Over the next eight days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2021 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and Handheld Game.
It actually seems appropriate that our choice for the year’s best PC Game is one that emulates classic PC RPGs in several different ways. Loop Hero is a throwback to the days of pixel graphics displayed on large, boxy grey monitors, but its gameplay reflects the creativity the modern indie titles on the likes of Steam can deliver. So in a way, it perfectly captures the best of the old and the new when it comes to quirky computer games, showcasing these classic fantasy RPG battles of yore as you traverse around a never-ending loop made more impressive and challenging with the deck-building elements of today that let you shape the path ahead to your own liking, as best as you can. The battle against the Lich and his pals is an enjoyable one, and it’s one that’s stellar enough to easily help it emerge as the year’s best in PC gaming.
|Everhood||Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker||The Eternal Cylinder||Age of Empires IV|
PlayStation Studios and their many developers have built a strong reputation for delivering excellent single player experiences, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the best PlayStation game of 2021. Developer Insomniac Games’ first PS5 title is a resounding success, delivering across every category. It’s a gorgeous game that fully takes advantage of the new hardware to deliver breathtaking visuals, exquisite fur rendering and next-gen features like ray-tracing. From a story perspective, Rift Apart delivers a heart-warming story filled with a fun cast of new and familiar characters. As a game, what’s most important is the gameplay, which Rift Apart delivers on in spades. Packed with twenty insane weapons, the new Rift Tethering mechanic, and the smoothest platforming from the series yet, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a true joy to play from start to finish. While getting a PS5 remains unbearable to find, anyone who can get their hands on one should play the Best PlayStation Game of 2021, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
|Deathloop||Returnal||Solar Ash||Lost Judgment|
It took almost a year for Xbox to have its first must-have exclusive and it comes in the form of Forza Horizon 5. The open-world racing title moves to the beautiful backdrop of Mexico and includes new dynamics and excellent multiplayer racing action that anyone can pick up and play. There was stout competition on the Xbox platform this year, and this game shined on no matter the platform. The visuals showcased what the Series X could do, not to mention if the player had a top tier PC setup, the game was playable there as well. The Horizon series is playable for anyone and can introduce new players into the world of car culture. There also remains a focus on music for the series as the Horizon Festival returns and helps bring a certain feel to those scenic moments. The racing is what the game is about the most, and having this exclusive to Xbox makes the competition have to catch up.
|Microsoft Flight Simulator||Psychonauts 2||Halo Infinite||Death’s Door|
On both first and third-party fronts alike, it’s safe to say Nintendo has had another impressive showing of releases over the past twelve months. Some we knew of in advance, some finally given that sought-after release date, while some came right out of nowhere to both surprise and dazzle us all. And no Switch game excelled in both those camps as brilliantly then what Metroid Dread pulled off with confident, impeccable ease. MercurySteam’s second foray into the Metroid universe — and first original title for the series in a while — seldom found itself shackled in ambition and spectacle. A game whose fluid movement, varied environments and wonderful set-pieces felt right at home for both the series and the Switch itself. Time will tell if and how Prime 4 keeps this long-overdue interest in the series going, because Metroid Dread in one almighty, unforeseen swoop has offered up a new peak for both Metroid and what the Switch can offer in 2021.
|Monster Hunter Rise||Shin Megami Tensei V||Super Mario 3D World Plus Bowser’s Fury||Mario Party Superstars|
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
It seems more and more like the best of mobile gaming is being taken over by Apple Arcade (although with its low price via Apple One and lack of microtransactions, it’s hard to complain) and for proof of that look no further than Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. First debuting on Apple Arcade/PC and picking up steam with its console release over the summer, Alba is one of those refreshing, care-free gaming experiences that hearkens back to the ’90s with its colorful visuals and laid-back gameplay. Puttering around Pinar del Mar and searching for animals is a relaxing experience that’s perfect for briefly firing up on your phone when you need a break from the stresses of everyday life. With its expansion onto multiple platforms and availability on Apple Arcade, there’s simply no excuse not to check out Alba: A Wildlife Adventure and get exploring.
|World of Demons||Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins||My Friend Pedro: Ripe for Revenge||Clap Hanz Golf|