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5 Best Video Games of 2021, According to Metacritic

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Well, 2021 is just about tied up, leaving 2022 to take on the torch and hoist the colors for the gaming world. But before we turn over a new leaf and settle into a fresh calendar year, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best video games from the last twelve months. Well, technically, we thought we’d gloss over Metacritic and tally up the highest scores and staple them in our familiar top five format.

So, what was it that made the biggest splash this year? How many units did it sell, and which title came close to taking the throne at the last minute? Well, let’s take a look. Here are the best video games of 2021, according to Metacritic. Oh, and we’ll be excluding any DLC, meaning Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, although having a score of 92, will be getting the chop. Sorry, Square.

 

5. It Takes Two (Metacritic: 89)

It Takes Two – Official Gameplay Trailer

From the moment Hazelight Studios boasted unencumbered thrills and endless replayability with their latest co-op title, It Takes Two, we were hooked. And the fact that its creator even said he’d be willing to give anyone $1,000 if they managed to get bored of the game, I think our expectations were well and truly blown through the roof.

Luckily, it all paid off, and It Takes Two managed to rack up an incredibly high score of 89 on Xbox and PlayStation, making it the fifth highest rated video game of 2021. As for what comes next for Hazelight Studios, well, here’s hoping A Way Out will get a well-deserved sequel. Whatever it is they choose to pursue, we’re expecting big things, and they’ve most definitely got the scores to back their reputation.

 

4. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (Metacritic: 90)

Mass Effect™ Legendary Edition Official Reveal Trailer (4K)

Mass Effect is arguably one of the best role-playing games of all time. And what made it even greater this year, of course, is the fact that it all tied together in one massive remastered bundle. And although the trilogy closed up shop nearly ten years ago, its Metacritic score of 90 just goes to show that its reputation remains at an all-time high, and that its enormous fan base is still glued to BioWare for every single patch it releases.

Combining all the base games plus their original expansions and accompanying DLC, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition went on to became the must-have collection of 2021. It also held 59,000 concurrent players on Steam the week of its release, making it BioWare’s best performing game of all time. Not too shabby for a trilogy that ended in 2012.

 

3. Chicory: A Colorful Tale (Metacritic: 90)

Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Official Trailer | PS5, PS4

One of the most unusual games to roll out this year was Chicory: A Colorful Tale. Harnessing a healthy score of 90 on Metacritic, the 2D adventure game went on to challenge both Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, as well as Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X. And now, as we roll out the red carpet for 2022, the cute and colorful indie game has the pleasure of knowing it snatched the third highest score of the year.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale went on to receive universal acclaim following its 2021 release, and even peaked over on Steam in the months thereafter. And although the game has yet to receive any award as such, its loyal player base is definitely holding out for them. And honestly, the guys working alongside developer Greg Lobanov deserve to be rewarded for delivering such a vibrant world.

 

2. Pyschonauts 2 (Metacritic: 91)

Psychonauts 2 Story Trailer // Summer 2021

After waiting nearly two decades, fans finally got the sequel to the critically acclaimed Pyschonauts. And boy, it didn’t disappoint. Although to be fair, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t expect great things from it at first, especially with the original game receiving generally low scores. But to our absolute surprise, Double Fine was able to pull out of the best platformers of the year.

Taking home a score of 91 on Metacritic, Pyschonauts 2 bags the silver medal for second highest rated game of 2021. Unfortunately, despite its raging popularity, the game didn’t go on to receive any awards at The Game Awards 2021. It did, however, pull in a boatload of nominations, including one for Game of the Year. But with It Takes Two nudging just a smidgen higher in the ratings, it unfortunately fell short alongside Resident Evil Village. Still, not bad for a game that was once considered a commercial failure.

 

1. Forza Horizon 5 (Metacritic: 92)

Forza Horizon 5 4K Official Announcement Trailer

It comes as no surprise for most, seeing Forza Horizon 5 take the crown for the highest rated game of 2021. In fact, it was almost destined to seize the throne from the second Playground Games announced its development. And although Metacritic nudged other games above its admirable score of 91, Forza Horizon 5 was the only one released this year, whereas the others were either DLC or remastered editions of older games.

So with all of that said, I think we can safely say that Forza takes home the platinum for 2021 with its stunning Mexican open-world sequence. It also holds the current titles for Best Sports/Racing Game, Best Audio Design, and for Innovation in Accessibility, thanks to The Game Awards.

 

Do you agree with the above scores? What would you rate the top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

 

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Jord is Team Leader for gaming.net. As well as covering breaking news stories and blabbering on in his daily listicles, he also contributes to sites such as Vocal, Collider, as well as his anthology of self-published novels.