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Best Single-Player Video Games Of 2021, Ranked According To Metacritic

Like every other year, 2021 was eventful in its own way for the video game industry. In the multiplayer department, old contenders like Fortnite continued their successful streak, and newer entries such as Splitgate came onto the scene, while some like Battlefield 2042 crashed and burned. But even if multiplayer games, with all their microtransactions and whatnot, are the big moneymakers, there is still a huge market of single-player games out there and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

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2021 saw the release of plenty of awesome single-player games, some of them driven by a well-written narrative and others more focused on creative gameplay, and in many cases a bit of both. These some of the best single-player games released this year, ranked according to their critic ratings on the review aggregator site Metacritic.

10 Far Cry 6 (Xbox Series X) – 80

Far Cry 6 does little to mix up the formula used by the previous entries in the series but is a solid action-adventure single-player game that will satisfy those looking for one.

Same as its predecessors, Far Cry 6 gives players access to a huge open-world free to be explored, filled with various objectives to complete that usually involve plenty of firefighting and action. Storywise, the game focuses on a guerilla fighter named Dani Rojas as he fights to free his homeland from the hands of a dictator.

9 Lost Judgment (PlayStation 5) – 82

image from the game Lost Judgment showing the characters Takayuki Yagami and Masaharu Kaito

2018’s Judgment was a spin-off of the popular Yakuza series and told its own story about a detective named Takayuki Yagami trying to solve a murder case.

Lost Judgment is a sequel to Judgment, which is considered one of the best Yakuza games to start with, and takes place three years after the previous game as Yagami gets involved in another criminal case. The gameplay remains similar to the other games in the Yakuza series, mainly the beat ’em up style combat with three fighting forms to choose from. Players get to roam around the beautifully crafted areas of the game set in the culturally enriching districts of Japanese cities.


8 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Xbox Series X) – 84

image from the game Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy featuring Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, Gamora

Marvel’s Avengers was controversial to say the least, and the disappointment from it left many fans without much hope for another game from the same publishers. But Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit no one saw coming. The game presented a tightly knit single-player story devoid of any needless multiplayer elements, and let players play as Star-Lord alongside other members of the group such as Rocket Raccoon and Groot.

RELATED: The 10 Best Marvel Easter Eggs In The Guardians Of The Galaxy Game

The interaction with the NPC characters, such as making dialogue choices and giving them commands, is a big part of what makes the game so entertaining.

7 Resident Evil Village (PlayStation 5) – 84

image from the game Resident Evil Village featuring Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters

2017’s Resident Evil 7 took the franchise in a drastically different direction from where it was with its first-person perspective gameplay and frightening survival-horror elements.

Resident Evil Village continues that trend, and also the story of protagonist Ethan Winters as he is taken to a village filled with supernatural beings and made to fight for his life. The gameplay leans more towards action than its predecessor but it still has many scary moments, especially inside Dimitrescu Castle, and as always, inventory management plays a big part.

6 Returnal (PlayStation 5) – 85

image from the game Returnal showing the player character fighting an alien with tentacles

Selene Vassos is an astronaut who lands on the planet Atropos to investigate it, only to find herself stuck in a time loop that begins with her crashing on the planet and ends with her death. In this Edge of Tomorrow-style award-winning roguelike action-shooter, dying repeatedly is part of the gameplay as players fight against hordes of aliens.

RELATED: 10 Things Returnal Borrows From Other Roguelite Games

The game restarts from the beginning after every death, meaning the entirety of it has to be finished in one sitting. There is a multitude of unique weapons to choose from in Returnal, and the game requires players to be offensive while also trying to survive barrages of bullets and attacks.

5 Hitman 3 (PC) – 87

image from the game Hitman 3 showing Agent 47 standing on a vantage point in Dubai

By definition, sandbox games provide the player with great freedom of gameplay and allow them to do the things they want how they want it. Hitman games have always made use of this sandbox type of gameplay, and over the years have perfected the formula of creating the ultimate stealth game, proven by the fact that Hitman 3 is the highest-rated game in the series.

The objective of the game is to carry out assassinations, but figuring out the numerous ways to execute the objective and finding a way through the intricately designed levels almost makes it a game about puzzle-solving.

4 Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch) – 88

image from the game Metroid Dread showing Samus Aran fighting an E.M.M.I. robot

Metroid Dread was a return to form for the revolutionary Metroid series, which had been going through something of a dry spell in recent years due to a lack of installments.

The game is visually similar to its 2D roots and even plays in a similar way to its classic fast-paced side-scrolling gameplay as players dash and jump from platform to platform killing enemies. The game has a bunch of difficult boss fights, which only fuels one of the unpopular opinions about the Metroid series that Metroid Dread is too hard.

3 Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PlayStation 5) – 89

image from the game Final Fantasy VII Remake featuring the cast including Aerith, Cloud, and Tifa

1997’s Final Fantasy VII is an all-time classic that introduced characters like Cloud and Tifa, who would go on to become a staple of the series. A remake of the game developed by Square Enix was released for the PS4 in 2020, and an even further enhanced version called Intergrade came out in 2021 for PS5 and PC.

RELATED: 10 Most Likable Characters In Final Fantasy VII Remake

The remarkable modern-day graphics combined with an upgraded combat system and many other features all makes FF VII one of the best video game remakes to play.

2 Psychonauts 2 (Xbox One) – 91

image from the game Psychonauts 2 showing Raz making his way through a colorful looking area

From Ratchet & Clank to It Takes Two, 2021 has been a good year for platformer games, and Psychonauts 2 is one such platformer game with a legacy to uphold. The first Psychonauts game came out more than 15 years ago, and even though it was a flop at launch, the game eventually gained a cult following.

A game about using psychic powers to get into the minds of others, Psychonauts 2 uses bright and colorful imagery and quirky gameplay elements to create a memorable experience.

1 Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X) – 92

image from the game Forza Horizon 5 showing a red Mercedes-AMG One and a red Chevrolet Corvette

In recent years, Forza has established itself as one of the most popular racing game franchises in the industry, and Forza Horizon 5 is the biggest hit title in the series yet. Vehicle customization options are a staple of Forza, but FH5 brought much more to the table.

Set in Mexico, it features a massive open world with numerous fantastic areas to explore such as a volcano, Mayan temples, and lively cities like Guanajuato. There are plenty of races to compete in, but free-roaming the world of FH5 and enjoying the beautiful visuals is a fun thing to do by itself.

NEXT: 10 Best Pirate-Themed Video Games Of All Time, Ranked

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