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The Best PC Exclusives Of 2021

PC gamers take their builds seriously, and many PCs rival even the most advanced consoles. With high tech features like Auto HDR coming to PCs, there's no reason not to check out some of the hottest PC exclusives of 2021.


2020 also had a horde of great games, including a wildly popular reimagining of the classic Microsoft Flight Simulator. Every game can't be a winner, though, and 2020 had its share of duds for PC, including a gnarly Fast and Furious game. Though every game won't work for every PC, many of the best games of the year don't overtax PCs' graphics card, meaning more gaming for a wider audience.

2021 has already seen the release of several PC exclusives that caught the attention of critics and players alike. Peaceful romps through the forest, Zelda-likes, and strange driving simulators all appeared in 2021, paving the way for what's to come.


Krillbite, the developers behind Among the Sleep, recently released Sunlight as a PC exclusive. Sunlight received an 83 on Metacritic and won over critics with its beautiful gameplay. The premise of Sunlight is simple. An unnamed protagonist ventures into a forest, letting the voices of the trees guide them. Overall, the game only takes about 30 minutes to complete. So what makes it one of the best PC games of 2021? To put it simply, it's gorgeous.


Sunlight took "artistic inspiration from expressionist painters like Monet and Munch and focusing on a powerful 3D audio experience with breath-taking choir work." Since Sunlight draws inspiration from art, it functions less as a traditional game, with goals and challenges, and more like a stand-alone experience for players to lose themselves in. Sunlight's team of artists handpainted the settings with the VR tool Quill, which gives players the feeling of stepping inside an actual painting. 

Even though Sunlight is a solo experience, Krillbite has shared messages players left in the game. These otherworldly notes highlight how moving games can be, and remphasize the importance of games as artistic experiences.


The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante takes players back to a different era of gaming, one of point and click adventures and limited graphics. The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante received an 82 on Metacritic, putting it head and shoulders above some of its peers. The game's dedication to narrative makes the story shine, creating a lasting experience in this PC exclusive.


The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante takes place in a world "where any form of dissent is mercilessly crushed, the story follows a man who has dared to challenge the existing order. Set out on a lifelong journey and become an individual able to carve out their own destiny." 

Gamers discover the story through the protagonist's journal, and make decisions based on the information they have. Oftentimes, that information isn't enough to know the full outcome of a choice, sending the player to a perilous death. The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante plays like a choose-your-own-adventure novel with massive consequences. Failure might mean the collapse of a nation, not just the end of the protagonist.


Skul: The Hero Slayer

Indie developers continue to amaze fans through the use of old school graphics and sensibilities. SouthPAW games delivered on classic gaming principles and left fans in awe of Skul: The Hero Slayer, which received an 82 on Metacritic.


Skul: The Hero Slayer joins the titular Skul on his journey to save the Demon King's castle from pesky humans. Throughout his adventure, Skul can acquire new skulls, which grant him abilities.

The Steam description of Skul calls it an "action-platformer that boasts rogue-like features such as everchanging and challenging maps," but really it's more than that. Skull: The Hero Slayer's skull system, in which players can change out their abilities by swapping in different craniums, brings depth to the combat system. One player commended the game for its intriguing boss battles, while another simply stated, "You can throw your own head at enemies," along with a thumbs up. 

Regardless of why players initially feel attracted to Skul: The Hero Slayer, the game delivers on creativity and mechanics, while still managing to surprise players along the way.


Ocean's Heart

Ocean's Heart takes all the best parts of classic action-RPGs like The Legend of Zelda, and remixes it for 2021. Released as a PC exclusive, Ocean's Heart received a 79 on Metacritic, and wowed fans with its retro graphics and emphasis on discovery. Though critics compared Ocean's Heart to Zelda, it has an aesthetic all its own, partially inspired by games like The Witcher and Bloodborne. Developer Max Mraz, who also created a Zelda-like ode to Bloodborne called Yarntown, claimed in an interview that Ocean's Heart includes ideas that were leftover from his Bloodborne-inspired game. 


Nordcurrent describes its game as "an action RPG featuring detailed pixel art with a heavy focus on exploration." After her father and best friend go missing, the young Tilia must set out on an adventure through her flooded world. There are dangers along the way, but Tilia can craft her way to victory by improving her weapons and abilities with the resources around her. 

Ocean's Heart may be one of the best RPGs of 2021, but it's also one of the best PC exclusives. Even though fans keep asking for a Switch version of Ocean's Heart, Nordcurrent maintains there are no plans to do so at this time.

Field of Glory 2: Medieval

Field of Glory 2: Medieval is the kind of niche tactical game that thrives on PCs. Earning a 76 on Metacritic, critics adored the game for its attention to historical accuracy.

The game's Steam description states that Field of Glory 2 is "a turn-based tactical game set in the High Middle Ages from 1040 AD to 1270 AD." That straightforward label fits the game well. Field of Glory 2 has no desire to display fancy bells and whistles or pretend to be something hotter than what it is. Field of Glory 2 is here to be a tactics game rooted in history, and little else.


Don't let that sway you, though. If tactics or history interest you at all, Field of Glory 2 is a must-play. The game plays like a war game, with troops represented by tiny animated figures. The battles feature unique animations for different battle scenarios, and maintains belief in the world by only featuring groups that would be present in the time period. A patch for the game also allow players to create a "Time Warp," pitting armies from different eras against each other, which only adds to the fun. 

Field of Glory 2 allows fans to ask "what if?" and act out epic battles on PC to figure out the answer.