2021 had plenty of standout titles, especially for next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5. The first full year of Sony’s latest console offers several standout titles that boasted experiences unavailable anywhere else in gaming, and many of them stand among the year’s best releases.

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Here are our picks for the best games released in 2021 for the PS5.

Related: What are the PlayStation exclusive rewards for Call of Duty: Vanguard?

Returnal

Image via PlayStation

Sony started 2021 strong with the roguelike, Returnal. Players explore a mysterious planet where death causes them to restart the cycle, and only escaping the world can free them from this torment. With an ominous atmosphere and unique third-person action, Returnal is one of the first proper next-generation titles and one of the most memorable games of 2021.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Image via PlayStation

As the first release from Ember Labs, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a testament to what indie games are all about: passionate and heartfelt game design. Follow Kena on her journey to guide lost spirits to the afterlife in this coming of age tale of a spirit guide trying to make her father proud. The gorgeous visuals, adorable Rot companions, and beautiful animations as huge standouts here. Kena: Bridge of spirits is unequivocally impressive from a technical and narrative standpoint. It’s an entry that players of all ages are sure to enjoy,

Resident Evil Village

Image via Capcom

Nobody does horror like Capcom, and after the phenomenon that is Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, fans were eager for the next chapter of Ethan Winters’ story. Resident Evil Village takes players to an ominous castle in Europe with vampires, cursed dolls, and telekinetic murderers as Ethan searches for his kidnapped daughter. With improved mechanics and new horrors to uncover, Village is one of the scariest games of 2021, with quality second to none.

It Takes Two

Image via EA

Cooperative games have dwindled over the past generation, but Hazelight Studios has almost single-handedly kept the genre thriving with story-driven two-player experiences. It Takes Two puts players in the shoes of May and Cody, a troubled couple on the brink of divorce. Through a series of platforming levels, players must reinvigorate the couple’s relationship on this emotional journey of self-discovery laden with humor, a thoughtful story, and plenty of gameplay variety to keep the experience enjoyable.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Image via Insomniac Games

Insomniac Games continues their hot streak this generation with Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. in the summer of 2021 to fan and critic acclaim. The series staple wacky weaponry, jaw-dropping visuals, smooth gameplay, and action are back in Rift Apart. Our familiar mascots embark on a journey that stands out from other entries. With a new playable character in the Lombax, Rivet, skyscraper-sized boss encounters, some of the series’ most enjoyable guns and tools to use, it’s easily the strongest entry in the franchise. Levels that teleport players throughout the universe in mere seconds thanks to the power of next-generation hardware with near-instant load times are also a standout.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Image via Square Enix

Few could have expected Guardians of the Galaxy to become the sleeper hit of 2021, but Eidos Montreal created one of the best super-hero games of the generation so far. With excellently written dialogue that’s laugh-out-loud funny, a killer soundtrack, and a story that’s heartfelt from start to finish, this is possibly the best rendition the Guardians have seen outside of comic books, rivaling even James Gunn’s movies.

Deathloop

Image via Bethesda

If at first, you don’t succeed: die, die again. That’s the mantra of Bethesda’s master class PS5 exclusive, Deathloop. Players have just one day and four separate times (morning, afternoon, evening, night) to kill the eight Visionaries hiding on Blackreef, including rival assassin Julianna Blake. Deathloop melds unique gameplay mechanics, well-written dialogue, and high flexibility in how players can approach problems. Deathloop is a game players will be exploring for years to come.

For more on PlayStation, be sure to check out our other articles like the November 2021 Free Games here on Pro Game Guides.

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