12 Games to be excited for in 2021

2021: A Gaming Renaissance...

2021 is shaping to be one of gaming’s greatest years in quite sometime. The last we saw a similar delivery within the medium was almost four years ago. 2017 was unquestionably a strong year in gaming, not only handing us the ultimate home-handheld hybrid in the Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey in the same year, but we were privileged with gaming’s most notable titles, such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hollow Knight, and Nier Automata – just to name a few. With a plethora of titles promised an ecstatic year in gaming. We’re ensured another blockbuster round-up from a myriad of developers and publishers that will have the gaming global-front salivating.

Originally I intended this to be ’10 Games’, but there were a couple more added to the list that I could not pass up and I’m sure I’ve omitted a few that are most deservedly justified to be placed here. But as for what I am personally anticipating, here are 12 Games to be excited for in 2021.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

So this is more of an ambitious pick than anything. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will remain my favourite entry into the illustrious Nintendo franchise. The action-adventure series changed its entire blueprint in hopes of appeal to the masses that may have, or wanted a fresh take on its established legacy. Deviating and amalgamating, the open world like sandbox that is Hyrule, strips its dungeon crawling in favour for Shrine hotspots, that pits our once emerald clad now azure adorned Hero of Hyrule through crafted Trials of the Triforce, hoping to train Link for his final battle against the calculating demon, holding Hyrule hostage for a century.

Breath of the Wild’s untitled sequel has yet to be announced for release, but with how Nintendo have changed their business model, we could be in for a surprise in coming months. A trailer may drop, or a Direct may come from out of nowhere (if anything March 31, 2021) that finally reveals a holiday 2021 release. The anticipated follow-up sees Link and Zelda once again take on the evil forces of a supposedly undead Ganondorf.

Scarlet Nexus

I can hear Paul James and Ryan Betson far into the distance; “weeb”. Yes, I am so excited for this JRPG title from Japanese development studio, Bandai Namco. Scarlet Nexus looks to be 2021’s most energetic action games, potentially in the same vein as PlatinumGames’ 2019 smash hit, Astral Chain. Set in an alternate universe where scientists have managed to recycle substances found in the human brain, developing a form of technology that enables redeveloped humans to amass extraordinary powers. With many taking advantage of their newfound abilities, it is up to the “Other Suppression Force” (OSF) to protect humanity from these deviants known as “Others”.

Yes, it’s all anime logic and I absolutely love it. Portraying Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall, you are tasked in defending the human race from these evil mutants with both physical, short and long ranged attacks. Utilising the power of psychokinesis, hurling loose objects within your vicinity allows an advantage to weaken your opponent before initiating battle. A true collision course that will set the tone for such a thrilling joyride.

Far Cry 6

I’ll admit, this is my dark horse title. I’m pessimistic about Far Cry 6, due to the franchise’s lack of direction in its last few entries. However, with Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, joining the frey as fascist dictator Anton Castillo, it gives me hope that we may actually see some form of excellence return to the stagnant series. Whether I like it or not, Far Cry remains one of gaming’s most popular and prolific open world first-person role playing titles that deviates from anything we experienced prior to its initial entry. Since then, we’ve had a number of titles that have evolved and innovated off its blueprint but none have been able to solidify its legacy based on its robust premise.

Whether we’re talking a psychotic evangelist, a rebellious king or bounty hunting pirate, Far Cry ensures its fanbase a challenge tied to its strong campaign narrative.

Shin Megami Tensei V

The long awaited, most anticipated Nintendo Switch JRPG title finally hits western shores this year. Shin Megami Tensei, the long running role-playing series that has evolved, innovated and created a myriad of stand alone franchises such as the Persona series, now enters its fifth phase. Not much is known about the title just yet, as developer ATLUS has kept their cards close to their chest, promising fans an unbelievable plot that is heavily rumoured to tie in the entire multiverse of Megami Tensei, along with prevalent features of past titles and brand new mechanics.

It’s been a long wait for fans as the teaser was first revealed way back in November 2017. Three-and-a-half to four years later, the JRPG devout will finally have all questions answered in what may be Shin Megami Tensei’s greatest chapter yet.

Bowser's Fury (Super Mario 3D World)

Super Mario 3D World needed to bring something unique in hopes of reselling its “Deluxe” Version. Nintendo have been porting their underrated, and underappreciated library to the overly popular and successful Nintendo Switch, and it’s possibly been one of their best initiatives. However, simply bringing titles over without any real additional features or extra content has hindered the aforementioned ports. Now, with what may be Mario’s greatest challenge yet, Bowser’s Fury amplifies the fantasy of Nintendo’s biggest baddie, bringing out Bowser’s dark side and unleashing his rage like never before.

This is the most intimidating I’ve ever seen the Koopa King. A depiction of a totally mindless, uncontrollable monster destroying everything in his path, even a threat to his own son, Bowser Jr. This has to be the first time I’ve ever seen Nintendo re-invent their antagonist from cartoony to frightening. Bowser’s Fury has all the potential to be a spectacle set in the Mushroom Kingdom, and I for one am totally there for it.

Hitman 3

Since 2016, the Hitman reboot has amassed critical acclaim from fans who absolutely adore the series. After Hitman Absolution, the Danish development studio decided it was time to change the script on Hitman’s entire framework. Releasing each chapter as an episodic part-by-part campaign, IO Interactive was able to redeliver Hitman’s initial intensity in small doses, while fans impatiently awaited for each case’s release. While a major success, the developers behind the action title decided its sequel would release in its entirety, while retaining the episodic structure with additional content. A fixed campaign with side objectives, and a litany of collectables furthered the crime-investigation experience.

We’re five days away from Hitman 3’s release, with the return of Agent 47’s global escapades. It’s already one of 2021’s highly anticipated Triple-A title’s, which in turn tells us that we’re in for one hell of a year in gaming.

Persona 5 Strikers

Yes I can go on for days about Persona 5, but let’s cut to the chase. Musou gaming in the West tends to be generally unfavourable. There aren’t many fans of the polarising beat’em up structure delivered within it’s open world, expeditious and freeform combat experience, however gauging from what has been said from Persona 5 Strikers’ release in Japan, we’re in for a fully fledged Persona 5 sequel within it’s plotline and that may very well be the hook that draws in new fans that may have never experienced the oddball flurry of a Musou title. There is potential for gamers that are strictly JRPG lovers to crossover; but it’s not only that, we’re also in for a direct follow-up to one of 2017’s greatest video games; if anything the highest rated metacritic title of the generation.

As a Persona 5 fanboy, I cannot wait to get my hands on the title, this February. Time to Take your hearts, and kick some ass.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Unsure of how Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus will fit into Rift Apart’s lore, developers at Insomniac Games had graced us with the incredible PlayStation 2 remake of it’s 2002 cult classic, and initial entry to the franchise. I would have assumed with it’s 2016 reimagining, the Ratchet franchise itself was preparing to reboot its canonical timeline, however the Burbank based development team had confirmed that Rift Apart’s narrative would be a direct sequel to 2013’s Into the Nexus, which was quite confounding due to the title’s mediocre success. While it may have been praised as one of PlayStation 3’s greatest platformers, it’s popularity fell to the wayside for other titles that had released that year such as The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V.

None-the-less, Insomniac’s ambitious push in continuity will no doubt deliver 2021’s greatest PS5 platformer in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The multiverse aspect looks quite alluring, and the confrontation expected between universal counterparts should make for hilarious proceedings.

Horizon: Forbidden West

It was Guerrilla Games’ worst kept secret, but had fans of Aloy’s initial foray into the post cataclysmic, dystopian future anxiously awaiting its reveal. Horizon: Forbidden West is the highly anticipated sequel to the once PlayStation 4 exclusive, Horizon: Zero Dawn which is now available for PC owners to experience. It’s quite the coincidence that the title had been in development since early 2018, with its premise being so close to home these days. Aloy is sent by the Nora tribe into the Forbidden West, with hopes of finding the source of a mysterious plague that kills all it infects. Quite the eerie plot if you ask me. However expect the experience to be more of the same with some aesthetic and thematic upgrades to its infrastructure. Not much else has been stated, but we expect to hear more upon the reveal of Forbidden West’s release date, later this year.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

As someone that absolutely adores NieR Automata, I never played the series original chapter. The story behind NieR’s international releases is quite astonishing, as the title was separated into two completely different experiences with similar storylines. While both the West and Japan received NIER Gestait, Japan was delivered an exclusive release of NieR Replicant. The title was never localised for English speaking audiences, but maintained a cult following for its excellent aesthetics which would then be implemented in its highly popular follow-up.

Now remastered as NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… Yes that is the title they’re going with, we’re set to bask in its original vision the now defunct Japanese Studio Cavia Inc., had intended.

Resident Evil Village

I won’t lie, I’ve had a tough time resonating with modern Resident Evil entries, as the first person perspective has thrown me through a loop in what I was accustom to, or what I have expected from one of gaming’s greatest horror series. But since replaying Resident Evil 7 during the Christmas break, my hype behind the franchise’s eighth entry has elevated, and Resident Evil Village has certainly become one of my most anticipated for 2021. The fact that they continue to put Ethan through cruel, torturous situations is beyond comprehension, it’s insanity personified.

The perilous trials our protagonist is distraught with can only guarantee a horrific disaster is looming, and it’s now up to us to explore this mysteriously haunted Village within the Snowy Alps of Eastern Europe.

God of War Sequel

Boy… oh boy is this ambitious. Tentatively slated for 2021, the ‘Untitled God of War Sequel’, heavily suggested to be subtitled “Ragnarok”, was teased mid-2020 with hope of a potential holiday season release. As pessimistic as I am of us seeing God of War: Ragnarok on the PlayStation 5 this year, I hope we at least discover what Kratos and Atreus are up to sometime soon. With events that lead to God of War’s climax, which we won’t spoil for those that want to play the title, Ragnarok holds dear promise for the hardcore fan to see its mysterious plotline through. I can’t say more than that without spoiling it. But, the capacity this franchise has to ultimately change the game within its time-leaped reboot may lay claim to being PlayStation’s grandest franchise of all time.

A merit I believe it holds currently. God of War 2021 will no doubt be PlayStation’s most anticipated gaming release this generation, and we may very well see it early in its life cycle. That’s awesome.

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