Against all odds, 2021 was a fantastic year for games

I can not wait to kick 2021 into the grave. It has been a garbage year across the board, including the gaming industry, where the pandemic put developers under great pressure and forced countless delays. Despite this, it has been an impressive year when it comes to the games themselves – in fact, an absolutely fantastic year.

With the disappointment of Cyberpunk 2077 still fresh, the tone in January was a bit more cynical and depressed than usual. Immediately, a tale rose that framed things like pretty shit, and 12 months later, it’s a tale that’s still being pushed. But after our discussions about Game of the Year and a quick review of my finished game spreadsheet (yes, I’m pretty boring), it’s become clear that there’s a big gap between 2021’s mood and the games that actually came out.

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Hitman 3 started the year and honestly it could have ended there and I would still have been pretty happy. It may not have the series’ best list of missions, but it certainly has some of its greatest experiments, including an Agatha Christie-style mystery that has been in my mind since January. More than just a finale, Hitman 3 updated the previous games so that it feels like one continuous murder experiment. The World of Assassination is easily IO’s best work, and it bodes well for the James Bond game the team is currently working on.

I do not think anyone could have foreseen Valheim’s influence when so many survival games with early access come and go.

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