Video game

22 Best New Action Video Games Of 2021 – Gameranx

2020 was quite the unique year, to say the least. It was also a year that pushed so many games back after studios transitioned into working remotely. As a result, 2021 is going to be filled with some great video game titles. We’re going to list down some of our most anticipated action games coming out this year. Of course, there are no definitive lists, this is just our opinions and you’ll want to keep this page bookmarked. We’ll continue to monitor this list and add updates to more video games as they are announced or confirmed for a release this year.

Update Disclaimer: We have removed Ark 2, Ghostwire Tokyo, Dying Light 2, Skull & Bones, Gotham Knights, Atomic Heart, God of War Ragnarok, and Horizon Forbidden West as they have been delayed to 2022.

#22 Paint the Town Red

  • Developer: East Town Games
  • Publisher: East Town Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X/S, NS, PS5, 
  • Release Date: July 29, 2021
  • Co-op: Online (PC)
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

If you enjoy mindless action and beat ‘em up content, then check out Paint the Town Red. This game has been around for years. Initially, it was brought out through Game Jam, where its popularity continued to grow through Eventually, that allowed the developers to work on a full game release. For the past few years, we’ve seen this game as an Early Access title, but now it’s available as a whole gameplay experience. In this game, players are thrown around into different scenarios, but the goal is the same overall. In this Voxel game, players will need to eliminate the enemies. Whether you’re in a bar, disco, prison, to a pirate cove, you’ll be painting the environment red from your victim’s body. It might feature quite a bit of blood, but being a voxel game, it’s not detailed graphic.

#21 Earth Defense Force: World Brothers

  • Developer: Yukes
  • Publisher: D3 Publisher
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, NS
  • Release Date: May 27, 2021
  • Co-op: Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

There’s a strong following for the Earth Defense Force franchise. This is a series where players have to fight off different enemies in a third-person shooter perspective. It could be anything from giant insects, dragons to mech robots. However, the latest installment available has some fans a bit split on the game. It’s not like the other mainline installments. Instead, the game is set in a parallel universe where the world is made of small blocks. It’s a bit like a LEGO game. Overall, the world is under attack again, and actual sections of this world had been broken off. Players will have to fight off the invading enemies to get the world back into one piece again. You’ll have a party of characters to help you, each of which will have its unique attributes. Also, you’ll find all the major characters from the franchise past will be available to recruit.

#20 Samurai Warriors 5

  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo 
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, NS
  • Release Date: July 27, 2021
  • Co-op: Local/Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

If you enjoy the Dynasty Warriors franchise, then you might have dabbled with the spin-off Samurai Warriors series. Unfortunately, after 2014, we haven’t seen a new mainline numbered installment for Samurai Warriors. Eventually, back in July of this year, we finally received Samurai Warriors 5. If you’re familiar with the franchise, then you’ll find the narrative actually takes place a bit earlier in time. We’re following Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi before the Honno-Ji incident. This is a cel-shaded game, and it seems to work for this franchise. Visually the game looks crisp, and the gameplay combat seems a bit more refined for some players. For instance, weapons have their unique style, so you can go through more varied attacks rather than button mashing to send enemies flying. There’s a co-op option to top it off so you and a friend can go through the game.

#19 Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

  • Developer: Live Wire, Adglobe
  • Publisher: Binary Haze Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, X/S, NS
  • Release Date: June 21, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a game that recently came out this year. In this title, players are thrown into a medieval setting where a mysterious rainfall has transformed everyone in the kingdom into a monstrous enemy. Players are stepping into the role of a young female named Lily that awakens in a church. Now players are forced to go through the kingdom and attempt to uncover what is going on. It’s a bit of a Metroidvania title with some Souls-like gameplay. A lot of people compare it to something like Hollow Knight but with minor platforming. In general, the game has been getting great reviews from players who gave it a shot. If you enjoy the kind style and gameplay of Hollow Knight, then you should give this game a try. With that said, if you found Hollow Knight to be too difficult then then this could be a good alternative title.

#18 Bright Memory Infinite

  • Developer: FYQD Studio
  • Publisher: FYQD Studio
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X/S, PS5
  • Release Date: 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Bright Memory was released back in 2019 through early access. This is an FPS mixed with some hack and slash gameplay. Overall, the player took control of a female named Shelia, who is skilled with melee combat, guns and has psychokinesis. Within the narrative, Shelia is trying to stop a military organization from taking control of ancient power. While this game had already been released as an early access title and then fully launched last year, developers FYQD Studio is remaking the game. It’s set to be an overall enhanced edition with more gameplay and storyline. Unfortunately, we don’t know just when we’ll be getting our hands on Bright Memory: Infinite. Currently, the game is only slated to launch in 2021, but visually the game looks impressive. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to play it within this year, but we could very well see this game get pushed back to 2022.

#17 Boomerang X

  • Developer: Dang!
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Platforms: NS, PC
  • Release Date: July 8, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N.A

Boomerang X might catch your attention from the visuals alone as it looks like a cartoon. The game throws players into a protagonist that wields a unique boomerang. This mythical boomerang has two main features within the game. One, you can toss it to attack an enemy or use it as a grapple. By throwing the boomerang, players can teleport around to wherever it’s thrown. Essentially, you can keep the momentum up by constantly throwing your boomerang around while also using it to take down the enemies. This is an arena wave-based game, so your main objective is to take out a designated number of enemies. Meanwhile, the more targets you take down, the more unique abilities you’ll gain, such as transforming your boomerang into multiple smaller boomerangs to take out a clustered group of enemies.

#16 Streets of Rage 4 Mr X. Nightmare DLC

  • Developer: Lizardcube
  • Publisher: Dotemu 
  • Platforms: XBO, PS4, NS, PC
  • Release Date: July 15, 2021
  • Co-op: Local/Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Local/Online

Streets of Rage is such a classic beat ‘em up video game franchise. If you owned a Sega Genesis back in the day, then you had at least one of these games in your collection. After three installments, it didn’t seem like Sega was ever going to bring the franchise back. However, it was a big surprise when Streets of Rage 4 was announced. This year we had a DLC release with Mr. X. Nightmare. Overall the DLC is based around our favorite group of protagonists going through AI-built events after Dr. Zan was able to tap into the leftover brain of Mr. X. Players are also given new characters to play along with new pickups and new enemies. On top of that, there’s also the inclusion of a Survival mode. That particular game mode brings out wave-based enemies to battle against. If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a new difficulty mode called Mania+ if you want to replay the game.

#15 Severed Steel

  • Developer: Greylock Studio
  • Publisher: Digerati
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO X/S, NS
  • Release Date: September 17, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

While there’s always a ton of focus and anticipation for big AAA video game titles, you’ll find that there are some excellent smaller titles also releasing into the market. One of those games that we have to mention is Severed Steel. This is just a fun, thrilling shooter where you’re taking the role of a female one-armed sharpshooter blasting away enemies. Set in a brightly colorful voxel environment, players will find the focus here is all about pulling off incredible kills. You’ll bounce around corridors, bust through windows, and slide around corners to take down an enemy. It’s often described as a mixture of games and movies. Because of the bullet-time feature where time slows down for players to take a shot along with constantly swapping weapons, you can compare it to the likes of Superhot. At the same time, the nonstop onslaught of enemies to fight can make it feel like a John Wick video game.

#14 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Developer: Eidos-Montreal
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, NS, XBO, X/S
  • Release Date: October 26, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Another Marvel video game is coming out this year which is Guardians of the Galaxy. This game is being developed under Eidos-Montreal, which you might know best from the recent Deus Ex video game installments. With Guardians of the Galaxy, we’re getting a new storyline where players are tossed into the role of Peter Quill, otherwise known as Star-Lord. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to jump into any of the other characters, so the iconic team of heroes like Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Groot will be controlled through AI. With that said you can give them special commands. This seems to be a game set in the team’s early formation as they attempt to go around the galaxy in search of making a quick buck. Although their escapades usually lead them into a series of catastrophic events. Currently, the game is still expected to release on October 26, 2021. That’s, of course, unless there’s a delay that pushes this game out of this year.

#13 Necromunda: Hired Gun

  • Developer: Streum On Studio
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive 
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X/S, PS5
  • Release Date: June 1, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

If you’re a fan of the Warhammer 40K franchise, then you might have already picked this game up. Necromunda: Hired Gun is set within the Warhammer 40K IP where you’re tossed into the major hive city. This is an FPS game where you’re stepping into the role of a hired gun that takes on contracts to kill off special targets. It’s a linear storyline with plenty of fast-paced action. Most of the focus is taking out enemies to gather more funds to enhance your protagonist further. This ranges from augmentations to upgrading your weapons. Players can expect large set pieces and several boss fights along with some side quests to break up the main campaign. It can be a bit on the shorter side, so don’t expect a lengthy gameplay experience. However, if you have an open weekend and happen to be after a new game, then this is a title worth checking out.

#12 The Ascent

  • Developer: Neon Giant
  • Publisher: Curve Digital
  • Platforms: PC, XBO, X/S
  • Release Date: July 29, 2021
  • Co-op: Online/Local
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

For those of you still looking for something to fill that cyberpunk void in your life, then The Ascent is something you might want to take a gander at. This is a top-down action RPG set in the distant future. Players here are taking the role of a worker that’s essentially enslaved to a mega-corporation. However, mysteriously the corporation collapses, and now it’s a chaotic free for all deathmatch between citizens, factions, and other corporations looking to make their move on the area. You’ll find that this game plays like a typical twin-stick shooter as you navigate around the world while blowing away enemies. There’s loot to gather up and plenty of NPCs to talk with to get more of the narrative or lore. Meanwhile, the game allows players to make various upgrades to the character, so there’s room to decide how you’d like to slightly tweak your protagonist and gameplay style.

#11 Scarlet Nexus

  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, X/S, 
  • Release Date: June 25, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Scarlet Nexus is a game from Bandai Namco Studios, and it’s a bit of an unusual one. This game is set in an alternate reality where the world is full of mutated creatures. Players are a member of a military group that has a supernatural ability. Essentially they have unique powers to take on these creatures. It’s a hack-and-slash type of game. You can very easily compare it to something like Devil May Cry. However, when you’re not slashing away at these monsters, there’s the ability to use psychokinesis. This way, you’re picking things up with your mind to chuck at the enemy. Along the way, you’ll also get more members to join your party, which can help aid you in battles as they’ll also have some interesting and unique supernatural powers.

#10 Tales of Arise

  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: September 10, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Coming off of Tales Berseria which was a big hit in 2016, a new installment to the Tales game is available today. If you’re familiar with the Tales games, there are several installments available but they are not always connected, for instance, the previous installment could be enjoyed without having played any of the previous installments which will be the case for this latest title. In fact, this game has become so popular that it holds the record for the fastest selling installment in the franchise history.

There’s quite a bit of dialogue here to give players some lore of what’s going along with info regarding the different characters in your party. So prepare for plenty of cutscenes and text boxes. As you venture around the different regions, you’ll find that the game can be a bit linear. There are obvious pathways to take to get you from one area to the next. Meanwhile, along the way, there are random traveling enemies you can either run up and initiate a battle or altogether avoid. With that said, the Tales games have been known for their combat gameplay, and thankful Tales of Arise delivers. It’s an action RPG, so you can move around freely and hack and slash away at your enemy or dodge incoming attacks. However, because of your party, there’s the ability to string together some pretty impressive and satisfying moves.

#9 Chivalry 2

  • Developer: Torn Banner Studios
  • Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, X/S
  • Release Date: June 8, 2021
  • Co-op: Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Online

Fans who have been waiting on the sequel to the 2012 Chivalry: Medieval Warfare finally received it this year. Chivalry 2 launched as another hack and slash medieval warfare video game. Players in this game are tossed into battles online where you’re using sledgehammers, battle-axes, swords, bows, and arrows. It’s an online multiplayer game with a focus around massive battles. There are always competitors to face against from start to finish, so when someone drops out of the game, they are replaced by a bot. Now the game is not all about the hack and slashing away at your enemy. Chopping away at your enemies might be enticing, but some objectives pop up for you to complete. If you’re going into this game coming off of Mordhau, then you’ll find that Chivalry 2 is a bit more accessible. It’s easier to get around and attack or defend within the game. Mordhau, in our opinion, was a bit more skill-based and takes time to get the hang of things.

#8 Deathloop

  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda
  • Platforms: PS5, PC
  • Release: September 14, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Online

Deathloop follows an assassin named Colt who is stuck on an island that’s enduring a time loop. The only way for Colt to break the loop is by tracking down and taking out specific targets. However, with so many bodyguards in the area, Colt is not only working against time but also the fact that each time he encounters an enemy that gets the best of him then Colt is restarted right back at the beginning. There is also another assassin on the island, Julianna, who is only after stopping Colt every day.

Now, if you’re worried that the game will actively progress nonstop, leaving you in a constant battle with time, then you might be surprised. This game has four sections to explore, and when you’re in these maps, time doesn’t progress. Instead, you’ll only find time progressing as you load from section to section. Likewise, you’ll find that areas can change depending on the time of day. So you could be in an area of the map during the day, but you’ll be forced to return later on that night to find a specific target. In addition, some supernatural powers can allow Colt to teleport around the area or string enemies together to easily take them down. Not to mention, there are plenty of unlockables. For example, players can buff up their weapons or even Colt himself. These perks you can unlock can do an assortment of things such as faster health regen or a double jump. While you will have to replay areas because of the loop, it can be rewarding as you’ll usually gain some new information that will help you out in the next run.

#7 Back 4 Blood

  • Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, XS/X
  • Release: October 12, 2021
  • Co-op: Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Online

Left 4 Dead is such an iconic multiplayer cooperative zombie shooter that it’s a shame we only have two mainline installments available. However, fans are still enjoying the sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, as modders continue to add content into the game for players. Meanwhile, the original developer behind the IP, Turtle Rock Studios, is working on a spiritual successor to the franchise with Back 4 Blood. The game offers the same overall gameplay where players are going through the title as a cooperative FPS shooter with a slew of undead zombies to fight off. However, the developers expressed their interest in bringing out a game filled with more significant levels, stories, and zombie types. Likewise, the studio incorporated a card system to the game. Players will unlock cards to place on their character giving them unique buffs. However, the game also provides cards to buff up the enemy zombies. We’ve seen some footage of this game and there has been a beta where players had a chance to check out the title prior to its release. Reception from the beta seems a bit mixed but then again that was a beta so we might see some tweaks and changes made by the time Back 4 Blood launches this October.

#6 Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart

  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS5
  • Release Date: June 11, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

The Ratchet & Clank franchise has been around since 2002 and this year we received a follow-up from the 2016 PlayStation 4 release of Ratchet & Clank. Chances are you’re familiar with this franchise. It’s a third-person platformer that puts players in control of both Ratchet and Clank, a duo team of galactic heroes. Just like with all the other games on this list, we’ll avoid spoiling too much here. This is a PlayStation 5 exclusive where Ratchet & Clank end up having to save the day once again after Clank repairs the Dimensionater which Dr. Nefarious just so happened to obtain. Now players are bouncing around between worlds and opening up portals that seamlessly transports players into entirely new areas which developers credit possible due to the power of next-generation hardware. If you’re familiar with the franchise, you won’t find this installment as spicy with the humor, but it’s still a solid platformer game. There are several different environments to explore and to complete missions within. Also, even if you never played the past installments, this is a game you can still get into easily without having to go back and replay everything.

#5 Metroid Dread

  • Developer: Nintendo EPD, MercurySteam
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: NS
  • Release Date: October 8, 2021
  • Co-op: N/A
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

Fans of the Metroid franchise have been waiting on Metroid Prime 4 to launch, but before that happens, we’re going to receive another 2D installment with Metroid Dread. This game is bringing the Metroid franchise back to classic side-scrolling gameplay. Initially, this game was meant to launch on the Nintendo DS, but technical limitations forced the game to get shelved. That was until 2017 where the game project got picked back up. Now we’re expecting the game release on the Nintendo Switch this October 8, 2021. With that said, this game is set to conclude the Metroid arch franchise, where the narrative takes place after the events of Metroid Fusion. After the Galactic Federation discovers that there are still X parasites alive, they send out their specialized EMMI robots to take care of them. However, the robots soon go offline, and it’s left Samus venturing to the planet ZDR to figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately, we no only will we have X parasites to deal with but corrupted EMMI robots, and potentially even the Chozo. Currently, this game is set to launch exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on October 8, 2021.

#4 Monster Hunter Rise

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platforms: NS, PC
  • Release Date: March 26, 2021
  • Co-op: Online/Local
  • Competitive Multiplayer: N/A

A new Monster Hunter video game came out this year, Monster Hunter Rise, although it’s worth pointing out that it is only available for the Nintendo Switch right now. PC players will be receiving the game sometime later on within 2022. If you played this franchise before then, you already know what you’re getting yourself into. This RPG throws players into a world whereas the title suggests your goal is to hunt down and defeat monsters. Here you’re going around finding these monsters, learning what their weaknesses are, gathering loot, finding ways to buff yourself up, laying down traps, and ultimately trying to successfully take down the targeted monster. From there, it’s a bit of a rinse and repeat cycle. You’ll gather more loot from the downed monster to craft better armor or weapons as you go on your next hunt. Fortunately, this installment also has multiplayer, so four players can join together for hunts. Meanwhile, as the name also suggests, there’s a new mechanic. With this game, the maps offer more vertical movement, and you’ll also be given tools to scale areas such as a grappling hook.

#3 Call of Duty: Vanguard

  • Developer: Sledgehammer Games
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, X/S
  • Release Date: November 5, 2021
  • Co-op: Local/Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Online

Call of Duty has an annual release schedule, and this year we’re getting Call of Duty: Vanguard. Again, we’re getting tossed back into the gritty World War II era. However, we’re going to experience four frontiers this time around, so expect to see some different characters and environments. Through the campaign you’ll see beginnings of the special forces in World War II. That’s, of course, the campaign which some players tend to forget the campaign exists and dives right into the multiplayer action. There are the normal multiplayer game modes from the past Call of Duty installments, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, there is also the cooperative zombies mode which is being developed under Treyarch. We’re still waiting for more information to come out for the game’s zombies mode, but it does look like the overall narrative here is set to be a prologue to the Call of Duty: Blck Ops Cold War zombies storyline.

#2 Far Cry 6

  • Developers: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX/S
  • Release: October 7, 2021
  • Co-op: Online
  • Competitive Multiplayer: TBA

The next installment to the long-running Far Cry franchise is going to come out in 2021. Far Cry 6 takes players into a fictional Caribbean island called Yara. The citizens are under a dictatorship ruling by El Presidente Anton Castillo, who is raising his son, Diego, to one day take his place. With the island going through a civil war to overthrow El Presidente, Anton is fighting back with an iron fist. We know that this game will throw players into the role of a local Yaran named Dani Rojas. Set up as a guerrilla soldier fighter, players will be battling against the government in hopes of overthrowing the regime and bringing Yara back into a peaceful country. Being a guerrilla fighter, you’ll have to come across weapons and gear through whatever means possible. That could be weapons earned from other character in the game or outright stealing them from the military. However, with that said, since you are a guerrilla fighter, it’s easy to blend right into a crowd of citizens, leaving Dani with the element of surprise. Currently, Far Cry 6 is slated to launch on October 7, 2021.

#1 Halo Infinite

  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Platforms: PC, XBO, X/S
  • Release: December 8, 2021
  • Co-op: Online/Local
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Online/Local

Xbox fans have been waiting a long while to get their hands on a copy of Halo Infinite. The video game has been under development over at 343 Industries for a few years now, and it was initially slated to launch in 2020. However, after the original gameplay reveal for the campaign, fans were quick to criticize the visuals. This ultimately lead 343 Industries to push the game back. Now the focus is bringing this game out in December of this year. We haven’t seen the gameplay campaign since, but there have been beta tests. Players were given a chance to try out this game’s multiplayer component, and the reception was great. While we don’t have too long of a wait until we can purchase a copy of this game, players won’t have to spend a dime to play the multiplayer component. Halo Infinite will have free-to-play multiplayer. There are also plans to bring out seasonal updates, so new content should regularly hit Halo Infinite. One of those seasonal updates has already been confirmed to bring out the iconic Forge mode. So while players won’t be able to create their levels at launch, we know that the level editor option is inbound.


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