Top Picks: The Best PC Games of 2021

As we reflect on the past year’s gaming landscape, 2021 stands out as a remarkable year for PC gaming. With a diverse range of titles that pushed the boundaries of storytelling, gameplay, and innovation, it’s time to celebrate the games that left an indelible mark on players around the world. From immersive role-playing games (RPGs) to heart-pounding first-person shooters (FPS) and expansive massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), the year offered something for every type of gamer. Free-to-play titles continued to prove that great gaming experiences don’t have to come with a price tag, while indie games shattered expectations with their creativity and depth. Here are the top picks for the best PC games of 2021, a year that was truly a feast for gaming enthusiasts.

Key Takeaways

  • 2021 was a standout year for PC gaming, offering a rich variety of genres and experiences.
  • RPGs like ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ and ‘Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden’ revived classic formulas with modern twists.
  • FPS games such as ‘Apex Legends’ and ‘Deathloop’ redefined action with innovative mechanics and storytelling.
  • MMOs continued to captivate with titles like ‘Elden Ring’, combining massive worlds with engaging multiplayer gameplay.
  • The rise of free-to-play and indie games highlighted the accessibility and creativity within the PC gaming landscape.

Unforgettable Adventures: Best RPGs of 2021

Unforgettable Adventures: Best RPGs of 2021

Baldur’s Gate 3: Reviving a Classic

The return of Baldur’s Gate 3 has been nothing short of a triumph for RPG enthusiasts. For storytelling, it is top tier and the gameplay offers a depth that caters to both veterans and newcomers alike. The game’s intricate mechanics and the freedom to shape your adventure make it a standout title in the genre.

The heartlands of Faerûn provide a backdrop filled with intrigue and danger, where every decision and dice roll can lead to drastically different outcomes. Crafting a balanced party and mastering the strategic elements of combat are crucial for navigating this complex world.

The essence of Baldur’s Gate 3 lies in its ability to blend classic RPG elements with modern design, creating an experience that feels both nostalgic and innovative.

While the D20 system may seem daunting at first, those who embrace it will find a rewarding and immersive gameplay experience. The game’s success is a testament to its design, which honors the legacy of the series while pushing the boundaries of what a role-playing game can be.

The Talos Principle 2: Philosophical Puzzles

Continuing the legacy of its predecessor, The Talos Principle 2 challenges players with intricate puzzles that are more than mere brain teasers; they are a journey into the essence of consciousness. As the one thousandth android, you awaken in a city of your kin, only to find yourself thrust into a gauntlet of enigmas that question the very nature of existence.

The Talos Principle’s themes, about what a ‘person’ is and who has the right to exist, and what kind of existence is worth having, are what make this series stand out from other puzzle games.

Where to find this cerebral adventure? Look no further than popular platforms:

  • Steam
  • GOG
  • Humble
  • Epic Games Store

For any puzzle aficionado, this title is not just a game; it’s a must-play narrative that weaves philosophical inquiry with a compelling artificial intelligence storyline.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden: A New Narrative

In the haunting world of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, players embark on an emotional journey set in an alternate 1600s New England. As Red and Antea, a duo of Banishers, you confront the supernatural and the complexities of life and death. The game’s narrative is praised for its depth, with a story that explores the struggle to let go and the consequences of one’s choices.

The gameplay mechanics offer a unique twist, allowing players to switch between the living Red and the spectral Antea, each wielding distinct abilities to tackle the varied hauntings of New Eden. This duality enriches the combat system and adds a layer of strategy to the action-packed encounters.

The choices you make in Banishers not only shape the narrative but also transform the world around you. The living and the dead are intertwined, and your decisions will leave a lasting impact on New Eden.

Availability is broad, with the game being accessible on platforms like Steam, GOG, and Humble, ensuring that a wide audience can experience this gripping single-player adventure.

Adrenaline Rush: Top FPS Games of the Year

Adrenaline Rush: Top FPS Games of the Year

Apex Legends: Battle Royale Evolved

Swooshing onto the scene from a well-placed zipline, Apex Legends has more than earned its place among the best battle royale games. From the developers behind Titanfall, this game takes the BR formula and adds a roster of intriguing characters that infuse each round with new tactical possibilities depending on your team composition. They’ve also stirred up the genre by adding intuitive contextual pings – making communication with your team a piece of cake – and introducing the ability to reposition quickly and efficiently.

Apex Legends is the best battle royale game around. The game’s particularly satisfying movement allows players to skid down slopes, clamber through buildings, and launch into the sky to gain a tactical advantage. With character abilities that offer a chance to turn the tide of combat, every match feels fresh and engaging.

If you’re ready to dive in, here’s what you need to know:

  • Movement: Mastering the art of movement is key to success.
  • Teamwork: Choose your Legends wisely to complement your team’s strategy.
  • Communication: Utilize the game’s pinging system to coordinate with teammates.
  • Weapons: Familiarize yourself with the best guns to pair with your chosen Legend.

As we discuss in our review, the game has not only captured the essence of the battle royale genre but has also managed to keep its community engaged with regular updates and a dynamic playing environment that rewards both strategic planning and quick reflexes.

System Shock Remake: A Cyberpunk Revival

The System Shock remake has been a beacon for fans of immersive sims and classic cyberpunk narratives. This faithful remake has successfully preserved the essence of the original 1994 game, which not only inspired the BioShock series but also set a precedent for the ‘trapped in space with a rogue AI’ genre.

Available on platforms like Steam and GOG, the game has been brought back to life by Nightdive Studios, who have meticulously worked to maintain the core experience that made System Shock a cult classic. Despite some criticisms, such as those found on Metacritic suggesting the game is a ‘boring shooter‘, the remake has been met with enthusiasm by those who cherish the original.

The remake’s dedication to retaining the spirit of System Shock is evident in every corner of the game, from the atmospheric level design to the haunting presence of the AI antagonist.

While the game has its detractors, it stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the System Shock universe and the potential of remakes to reinvigorate beloved games for new audiences.

Deathloop: Time-Bending Action

In the innovative shooter Deathloop, players are thrust into a time loop, tasked with eliminating eight key targets to break the cycle. The game’s unique structure abandons traditional level design for a more intricate approach that requires both strategic planning and temporal manipulation.

Deathloop stands out with its combination of immersive-sim gameplay and a compelling narrative. The game’s presentation and style are lauded as some of the best, making it a standout title in the genre.

While the game offers a fresh take on the FPS formula, it’s not without its drawbacks. Players may find the endgame somewhat repetitive, and a handful of technical issues have been noted. However, these are minor when weighed against the game’s strengths:

  • Uses the time loop concept to great effect
  • Supernatural abilities add a layer of excitement
  • Richly detailed hub worlds ripe for exploration
  • The multiplayer aspect introduces unpredictable challenges

Despite these challenges, Deathloop is celebrated for its originality and engaging mechanics, making it a must-play for fans of the genre.

Massive Multiplayer Mayhem: Best MMOs of 2021

Massive Multiplayer Mayhem: Best MMOs of 2021

World Of Horror: Pixelated Terror

Dive into the eerie atmosphere of World Of Horror, where a blend of horror and mystery awaits in a Japanese seaside town. This pixelated terror draws you into a complex puzzle game, challenging you to thwart a god’s sinister plan using strategy and wit.

The game’s unique art style, reminiscent of MSPaint, and its obscure gameplay mechanics, set it apart as a truly distinctive horror experience.

Encounters with otherworldly beings and the need to solve intricate cases contribute to the game’s chilling narrative. Here’s where you can embark on this spine-tingling adventure:

  • Steam
  • Humble
  • Epic Games Store

Whether you’re piecing together the mystery of the missing swim team or trying to escape the inescapable, World Of Horror offers a fresh take on the horror genre that’s as unsettling as it is captivating.

Forza Horizon 5: Racing Across Mexico

Forza Horizon 5 not only accelerates past its predecessors but also sets a new standard for racing games. The open-world carstravaganza unfolds across a humongous scale, offering a festival of speed and style that’s hard to top. The game’s versatility shines, whether you’re a solo driver or part of a convoy with friends, making it a standout choice for those looking to switch gears from the usual battle royales.

  • Absolutely stunning visuals
  • Dreamy car handling
  • Diverse events and biomes
  • Lack of ray tracing in the main game

The game’s setting in Mexico is a vibrant tapestry of environments, from arid deserts to verdant jungles, all rendered in breathtaking detail. While the racing festival theme may be familiar, the execution is anything but stale, with setpieces that include an active volcano among other show-stoppers.

The driving experience in Forza Horizon 5 is exhilarating, with an arcadey feel that welcomes all, regardless of their automotive expertise. This approachability separates it from the more simulation-focused Forza Motorsport series.

Available on multiple platforms, including Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store, Forza Horizon 5 is a journey worth taking for any racing enthusiast or gamer looking for a visually stunning, high-octane adventure.

Elden Ring: A New Fantasy Epic

From the creators of the acclaimed Dark Souls series comes Elden Ring, an RPG that has captivated gamers with its vast open world and intricate lore. The game’s open-class development tree allows for deep customization, ensuring that no two players’ experiences are the same.

Elden Ring’s combat is both rewarding and punishing, offering a challenge that is as satisfying as it is difficult. The game’s difficulty is not for the faint of heart, but those who persevere will find a rich narrative and a world teeming with secrets to uncover.

Elden Ring is simply a game that the player naturally adapts to their own style of play. Challenging at times, vicious at others, but mostly incredibly fun.

For those considering embarking on this journey, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Giant open world to explore, full of things to discover
  • Rewarding and punishing combat
  • More content than most players will ever need
  • Some fights are very difficult, testing even the most seasoned gamers

Despite some minor drawbacks, such as the lack of ray tracing in the main game, Elden Ring stands out as a must-play title of 2021.

Free to Play, Rich in Fun: Best Free PC Games

Free to Play, Rich in Fun: Best Free PC Games

The Best New Free Games: March 2021

March 2021 brought a treasure trove of free-to-play experiences that cater to a wide array of gamers. Whether you’re into intense strategy sessions or prefer a more relaxed gaming atmosphere, the offerings were diverse and engaging.

Discovering new favorites doesn’t have to cost a dime, with titles ranging from mind-bending puzzles to adrenaline-fueled action games. The best part? You can dive into these worlds without any financial commitment, making it easier than ever to find your next go-to game.

The landscape of free gaming is constantly evolving, with new titles being added that redefine our expectations of what a free game can be.

Here’s a quick rundown of some standout free games from March 2021:

  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge your intellect with intricate puzzles.
  • Horror Heights: Test your nerves in this spine-chilling adventure.
  • Strategy Wars: Command armies and conquer new territories.
  • Chillville: A perfect game to unwind after a long day.

These games not only provide hours of entertainment but also showcase the creativity and innovation that’s thriving in the free-to-play market. As the gaming industry continues to grow, the quality of free offerings is reaching new heights, ensuring that gamers of all types can find something to love.

Free-to-Play Gems: Puzzle, Horror, and Strategy

The realm of free-to-play PC games is vast, offering a treasure trove of experiences without the need to open your wallet. Puzzle enthusiasts can revel in the whimsical world of ‘Transmute!’, where players embody a wizard with the power to transform into various objects, navigating through a charming fantasy landscape.

Strategy aficionados aren’t left behind, with titles like ‘Goose Goose Duck’ providing a twist on the social deduction genre. Here, players must suss out deceit among their feathered friends, reminiscent of the popular ‘Among Us’ but with its own unique flair and additional features like proximity chat.

The best free PC games span a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for every type of gamer.

For those who prefer a mix of genres, the current landscape of free-to-play games caters to a broad audience, from action-packed battle royales to serene puzzle adventures. The key is to find the right game that fits your mood and playstyle.

Chill & Relaxing: Free Games to Unwind

In the bustling world of gaming, sometimes all we need is to kick back and enjoy some serenity. The best free chill games offer an oasis of calm, perfect for those moments when you want to escape the daily grind. Titles like ‘An average day at the cat cafe’ let you indulge in the simple pleasures of running a quaint establishment, serving up smiles alongside delightful drinks to a cast of quirky characters.

For those who appreciate the elegance of swordplay without the intensity of a typical fighting game, ‘First Cut’ provides a zen-like dueling experience against a backdrop of stunning pixel art. It’s a testament to the fact that relaxation can also come from a place of focus and finesse.

Here’s a quick list of some other free games that promise a tranquil gaming session:

  • Leaf Blower Revolution
  • Journey
  • Abzu
  • Stardew Valley
  • House Flipper
  • Donut County
  • Wattam
  • Gris
  • Teardown
  • Everything
  • Mini Metro
  • Proteus
  • Unpacking
  • Tetris

Remember, the best relaxing games are those that resonate with your personal taste for leisure and tranquility. Whether it’s through organizing, exploring, or simply being, these games are your ticket to a peaceful digital retreat.

Innovative Indies: Breakout PC Games of the Year

Innovative Indies: Breakout PC Games of the Year

Against The Storm: A Roguelike City Builder

In the innovative blend of city building and roguelike elements, Against The Storm captivates players with its unique challenges and fresh setting. The game’s full release has solidified its position as a standout indie title, offering a gameplay experience that’s as engaging as it is demanding.

Players assume the role of the Queen’s Viceroy, tasked with establishing a chain of settlements in a perilous forest. The twist? You must manage your resources and expand before the Blightstorm returns to erase your progress. This cyclical struggle against nature adds a thrilling layer of strategy to the city-building genre.

The essence of Against The Storm lies in its ability to merge genres seamlessly, creating a compelling loop of construction, resource management, and survival against the odds.

While it may not boast the graphical prowess of larger titles, its gameplay mechanics are both motivating and rewarding. The game’s success is a testament to the fact that indie games can shine through innovation and gameplay depth.

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew: Stealth and Strategy

In the world of tactical RPGs, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew stands out with its pirate-themed adventures and strategic depth. Players are given the freedom to explore a series of islands, each offering unique challenges and opportunities for stealthy gameplay. The game’s mechanics encourage a blend of careful planning and spontaneous decision-making, ensuring that no two missions feel the same.

The shared pool of lives among your crew adds a thrilling layer of risk to every mission, making each encounter feel like a desperate, yet exhilarating, last stand.

With seven different leader classes to choose from, Shadow Gambit caters to a wide range of playstyles. Whether you prefer to be aggressive, cautious, or sneaky, the game has something to offer. The ability to possess and impersonate enemies adds a unique twist to the stealth genre, providing players with creative solutions to overcome obstacles.

  • Explore a variety of islands at your own pace
  • Engage in turn-based stealth tactics
  • Choose from seven leader classes for strategic depth
  • Possess and impersonate enemies for tactical advantages

Critics have praised Shadow Gambit for its challenging gameplay and engaging story, making it a solid pick for any tactics fan.

ΔV: Rings of Saturn: Mining Among the Stars

In the vast expanse of space, \u0394V: Rings of Saturn offers a unique blend of physics-based gameplay and deep space mining simulation. As players navigate the dense debris field of Saturn’s rings, they must adapt to a universe where every action triggers a reaction, and the laws of physics govern all.

  • Buy and upgrade tools for your ship, from asteroid-mining lasers to robotic arms and resource-gathering drones.
  • Encounter a dynamic environment where friendly miners give way to outlaws and radicals as you delve deeper into space.
  • Experience the thrill of invisible lasers that only reveal themselves when interacting with a medium, showcasing the game’s commitment to realistic physics.

In this game, exploration and experimentation are as vital as the mining itself. It’s not just about the grind for resources; it’s about the journey and the stories you create along the way.

Whether you’re mining for the sheer satisfaction of a job well done or exploring derelict ships for side stories, \u0394V: Rings of Saturn is a testament to the beauty of mundane space labor turned into an extraordinary adventure. Available on multiple platforms, this indie title is a must-try for fans of simulation and space exploration.


As we wrap up our journey through the best PC games of 2021, it’s clear that the year was a treasure trove of digital experiences. From the bombastic action adventures to the mind-bending puzzles, each title we’ve highlighted offers a unique escape into virtual worlds. Whether you’re a fan of the fast-paced gunplay of FPS games, the intricate storytelling of RPGs, or the strategic depth of MMOs, there’s something on this list for every type of gamer. As we look forward to the upcoming releases of 2024, let’s not forget the grand adventures and unforgettable moments that these games provided. They set a high bar for future titles and will be remembered as some of the finest that PC gaming has to offer. So, whether you’re revisiting an old favorite or diving into a new discovery, happy gaming!

Frequently Asked Questions

What were some of the best RPGs for PC in 2021?

Notable RPGs of 2021 included ‘Baldur’s Gate 3: Reviving a Classic’, ‘The Talos Principle 2: Philosophical Puzzles’, and ‘Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden: A New Narrative’.

Which FPS games stood out in 2021?

The top FPS games of 2021 were ‘Apex Legends: Battle Royale Evolved’, ‘System Shock Remake: A Cyberpunk Revival’, and ‘Deathloop: Time-Bending Action’.

What were the best MMOs released in 2021?

In 2021, the MMO genre was enriched by games like ‘World Of Horror: Pixelated Terror’, ‘Forza Horizon 5: Racing Across Mexico’, and ‘Elden Ring: A New Fantasy Epic’.

Can you recommend some free PC games from 2021?

Among the best free PC games of 2021 were titles such as ‘The Best New Free Games: March 2021’, ‘Free-to-Play Gems: Puzzle, Horror, and Strategy’, and ‘Chill & Relaxing: Free Games to Unwind’.

What indie games broke out in 2021?

Innovative indie games of 2021 included ‘Against The Storm: A Roguelike City Builder’, ‘Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew: Stealth and Strategy’, and ‘ΔV: Rings of Saturn: Mining Among the Stars’.

How do I stay updated with the best PC games?

To stay informed about the best PC games, you can follow gaming news websites, subscribe to newsletters, and check regularly updated lists of top games by trusted reviewers.