New releases, remakes, and sequels – the new year is coming with some riveting games to drive away the 2020 blues. The first quarter promises to be an important one, not least because of the calendar shift we all need, and even more so for the notable titles that are set to release during this phase. Here’s the list of games that the community is most looking forward to. So get your planners out and mark the dates, because these may just prove to be some of the best hits of the 2021 first quarter.
1. Hitman 3
Agent 47 returns in the finest third-person assassin game ever to grace our screens. The last installment in the World of Assassination trilogy is set to release on January 20th, and it looks like IO Interactive is leaving no stone unturned to bring out the finale all guns blazing.
With all of 47’s methods and precision at your fingertips, you’ll trot the globe killing the best-guarded and most elusive targets, fulfilling your contracts in Dubai, Dartmoor, and Chongqing, and three other new locations. How and when you eliminate them is up to you. The game appears much grimmer and darker than its prequels, and we can’t wait to see what new story and assassination acrobatics 47 will be a part of this time around.
► Hitman 3
2. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Remake
Ubisoft’s remake of one of its best hits, after many delays and postponements in what’s been a year characteristic of them, is finally set for a January 21 release date. The game has been refreshed and remade with the Assassin’s Creed mechanics which was a giant leap forward from POP’s motor.
The new illustrations seen in the trailer aren’t quite impressive as the new-gen gamer would like to see, and Ubisoft isn’t exactly known for reviving old titles. But when the sands of time turn back the dial, they will inevitably hit upon a nostalgic nerve. Fans who’ve been dying to see an update to PoP for about a decade now finally will get something to chomp on.
3. The Medium
Straddle the world of the living and the dead and unveil the mysteries surrounding a tragedy that you, Marianne, have uncovered. This psychological thriller is another one of Bloober Team’s creations, reminiscent of games like Silent Hill, and it’s no coincidence either as the team was inspired by the unnerving milieu and the eerie music of the latter. But the game is much more than just a facsimile of the much older Team Silent title.
As a medium between the real and the netherworld, you stay in both worlds at the same time, can explore them concurrently, and interact with objects withing them to solve puzzles. The real and spirit world are enmeshed, and changes made in one will impact the other as well. This dual-reality gameplay is a unique feature and one with tons of potential. As of yet, the game is only set to release on Xbox S|X and PC and will be available from January 28.
Third-person shooter fans are in for a heck of a ride with People Can Fly’s Outriders. Efforts to colonize the alien planet Enoch go awry when the expedition team encounters an energy storm, granting superpowers to its inhabitants. Hordes of enemies and grotesque Lovecraftian monsters abound and it is up to you and your team to throttle them with futuristic weapons and your newfound abilities to usher in a new era for the humanity that must become.
Outriders is a gritty, space-bound, futuristic concept that leverages existing mechanics, coupled with RPG elements that bend the narrative based on in-game decisions, and gives access to choke-full of skill trees, character customizations, weapon mods, and side missions as one explores Enoch. The game is slated to release on February 2 on all major platforms.
5. Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood
Being a part of the overarching World of Darkness series, Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood is an action-packed RPG that seamlessly blends its narrative threads with larger environmental concerns. You play as Cahal, a quick-tempered werewolf (aren’t they all) who accidentally kills a tribe member and is banished for it. But learning of a new threat, he must learn to master his rage and protect his tribe, for there alone lay his redemption.
Shapeshifting into a human, a wolf, and a werewolf lets Cahan interact with the world, traverse great lengths at speed, and rip enemies asunder limb from limb. Releasing on 4th February, if it turns out as the developer Cyanide has portrayed it, being the shapeshifting recluse spending sleepless hours protecting Earth from its environmental enemies, and howling at the moon shouldn’t be that hard.
6. Little Nightmares 2
If you’re one for all things cute and horrifying, Little Nightmares 2 is right up your alley. Created by Tarsier Studios, it is the sequel to the ever-adorable and unsettling Little Nightmares of 2020, with a new controllable character called Mono, a boy wearing a paper bag as a mask, accompanied by non-playable Six, the protagonist from the last game.
The two must navigate through the desolate scapes of Pale City, a whole metropolis possessed, and find out the source of the TV transmissions that are infecting the minds of its deformed denizens, solving puzzles in a world made up of the stuff of nightmares.
Despite having echoes of games like Limbo, many of the game’s strangely morbid sequences appear genuinely unique and able to stand on their own. The game’s demo was well-received for its frightening sequences and well-paced escalation of events, rather than delivering cheap shocks and scares that most games in the genre are wont to do. Wait until 11th February to get the goosebumps.
7. Destruction AllStars
Ramming into vehicles in an enclosed arena is always a fun way to pass the time and one-up your friends. Destruction AllStars takes the same concept that made games such as Drivers San Franciso and Twisted Metal popular in the genre and ramps up the stakes with the ability to survive once the vehicles are destroyed. Choose from a wide array of Allstars and their unique abilities and unleash the vehicular wreckage to turn the battle in your favor. But be wary of the hostile environment and avoid being driven through car-splitting rotating lasers. Developed by Lucid Games, the game is set to launch in February, the exact date unknown yet.
Everyone likes a good psychological horror. It not only tests one’s perception but also upends one’s understanding of metaphysics. This is exactly what stands Returnal apart from its competition. The third-person shooter is set in a futuristic sci-fi world with the protagonist, a space pilot, stranded on an unknown planet and stuck in a time loop. Armed to the teeth with state-of-the-art weapons and high-tech armor, you must journey through the ever-altering landscape, tackling extraterrestrial creatures to make your way through a series of continual beginnings and ends. Such premises are fodder for some unsuspected twists and turns that amplify engagement right up till the climax at the end, or the beginning, wherever the definitive denouement ends up being. Set the countdown to end on 19th March 2021 for this one.
9. Far Cry 6
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the year, Far Cry 6 is another March release that has had fans eagerly awaiting its release for a while now. One of the highlights of the game, apart from being the sixth installation in Ubisoft’s massively popular and expansive Far Cry series, is Giancarlo Esposito who plays the evil dictator of the fictitious island country Yara. Players control the guerilla soldier Dani Rojas, attempting to topple the regime and restore the nation back to its former glory.
The trailer to the game has us expecting it to be every bit as gritty and sinister as the previous iterations. The first-person shooter series has been the cynosure of developers and gamers for a decade and a half now and first impressions of the game seem to indicate a giant leap in design and gameplay – something we’ve come to take for granted with sequels of popular titles. But more than that, it will be finding out what exactly the story has in store for us this time that will keep fans conjecturing and theorizing until they get to experience how the narrative unfolds.
10. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
If some titles in this list seem too dark and you’d rather stay connected to the spirited side of things, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the game to behold. You play as the titular character Kena who helps departed spirits traverse the divide between the physical and the spirit world with her magical powers. The cheery, vibrant open-world, is benighted only by the enemies that you must destroy.
But you’re not alone; your endearing little spirit companions are there to help you complete tasks, move objects, and distract enemies as you defeat them with your sorcery and your staff. The premise is inviting, and we’ll know what traumatic past connects Kena to the deceased and makes her empathetic to their plight once we get our hands on it, sometime in March.
The previews and the gameplay trailers of these ten 2021 quarter-one titles have tuned us all to await their release with desperate anticipation and hope. They are all unique in their own right with many of them set to bring seismological shifts in the industry, promising to deliver enough goods to keep us all immersed and in awe.