Going to be perfectly honest – I haven’t felt like writing my usual stuff lately. It was pretty telling when I breezed through writing my Monster Hunter Rise impressions on Friday prior to posting them later that afternoon, while I normally take a week to get through my usual stuff. As such, here’s a list. I don’t write lists often, but I was organizing my personal holiday wishlist and noticed I’d missed a lot of releases this year. As such, here are (probably) the best games from 2021 that I haven’t played yet.
Some of you may recall how I wrote about enjoying Hitman 2 so much earlier this year, so naturally I’d want to pick up the final installment in the World of Assassination trilogy. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet because on my platform of choice (PC) it isn’t being sold on Steam. Before anyone gives me a hard time or calls me a baby for not buying the game on the Epic Store let me explain.
Despite being three different releases, the latest Hitman trilogy is really one game with several large paid expansions. Launching any game from the trilogy will bring players to a shared menu where they can jump into any mission from across the various releases. Ideally I’d like to play through the entirety of Hitman 3 in the same way that I played through Hitman 2 going through each mission meticulously exploring several different assassination routes. Afterward I wanted to play through the trilogy on master difficulty as a bookend to my time. Herein lies the problem.
In a perfect world it wouldn’t matter where I bought Hitman 3 as it should seamlessly integrate with my existing installs of the other Hitman games. However, because each storefront on PC acts as a soft DRM client I don’t actually know if buying Hitman 3 on EGS will allow it to integrate with the other games which I own via Steam. I’d like to have everything play nice together and as such I’ve been waiting on a Steam release so I don’t have to worry about any integration problems that may arise by owning games on different platforms.
This is probably the stupidest reason I haven’t bought a game yet, but here’s hoping I can remedy this and play Hitman 3 sometime in 2022.
Ender Lilies is one of the few genuine surprises of 2021. I usually have a fairly good pulse on upcoming games that I might be interested in, but this game managed to completely slip under my radar until it was released.
Taking a quick look at Ender Lilies with any familiarity of my preferences will immediately reveal why I’m keen on playing it. It’s a moody looking metroidvania game with an eye catching art-style. I will admit I was a bit dubious about the title as the Steam user tags describe it as “souls-like”, but Mir’s mum played through the game and favourably compared it to Hollow Knight so I’m not sure that particular user tag caries much weight. I’ve also had so many people ask me if I’d heard about this game that it became a meme in my one discord server. Here’s hoping the glove fits as well as everyone thinks it will.
This is one I had intended to pick up already, but haven’t. However, Mir just finished playing through it a week ago and thinks I’ll really enjoy it so that’s a good sign.
Death’s Door is an isometric action game with some light RPG elements and features several long periods of quiet exploration punctuated with challenging boss fights. That already sounds like my cup of tea, but having been around while Mir was playing it I also know that it features an excellent soundtrack to accompany both the quiet exploration and combat. A great soundtrack can elevate an otherwise unremarkable game (ex. Bastion), but, similar to Ender Lilies, Death’s Door feels like it was tailor made for me, at a surface level, so I look forward to playing it at some point in the future.
Continuing on with games that have death in their name, we have Arkane’s latest: Deathloop.
Unlike previous entries on this list my reason for skipping over Deathloop, for now, is fairly well reasoned. Arkane’s last two releases of Dishonored 2 and Prey (2017) both had numerous performance problems at launch which were fixed in the months following. As such I assumed that Deathloop would also have performance issues at launch, so I didn’t see the point in picking it up right away. If the Steam reviews are anything to go by then I’d say I made the correct decision on waiting for a few patches first.
I don’t know that I’ll enjoy Deathloop as much as critics and fans seemed to at launch. Frankly I think a lot of people were overblowing how innovative and exciting the game is because few of them could articulate exactly why they thought Deathloop was so amazing. That said, I still expect I’ll enjoy it for a lot of the same reasons I enjoyed Prey (2017) and the recent Hitman trilogy. Who knows – maybe I’ll be ranting and raving about it on a future episode of the Frosty Canucks after I play it. I wouldn’t count on that though.
They Always Run
After previewing They Always Run earlier this year I added it to my wishlist knowing it was coming out later in the year. It wasn’t until I was writing my holiday shopping list that I even realized it had come out, so…uh…whoops?
Based on my demo impressions from earlier in the year I sense that They Always Run will be a fairly enjoyable platformer, albeit a simple one. From what I saw in the demo it looked like the game had a great sense of momentum to it, but the actual platforming wasn’t too complex. That’s not necessarily a problem as there is a different sort of enjoyment born out of moving quickly through a level and I’m guessing from the title that the outlaw I chased down in the demo won’t be the only bounty I have to chase down across the game’s runtime.
One thing I am interested to see is how character customization is handled. I saw glimpses of it in the demo, but I’m not actually sure how much variety there will be between the different melee and ranged weapons. It’ll be a bit of a shame if the differences are only surface level, but the platforming was a solid foundation so combat being a little lighter isn’t a deal breaker for me. I suppose I’ll see once I finally get my hands on the game.
Final entry on the list and another platformer: Demon Turf.
I played the demo for Demon Turf back in Autumn of last year and it released just last week. I still think the platforming looks great and I really dig the visual style. While the levels are likely a little more linear than I’d like the available platforming mechanics offer a lot more flexibility and player expression than many other platformers on the market, so I’m still keen to jump in and play Demon Turf sometime next year. It doesn’t look like it offers much new, but what is there certainly looks like fun to me.
Well that’s it from me for now. I know this list wasn’t particularly long, but there were a few other games like TOEM, Minute of Islands, and Let’s Build a Zoo that I didn’t have much of anything to say so I elected to sneak them into the final paragraph instead of giving them their own sections. I’d hazard I’m not the only person who missed a game or two this year, so let me know if there are games you missed this year that you’re looking forward to playing at some point in the future. I’m curious if there are other games I should keep my eyes peeled for that I’ve missed.