The five best action-adventure games of 2021

Action and adventure at their finest.

Image via Capcom

This story is part of Gamepur’s Best of 2021 round-up.

2021 is filled with tons of great games that are now lining the libraries and cabinets of players everywhere. Among the games that have been released, there have been some amazing action adventure-oriented ones that have stood out to fans everywhere. Although there are many games that could make this list, there are five that really show what action and adventure are all about.

5. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Image via Insomniac Games
  • Released June 11, 2021
  • Developed by Insomniac Games
  • Published by PlayStation Studios

It’s been a long time since the last Ratchet & Clank game was released back in 2016 alongside the movie with the same title. Though the wait was lengthy, the duo came flying back into action with new weapons, a new companion, and a brand new story that rips holes (literally) through the fabric of reality. Sadly, not enough people got to enjoy the adventure since the game was released solely on the Playstation 5 console.

Rift Apart follows not only Ratchet but the new female Lombax Rivet as Doctor and Emperor Nefarious try to take over all the dimensions in the multiverse. The game is filled with guns, loot, and jokes that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

4. Metroid Dread

Screenshot by Gamepur
  • Released October 8, 2021
  • Developed by Mercury Steam & Nintendo
  • Published by Nintendo

Samus is one of Nintendo’s many characters that has seen the big screen multiple times in their lifetime. This time, Samus has reached her prime in the form of Metroid Dread. This game may have only been on the shelves for a couple of months, but it is already one of the best action-adventure games that have been released this year.

Metroid Dread is filled with intense combat, exhilarating stealth, and monumental boss battles that are sure to excite you as you make your way through the game. In many ways, fans have agreed that this game has exceeded expectations by going above and beyond. Metroid Dread keeps a consistent pace when amping up the difficulty of enemies and has tricky puzzles that will keep you engaged for hours.

3. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Image via Square Enix
  • Released October 26, 2021
  • Developed by Eidos-Montréal
  • Published by Square Enix

It came as a bit of a surprise that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy did as well as it did. If you were one of the ones who thought it would be a repeat of the Marvel’s Avengers game, prepared to be mistaken. Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t try to invent anything new; instead, it capitalized on existing gameplay mechanics and focused on an extremely entertaining story.

In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, you take control of Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) as you visit different planets and Nova Corps ships. While the combat isn’t anything to write home about, it offers witty banter between the entire team of misfits that is super fun and engaging. There are puzzles, firefights, and strategic options that you will face throughout the story. Some choices matter and alter the gameplay depending on which one you make.

2. Resident Evil Village

Image via Capcom
  • Released May 1, 2021
  • Developed and published by Capcom

Resident Evil Village continues the story of Ethan Winters as he tries to rescue his daughter. Of course, he can’t seem to catch a break and winds up in a village where everything is trying to kill him. From vampires to lycans, you will fight it all. Resident Evil Village includes some surprising twists and action that will keep your heart pumping as you play.

The whole game takes place over the course of one night as Ethan takes on the four lords of the village. Despite being labeled as a survival horror game, Resident Evil Village checks off most of if not all of the boxes necessary to count as an action-adventure game. Outside of the main campaign, Resident Evil Village also has a survival mode that lets you go toe to toe with some of the game’s creatures and earn a ranking based on how well you perform.

1. Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Image via Ember Lab
  • Released on September 21, 2021
  • Developed by Ember Lab
  • Published by Ember Lab & Maximum Games

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the tale of an indie game that made it big. The studio behind this game started out as an animation studio. This translated to the characters and world of Kena: Bridge of Spirits having a marvelous quality about them that is hard to find in most games. But it doesn’t stop there — this game is filled with action around every turn and a beautiful world to explore.

The story of this game follows Kena, a spirit guide, as she tries to find the mountain shrine and help the spirits of a village. The gameplay, while not extremely innovative, is filled with excitement. From challenging boss battles to complex puzzles, this game has a little something for everyone and it almost never has a dull moment. There are always new things to discover in the world, whether it be Rot Spirits, spirit mail, or even just parts of the scenery.