Let’s get this out of the way: Given all the ~everything~, simply releasing a game in 2021 is nothing short of a miracle. Every single one deserves a round of applause. But some, let’s face it, are better than others. As summer wraps, we thought it’d be fun to shine a light on the games that have excited us, moved us, and kept us going throughout a relentless and challenging year. Maybe you’d like to check them out, too.
[This post originally ran on August 11, 2021. We’ve updated it to reflect some of the best games that have come out in the meantime.]
We also fully recognize that time is precious, and that there’s no reasonable way you’ll ever be able to play all of these before the calendar strikes 2022—at which point a whole other raft of excellent-looking games will start to trickle out, clamoring for your free moments. To that end, we’ve provided rough estimates for how long it’d take you to beat each game, citing figures from the eternally helpful howlongtobeat.com.
Here, in no particular order—well, save for Hitman 3 coming in first, obviously—are the best video games of 2021. So far.