Top 10 of 2021
While I would normally rank this list in order to get a true game of the year, I've turned against it this time around (and maybe for good) because my year was too heavily defined by both returning favorites and missed games that probably would have made the list, but that I just haven't gotten around to playing yet. So coming up with an order for ten games I did play felt almost disingenuous. I mean, my favorite single player studio Arkane released a game this year. And I still haven't played it! So while this list is conceptually, frustratingly incomplete, it is still representative of the games I did manage to get to.
Honorable Mentions - Old Favorites
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
I did my first ever Extra Life stream this year, tackling the campaigns of Halo 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a single 17 hour session that was absolutely my personal highlight of the year. I had already played these campaigns a bunch over the years, but I think they're now going to forever be associated in my mind with that stream. It was so much fun, and I was thrilled to have passed my target donation goal during the stream. An amazing memory, and I'm already excited to do something again next year.
I met one of my best friends TheShanpire this year thanks to Apex Legends, and she helped propel this game back into my multiplayer rotation. I've always loved Apex, but 2021 saw me playing more of the game than I had in quite some time. I'm still constantly impressed by how interesting and beautiful the maps are, especially Olympus, and how dynamic the combat can be with the numerous Legend abilities. The game continues to grate against me now and then with connection issues and tap-strafing TTV Wraith mains wielding 3-shot kill Wingmans, but I have yet to play a Battle Royale game that I like even half as much as Apex and I likely never will.
I am an extremely on-again off-again Destiny player. I fell back in love with the game when the Forsaken expansion released a few years ago, similarly to how The Taken King revitalized the first game. But as expected, I stepped away once I exhausted most of the existing content. A couple friends convinced me to jump back in this year and I'm so glad I did. Destiny 2 has always been a gorgeous sci-fi adventure, but I was really blown away by the visuals of the last couple expansions. The stark contrast between whites and reds on the Moon as part of the Shadowkeep expansion and the deep blues of Europa in the Beyond Light expansion provided some of my favorite destinations in games this year. The game feels more varied than it has ever felt to me, which is amusing considering that Bungie nuked a bunch of content to kick off 2021. I'm really excited for what the upcoming Witch Queen expansion will bring in February.
For the first time since probably 2012 or 2013 I've been having unplanned multi-hour sessions with Minecraft playing with friends. You already know what the deal is here, but I'll add that this game looks extraordinarily nice with texture mods and shaders.
I play Skyrim pretty much every year, but 2021 saw me really diving into the PC version for the first time with a big ol' list of mods, and it has been transformative. Everything from added perks and spells to new weapons and gear and revamped visuals, it's all combined to offer one of the ultimate escapism games of the year for me. The Anniversary Update content is pretty cool too.
Alright, I think that covers the mentions. List time!