021 was a busy year for developers and publishers all over the world. From racing games with incredible graphics and new addictive MMOs to cozy couch co-ops and thrilling horror games, this year has brought no shortage of amazing games for PC players.
With the 2021 Game Awards coming up next month, it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the best PC titles this year has brought.
These are the best PC games of 2021.
Forza Horizon 5
Although Forza Horizon 5 isn’t a candidate for the upcoming Game Awards 2021’s Game of the Year, the title has caught the attention of racing game fans all over the world since its release only a few weeks ago.
The game boasts a stunning open world and a roster of nearly 500 different cars to choose from. With a 92 percent score on Metacritic, Forza Horizon’s fifth installment has stunning graphics, impeccable audio, and an uncommon focus on accessibility features such as sign language support on cutscenes, which snagged the title a nomination for the Game Award of Innovation in Accessibility. Forza Horizon 5 is also running for the Best Audio Design and Best Sports/Racing Game categories.
Life Is Strange: True Colors
Life Is Strange: True Colors is the latest installment in the narrative-focused series Life Is Strange. True Colors has received just as much praise for its incredible story and character development as its predecessors. The game’s stunning new locations and excellent soundtrack grabbed the attention of fans, and the game also met expectations in terms of story and character development. Life Is Strange: True Colors is running in three categories in the upcoming Game Awards: Best Performance, Best Narrative, and the Games for Impact award.
Players play as Alex Chen, the game’s protagonist, whose story begins in Haven Springs, Colorado. She travels to reunite with her older brother after spending most of her childhood in the foster care system. Alex’s psychic empathy powers take center stage as her story starts to unravel.
Life Is Strange: True Colors released on Sept.10, 2021, and is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and Google Stadia. There is also a Nintendo Switch release planned for early December 2021.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is one of the latest multiplayer co-op FPS games released this year, and although its player count has started to dwindle, the game boasted a total player base of six million players in late October.
Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, Back 4 Blood is set in an apocalyptic, zombie-infested world and is heavily considered the spiritual successor of the Left 4 Dead franchise. Players can choose to play as one of eight different characters, and every location in the game is filled with a myriad of easter eggs and references to classic horror films, games, and characters.
Back 4 Blood was released on Oct. 12, 2021, and is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.
New World is Amazon Game Studios’ highly anticipated MMO, and it has gotten off to a great start. With a recent nomination for Best Multiplayer Game at the upcoming Game Awards, New World has every element a player would expect from an MMO, paired with a thrilling PvP mode.
With a myriad of weapons and armor to choose from, players can join factions, develop skills and professions, and make their way to level 60 by following PvE missions, group expeditions, and thrilling hunts in PvP mode. Unlike most other MMORPGs, New World doesn’t require a subscription to play and was instead released on a buy-to-play model, with optional microtransactions for skins.
New World was globally released on Sept. 28, 2021, and is now available on PC.
Developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda, Deathloop is one of the most successful releases of the year. The game has been nominated to eight categories in the upcoming Game Awards, including Game of the Year, Best Action Game, and Best Narrative.
Deathloop is a first-person shooter in which the player fills the shoes of an assassin who finds himself stuck in a time loop. His mission is to take out the Visionaries before midnight, risking the time loop to reset if he fails to kill them all. Each day is divided into four sections—morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. Moving between the island’s four districts will cause the time to go by faster. Players need to use the character’s gadgets, skills, and stealth to complete the mission and memorize the patterns of each target to eliminate them all.
Deathloop is available now on PC and PlayStation 5.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
After the unsavable fiasco that Marvel’s Avengers turned out to be, fans were terrified of how Marvel’s next gaming venture would come out. Thankfully for fans, though, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be making up for its predecessor’s faults.
Apart from the criticism for its combat repetitiveness, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy received no short praise for its narrative and graphics. The player assumes the role of Peter Quill (Star-Lord) and needs to use elemental weapons to defeat enemies. Although the other characters in the game—Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax—aren’t playable, players can issue commands to them. Each has a unique set of skills and abilities, and the key to the game is to combine and chain them together to inflict higher levels of damage.
The game also focuses heavily on player choices, which take place at particular points throughout the game. The decisions affect the relationships between Peter and the rest of the squad and the outcome of specific missions.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is available now on PC, Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.
It Takes Two
With five nominations for the upcoming Game Awards, including Best Narrative and Game of the Year, It Takes Two has quickly become the go-to game for couch co-op since its release in March this year.
Developed by Hazelight Studios, It Takes Two can be played online and on splitscreen between two players, but no singleplayer option is available. With elements from other platform games, it was explicitly designed as a multiplayer game and features many game mechanics from other genres, such as the ability to rewind time.
The game follows Cody and May, a married couple about to get a divorce. After receiving the news, their daughter Rose goes into the shed and tries to repair her parents’ relationship by play-acting with a pair of dolls that look exactly like her parents. Her real parents then become trapped inside the dolls’ bodies, and an adventure begins in which they need to try to fix their relationship to reach their daughter Rose.
It Takes Two is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.
The Medium was one of the most popular horror game releases in 2021 and brought to the table an innovative gameplay feature that got players all around the globe hooked on release.
The Medium is a third-person psychological horror that follows the story of Marianne, a spirit medium capable of walking between the human and spirit world simultaneously. With a splitscreen separation, players explore and travel between these two worlds and use Marianne’s psychic powers to solve the mystery that unravels in the story.
The game takes place in Poland in the 1990s and has an overall dark and eery design that does a great job at fully immersing the player into the story.
The Medium was developed by Bloober Team and released in January 2021. The game is now available on PC, Xbox Series S/X, and PlayStation 5.
Resident Evil Village
Capcom’s latest installment of the Resident Evil franchise was probably one of the most anticipated and highly acclaimed games to have released in 2021.
Resident Evil Village follows the steps of some of its predecessors, bringing another horror title to the franchise. Players control Ethan Winters as he searches for his kidnapped daughter in a village inhabited by mutant creatures. Fans of the series can find all the survival horror elements typical of most Resident Evil titles, but this latest installment also adopted a type of gameplay that was more focused on action.
The game launched in May of this year and has since received positive reviews. It was praised for its gameplay, setting, and narrative. More recently, Resident Evil Village received five different nominations for the upcoming Game Awards, including Best Action/Adventure, Most Anticipated Game, and the highly-coveted Game of the Year award.
Resident Evil Village is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.
Age of Empires 4
The Age of Empires franchise has been the king of real-time strategy games for generations, and its latest installment didn’t disappoint. Developer Relic Entertainment modeled the new title on one of the most beloved entries in the saga: Age of Empires 2, a decision that has undoubtedly appealed to long-time fans. Having released in late October, Age of Empires 4 already has a strong competitive scene, and its enhanced graphics and new gameplay have turned this title into one of the most successful and most anticipated games of the year.
The game has four launch campaigns: The Normans, The Hundred Years War, The Mongol Empire, and The Rise of Moscow.
Age of Empires 4 was released on Oct. 28, 2021, and is now available on PC.
Psychonauts 2 has been one of the most highly anticipated platform-adventure games of the year since it was announced back in 2015. The Psychonauts sequel has players control Raz, just like in the first game. Raz is an acrobat in training to become a Psychonaut and embarks on a quest to defeat a murderous psychic villain. The game’s success has led to five nominations for the upcoming Game Awards next month, including Best Action/Adventure, Best Art Direction, and Game of the Year.
Psychonauts 2 is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.
Little Nightmares 2
Little Nightmares II is the next installment in the puzzle platformer franchise, but it’s actually a prequel to the 2017 title. Developed by Tarsier Studios, Little Nightmares II follows the story of Mono, who must work together with Six to survive the horrors of the Pale City.
Little Nightmares II was released in February 2021 and is available on PC, Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. An upgraded version was also released in August for PC and next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is Ubisoft’s sixth installment in the first-person shooter Far Cry series. It was released in October and lets players take on the role of guerrilla fighter Dani Rojas. Dani attempts to take down Antón Castillo’s dictatorship in the fictional Caribbean island known as Yara. Castillo, also known as “El Presidente,” is raising his son Diego hoping he will follow his rule.
Far Cry 6 allows players to explore an open world on foo or using a variety of different land, water, or air vehicles. Although there was some initial criticism on aging design and repetitive narrative, it has mostly been praised for improved gameplay from other titles in the saga.
Far Cry 6 was released in October and is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.