Coming off a strong 2020, video games have high expectations to live up to this year. With a large swath of new players emerging from the pandemic, 2021 will be a proving ground for retaining their interest. For the rest of us, we’re eager for another year of new experiences, some of which will be pushing the mettle of the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. A few games caught my eye, and this post is dedicated to listing the eight that I’m most looking forward to play when they (hopefully) release this year.
Of course, I plan to cover some of these games on the blog when they come out! Let me know in the comments if there are any titles that pique your interest :).
Great Ace Attorney
While not formally announced by Capcom, an unfortunate leak confirmed that Great Ace Attorney and its sequel would finally make it over to the West in 2021. Ace Attorney remains one of my favorite video game franchises, and plenty of us were holding out hope for these two games to get localized despite the logistical challenges it presented. It is also reassuring that Ace Attorney veteran Shu Takumi headed both projects and brought his expertise once more. Four years out from the last new installment, it will be exciting to throw around objections in the courtrooms of olde, especially with the knowledge of new investigation and courtroom twists that will prove fresh in the gameplay department.
*On a quick note Ace Attorney 7 is also slated to come out in 2021, which I am also stoked for. Since there was nothing concrete to judge it on, I left it out this time around.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
It was difficult not to be wowed at the gorgeous aesthetic of Kena: Bridge of Spirits, from the rich forestry and villages to the charming creature designs. As Ember Lab’s debut video game, I am intrigued that a studio that focused solely on digital animation is tackling a game with that unique background. From the footage that has been shown, the animations look kinetic and the combat appears to hold plenty of variety. Not to mention that nature seems to play a prominent role in the narrative, which should breed astounding results. It’s planned for release before the end of March, so I hope it makes a big impression before the biggest titles hit the scene.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Hollow Knight was one of 2018’s greatest games, bringing a hearty does of challenge into a dark, beautiful world full of secrets to uncover. Now Team Cherry’s got their hands full with Hollow Knight: Silksong, a full-blown sequel putting us in the shoes of Hornet. And she distinguishes herself with an acrobatic combat style that will open the doors to exhilarating encounters that champion quicker reflexes. The original game was already rich in content, and this game seems to provide the same. With a strong foundation in Hollow Knight, I remain confident that this game will deliver upon its great expectations with finesse.
Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Zero Dawn was my favorite PlayStation 4 exclusive, largely in part to its breathtaking open world that synthesized the natural beauty of a post-apocalyptic setting with mechanical threats abound. In Horizon Forbidden West, Aloy will venture to the real-world equivalent of the western United States, scaling mountains and crossing waters to prevent the spread of a mysterious plague (very timely…). I had the most fun with Horizon Zero Dawn when I got to venture off the beaten path to unlock the secrets of the past and traverse new environments with diverse ecosystems, and Horizon Forbidden West will no doubt continue that trend with even more powerful hardware to utilize.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Celebrating the series’ 35th anniversary this year and coming off the back of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, I’m fairly certain that the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the marquee title of the Nintendo Switch this holiday season. One of the most impactful games of the last decade, this game appears to dig deeper into its narrative roots with the foundation of its open-air environment already established. It’s groundbreaking how much potential this sequel holds to enrich the world with more stories and mechanics not present before, and it stands to reason that it signals big things for The Legend of Zelda moving forward.
NieR: Replicant ver.1.22474487139…
With a title as precise as 3.14159265358…, NieR: Replicant ver.1.22474487139… looks to capitalize on the success of NieR: Automata by serving as a remaster of that game’s predecessor. There’s no universe in existence where this game wouldn’t catch my attention; NieR: Automata is an all-time favorite game, and the dream duo of Yoko Taro and Keiichi Okabe has returned to bring this game to life with modern gameplay and visuals. I cannot speak much to the narrative since I hope to go in with as little information as possible, but the fervor around this game in the past infuses plenty of trust.
Persona 5 Strikers
Coming off the bat of Persona 5 Royal last year, Persona 5 Strikers will attempt to return to this universe in the form of a hack-and-slash role-playing game set a few months out from that game’s story. This game might suit the fancy of those who prefer fast-paced action compared to turn-based battles, while retaining several of the iconic elements of Persona 5‘s style. Koei Tecmo is backing the development of this game given that it operates like a Dynasty Warriors game, and these titles tend to be hit-or-miss depending on the person. Despite this, Persona 5 Strikers signals another adventure with the Phantom Thieves to steal some hearts.
From the creators of Hyper Light Drifter comes Solar Ash, an action-adventure title with the same sense of flair that Hyper Light Drifter oozed across its entire world. One of the defining features of that game was its visual storytelling, leaving much of it up to the player to develop their own interpretations with the foreground knowledge that the protagonist suffered from a life-threatening illness. It was successful in achieving that vision before, and the transition to a three-dimensional space opens up new doors for beautiful showcases and dynamic environments. What Solar Ash hopes to accomplish from a narrative standpoint is cloaked in intrigue, and I am looking forward to unwrapping it when the time comes.
Thank you for reading! I plan to post new content on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week. Stay tuned for the next one, which will outline my gaming predictions for 2021!