games / Columns

The Top 8 Anticipated Games of 2021: God of War, Psychonauts 2, More

January 20, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
God of War: Ragnarok

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! With the New Year upon us, I wanted to take a look forward now at the games coming out in 2021 (hopefully) that I’m most excited for. This is just a list of the things I’m interested in, based on my own likes. Enjoy:

#8: Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds

I mostly enjoyed my time with the first Horizon game. The gameplay could get a little repetitive in spots but it was a real blast to be able to take down some of the large machine animals and slaughter them with your spear. What I was more into in the game though was the story. It’s a pretty interesting scifi hook that the world was basically destroyed and robots rebuilt it, along with humanity, but got corrupted when it came to the “making animals” part of the program. I really hope more of “the old world” is developed and explored in this new iteration.

#7: God of War: Ragnarok

I was shocked at how much I got into the PS4 God of War game. I played the earlier entries on PS2/PS3 and got bored about an hour or two in. Not only did God of War keep me interested, I pretty much did everything in the game, including some of those extremely tough Valkyrie fights. The speculation is that the next God of War is going to be slightly pared down, on the same level/scope as the Miles Morales game. Even if that’s the case, I’m WAY in, since I really loved all the combat and just general puzzle solving/gameplay of the recent game. Plus, it’ll give Christopher Judge that many more times to say “Boy!”, so that’ll be fun.

#6: Axiom Verge 2

I’d say that Metroidvania games are some of my favorite games ever and Axiom Verge is no slouch. The first game had a lot of secrets, interesting weapons and disgusting enemies to deal with. The second one looks to take you out of the complex and into the actual world and that makes all the difference. I expect much more different enemy types, more diversity in the setting, and even more places for you to glitch into and find new secrets in. I doubt we’ll get a Bloodstained sequel this year, so this is really the next best thing.

#5: Nier: Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139…

I didn’t play the original Nier, frankly almost no one did, but I did play Automata and loved it. I know Replicant takes places thousands of years before Automata, so the world is vastly different, meaning it’s not a bombed-out wreck, but looks way more alive. While it doesn’t have Platinum Games doing the combat, it still looks very action/combo heavy, which is good. Like with the Demon’s Souls remake, this looks to bring Nier to a new and hungry audience for more.

#4: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Like with God of War, I didn’t actually get much into Ratchet & Clank until the PS4 version. I finally actually understood the shooting/combat mechanics and the game become a blast to play through. Rift Apart just looks incredibly huge by comparison, if they actually get that planet/dimension switching thing working out, it looks to be a massive game, which is something I can appreciate. It also just looks incredibly gorgeous, even by the standards of the PS5, and hopefully it’ll mean they’ll make lots more Ratchet & Clank games in the future.

#3: Psychonauts 2

I adored the first Psychonauts when it came out almost 16 years ago. It had humor, an interesting plot, some adorable characters, and some really great platforming/action levels. Alright, the Milk Man stage was a tad weak but even a “lesser” Psychonauts stage was still more impressive than most other games at the time. Psychonauts 2 looks to finally get Double Fine back to what they are excellent at, making a 3D platformer with tons of witty dialog, jokes, and good gameplay. I’m glad the Microsoft buyout of Double Fine hasn’t hurt the ability for this game to be on the PS5.

#2: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne HD

I knew from the first time they showed off this trailer, it would be an immediate day one purchase for me. My only sadness is that we aren’t getting the cool Japan-only collector’s edition, and while we might get some form of it, it won’t be as neat as the Japan one. Nocturne is in my rankings of the Top 10 games of all time, and is right up there with Planescape: Torment as one of the best RPG’s of all time. I’ve seen some complaints that Nocturne HD isn’t “fixed”, that it doesn’t have some of the gameplay improvements that the series has later on. Frankly, I don’t care. If it means I don’t have to trudge out my PS2 (or an emulator) to play Nocturne again, I’ll be a happy camper.

#1: Persona 5 Strikers

Again, another day one purchase for me. I’ve been waiting for this game for over 2 years now, since they teased it in 2018. I’ve already played the Japanese demo and enjoyed it. I don’t typically like Dynasty Warrior games, but I dug this one, because of the gameplay, franchise and just general fun of it all. I’ll pretty much play any game with “Persona 5” stamped into the title, so this is an easy pick up. The fact that the game is good, at least from the Japanese reviews, is a nice bonus.

For comments, list which games you’re anticipating in 2021 and why.

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