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ComingSoon’s Holiday Gaming Gift Guide 2021: Game Edition

Despite the ongoing pandemic, there were an obscene amount of video games in 2021. But that crippling roadblock didn’t lead to mediocre games. The year was still filled with more than its share of amazing titles that range from re-releases, new experience, bundles, and well-done ports. Here are our favorite games from 2021 that players should look into grabbing. We will also possibly be adding more entries since games keep releasing so be sure to keep checking back.

RELATED: ComingSoon’s Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Hardware Edition


Console Exclusives

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Death Stranding Director’s Cut

RELATED: Death Stranding Director’s Cut Is a More Thorough & Even Masterpiece

Death Stranding was already one of the PlayStation 4’s best games and Kojima Productions made it even better on PlayStation 5. Like many current-gen ports, it looks and runs better than its previous console version, but this iteration has a wealth of small changes and additions that all gradually improve the experience. The new abilities and gadgets add to the giant pool of possible tools and mean the player has even more ways to express themselves and finish their objective. Oddly, its new story missions are the weakest parts, but they don’t even come close to tampering with Kojima Production’s absolute masterpiece of a game.

Get Death Stranding: Director’s Cut on Amazon


ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut

RELATED: Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut’s Iki Island is a Must-Play DLC in a Modest PS5 Upgrade

Similar to Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut was also one of the PS4’s best games and looks even better here, but it also contains a few small changes that make this a worthwhile upgrade. And that’s quite a feat, given how well the PS4 original runs in backwards compatibility mode on PS5. While the DualSense support adds some flair the cutscenes, the biggest PS5-exclusive addition is the Japanese lip syncing that allows for a more authentic experience. The Iki Island DLC isn’t exclusive to the PS5 like the aforementioned features, but it’s still an incredible part the package as it contains some of the most gorgeous scenery in the game and a surprisingly well-told tale that delves into Jin’s family history. Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut isn’t the biggest upgrade, yet it has enough for those who only played the original and more than enough for anyone who hasn’t played one of the best open-world games.

Get Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Returnal

Returnal might be a hard sell for some because of its perceived difficulty in a genre that’s known for being particularly brutal. But those who are able to grapple with its responsive controls will find a rewarding roguelite that pushes the genre into the AAA space. Overcoming challenges and finding a good build is endlessly rewarding and buoyed by its solid foundation. And while its gameplay is reason enough to play Returnal, its narrative is similarly gratifying as it unfolds in a mysterious way that gives the player enough to go on but not enough to definitively come to a conclusion. It’s a fascinating way to tell a story and just one of the many reasons to pick up one of the best games of 2021, especially now that it has been patched to let users save and quit.

Get Returnal on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

RELATED: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is not the best Ratchet game, but it’s still one of the best entries in the series. It’s a true showpiece for the PS5 as its beautiful alien worlds glisten and give just a glimpse of the system is capable of with its fast-loading worlds and sublime visuals. The RPG-tinged third-person shooting is addictive as ever, too, as leveling up guns and collecting them is a loop well worth going through again, even for the most hardened of Ratchet & Clank fans.

Get Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Deathloop

RELATED: Deathloop Review: An Imperfect Loop Well Worth Going Through

Out of all the time loop games in 2021, Deathloop stands out because of its style. It’s not nearly as deep as Arkane’s other games and suffers because of it, but it’s still interesting to see the studio’s techniques translated into such a radically different setting. Shooting can lose some of its thrills as repetition begins to set in near the end, but the atmosphere, style, and voice acting of this game make one of the more memorable titles of the year.

Get Deathloop on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread has been on and off development for around 16 years so the fact that it finally came out is impressive. The fact that it’s a great entry is even more impressive. The tension of sneaking around the Terminator-like E.M.M.I. robots lives up to the game’s title as it is new spin on the typical 2D Metroid. The other parts of Metroid Dread still more or less fall in line with the typical search action platformer fare, but it still works to create a solid entry in this series that Nintendo likes to overlook.

Get Metroid Dread on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

WarioWare: Get It Together!

RELATED: WarioWare: Get It Together! Review: A Refreshing Reinvention

Perfect for those that lack the attention span for most single-player titles or just like zany antics, WarioWare‘s Switch outing is a refreshing spin on the microgame formula. It now features playable characters that make completing the minigame a puzzle in and of itself, making Get It Together! a blast to play. It also has local multiplayer, so more than one player can get in on the fun.

Get WarioWare: Get It Together! on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Mario Party Superstars

RELATED: Mario Party Superstars Review: A Celebration & Step Forward

If the person you’re buying for has nostalgia for past Mario Party titles, then Superstars is a perfect purchase. Not only does it bring back five maps from classic N64 titles but it has 100 solid minigames from the series’ history. It’s a winning compilation and has the addition of surprisingly great online play, too, so you can play with friends even when you’re not physically together.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 is more Forza Horizon, but that still means that it’s one of the strongest racing games around even if it isn’t as fresh as some of its predecessors. It’s accessible to those who aren’t the most seasoned drivers and still challenging to players who have been with Forza since the first day. Of course, this is partly due to its amazingly smooth racing controls that the series is known for as well as its various settings that let players choose how to play. The Xbox Series X showpiece racer is jammed with different events that avoid feeling too bloated, especially in the campaign that’s full of more unique missions, some which show off Mexican culture. The game is also on Game Pass.

Get Forza Horizon 5 on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

Multiplatform Games

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village feels like if Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 7 had a gross little baby together. Gross little babies are a big theme in game and its best and most terrifying scene involves a rather gross (but not little) baby. Village is also more of an action title and it moves between horror and action almost perfectly, resulting in an impeccably paced title that never wastes the player’s time; a truly remarkable feat in 2021. With the series’ best story and a replayable campaign and Mercenaries mode and Resident Evil Village is not only one of the best games of 2021, but also one of the best entries in one of gaming’s best franchises.

Get Resident Evil Village on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Hitman III

Hitman III is not radically different than the last two Hitman games, but it is the best, mainly because it can also launch those other two games in this trilogy-ending package. Hitman III‘s ability to create interesting scenarios in wide-open sandboxes that beg to be replayed is a truly impressive feat and a ride every time Agent 47 drops in. Figuring out how and when to kill targets just hasn’t gotten old. IO Interactive’s World of Assassination trilogy took time to get going, but Hitman III shows that it was a resounding success.

Get Hitman III on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

The Forgotten City

RELATED: The Forgotten City Is a Clever GOTY Contender You Shouldn’t Miss

The Forgotten City is the best time loop game of 2021. This game that started out as a Skyrim mod tells one of the best stories of the year, delving into philosophy far more than most games even bother to do. It’s also wrapped up in a compelling mystery with memorable characters, making it more than just an interactive philosophy textbook. The Forgotten City‘s best moments are best left up to the player to discover, but rest assured it is one of the best games to buy in 2021. The game is also currently on Game Pass.

Get The Forgotten City on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

It Takes Two

A Way Out wasn’t the best co-op experience, but Hazelight Studios has more than course corrected with It Takes Two. This adorable platformer tackles some mature themes while not forgetting its whimsical tones. It’s occasionally touching and funny, but always a blast to play because of its asymmetrical co-op that forces players to communicate and work together. Some of the level design would even make Nintendo proud and is one of the best platformers in a year packed full of great ones. The game is on EA Access, which is accessible for Game Pass subscribers.

Get It Takes Two on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Guardians of the Galaxy

RELATED: Guardians of the Galaxy Review: Flarkin’ Fantastic

Marvel’s Avengers may have set the bar low for Square Enix-published Marvel games, but Guardians of the Galaxy pulls that bar right back up again. This single-player tale takes players through a colorful galaxy filled with hilarious characters and jaw-dropping vistas. The jokes are surprisingly fantastic and well-timed for the most part, but there’s also a dramatic undercurrent that makes the game more than a collection of flarkin’ scrat jokes. The tactical, squad-based gameplay is a blast to partake in, but the title’s expertly crafted story and attention to its characters sticks around long after the credits and cements it as one of the best games of the year.

Get Guardians of the Galaxy on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Back 4 Blood

RELATED: Back 4 Blood Review: Familiar Zombie Action, Even More Replayability

Back 4 Blood does not try to hide its Left 4 Dead sensibilities: It’s a four-player co-op shooter with a “4” in the title. But that’s completely fine since many of Left 4 Dead‘s imitators haven’t taken the throne in the 12 years since Left 4 Dead 2. Shooting zombies with a crew of four can be a blast because of the many chaotic ways the game keeps the pressure on its players. The Director from L4D is back to make each run different, but is enhanced through the card system that allows for even more permutations and, subsequently, more replayability. With its solid core and its focus on customizability, Back 4 Blood is the cooperative shooter of the year. The game is also currently on Game Pass.

Get Back 4 Blood on Amazon

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Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Lost Judgment

The sequel to Judgment brings more Yakuza-style brawling to the Ijincho district of Yokohama. A fascinating murder mystery is paired with plenty of colorful side quests, and a new skateboarding mechanic freshens up the traversal of the large map. Those that played Yakuza: Like A Dragon also get the joy of viewing its locations in a new gameplay manner and even get to see a few returning faces. It’s another winning example of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s formula.

Get Lost Judgment on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Little Nightmares II

Little Nightmares II is a spooky cinematic platformer that improves on every single aspect of its predecessor; a solid game in its own right. More distinct levels, stronger puzzles, scarier set pieces, and upgraded visuals — especially in the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions that quickly followed its initial launch — make Little Nightmares II a great sequel that knew how to improve upon that first game. The last boss fight is a little frustrating and leaves the game on a sour note, but the journey leading up to it more than makes up for it.

Get Little Nightmares II on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Life is Strange: True Colors

RELATED: Life Is Strange: True Colors Review: A Return to Form

Life is Strange has been divisive because of its cringeworthy writing and admirable willingness to tackle heavy topics. Life is Strange: True Colors is the first in the series to buck the embarrassing dialogue and embrace the human elements it has always tried so desperately to hone in on. True Colors stars Alex Chen, the franchise’s best protagonist, as she moves to a new town full of lively inhabitants. Her powers as an empath helps bring the player closer to these characters, an aspect helped by its incredible facial animation and decent script. It goes a little kooky by the end, but it’s an emotional tale that finally lives up to what the series has been promising for all these years.

Get Life is Strange: True Colors on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Far Cry 6

RELATED: Far Cry 6 Review: A Solid Evolution, Not a Revolution

Far Cry 6 is definitely more Far Cry, but it’s also the smoothest Far Cry. Overtaking bases, kicking fascist ass, and wandering around its open world isn’t new, but cathartic because its improved gunplay, varied arsenal, and well-tuned upgrade mechanics. Yara is also a beautiful setting with the best soundtrack in the series that fits its authoritarian tone and the upbeat Afro-Caribbean music from that region. It may get a little repetitive after a set amount of time and doesn’t push the genre forward, but it’s a comfortable open-world game.

Get Far Cry 6 on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Guilty Gear -Strive-

2021 didn’t see many fighting games, but Guilty Gear -Strive- still stands out. Arc System Works’ ability to translate anime-like visuals into a video game is still unparalleled and just about any screen shot of -Strive- proves the studio’s artistic talent. But visuals are only part of the story as the gameplay strikes a decent balance between depth and accessibility, both of which benefit from the game’s amazing netcode. The competitive community did start to turn on the game a little after launch, but the game just recently saw a gigantic balance patch and, along with its three characters — one of whom is the Secretary of Defense of the United States — the game is in a better spot, especially for those who aren’t playing at the most competitive level.

Get Guilty Gear -Strive- on Amazon

Re-Releases & Ports

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Players have been begging for Mass Effect re-releases for years and Electronic Arts finally answered the call. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition contains three of the best sci-fi RPGs in gaming and while it could have just been a simplistic port (like other games here), Legendary Edition is much more than that. The bundle makes the first title more playable with a series of thoughtful gameplay changes that let players more easily absorb its brilliantly told tale without having to fight the mechanics as much. The later two titles didn’t receive as many gameplay improvements, but they didn’t need them; both hold up remarkably well now, as do their best-of-class stories. However, all three have seen multiple enhancements like updated textures, better lighting, an increased resolution, and faster load times. This thorough remaster is one hell of a deal and makes it easy to see why these games are still so revered, even after the mess that was Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Get Mass Effect: Legendary Edition on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Hades

RELATED: Hades on PS5 Is a Must-Play for Returnal Fans

Nintendo Switch and PC players already got to experience the greatness of Hades last year and now one of 2020’s best games is finally on the PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Hades is a wonderful action game that rewards skill and consistently feels fresh during every run as players use its different variables to create new builds each time. But Hades goes a step beyond other roguelites and crafts a story around the genre. Characters react to your actions and have new options for every run and give each death a story-based hook, too. Brilliant performances, a web of complicated relationships, and a touching and surprisingly relatable story make Hades one of the strongest narrative packages around and, when married to its addictive gameplay, equal one of the most well-rounded games in at least the past decade. The game is currently on Game Pass.

Get Hades on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

The Nioh Collection

Nioh and Nioh 2 were some of the only great soulslikes that didn’t come from FromSoftware. The Nioh Collection takes both of those classic action games and puts them on the PS5, bringing the renowned fluid melee combat onto a new console. Both games already ran well on PS5 through backwards compatibility, but the content-rich package is a great place for the soulslike-curious players out there who has never played Team Ninja’s best games. Tough times lie ahead, yet those that persist will find a staggeringly deep fighting system that is more rewarding than most other games.

Get The Nioh Collection on Amazon

16 Halloween Games You Should Play This Year (And 1 You Should Avoid)

Alan Wake Remastered

Alan Wake Remastered puts a new coat of sheen on top of 2011’s underplayed action thriller. New graphical effects, more detailed character models, and a few Easter eggs from Remedy’s other games are all noteworthy tweaks that make this more than a simple port, but Alan Wake Remastered would have been great even without those enhancements since it still withstands the sands of time due the strengths of its storytelling. Its beautifully written script, memorable characters, and mind-bending plot have held up remarkably well and still outclass many current games; an impressive feat given the medium’s shift toward narrative in the ensuing years. Alan Wake was always a great experience, even when it seemed all but certain that its cliffhanger ending would stay that way. But now that it seems as though Remedy is fully reviving the series, there’s never been a better time to jump into Alan Wake.

Get Alan Wake Remastered on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal looked and ran well on the last batch of consoles, but its current-gen re-release serves as a good reminder of why it’s one of the best first-person shooters. Aggressive gunplay forces players to rip and tear quickly to avoid death and its deep bestiary of demons ensures that combat never grows old; that much was true then and remains true now. Ray tracing and significantly faster load times are the big takeaways for this port and, when combined with the slew of patches that have added a wave-based Horde mode, multiple Master Levels, and a multiplayer rework, Doom Eternal is even more impressive now than it was at launch.

Get Doom Eternal on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was not only the best Crash game, but also one of the best 3D platformers, period. But it did have one huge flaw when it first came out: its long load times. Thankfully, the SSDs in the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S fix that issue and lets players get to the action more quickly. But the upgrade also makes the other parts of the game even better. Its responsive controls are smoother because of the higher frame rate. Its flamboyant Looney Tunes-esque animation is also fluid because of the frame rate jump and pops more because of the higher resolution. The current-gen upgrade doesn’t enhance the already-stellar level variety and the absurd amount of collectibles, but those aspects were already incredible as it stood. Crash Bandicoot 4 did not need this jump to become a classic platformer, but it surely didn’t hurt.

Get Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Control Ultimate Edition

Control was one of the best games of 2019, which is impressive considering how busted it was on most consoles. Remedy Entertainment’s vision just was too much for the older systems. The jump in power between generations has finally allowed console players to experience Control in a truer form. The spooky world of The Oldest House is even more atmospheric because of the added graphical touches like ray tracing. Its tense, fast-paced combat feels great when it isn’t running like a PowerPoint presentation. Most of these current-gen upgrades are rather modest — a small resolution bump here, faster load times there — but this is one of the upgrades that is nearly essential. That partially speaks to how broken it was when it came out, but also to how sublime this game is when it has the technical horsepower to match its ambition.

Get Control Ultimate Edition on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Disco Elysium – The Final Cut

Disco Elysium was received well when its PC version came out in 2019, but now the game has finally jumped over to consoles with Disco Elysium – The Final Cut. The core game puts players into the shoes of an amnesiac detective on a murder case and opens the door for a deep RPG adventure that allows for an astounding amount of customization through dialogue. Players can pick what kind of detective they want to be and these take form in the shape of 24 unique personalities in the protagonist’s head. It plays somewhat like a combat-free CRPG and adventure game that is constantly tweaking itself to match the player’s choices. The amount of depth hasn’t diluted the quality of the writing, which tackles some big topics with grace and wraps it all up in an engrossing mystery. The Final Cut is just a better version of the game that came before as it adds full voice acting for everyone (not just a select few) and exclusive vision quests that flesh out the universe. While already in a great spot before The Final Cut, the additions it does bring just make it that much better.

Get Disco Elysium – The Final Cut on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition

Mortal Shell was an underrated soulslike in 2020 that not many played so its re-release is welcome. It boasts a better frame rate, but is still the same trimmed-down action RPG that does the most with the little it has. Mortal Shell doesn’t need dozens and dozens of hours of content as it uses its mysterious world and unique action combat to its benefit without feeling the need to pad itself out in order to stack up its competitors. Even though it recently got a roguelite mode, it’s a brief but satisfying experience that’s even better now. The game is currently on Game Pass.

Get Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition on Amazon

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Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

A Plague Tale: Innocence

RELATED: Don’t Skip Over A Plague Tale: Innocence Again

A Plague Tale: Innocence was similarly underplayed. This single-player, narrative-focused stealth game sees a young brother and sister navigate a hellish plague circa 1300s France. The Last of Us-style gameplay is functional and unremarkable, but the game hones in on its characters and make players care about them, even when the story goes into some bizarre fantastical territory. This enhanced port boasts a better frame rate and resolution, but the story is timeless and didn’t need any touching up. The game is currently on Game Pass.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

Electronic Arts’ best recent Star Wars game just got better. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order hit the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S and, like many other titles here, boasts a better frame rate over the 2019 original. But time has been kind to this title, especially since this version squashed out a lot of the bugs that plagued it during launch. This means players can more easily enjoy its thrilling lightsaber duels and galaxy-spanning story without having to fear the glitches more than the Dark Side. The game is on EA Access, which is accessible for Game Pass subscribers.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner was overlooked when it came out because its consoles versions looked awfully muddy. They eventually got some patches, but they were far from being in a good place, visually. The current-gen upgrade feels more in line with the original PC release and finally lets players experience the joys of this blisteringly fast parkour game. Chaining together wall runs and air dashes while also slicing and dicing foes is tough, but always fair because of the amazing controls. Its difficulty pushes players to get better so they can play the game in its best light: fluidly moving from platform to platform and enemy to enemy without interruption, all while listening to a hypnotic collection of thumping electronic beats. However, easier and harder difficulties have been patched into the game in the year since (along with more modes), meaning that the game is now more open to a variety of different types of players.

Get Ghostrunner on Amazon

DLC & Digital-Only Games

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island

RELATED: Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut’s Iki Island is a Must-Play DLC in a Modest PS5 Upgrade

Those who purchased Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut will already get this incredible expansion, but for those without a PS5, just getting Iki Island is still worth it. Iki Island is a beautiful place with immensely pretty landscapes that top the already-high bar set by the base game. And while its gratifying melee gameplay doesn’t hold too many innovations, its story is what fully justifies this DLC. The tale takes a look at Jin’s past and expands upon a thread only touched upon in the core game. Its themes of regret, atonement, and guilt are wonderfully meditated on and ensure that Iki Island isn’t just mindless side content. Ghost of Tsushima was already an amazing game so it’s fitting it has one of the best pieces of DLC.

Get the Ghost of Tsushima PS5 upgrade with Iki Island on PSN

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye

The less that is said about Outer WildsEchoes of the Eye DLC, the better. This clever DLC takes the exploration-based gameplay of the core game and expands it in a fascinating way that shouldn’t be spoiled. However, it’s a bit scarier now, as evidenced by a new toggle that lets the player adjust how spooky it is. Regardless, exploration is still at the heart of Echoes of the Eye and given how rare that it is in gaming, this expansion is worth keeping an eye on.

Get Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye on PSN

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods

The first episode of The Ancient Gods dropped in 2020, but the second episode released in March 2021 and wrapped up the new Doom saga. It’s admittedly the weakest part of the entire trilogy, but The Ancient Gods Part 2 still has most of the thrills found in the prior two games and wraps up the story with one of the best boss fights in the series. Even Doom Eternal at its “worst” is still markedly better than other shooters at their best.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Far Cry 6: Insanity

Far Cry 6 was a pretty safe game, but Insanity takes the franchise in a bit of a new direction by throwing its tried-and-true mechanics into a roguelite structure. It’s a fairly standard roguelite with a bevy of upgrades to find and that can be addictive, but it becomes more than the sum of its parts because of its star, Vaas. The infamous Far Cry 3 villain finally gets more time in the spotlight and, when combined with Far Cry‘s familiar systems and this expansion’s trek into unfamiliar territory, Insanity becomes a little more than just typical Far Cry DLC. Hopefully, Ubisoft makes this a standalone release in the future for those who want to try something new in the Far Cry series.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Life is Strange: True Colors: Wavelengths

RELATED: Life Is Strange: True Colors Interview: Narrative Designer & Katy Bentz on Wavelengths DLC

Life is Strange: True Colors had a tight story that seems like it wouldn’t be able to support DLC, but Wavelengths proves that notion wrong. Wavelengths puts players into Steph’s shoes while she works her DJ job and shows what happened to her after Before the Storm. While brief, it digs into Steph’s character, her troubles, and how moving to a completely new state has changed her. Steph was one of the best characters in the franchise so it was about time that she got her own special piece of DLC.

Get Life is Strange: True Colors Wavelengths on PSN

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16 Halloween Games You Should Play This Year (And 1 You Should Avoid)

Inscryption

Inscryption is hard to sell since selling it might give away its secrets. On the surface, its an addictive card-based roguelite that’s easy to grasp, but doesn’t sacrifice its depth for accessibility. It’s also creepy, as it puts the player character in a Saw-like escape room against a shadowy figure who is a little off his rocker. Its mechanics and setting would be enough, but the weird steps it takes elevate it from a fun card game to a must-play roguelite.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Before Your Eyes

There’s no other game like Before Your Eyes. While playable with a mouse, it’s mainly supposed to be played with a webcam by blinking your eyes. The game uses that mechanic to tell a unique tale about life and its many twists and turns. It’s heart-wrenching yet joyous as it explores topics not always seen in video games and is only bolstered by its unique control method.

Get Before Your Eyes on Steam

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2 could have felt like a relic since it came out 16 years after the first game. But it, for the most part, doesn’t reek of the PS2 and Xbox generation and ends up feeling like a relatively modern experience. Some of this modernity is felt in the controls, but most of it is found in its narrative. The story takes a far more nuanced approach to mental health and that extra effort makes it more poignant. Psychonauts 2 has its share of great jokes and inventive levels, but its careful approach to mental health is also partly why it’s one of the better platformers of the year. The game is also on Game Pass.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Knockout City

Multiplayer is often about shooting others with a gun or beating them into submission, which makes the dodgeball multiplayer game Knockout City stand out. But it also goes beyond just solely relying on its premise since it has the gameplay to lean on, too. Dodgeball is a fairly universal language and that makes it simple to grasp yet it also has more advanced mechanics that give it some depth. It still could use more variables, but there’s enough here to dive into and play casually to wind down after a competitive match of Apex Legends. The game is also currently on the November 2021 lineup for PlayStation Plus members and part of EA Access, which means that it is also on Game Pass.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Chicory: A Colorful Tale is as charming as it looks. This fusion of Zelda and a coloring book takes the concept of painting the world and builds puzzles around it without feeling the need shoehorn in combat. New abilities mean new ways to paint, which lends the game a sense of progression on top of giving players more creative freedom. But Chicory also deals with heavier topics and zooms into the life of artists and mental health in a way that feels earned. Chicory is cute, creative, and more complex than it gives on at first glance.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

A Short Hike

Sometimes you need a game that’s just relaxing and A Short Hike is one of those games. And while it is a peaceful and adorable adventure, it is still engaging to play. Players can flutter around and find upgrades that let them fly and jump higher and the handful of side missions give reason to explore every corner of the small island. It satisfies that adventurous itch without requiring that players spend dozens of hours in it world first. And even though this brief indie title hit PC in 2019 and Switch in 2020, it has finally come to PS4 and Xbox One and given more people a chance to play this wholesome title.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Death’s Door

Death’s Door is more than the sum of its parts. It’s somewhat like a Zelda game mixed with soulslike elements, but it uses those established formulas well on top of its wonderfully cute and macabre world. Death’s Door shows that sometimes doing something familiar but well is just as good as breaking new ground.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Boomerang X

Boomerang X‘s big hook is right in its title: its boomerang. This arcade game lets players throw and recall a boomerang at will and what starts as a simple arena-based shooter morphs into a thrilling, acrobatic experience that sees players flying every which way at breakneck speeds. Multiple upgrades and a host of new enemy types and arenas add variety to the game and all serve its boomerang-throwing core. It may only have one trick, but it’s a damn fine one.

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Last Stop

RELATED: Last Stop Review: A Very British (and Good) X-Files Episode

Last Stop is one of the better narrative-focused experiences of the year. Its cast of characters animate stiffly and the world can be a little plain, but it works because the performances, script, and mystery are strong enough to compensate. Characters are hilariously written and don’t betray the X-Files-inspired sci-fi bits that lie at the center, resulting in a game that’s as intriguing as it is goofy. The game is currently also on Game Pass.

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Get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Amazon

Get Xbox Game Pass on Amazon

ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection

RELATED: Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection Review

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, admittedly, isn’t the best remaster. All three games have hardly been touched up, if at all. It’s a little embarrassing. However, for those who haven’t played two of the most iconic action games of all time should still give this collection a shot. The first two titles aren’t as dated as they may seem because of their rock-solid controls and fast action that still feel mostly amazing today. These two pre-date Demon’s Souls, but have similar sensibilities in that they are difficult action games that are rewarding to learn and master. The third game, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, is a complete waste of time and essentially killed the series, but its stunningly bad quality doesn’t take away from its two fantastic forbearers.

Get Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on PSN

Get Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on the Xbox Game Store

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ComingSoon's Holiday Gaming Guide 2021: Game Edition

Castlevania: Advance Collection

Konami needs to do more to show that it is interested in making games again (and it reportedly has more planned in that vein), but re-releasing some of its best Castlevania titles is a decent start. Circle of the MoonHarmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow are all some of the Game Boy Advance’s better search action games and expand upon what Symphony of the Night did. Being able to easily play them in one accessible, decently priced package is a good bargain, even if they don’t quite hit the highs of the DS games that followed.

Get Castlevania: Advance Collection on PSN

Get Castlevania: Advance Collection on the Xbox Game Store

Get Castlevania: Advance Collection on the eShop


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