The Ten Best Games of 2021, According to Us

2021 video game release dates

Deciding on a list of the best video games of 2021, or any year really, is tough. Different opinions, different tastes, heck, even what platforms somebody owns makes a huge difference. Here at COGconnected, we take the democratic approach. For all our category awards (you know, the ones you’ve been reading the past couple of weeks) we poll the team, weight the rankings, and publish the results. Most of the time, that’s a pretty accurate process since even someone who hasn’t played Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart can clearly tell it’s the best looking game of the year.

For the final best video games of 2021 list, we use a hybrid approach. We do the same team voting and then engage in a discussion about those results on Press X To Podcast. Opinion comes into play, colored substantially by the group results. The result of this process is contained within. Buckle up, strap in, and grab a tasty beverage as we count down our ten best video games of 2021.

10. Lost Judgment

Sega’s bizarre and outlandish world of detectives and Yakuza thugs is no stranger to the spotlight, having been recognized on countless personal best games lists over the years.  Several of the COG staff actually picked Lost Judgment as their favorite game this year, and no wonder: the combat feels the best it ever has, the writing is surprisingly engaging, and best of all, Yagami’s leather jacket is on point. Some might even say it’s among the best leather jackets of 2021. Combined with that signature series vibe – where everything is absurd and nobody seems to notice – Lost judgment had us eagerly anticipating every twist and turn. With the way everything comes together, Lost Judgment is well deserving of sneaking into the bottom of our ten best games of 2021.

9. It Takes Two

It Takes Two

This year’s Game Awards winner for best game (which I’ve since heard referred to as The Geoffs, and that’s hilarious) slides in to the ninth place on our best video games of 2021. It’s a great game. Beautifully designed and animated, with a level of creativity that defies logic, It Takes Two was a phenomenal treat when things in the real world seemed grim. Mae and Cody are the best Hazelight hero pair since Brothers, and the puzzles they get thrown into are oftentimes brilliant. It has some truly disturbing and heartfelt moments too, and it’s a shame those moments are flattened by abrupt tonal shifts in how the characters interact. Special shout to Joseph Balderrama’s double turn as both Cody and Dr. Hakim, though. We definitely want to hang out with that zany book.

8. Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 might be the first racing or sports game to make it on to one of you best video games lists, and it takes 8th place here in 2021. Playground Games has been honing their open world racing craft for a long time now, and Horizon 5 is the best yet. Mexico is brilliantly diverse and absolutely gorgeous; we can’t wait to see what that team can create once they’re unshackled from the boat anchor that is Xbox One compatibility.

The variety of vehicles and events is outstanding too, and the map design does a great job of lining racers up with another event when they finish a race. That’s not even considering the whole seasons mechanic and the constantly changing competitive racing scene. Even a cluttered map and way too many unlock mechanics could keep this Xbox gem off our list of the best video games of 2021!

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

It was a game many thought would be an uninteresting palette swap of Marvel’s Avengers, but that was the best surprise of the year according to our team. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a lovingly crafted and excellently written superhero adventure with competent combat and exploration. But most importantly, it has characters we grew to love. It’s a tall task to make your new Star Lord stack up against Chris Pratt’s rendition, but Eidos Montreal really knocked the Guardians vibe out of the park. There are a ton of memorable moments during the adventure – no surprise given Eidos’ experience with the Deus Ex franchise – and it packs a surprising number of feels. The game is starting to get the credit it deserves, but is still drastically underrated in our estimation. It’s definitely good enough to win seventh place on our best video games of 2021 list.

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The Ten Best Video Games of 2021