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The Best PS5 Games Of 2021

While every major console launch faces challenges, the PlayStation 5's arrival during a global pandemic made things especially tricky. With the entire industry upended by the impact of COVID-19, it's a minor miracle that Sony still managed to deliver the console on time.

Of course, hitting that launch date wasn't the end of the road. While Sony opted out of physical in-store sales to encourage social distancing, the PlayStation 5 still made history as Sony's biggest console launch ever. Unfortunately, pandemic crippled supply lines couldn't keep up with demand, leading to an uproar from fans who couldn't locate one.

Even those lucky enough to find a PlayStation 5 faced issues. Many of the highest-profile games planned for both its launch and 2021 suffered significant delays. Flagship titles such as Gran Turismo 7, expected to launch with the console, are now not expected to arrive until 2022. What is a lucky PlayStation 5 owner to do if their favorite franchise won't be getting a new installment until next year?

Thankfully, plenty of solid games have already arrived for Sony's newest console. Here are the best PS5 games of 2021.

The Nioh Collection fights its way to the top

PlayStation 5 owners looking for one of the best experiences available on the console need to look no further than The Nioh Collection. The next-gen versions of Team Ninja's celebrated action roleplaying epics have been optimized for both 4K and 120 FPS, delivering performance increases never before seen in the series.

The Nioh Collection includes Nioh Remastered: The Complete Edition, which bundles the improved version of the game with every piece of DLC available. Nioh, which was based on an unfinished script by Akira Kurosawa and spent over a decade in pre-production, follows the path of William, an outsider trying to navigate a brutal feudal Japan.

Also in the bundle is Nioh 2 Remastered: The Complete Edition, again with all available DLC. Nioh 2 explores many of the events leading up to the first game, improving the mechanics developed for the original while expanding its world and story. Nioh 2 received extensive praise at the time of its release and was even nominated for Action Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2020.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time arrived just in time

Crash Bandicoot is one of the quintessential PlayStation franchises. Created by the developer of some of the console's best-known exclusives, Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot has been one of PlayStation's signature platformers since it arrived in 1996.

The most recent entry into the franchise, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, arrived on the PlayStation 4 just before the PlayStation 5 arrived on the market. Developer Toys For Bob quickly got to work updating the series' sensibilities for the latest PlayStation console, with support for full 4K resolutions. The PlayStation 5 edition of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time also features full support for the DualSense controller. Utilizing haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, players can experience Crash's world to a level of immersion not seen on other systems.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time made a strong impression when it arrived on the PlayStation 4 last year, and the 2021 PlayStation 5 release scored high marks as well. Critics highlighted the improved framerate and reduced load times as providing a superior Crash Bandicoot experience.

Control: Ultimate Edition gets even better on the PlayStation 5

Anyone looking to try one of the best original action-adventure titles of the last couple of years should grab Control: Ultimate Edition. Players explore a mysterious, ever-changing world as Jesse Faden, the Director of the Bureau of Control, who must master supernatural abilities while solving puzzles and fighting possessed enemies.

Control is a part of developer Remedy Entertainment's connected universe, which includes Alan Wake and an upcoming title teased by creative director Sam Lake. Remedy's games combine strong writing and innovative storytelling to create immersive environments, and the PlayStation 5 upgrades in Control: Ultimate Edition help achieve this goal. Not only does the PlayStation 5 version allow for higher resolutions, faster frame rates, and improved load times, but the new console supports full ray-tracing effects. The ultra-realistic lighting allowed by ray tracing helps sell the games' moody atmosphere and draw players into Control's intriguing world.

When Control arrived in 2019, it quickly caught the critical community's attention and became a heavy favorite for Game of the Year at multiple outlets. The 2021 PlayStation 5 remaster likewise earned strong praise and is one of the best games available for the console.

Hitman 3 slips into a top slot

Critics loved Hitman 3 when it dropped in January 2021, making it an early Game of the Year contender. As the final chapter in the rebooted trilogy that IO Interactive began in 2016, Hitman 3 sets itself apart from its predecessors with strong character development and storytelling to exceed fan and critic expectations.

In Hitman 3, Agent 47 infiltrates several diverse locations, including a Dubai skyscraper and a packed rave in Germany, all while hunting down targets. While there are only six new maps to explore in Hitman 3, these meticulously laid-out levels are built for replayability. Each location features stunning visuals and multiple approaches that allow for any playstyle — even if you want to beat a level in a couple of seconds

As one of the first high-profile games of 2021 to receive a simultaneous release on all of its supported platforms, Hitman 3 is optimized to take full advantage of the PlayStation 5's advanced capabilities. Also, fans who played its predecessors, Hitman and Hitman 2, can import their levels and progress into Hitman 3, effectively allowing gamers to play the entire series on the new console.

Look both ways before you cross with The Pedestrian

While many of the best PlayStation 5 games of 2021 take advantage of its new technology to deliver triple-A experiences, The Pedestrian demonstrates that the console can also be a home for innovative casual gaming. While The Pedestrian consists of simple ideas and basic mechanics, it packages them in a memorable, fun, and unique game that is well worth adding to any PlayStation 5 owner's library.

The Pedestrian gives the player control over a stick figure who moves through levels that play out over street signs in different city blocks, construction zones, and subway stations. The game's traversal challenges grow in difficulty and complexity over the course of a playthrough. Its simple level designs play out against a colorful, Pixar-esque backdrop, featuring a delightful score to back it all up.

The game evolves into something more intricate when the player's stick figure avatar gains the ability to combine electrical components and manipulate the world around them in increasingly complex ways. The game has received universal praise from critics and drawn comparisons to Valve's famous puzzle game Portal. Anyone looking for a casual (but memorable) experience from their PlayStation 5 should consider picking up The Pedestrian.