Though 2021 has been, for the most part, the lingering stench of the diarrhoeic dog turd that was 2020’s global pandemic, it has actually been quite a solid year for video gaming goodness. With pegs on our noses, we’ve enjoyed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart , Monster Hunter Rise and Resident Evil Village to name but a few – and we’re only just over halfway through the year.
As the future starts to look a little brighter, so too does the video game-release landscape. The second half of 2021 is brimming with brilliance which, though bad news for our bank accounts, is a welcome return to more regularly scheduled releases from here on out.
In celebration of some light at the end of the tunnel, let’s look at the best games still to come this year – prep those ‘pads, lads and lasses!
Kena: Bridge of Spirits Release: 24 August
As new action-adventure titles go, Kena: Bridge of Spirits ticks so many boxes. Boasting a stunning art style, compelling narrative and novel gameplay mechanics, Ember Lab’s lush-looking release is one that should be on everyone’s pre-order pile.
Playing as Kena, a charming spirit guide, you’ll journey through dense forest and mountain lands in search of a sacred shrine all in an effort to free some spirits who are unable to pass on. Inspired by Eastern culture and animation style, if the gameplay is on par with its jaw-dropping visuals, we’re in for such a treat.
Halo Infinite Release: TBC (Q4 2021)
For the Halo hardcores out there, Infinite offers a chance for redemption and a return to form – arguably, it’s do or die time for the franchise. The third chapter in the ‘Reclaimer Saga’, Master Chief returns to a more central role to bear the weight of the sixteenth game in the franchise.
It caused quite the stir at this year’s E3, but time will tell whether Microsoft’s favourite first-person shooter can hit the target this time around. Given the power of the Xbox Series X/S and the time this has been in development, things are looking good – this could be a sleeper hit to close out the year.
Back 4 Blood Release: 12 October
With classic Left 4 Dead mash-and-smash, hack-and-whack, run-and-gun style gameplay, Back 4 Blood looks to inject the almighty power of the latest gaming generation into this beloved co-op arena. Showcasing a scary number of undead – or ‘Ridden’ as they’re lovingly known here – your job as one of the Cleaners is to, err, clean up these grabby, scratchy scumbags alongside three of your friends.
The game has gained a lot of traction off the back of its showcase during E3 2021, and its inclusion on the Xbox Game Pass is a sure-fire way to have this bloodbath claw its way into more homes than the Avon catalogue and girl scout cookies combined. Slaying has never looked and tasted so sweet!
Far Cry 6 Release: 7 October
It feels like, of all the games on this list, Far Cry 6 has had the most coverage and hype enroute to its release this October. Whether that’s down to the utterly captivating trailers, the stellar cast or simply the legacy the Far Cry franchise has carved for itself in recent years, it’s made quite the pedestal it now has to climb.
If early rumblings are anything to go by, it’ll be a must-play piece of guerrilla warfare. Saving a nation looks anything but straightforward, but hopefully the bumps – and bombs – in the road will make for a truly tremendous experience. Oh, and it’s offering animal companions and co-op play, so… add those to the positives pile while I pet my alligator. And no, that wasn’t a euphemism.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge Release: TBC
Whatever these goon-toppling turtles are topping their pizzas with, we all need some – the quiet anticipation this game has garnered is testament to the teenagers’ enduring popularity. But whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, this really should be a title you check out.
For those of us a little longer in the tooth, we remember the classic arcade co-op cabinet with the fondest of memories – it is still phenomenal fun even today. Leaning heavily on that game’s heritage and gameplay, Shredder’s Revenge looks to improve on the tried-and-tested formula with a story mode, four-player fighting and truly delightful pixel art. Cowabunga indeed!
Life is Strange: True Colors Release: 10 September
When the original Life is Strange landed all the way back in 2015, no-one could have predicted the franchise’s popularity. But now, two full games, a side story and a prequel later, Deck Nine’s third mainline iteration looks like it’s giving the fans so much more of what they want and love from the series thus far.
True Colors is offering players the power of empathy – a mechanic explored further during Square Enix’s showcase at this year’s E3 – and we just know we’ll be having all the feels when Alex Chen’s big day arrives in September. With the series’ biggest marketing campaign to date, new and seasoned fans alike we be flocking to Haven Springs later this year.
Metroid Dread Release: 8 October
Nintendo filled our hearts (and emptied our wallets) with their Nintendo Direct showcase, stunning the online audience with some serious surprises to close E3 2021. But it was the reveal of Metroid Dread, the first 2D platform outing for Samus Aran in almost 20 years, that really caught fans off guard.
Metroid Dread will feature all of the aspects we’ve come to love from modern action platform-puzzlers like sprawling interconnected maps, seemingly impassable passageways and secret areas for only the most eagle-eyed of players to pillage – and that’s just for starters. If you’ve never screw attacked as Samus, this is absolutely the time to suit up and head to Planet ZDR. Could this be 2021’s Switch game of the year?
Horizon Forbidden West Release: TBC
Aloy is one of the last decade’s more underrated heroes, but something tells me the slow-burn popularity of Horizon Zero Dawn means its upcoming sequel will eclipse its predecessor both in sales and its delivery – and we don’t have too much longer to wait!
While I’m sure many are excited to explore post-apocalyptic America further and mash up more of the metal monsters that plague the planet, the addition of underwater action and discoveries adds a whole new layer of intrigue to this already overflowing ocean of goodness. I know I’m not alone in being overjoyed about getting thoroughly submerged in this sequel.
What has been your favourite video game release of 2021 so far, and what’s taking pole position on your pre-order list? Let us know in the comments, and keep it Commie for our first-looks and opinions of these upcoming classics!
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