Finally, the end of quarantine is in sight. We can go outside and see people again! We no longer have to sit indoors alone staring at screens to pass the time. Whoo! Hot Girl Summer! Yeah! Finally, I can stand at a party hearing someone tell me about their new leaf art Instagram while I try to figure out what a normal person does with their face when someone else is talking.

 ... But if for some reason, you wanted to maybe spend some time alone, quietly enjoying yourself, you might want to know about some of the 2021 games we're most excited about ... 

Sable Looks Like A Cartoon Wonder

Every year needs its indie darling, and this year that darling is Sable. It's not hard to see why, as Sable is gorgeous. Styled after Studio Ghibli films, Sable's every desert vista and sun-bleached cactus looks like it was animated by hand, although the developers promised there is not an animation team living in my Xbox. All I'm saying is if this game looks as good on release as it does in trailers, I will be popping my Series X open to double-check.

Sable is about a young woman looking to find her place in her nomadic society. In the world of Sable, your position in society is determined by the mask that you wear. (Everyone wears masks? Hard to imagine, I know, but bear with me.) Throughout the game, you are looking for the mask that suits your young protagonist best. To find masks, you can explore the huge world with your customizable hoverbike or by running, climbing, and sand-surfing down everything

Sable

Shedworks

It seems impossible to cross so much desert, but with her hoverbike, she Sable to.

There's no combat in Sable, but there are puzzles, so this is a game you can lean back and play relaxingly. Besides exploring the physical environment, Sable promises lots of hidden lore and interesting world-building through the characters that you meet on your journey.

With exploration and puzzles at the front of the gaming experience, Sable seems made for you if you've been replaying Breath of the Wild for the last 5 years. You'll also want to check it out if you're more interested in solo indie games like Journey and Outer Wilds. 

Horizon Forbidden West Expands On An Already Amazing Universe

Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the most celebrated PS4 games, and now Horizon Forbidden West is ready to bring the franchise to the PS5. It's clear that the folks at Guerrilla Games have been hard at work keeping the same tone and feel as Zero Dawn while updating the gameplay mechanics to fit what players expect from open-world RPGs now. I'm pretty sure it has become illegal to make an open-world RPG without stamina-based free-climbing.

Horizon Forbidden West

Guerilla Games

Breath of the Wild 2: Forbidd- oh, goodness, I mean Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West continues the story of Aloy in the future world of mecha-beasts and tribal politics. This time, Aloy is heading to the West coast to discover the source of an extremely deadly disease. (A world plagued by disease? Hard to imagine, I know, but bear with me.) The game will have recognizable real-world landmarks, like San Francisco and Yosemite Valley, and if you ask me, it'll be worth the cost of admission just to see a version of San Francisco where rent isn't five figures. Forbidden West also introduces underwater exploration and promises an even larger world than its fairly expansive predecessor.

Horizon Forbidden West is for you if you liked another game with "Horizon" in the name. But beware! While it's been forecasted to come out this year, recently, the developers said there is a slim chance they'll delay it. Either way, it will be a Playstation exclusive on release, so if you played Zero Dawn on PC, you might have to invest a little more in Sony to play the sequel.

Deathloop Brings Groundhog Day To FPSs

First-person shooters as a genre are pretty straightforward. You're a person with a gun, there are other people with guns, this town isn't big enough for all of you. Bang bang bang, we're done here.

Deathloop is a first-person shooter that seems entirely new. You play as Colt, an assassin on a military island during the night of a big party -- an island trapped in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again. (Every day feels just like the last?? Hard to imagine! I know! but bear with me!) Colt, understandably, wants to get out of the time loop, I guess, to get back to his cool assassin life. To do so, he has to use his abilities to learn about the other people in the loop and kill 8 particular people who are keeping the loop going; if he fails or dies, the loop starts over.

Arkane

Arkane

Believe it or not, these are the same rules that govern Froot Loops.

Even if that were it, Deathloop would already be doing something new by bringing Majora's Mask to the first-person shooter genre. But Deathloop has an awesome twist: there is another assassin in the loop who is trying to stop Colt. Her name is Julianna and she can mimic any other character in the setting, confuse NPCs, impersonate Colt to make NPCs on high alert before he shows up, and obviously she has combat abilities to rival Colt's own. And Julianna isn't just another person whose memory gets reset every day -- she also remembers previous loops and will act differently every time. Oh, and did I mention? Julianna can be controlled by an AI or by another player. That's right, you can play as the dastardly trickster assassin in another player's game, and try to throw off their rhythm and keep them in the Deathloop. 

This game is for anyone who enjoys first person shooters because come on you know you dream of time-loop assassin dueling with a devious stranger! But you'll particularly want to check out Deathloop if you enjoyed Dishonored or Prey as it's by the same developers. Deathloop is out on September 14th, 2021.

Diablo II: Resurrected Our Love For Diablo II

As a writer, I'm unbiased and interested only in presenting you with the facts, and the facts are if you're not excited for Diablo II: Resurrected, then you're a bad person, and you smell terrible. Like a blend of feet and butt, but with a hint of bad cheese. I'm sorry, that was unprofessional, but I am so stoked for this game because of what it is. Diablo II: Resurrected is ... Diablo II. It's the same game. It's Diablo II again. Did you know you're allowed to just enjoy something more than once?? I'm shocked.

Set in a horrible world where demons have overrun everything, Diablo II: Resurrected is the story of you grabbing such an incredible amount of stuff that you can blow up the devil himself and all of his best friends too. The forefather of all loot-based action role-playing games is back in stunning 3D, so you can finally see exactly how cool your Barbarian looks while leaping across the screen to stab Mephisto. He looks cool as hell, I bet

Diablo 2 resurrected

Blizzard

And apparently, you get to fire bullets into skeleton foreheads this time?

I've thought way too much about Diablo II, but if you're new to the genre and want somewhere to start, this is it. Diablo II is still the pinnacle of creating a character and meticulously crafting their skills and abilities to suit your imagination. Although we don't have a release date yet, you'll know when this game comes out by my shrieks of joy, which will be heard worldwide.

Back 4 Blood

It's no secret that Valve is allergic to the number 3. Half-Life 1 and 2? No problem. Portal 1 and 2? No problem. Anything 3? Um. It's in "development." Check back in 20 years.

The Left 4 Dead series is no exception to this rule, meaning that L4D fans have been waiting over a decade for a new title. If you're a fan of the series or you just like the idea of getting a few friends together to see how you'd fare in a zombie apocalypse, then Back 4 Blood is 4 you. It's made by the same studio that made the original Left 4 Dead and is now freed from Valve to make whatever they want. And apparently, what they want is to make Left 4 Dead again!

Back 4 Blood is a 4-player cooperative first-person shooter that is totally different from Left 4 Dead because you're not fighting zombies; you're fighting an alien parasite that makes people seem like zombies. Totally different. Definitely not Left 4 Dead 3. This time though, you can customize your character with a deck of cards to give you different stats or abilities, and the game has an AI that will make its own deck against you, spawning extra enemies or activating environmental effects to slow you down.

Back 4 Blood

Warner Bros. 

I was Here 4 Blood earlier. But I forgot to get some B negative, so now I am Back 4 Blood. 

Back 4 Blood is coming out 4 everything (except Switch) in early October. Plenty of time to get some buds together for a Halloween game.

There are other games coming out this year, too -- Dying Light 2Halo InfinitePsychonauts 2. Big year for sequels! But if you're looking to get away and drop a few hours into a new game, these are the most promising ones in our book. So go have a hot girl summer, mingle with a crowd for the first time in a year, pay too much for a drink! But when that gets old, break out the sweat pants, plop down in your pillow indent, and have a couch-potato fall.

 

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