The first quarter of the year has already passed and the list of games to play seems to grow longer by the day, especially with the acquisition of Bethesda and ID Software by Microsoft and the flood of new games that have made their way to Xbox Game Pass already.
But, as my backlog seems to expand exponentially there are more than a few games that have caught my attention in more ways than one and that’s what I have for you today. A short retrospective on some of the best games I got the chance to play since the year began.
Most of them are pre-2020 and some even go further back into the days of the Xbox 360 but all of them were worth revisiting and gave me a satisfying experience overall. From first-person shooters to third-person adventure titles, right down to some amazing 2D platformers.
I’ve got something that everyone might enjoy and I’ve got no doubt you’ll make some memories when you give any of these games a try. I know I did and actually plan on going back to revisit a few of them and cross some of those easy achievements off my list. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best games I’ve gotten the chance to play in 2021.
BEST GAMES SO FAR
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
The thing I love the most about movies is the way they can engage you with nothing more than a compelling narrative. When you add exciting gameplay that gets you involved and allows you to take control of that compelling narrative, then you’ve got something truly special.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice takes you on a journey deep into Senua’s mind as you try to overcome the demons that haunt her all while being tormented by the neverending voices inspired by her Psychosis. And I don’t mean that lightly as you’ll hear every whisper yourself as you play the game.
It’s a truly immersive experience that stuck with me for many days after I watched the credits rolled and I can’t wait to go through this journey with Senua again when I eventually go back to claim the few achievements that I missed. Be prepared for a wild ride.
Titanfall 2 was a game that I heard mentioned a lot but never actually got around to playing it myself. They continually mentioned how underrated it was and, when I finally got the chance to do so, I was pleasantly surprised at just how true that statement could be.
This game has some of the best gunplay I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing and that’s saying a lot since I mostly play a lot of shooters (first-person and third-person) and I rarely remember the weapons that I encounter unless they have some gimmick like a chainsaw bayonet attached.
Every bullet felt so fun to fire its no wonder that I went on an Apex Legends binge soon after playing this game because I just wanted to keep shooting these guns. And I haven’t even mentioned the over-the-top action once you start piloting one of the Titans. A great first-person shooter experience.
Ori and The Blind Forest
As fun as it is to shoot and blast my way through waves of enemies, I wouldn’t be a true gamer if I didn’t try to go off the beaten path once in a while and play something that I wouldn’t normally expect to enjoy. That’s exactly what lead me to Ori and The Blind Forest and what a great detour it turned out to be.
But one thing I have to say first is that I didn’t enjoy this game for the same reasons most people seemed to enjoy it. I saw a lot of gamers praising this game’s story and highlighting that as its strongest attribute but, while I thought it was decent, it was more the gameplay that kept me hooked.
Nearly every new section from every new level was fresh and exciting and I was eager to tackle each new challenge that I encountered as I played. I felt like my skills were tested fairly well and reaching the end of the game left me satisfied the way all games should. 2D platforms are actually really dope.
Saints Row 2
So, a couple of months ago, there was a sale and I didn’t hesitate in snatching up the entire Saints Row franchise for myself, and what a score that was. Nearly all of them are great but I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Saints Row 2 and for very good reason.
While the later games went in a highly irregular direction, the first games in the franchise had their feet firmly planted on the ground and delivered a more grounded experience while still amplifying the mayhem as best as they could. The sequel simply innovated and improved on everything good about the first one.
These were the roots that carried the franchise into the mainstream and it’s so easy to get lost in all the content that the game has to offer. From multiplayer to all the extra Downloadable content, you can’t go wrong taking a walk through the streets of Saints Row.
My Favorite So Far?
Even though I have a heap of games on my schedule, I’d have to rate Saints Row 2 as my favorite so far. I effortlessly sunk almost 30 hours into the game and would’ve probably sunk a dozen more if I didn’t have so many games to get through. I say you can easily get lost within this game’s world is exactly what happened to me.
But, for a game that can take your breath away without taking up too much of your time, look no further than Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It’s a fairly short game to complete that will probably stay on your mind for many days after you’ve stopped playing.
Have you played any of the games on this list? What are some of the games you’ve played this year? Let me know in the comments section below.