On paper, the first months of 2021 were supposed to be relatively quiet, with few major releases threatening to disturb the post-holiday lull. Some of us gladly looked forward to the extra time we could spend clearing our backlogs, but those plans somehow went out the window. Instead, we've already played through quite a number of this year's releases, which included some of the best PC games of 2021.
Just like last year's, our list of the best PC games of 2021 already features a decent amount of variety. The games that impressed us the most range from sprawling turn-based strategy games that take us back to World War II, to surreal horror, one third-person stealth title that concludes an excellent rebooted saga, and even some platforming.
These are all games that we've played, reviewed, and given a score of at least 8.5/10. If you're more about words than numbers, our score system translates that to "Excellent". While the titles below may not be perfect, they do a lot of things very well which, in our view, warrants giving them your time.
Naturally, the list is by no means final. With just one quarter of the year behind us, there still are plenty of other games, both big and small, to look forward to. As we review them, we'll update this article with the best ones.
The Best PC Games of 2021
- Hitman 3
- The Medium
- Field of Glory 2: Medieval
- Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition
- Yakuza Remastered Collection
- Little Nightmares 2
- Gary Grigsby's War In the East 2
Hitman 3 marks the conclusion of IO Interactive's World of Assassination trilogy. Agent 47's no less of a globetrotter in this one and the quantity of murder or stealth he employs is, yet again, entirely in your hands. The expertly built sandbox levels not only challenge players during their first visit but offer many incentives to replay completed locations and find other creative ways to assassinate your targets.
In our review, we called it "a fascinating finale to the franchise that shyly continues the series’ tradition to iterate and improve on each entry," before awarding it a 9. Not a bad way to start the year. If sandbox assassination sounds like your thing, you'll find Hitman 3 on the Humble Store.
The Medium's next-gen visuals, retro-inspired fixed camera angles, and dual-reality gameplay come together to create a memorable horror game. With nightmarish visuals inspired by the art of Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński, the title follows protagonist Marianne as she explores the Niwa resort, its surroundings, and the Spirit World that she can tap into thanks to her powers.
You'll visit decrepit and otherworldly locations, solve old-school puzzles, and evade horrifying foes as the title's complex narrative unfurls. In our review, we called The Medium "a genuinely chilling ghost story that’s sure to leave a lasting impression," before scoring it an 8.5. You can purchase the game from Steam.
Field of Glory 2: Medieval
Field of Glory 2: Medieval might not reinvent the wheel, but its deep-without-being-overwhelming rule system and engaging tactical battles earn it a spot on our list of the best PC games of 2021. Regardless if you're playing campaign or custom battles, taking advantage of the terrain can prove vital for obtaining victory. You'll have to look after your units' positioning, morale, cohesion, and your general's command range while taking into account each faction's particularities.
Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition
Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition includes the base game and all subsequent DLC which is fairly convenient. But, more importantly, it's a great Souls-like that balances challenge and reward quite well. Its responsive, flashy combat system takes a while to master, but getting the hang of one of its multiple weapon types comes with a great deal of satisfaction.
You can also create your own character and shift between different forms to access additional powers when you need some extra help beating up monstrous opponents. Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition is "equal parts challenging and rewarding, with a loot system that rocks, a combat system that is deep and nuanced, an online component that adds to the experience, and great performance on PC," which is why we gave it a 9 when we reviewed it. Find it on the Humble Store.
Yakuza Remastered Collection
Yakuza Remastered Collection's improvements largely come in the shape of updated visuals but, even so, it gives enough of a reason to revisit the series or play through it for the first time. If you're in the latter category, some of its gameplay might take a bit of getting used to. However, ignoring the collection would mean missing out on three of the most interesting games you can currently get on PC.
Little Nightmares 2
Little Nightmares 2 does what a proper sequel should, taking what made the original game so haunting an experience and adding to it. Six returns, only as a companion to new protagonist Mono. The two children find themselves in a new nightmarish place whose inhabitants, both tiny and giant, are out to get them. The presence of a second character doesn't take away from the game's tense atmosphere and, since Mono and Six have to collaborate, certain moments in their journey go a long way to show how their bond strengthens under strain.
In our review, we found that it "improves on nearly every aspect of the first game" while being a full-fledged sequel in its own right. Little Nightmares 2 received an 8.5 from us and you can find it on the Humble Store.
Gary Grigsby's War In the East 2
Gary Grigsby's War In the East 2 is yet another example of an excellent sequel that refines and expands upon its predecessor. A World War II turn-based strategy game of massive scope, its scenarios take players through the entirety of the conflict across smaller scenarios and three larger campaigns starting in 1941, 1942, and 1945, respectively.
You'll have to look after your units' fatigue and morale, take into account their experience and quality, and make sure they've enough ammunition and fuel to get the job done. Weather, roads, rail availability and your production capabilities all play into how well you can execute your plans. In our review, we called War in the East 2 "the most comprehensive, most realistic, and most advanced wargame modelling of the Eastern Front in any wargame," prior to awarding it the first 9.5 of 2021. Find it on the Matrix Games store.
Which titles made your list of the best PC games of 2021 so far? Let us know in the comments.
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