11 best action-adventure games of 2021
2022 looks like it’s going to be a year to remember for the game (barring massive delays, of course), but even though 2021 hasn’t had as many potentially exceptional massive releases as it looks the coming year is going to have, there was still no shortage of excellent games throughout the year. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite action-adventure games from the last 12 months, before picking one out as the best of the bunch.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote organized by all GamingBolt staff.
MORE HEROES 3
No more heroes was big during the Wii years, and after a long hiatus, the series finally returned in 2020 with an all-new main entry in More heroes 3- and it was worth the wait. All the eccentricity and crazy genius you would expect to find in a game made by Suda51- More heroes 3 has all of this and more. This ambitious adventure sees Travis Touchdown at his best, as he weaves his way through an excellent villain cast. Although the game lacks a technical finish, it more than makes up for these shortcomings with consistent excellence and variety of gameplay.
THE DOOR OF DEATH
The door of death is in a way living proof that homage is not necessarily synonymous with outright imitation. The excellent indie action-adventure game – which follows a crow that reaps the souls of the living and a job gone awry – is like a new age spiritual successor to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It channels many of the same qualities and the same sense of adventure and discovery as this founding game. But he goes about it in his own way, from a set of totally different aesthetics and decorations, to a totally different set of mechanisms, including several inventive ones that he can claim as his own, and with an emphasis on tough fights. It has its struggles, but it still stands out as one of the best games of the year.
IT MUST BE TWO
Whenever a game tries to stand out from what has become an increasingly saturated industry that, honestly, often lacks freshness and creativity, you need to sit down and take note. It takes two deserves credit not only for trying this, but for going all out, but most of all, he deserves credit for doing it as well as he does. Its story received countless applause, which is all, to say the least, well deserved, but what we want to highlight here is the excellent creativity the game exhibits in its mechanics throughout its execution, with each new level bringing with it a completely new and excellently crafted Mechanic Set. It’s not often that you see a game that would even attempt the kinds of things that It takes two attempts, and for that he deserves a ton of recognition – which luckily gets.
After a studio has created some sort of game set in the same universe more than a dozen times in 15 years, you would expect a sense of exhaustion and obsolescence to start to set in. You would expect players, at the very least, to be intimately familiar by now. with these kinds of games, would not find them so delicious. And yet, RGG Studio manages to impress continuously, originally with the Yakuza series, and now with the Judgement a spinoff set in the same universe, which continues the brawler roots of the original franchise. Lost judgment is delicious, with an incredible story, excellent characterization, a wealth of compelling and addicting content (from minigames to side stories), to astonishingly overdramatic yet richly compelling storytelling that never really gets old. Almost fifteen years after the original Yakuza, RGG Studio delivered one of the best entries of its line.
KENA: BRIDGE OF SPIRITS
In a gaming era where games are getting bigger and bigger by the day, as most of them these days tend to be too much big for their own good, we can’t help but be happy that games like Kena: Bridge of Spirits existence-driven, linear, and significantly smaller even than most of the games on this list. From its 10 to 15 hour battery life to its wide linear level design that never goes in the open world but always encourages exploration, it’s a game that understands that sometimes there is immense value in restraint. None of the things Kena made in its gameplay department to stand out as either unique or fresh, but thanks to that zoomed-in focus it is able to deliver solid mechanics that still work well with each other to deliver a solid action-adventure experience.
RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
Resident Evil Village is a carnival – that might sound like an odd description for this kind of game, but it is what it is. It is a carnival of different styles of horror, a carnival that celebrates the history of resident Evil. From Lady D’s castle, which is a classic D-style zone, to the horrific Beneviento house focused on psychological horror, of the emphasis on flashing back and exploring for which the series has always been known for the intense action sequences, Resident Evil Village exhibits a surprising amount of variety throughout its execution. What’s surprising, and what makes this game really work, is that it sticks landing with just about anything it tries out. The end result is a spectacular survival horror game that is one of the best deals of 2021.
As the long-awaited sequel to an almost two-decade-old cult classic, the burden of waiting on Psychonauts 2 was huge. Most developers would have collapsed under that kind of pressure, but Double Fine isn’t most developers. Trust Psychonauts 2 the exhibits in his skin are second to none, and he does so not only in his incredible, ingeniously told story and endearing cast of bizarre and eccentric characters, but also with his gameplay. Upgrading everything from his platform and combat and level design by significant margins, he serves as a perfect sequel, but again, he shows restraint in doing so – never going far enough. with these improvements to make sense of what the game is meant to be. We had to wait quite a long time for Raz’s second adventure, but luckily it paid off.
Speaking of the immense burden of waiting- Terror Metroid had incredibly high expectations to live up to. It arrived 11 years after the last new mainline Metroid game (which wasn’t very good), it followed a number of disappointing derivative entries in the series. Success would have been next to impossible for any other game released under these circumstances, so the fact that Fear has seen such critical and commercial success as it should tell you everything you need to know about how insanely spectacular it is. Nintendo’s early franchises were on fire in the Switch era, and Metroid, well, finally had his time in the sun too.
FAR CRY 6
Unlike some gaming franchises (like a couple we talked about here), with Far cry, you always know exactly what you’re going to get. If all you’re looking for is more Far cry, look no further than Far cry 6. From its massive and diverse open world to its chaotic systemic combats and explorations, it’s the epitome of open world gameplay, which, thanks to clever new tweaks to customization and progression mechanics, has its own taste here to suit the mood. frame of the game and narrative premise perfectly. Too big for its own good? Maybe, but at least it’s packed with all the good things you’d expect to find in an open world. Game.
THE MARVEL GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
As we’ve seen a number of times over the past few years, making an original game based on popular licensed property can be quite tricky. With Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy however, Eidos Montreal has proven to be quite up to the task. Rather than being suffocated by the shadow of the MCU’s adaptation of the source material, the game is successfully carving out its own identity. Excellent animations, performances, and scriptures bring these beloved characters to life in compelling ways, and watching them grow, change, and interact with each other remains a joy throughout the experience. It also helps that it’s also a game that doesn’t care about being unnecessarily massive or being an ongoing experience, as this focused approach helps it focus on what it’s good for.
RATCHET AND CLANK: RIFT APART
The stock of Insomniac has increased dramatically in recent years, mainly due to the Spider Man games, but Ratchet and Clank was the series that introduced the developer’s talents to a whole generation of gamers at the time – and Rift apart is an incredibly love letter to this fanbase. Going through hordes of enemies with increasingly ridiculous gadgets and weapons has always been at the heart of the series identity, and Rift apart leaves no stone unturned in this area. The narrowness of the design that it exhibits not only in combat but also in the level design and the platform through its many levels also helps it to stand up as a platform game. action accomplished, while the story, brought to life by an endearing cast of new and returning characters, pulls the whole experience together perfectly as well.
Action-adventure games are always a hotly contested and competitive category, and quite frankly this year has seen some great games in the genre. For Terror Metroid winning it in such a year is ultimately testament to how great it is. Despite the two decades that separate it from the last new game in the 2D saga of the series, it feels like no time has passed. Extremely confident, and bringing together the strengths and triumphs of the Metroid series of each previous entry, Terror Metroid succeeds pretty much across the board as a Metroidvania and as an action-adventure game, from movement to traversal, combat and bosses to world design. It’s extremely addicting, incredibly well paced, and it’s a game that inspires its players to always do better, while encouraging them to master its mechanics and break its own limits. Consistently inventive, exquisitely convincing and masterfully crafted, Terror Metroid is one of the best games in the series, one of Nintendo’s best games in the Switch era and GamingBolt’s action-adventure game for the year 2021.