Driven by the success of the PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Switch, the video game industry is still recording record numbers. Here is our selection of the best video games not to be missed this year on consoles, PC and smartphones.
Please note that this selection will evolve over the months and will be regularly updated according to the favorites of the editorial staff of CNEWS and our partner Jeux Vidéo Magazine.
RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
Eighth episode of the famous horrific saga created 25 years ago, Resident Evil Village propels us into a sinister Eastern European town. Ethan Winters, the hero of this adventure, will go in search of his daughter Rose, kidnapped by the mysterious mother Miranda and her furious cronies.
From the start, RE8 sets the tone with monsters popping up on all sides and Ethan shooting at everything that moves. The first person view gives the impression of playing an FPS as there are so many gun fights. The shotgun is our best friend here. This does not prevent this new opus from delivering a journey with a dark, sometimes suffocating atmosphere. An atmosphere sublimated thanks to the beautiful scenery with, on PS5 and Xbox Series X, ultra realistic lighting effects. Beautiful, intense, sometimes slightly scary, this episode, while being very “action” oriented, is quickly engaging. A shooter in “horror movie” mode more than a survival horror.
Resident Evil Village, Capcom, on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Stadia.
MONSTER HUNTER RISE
Long confined to Asia in general and Japan in particular, the saga, which was born in 2004, became a worldwide success in 2017 with Monster Hunter: World on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC with over 16 million sales. Building on this success, the Japanese publisher Capcom is therefore back with a brand new hunting adventure exclusive to the Nintendo console. It’s hard not to be bluffed by the game’s graphic quality from the very first minutes.
The editor did not play the recycling card even if the Monster Hunter formula remains unchanged. You can go hunting, alone or in a group, as the game is once again played online, if you subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service, but also locally.
Monster Hunter Rise is one of those video games that require a real personal investment to be enjoyed. The price to pay to discover an incredibly rich universe.
Monster Hunter Rise, Capcom, on Switch.
SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD
Nintendo continues to port the best video games of its mascot to Switch. The mustachio is coming to the Switch this February with Super Mario 3D World, a title released on Wii U in 2013 and which is back with a bang, with a bonus adventure: Bower’s Fury.
For players who missed this game a few years ago, let’s remember that Super Mario 3D World mixed the best of 3D and levels designed to be explored like a 2D world. A particular choice that sets this episode apart in the saga that had taken a very different turn since the unforgettable Super Mario 64 (1996).
If some players regretted not having been able to play Super Mario 3D World in the Super Mario 3D All Stars compilation released at the end of last year, their expectations have finally been rewarded. Like any good Mario game, this opus deserved its place in the Switch game library, while the commercial failure of the Wii U had not offered the success that this game would have deserved. Back in 2021, Mario is in great shape in a rich and user-friendly game that even has the luxury of offering a new story through the very successful Bowser’s Fury. A good way to wait for a next opus of the adventures of the moustachioed man in the blue overalls.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Nintendo, on Switch.
IT TAKES TWO
Can’t stand your other half? It Takes Two invites you to reconnect with her in a funny, intense and intelligent adventure. Remember, that’s how you used to see her too… To each his own. After Brothers A Tale of Two Sons (2013) and then a Way out (2018), the artist Josef Fares delivers a new and amazing adventure that starts with a couple decided to separate. An original game that can only be played… by two people.
May and Cody are an exhausted couple on the verge of a nervous breakdown. They can’t stand this life of a couple that they suffer more than anything else. Their little girl, Rose, does not want, like all children, that her parents divorce. With the help of a magical book, the Book of Love, she tries to bring her parents back together in a strange way. A few tears are enough to transform the disillusioned parents into wooden and rag dolls thrown into an excessive universe.
Placed under the sign of mutual aid and cooperation, It Takes Two allows two players to live a unique experience by creating a real bond between the two protagonists. Without being original, the concept has the merit of being perfectly balanced and of being renewed in an intelligent and amusing way.
It Takes Two, Electronic Arts, on PS4, Xbox One and PC (also PS5 and Xbox Series X/S compatible).
When horror video game specialists come up with an adventure exclusive to the Xbox Series X/S, the result is bound to be chilling. The Medium is an exclusive title for the new Xbox Series X/S consoles and PC.
The adventure begins in the late 90’s, in Krakow (Poland), in a small funeral home. This is where Marianne says goodbye to her adoptive father. It is also where the player understands that the young woman has certain powers. She can indeed communicate and move in the spirit world. An ability that, on the screen, translates into certain passages where the action is visible simultaneously on both planes. Original.
Once again, Bloober Team traces the dark designs and springs of the human soul in a sometimes chilling but nonetheless seductive adventure that has already seduced many players around the world. It has already seduced many gamers around the world. It is unashamedly in the top of the best video games of the year.
The Medium, Bloober Team, on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
PERSONA 5 STRIKERS
Available on PS4 and Switch, Persona 5 Strikers still takes us to Tokyo where we find all the heroes of Persona 5 Royal (2020) who have completed their quest in a parallel world that “polluted” the Japanese city, denouncing the vice, corruption and crime that haunted our real world.
If the fans of Persona 5 will quickly find their marks, Atlus has however imagined this sequel in another gameplay framework, since the editor has asked Koei Tecmo’s teams to offer us an action-oriented title. Understand that the fights are in real time and are more on the beat them all side, facing a horde of enemies.
Having become one of the reference video games for all J-RPG fans, Persona 5 offers itself with Strikers an excellent sequel, able to seduce a new audience of curious people used to more action. However, you will have to invest yourself to appreciate this new scenario, built like a road trip under acid, with its pop demons and its trendy world, a real social chronicle of our connected era.
Persona 5 Strikers, Atlus, on PS4 and Switch.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… Presented under its full name, the new J-RPG from Square Enix will intrigue those who have never heard of it. And yet, seasoned gamers were eagerly awaiting this new version of an adventure launched in 2010.
What about this unpronounceable number some will say? You just have to remember that it’s the square root of 1.5, a facetiousness of the developers who intend to offer a major remake to this excellent title that founded the legend of the NieR saga and whose most popular (and recent) NieR:Automata was able to magnify the concept in 2017. A remake? Yes, but not a simple graphical overhaul. NieR Replicant version 2021 fleshes out its dialogues, expands its bestiary and reinterprets brilliant musical compositions, before offering itself an alternative ending yet unpublished.
Welcomed as an unidentified videogame object when it was released eleven years ago, NieR is getting a version that lives up to its fame. With the international success of NieR:Automata, it seemed obvious to rehabilitate a title of such importance.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, Square Enix, on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
In the movement of the so-called “demanding” video games, Returnal propels the player into a mysterious SF universe where death lurks at every moment. Challenging and exhilarating at the same time…
Everything starts with a crash. That of Selene and her spaceship Helios, somewhere on the strange exoplanet Atropos. The starting point of an adventure that takes the form of an action game mixed with a science fiction thriller. The crash site will soon hold no secrets for the player, who will return again and again, tirelessly, to better explore the mysterious planet.
Because, as this PlayStation 5 exclusive (also) implies, one returns very often, after each death, to this starting point. Returnal follows the trend of these titles where you die repeatedly. An adventure with multiple inspirations, Returnal manages to demonstrate its own singularity. Difficult, hard but fair, Housemarque’s title offers an exhilarating challenge as long as you manage to hold on and start again and again the same passage, the same fight… Until you reach a kind of saving perfection.
Returnal, Sony, on PS5.
With Fantasian, Apple gave Hironobu Sakaguchi (father of many Final Fantasy episodes) and his studio Mistwalker carte blanche to offer a real J-RPG to Apple Arcade subscribers. Its originality? The game and its scenery have been entirely designed on the basis of dioramas, those miniature scenes and landscapes that model fans know well. Sakaguchi and his teams have indeed almost entirely realized the world of Fantasian based on this principle, which offers a very photo-realistic virtual world since everything has been designed by hand.
Fantasian leads us to discover the destiny of Leo, an amnesiac hero who wakes up in a mechanical city full of mysteries. If the game mechanics remain classic, Fantasian remains dynamic and exciting and proves to be an excellent title in the role-playing category on the Apple platform.
Fantasian, Mistwalker/Apple, on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac via Apple Arcade subscription.
An epic SF fresco, Outriders takes players to the farthest reaches of the galaxy to engage in spectacular battles, alone or with two sidekicks. After several decades spent in space, the last survivors of Earth reach the planet Enoch. A place where humanity could rise from its ashes. But things are not going to happen as planned… As soon as they arrive, the colonists are confronted with a hostile environment but also with strange magnetic storms. Caught in the middle of them, some of them will develop supernatural abilities and become the Outriders. They then discover that a mysterious signal is emitted somewhere on the planet and decide to find its origin…
Outriders is above all a great shooter. It’s a great way to create a custom fighter before going into battle and “going for it”. A simple and explosive concept that could do some good after these more or less confined days.
Outriders, Square Enix, on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Stadia.
Expected since 2017, Narita Boy was a small bomb when it was officially launched in late March on consoles and PC. In this action game, tinged with platforms, a dazzling pixel art gives to venture into the bowels of a computer program threatened by a virus.
Like the movie Tron (1982), the developers dematerialize a young gamer to send him to a virtual world where a small digital population is waiting to be delivered from HIM, the name given to the big bad virus that threatens them. You play the chosen one, Narita Boy, who – like Neo in The Matrix – must save the universe. If this falsely philosophical fable can amuse some, it is especially in its progression that this game will leave a good memory to the players who will try it. A game which, without being revolutionary, benefits from an interesting and neat atmosphere.
Narita Boy, Team17, on Switch, Xbox One and Series X/S, PS4 and PS5, PC and Mac.
In the great line of video games dedicated to ninjas such as Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden or Ninja Spirit, the Frenchman François Pérez, alias Wonderboy Bobi, has just published a new gem of the genre: Tanuki Justice. A game in the purest arcade tradition that offers a remarkable challenge on Switch and PS4, as already explained in our full review.
Tanuki Justice is a sensitive game, driven by the passion of its developer, which has no other claim than to entertain during short games, which will remain so intense that you’ll come back to it regularly, if only to blow up the high-score or prove to yourself that you haven’t lost your touch. We also welcome its two-player mode for sharing wild games.