Resident Evil Village, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, and Scarlet Nexus top EW's list of the best video games of the year.

What an odd year for gaming, whether that's the literal odd (the young girl named Odd in the game Lost in Random) or the more descriptive (an over-9-foot-tall vampire lady from Resident Evil Village becoming a sex symbol among Twitter fan art groups). Either way, it was an interesting year.

The past 12 months were filled with standout gaming titles that pushed the boundaries of how we think about games, introducing us to worlds that, by exploring, forced us to explore ourselves in meaningful ways. And, yes, even silly anthropomorphic spouting gibberish-sounding nonsense and one dangerous but fabulous bloodsucking socialite made that happen.

EW honors the games that excited us and moved us, but also freaked us and scarred us (in a good way). Here are our picks for the five best video games of 2021.

Lost in Random
Credit: EA

5. Lost in Random

The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Alice in Wonderland in this delightful but mildly horrifying story of a young girl, Even, trying to save her sister, Odd, in a twisted dice world. I bet Tim Burton can't wait to adapt this. —Nick Romano

Credit: Capcom

4. Monster Hunter Rise

The first full Monster Hunter title since 2018 keeps the franchise's tradition of masking an incredibly rewarding gear grind behind a steep learning curve — though the addition of rideable dogs helps. —Evan Lewis

Scarlet Nexus
Credit: Bandai Namco

3. Scarlet Nexus

An action RPG with an addictive story and compelling characters (all with varying psychic abilities) traversing a massive sci-fi world with macabre monsters? The audacity of a game to be that interesting. —N.R.

Chicory A Colorful Tale
Credit: Sony

2. Chicory: A Colorful Tale

A coloring-book world waiting to be painted is a fun hook, but it never becomes a gimmick. Old-school Zelda-style puzzles highlight a sweet story of overcoming self-doubt and avoiding burnout. —E.L. 

Resident Evil Village
Credit: Capcom

1. Resident Evil Village

Village has much more going for it than just a 9'6" sexy vampire lady. There are also werewolves, mutant fish, a baby monster, haunted dolls, and a Nicolas Cage sound- alike magnet man. Shockingly, these disparate absurdities create just the right balance of camp and stomach-tightening suspense. RE7's first-person perspective carries over to Village, immersing players in the ghastly things that happen to Ethan Winters' poor hands as he quests through the European countryside. —E.L. 

A version of this story appears in Entertainment Weekly's January issue, on newsstands Friday and available to order here. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content:

Comments have been disabled on this post