Top 10 Best Video Games of 2021 (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
It's been a great year for video games so far! For this list, we're looking at the best games that have been released in the first half of 2021, and we will be including some rereleases and remasters. Our countdown includes “Returnal”, “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart”, "Hitman 3", and more!

Top 10 Best Video Games of 2021 So Far

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 best video games of 2021 so far.

For this list, we’re looking at the best games that have been released in the first half of 2021, and we will be including some rereleases and remasters.

Let us know in the comments what your favorite game of the last six months has been.

#10: “It Takes Two” (2021)

The latest release from co-op masters Hazelight Studios, who were also behind “A Way Out” in 2018, “It Takes Two” has a similar focus on multiplayer. It’s the story of May and Cody, a couple going through a divorce much to the upset of their daughter, Rose. Long story short, a magic spell traps them in the bodies of two small dolls, and they need to navigate a gigantic version of their house to ultimately break the spell. It’s an endearing 3D platformer with lots of puzzles and fun mechanics, ensuring all the levels feel different and the gameplay never gets old.

#9: “Returnal” (2021)

Roguelikes have always been beloved, but thanks to their unforgiving nature they’ve never quite hit the mainstream. That all changed with “Returnal”, one of the first major PS5 exclusives and triple-A roguelikes ever made. You play as Selene, a space explorer lost on an alien world who mysteriously comes back to life each time she dies. The only thing holding “Returnal” back is its total lack of save feature; far from increasing the difficulty, preventing people from saving is just annoying. Not everybody can dedicate five continuous hours to one run. But still, it has outstanding graphics and is already showing what the PlayStation 5 can do – provided you’ve actually got one you can play it on.

#8: “Persona 5 Strikers” (2021)

For years, Atlus has been besieged by people asking one question: “when are you going to put ‘Persona 5’ on Switch?” “Persona 5” in its original form is certainly too much for the Switch to handle, but in 2021 we finally got to see the Phantom Thieves of Hearts come to Nintendo’s flagship console. Now, turn-based combat is replaced by fast, real-time encounters, enabling this outstanding JRPG to reach an entirely new audience. If you love “Persona 5” and its story but aren’t too keen on eighty-plus hours of turn-based combat and dungeon crawling, “Strikers” is for you; it’s got the distinct art direction of an Atlus title with the fluid combat of “Dynasty Warriors”.

#7: “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” (2021)

The 2016 “Ratchet & Clank” was easily one of the best-looking games on the PS4, even if its story was a little lacking. But in 2021, Insomniac is back with a vengeance; not only do we have the most gorgeous PS5 game released so far, but it has a hilarious and heartfelt story as well. Traveling between interdimensional rifts on the fly would have been impossible until now; “Rift Apart” makes incredible use of the SSD to bring new puzzles and gameplay mechanics to the series. And there’s also a brand-new protagonist, Rivet, who’s capable of helming her own, solo game someday. It’s the “Ratchet & Clank” you know and love, but with innovations worthy of the PlayStation 5.

#6: “Biomutant” (2021)

If it had come from a triple-A studio, “Biomutant” wouldn’t be too impressive; but the fact it came from a new development studio with only twenty people makes it an incredible achievement despite its flaws. This RPG sees you make your own furry vigilante, a strange, rodent creature tasked with bringing peace to the world. Whether you do this by uniting the many, distinct tribes or wiping them all out is at your discretion. It’s a colorful game with fast, fun combat, and is definitely a refreshing take on the open-world formula. Owing to its huge scope it’s a rough and unpolished experience; but if you’re willing to forgive all that, “Biomutant” could become one of your favorite games in 2021.

#5: “Hitman 3” (2021)

The rebooted “Hitman” trilogy ended with a bang this January, as we finally got a conclusion to the story of Agent 47 and the organization behind all the hits he’d been performing. Though “Hitman 3” still had those well-crafted levels the franchise is known for, they weren’t all simple assassinations; one mission that was different from the standard “Hitman” fare took place in Berlin with 47 forced to take out a group of agents sent to kill him personally. Full to bursting with bizarre kill opportunities and dazzling set and narrative design, you’ll never feel like replaying this game is a chore – and there are always new things to unlock.

#4: “New Pokémon Snap” (2021)

Nintendo is cornering the nostalgia market once again this year, reviving a series that all but disappeared back in 1999. “New Pokémon Snap” is a love letter to the people who played the original game twenty years ago, recreating all the excitement of going on a Pokémon safari with your trusty camera – only now with more Pokémon since we’ve had so many additions to the Pokédex over the years. It’s not an innovative game by any means, but it’s a tried-and-tested formula. Now, you won’t only encounter wild Pokémon in combat scenarios, you see them enjoying life and doing whatever they do when they’re not fighting battles.

#3: “Monster Hunter Rise” (2021)

Very few developers outside of Nintendo have been able to get outstanding performance from the Switch; the hardware is relatively limited and until recently, only Nintendo could make it sing. But “Monster Hunter Rise” performed brilliantly, using the RE Engine – responsible for great graphics across all platforms – to the best of its ability. The game is so good that it boosted sales of Switch consoles earlier in the year, making it a winner for both Nintendo and Capcom. More people than ever have gotten into the addictive boss battle loop this franchise has always offered and “Rise” is a great entry.

#2: “Disco Elysium: The Final Cut” (2021)

In its original form, “Disco Elysium” released to PCs and Macs only in 2019, but it was still wildly popular. It’s since become one of the most critically acclaimed RPGs of all time and has its praises sung by everybody who’s played it. Now, in 2021, more people than ever before can check it out; “The Final Cut” has released across computers and PS4s, with an Xbox and Switch version set to release as well before the end of the year. Along with now containing full voice-acting for every single character and line of dialogue, it’s also had four cut quests restored. It’s an incredibly compelling RPG about a gruesome murder in a decaying Eastern European town, and is truly a modern masterpiece.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

“Mass Effect: Legendary Edition” (2021)
This Remake Has Introduced a Classic Series to a New Generation, Bringing All the DLC With It.

“Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury” (2021)
Any Mario Fan Will Love the Opportunity to Replay “3D World” With a New Game Included.

#1: “Resident Evil Village” (2021)

We’ve been getting an annual “Resident Evil” game for a while now, but the series hasn’t reduced in quality because of this. “Village” will stand tall – very tall – as one of the best “Resident Evil” games of all time. It took every single criticism of “7”, which was already a brilliant game in its own right, and improved exponentially. It still isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely going to stay high up on lists of 2021’s best games. Survival horror perfection, it’s just scary enough without putting people off. And since this year is the 25th anniversary of “Resident Evil” as a whole, it couldn’t have come at a better time.