The Best Video Game of 2021

VOICE OVER: Ty Richardson WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our video on The Best Game of 2021. If you haven't already, make sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Games of 2021 over on WatchMojo to see which other games defined our year. For now, we'll explain why our number one pick for Game of the Year is Resident Evil Village and give you a SPOILER WARNING if you haven't yet played the game (which we definitely recommend you do).
Script written by Ty Richardson

The Best Game of 2021

Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our video on The Best Game of 2021. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Games of 2021 over on WatchMojo to see which other games defined our year. For now, we’ll explain why our number one pick is the top dog and give you a SPOILER WARNING.

When looking at the entirety of 2021, it’s hard to say this year was light. In retrospect, we’ve arguably seen a lot of heavy hitters from both the indie and AAA space, from “Hitman III” and “Psychonauts 2” to “Curse of the Dead Gods” and “Cosmo’s Quickstop”. As is tradition with the MojoPlays team, there is only one game to call the best of 2021, and after much consideration, our Game of 2021 is none other than “Resident Evil: Village”.

Taking place after the events of “Resident Evil 7”, “Village” once again puts you in the shoes of Ethan Winters. Ethan sets out to find his daughter and winds up in a mysterious village that’s been ravaged by monsters. Across the roughly ten-hour campaign, you’ll encounter bloodthirsty maidens, haunted dolls, mechanized deviants, and werewolf people that’ll carve out Ethan’s hands like a Thanksgiving turkey.

In order to really capture a player’s attention, you need to make a strong first impression, and that’s exactly where “Village” excels within its first hour. It doesn’t spend too much time catching us up on Ethan’s quiet and mundane life, it throws us right into the action and causes us to ask a ton of questions, and we’re introduced to almost all of the important characters right from the get-go. “Village” also manages to introduce its mechanics rather quickly to players, and it does so in a way that’s efficient and easy to digest, regardless if you’ve played previous “Resident Evil” games before.

While we’re on the subject of mechanics, we’ll be the first to admit that “Village” isn’t anything significantly new, especially within the franchise itself. It’s the same first-person view as RE7 with the same level of inventory management as games prior and features the same gameplay of using pistols, shotguns, and such as any other FPS game. However, “Village” manages to simplify things where the player spends more time in the world rather than within menus and constantly shifting and readjusting items. Crafting is more streamlined now, removing the “Combine” feature entirely in favor of simply tracking how many of each material you’ve gathered. Thanks to this, the player can focus more on conserving ammo and exploring rather than remembering recipes by the book. Some veterans may like that aspect of the franchise, but others like us would argue this was a great improvement.

And indeed, improvements have been made within “Village”. Those familiar with “Resident Evil” will remember the franchise suffered a bit of an identity crisis in the late-2000’s all the way until the mid-2010’s. We had begun seeing less focus on the horror aspects and more catering to the action-shooter fans. RE5 and RE6 have found their own appreciation among fans, sure, but at the time, these were real warts in the IP. RE7 was a real hit back in 2017, too, yet many of us were left wondering whether Capcom would mess up “Resident Evil” again with RE8.

Luckily, “Village” has effectively found a way to balance it all out. You’re thrown into all sorts of terrifying moments right at the start of the game. You’re wandering through the woods, wondering if that thing you saw was a monster and if you are heading towards death. You see Castle Dimitrescu looming over an empty village that’s infested with Lycans. It all builds up to this intense chase, a fight for survival against the Lycans before it all calms down and dips back into a quiet and eerie horror with the creepy old hag and finding Luiza’s house. When developers are making games, they often try to find a pace that maintains an even flow of tense and calm moments, and “Village” employs an incredibly even pace, even when you’re exploring the castle and factory.

Environments also have an important role in what made “Village” so memorable. Capcom managed to craft levels in a way that also created compelling shots, giving us not just beautiful backgrounds and screenshots, but also more mystery and story to each given area. Again, you have shots like Castle Dimitrescu towering over this quaint village. There’s the moment where you emerge from the cave and find the Beneviento Estate hanging off the side of a massive waterfall. Or how about when you emerge from beneath the factory and see Heisenberg’s army on conveyor belts and machines. The detail put into the textures, models, and arrangement of everything almost makes the world seem real. Everything seems beautiful yet morbid, well-built yet decrepit, fantastical yet gross. It all adds to a level of immersion that helps make “Village” so special.

Adding to the fun of “Village” is the cast of villains. Lady D, Moreau, Donna Beneviento, Heisenberg, and Mother Miranda all make for fun boss fights by having their own unique spins. You have Lady D in her grotesque dragon form, Moreau as a disgusting fish creature that will attack you from murky waters, Beneviento and her deadly game of hide and seek, and Heisenberg bringing an explosive fight that lets you pilot a freakin’ tank! And it all leads up to a vicious fight against Mother Miranda herself. They’re all terrifying, they’re all ridiculous, and they all bring something different to experience, giving us more reason to play the game again.

And that’s the last point we want to touch on. Like previous “Resident Evil” games, “Village” hosts a few extra goodies to make you want to keep replaying and trying to go for speedruns. In addition to fun weapons and infinite ammo cheats to turn you into a god, “Village” holds a time trial mode called “The Mercenaries” where you’ll have to chain kills and pick up perks in order to maximize your score. It’s pretty tough to get an S rank on all stages, but when you find the path and execute a perfect chain, you’ll feel like a badass. Of course, you’ll probably miss a few secrets in your first run or two that will make you want to go back for a 100% run.

And just in case you still don’t believe how good this game is, let me, Ty, give you a small testimony. With the exception of some kart racers, platformers, and fighting games, I do not usually replay games. Once I pop Platinum trophies, I immediately uninstall games, throw up a brief tweet about my feelings on the game, and that’s it. I don’t really feel the urge to revisit them. “Resident Evil: Village”, on the other hand, I replayed SIX TIMES, all in consecutive fashion, and it was not because of trophies. I replayed it because of the story, because of the gameplay, because of all the reasons I’ve mentioned in this video. There is so much here to enjoy, so much to dissect and digest that simply writing this script has made me start itching to replay it again!

“Resident Evil: Village” may not have been something mind blowing, but it didn’t need to be. It didn’t need a vast open world or five different gameplay mechanics or celebrity castings. What it did do was take everything it has learned from the franchise’s twenty-five year history, improve in areas that did or didn’t work, and wrap it all up into this exciting, terrifying, and occasionally hilarious adventure that makes “Village” one of the best games in the series. Even if you aren’t a hardcore “Resident Evil” fan, even if you know absolutely nothing about the lore, “Village” is definitely worth your time, and that’s why it’s the best game of 2021.