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15 Most Popular Video Games in 2021 – What the World is Playing Today

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15 Most Popular Video Games

Ah, the ever never-ending question on every gamer’s mind – “What do I play next?”.

In an industry that releases tens of thousands of video games every year, it can get quite frustrating to search for the right games to play. Should you go for single player or multiplayer? What about first person shooter, third person shooter, role-playing, or arcade? The choices are just endless!

Well, your search is over. We at Hablr have compiled our list of the most popular video games being played today. That’s right. Whether you’re looking to play solo or getting a group of your friends together for a binge-sesh, we’ve got you covered.

15 Most Popular Video Games in 2021

1. Call of Duty – Warzone

  • Initial release date: 10 March 2020
  • Genre: Multiplayer, First Person Shooter
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Developers: Raven Software, Infinity Ward
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

What better game to start our list off with than the most iconic multiplayer game in recent times. Loved by casual gamers and professional streamers alike, Warzone is the epitome of what Battle Royale games should be.

The premise of the game is similar to that of the other games in the genre. 150 players parachute onto a single map with the sole purpose of being the last one standing. As the game progresses, players are eliminated, and the playable area shrinks, forcing the remaining players into tighter spaces, leading to some pretty adrenaline-fuelled last-minute gameplays.

An interesting addition that makes Warzone stand out from others is the all-new Gulag, or prison, where players who die in battle get a chance to fight one-on-one with another prisoner for a second chance to get back into the game.

With top-notch graphics and an incredible array of weaponry, this is a game that will keep your trigger fingers engaged for a long, long time.

2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

  • Initial release date: 15 November 2019
  • Genre: Single Player, Third Person, Action-Adventure
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developers: Respawn Entertainment
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Stadia

If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a lightsaber and learn the ways of the Jedi, then this is the game for you. You begin your journey as Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan being ruthlessly hunted across the galaxy by the Imperial Inquisitors. It’s up to you and your faithful droid, BD-1, to rebuild the Jedi Order and fight back against the merciless Empire.

Travel to a variety of planets, explore jungles, raid tombs, discover secrets, and show the Empire that the Jedi are a force to be reckoned with (pun intended). With combat inspired from the Dark Souls series, and wall-running reminiscent of Prince of Persia, SWJ: Fallen Order is a wonderful medley of all the best gameplay mechanics in recent years.

A stunning aspect of the game is its beautifully rendered visuals. From the inhospitable junkyard planet of Bracca, to the grassy wetlands of Bogano, each area transports the player into a world of its own. Of course, the riveting lightsaber combat and the ingenious manipulation of your Force abilities also add another layer of playability to this wonderfully crafted title.

So what are you waiting for? Start your adventure, and as always, May the Force be with you.

3. Hitman 3

  • Initial release date: 20 January 2021
  • Genre: Single Player, Third Person, Stealth
  • Publisher: IO Interactive
  • Developers: IO Interactive
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, Stadia

Agent 47 is a character that’s universally revered as the harbinger of death. Every gamer worth their salt has stepped into the shoes of this genetically engineered assassin at least once in their gaming journey. Let’s face it, it’s not always fun to play the morally incorrigible protagonist every single time (looking at you Batman). Sometimes we want to be the anti-hero, and this game provides the perfect opportunity for that.

Hitman 3 is the inevitable bloody conclusion to the World of Assassination Trilogy. As Agent 47, you are placed on a map with a set of targets to assassinate, few handy tools, and very little guidance on what to do. It’s up to you to explore, acquire different disguises that allow you access to different areas, learn more about the surrounding world and its rules, and figure out the best, and the most creative, way to complete your contract. Be it at a densely packed nightclub in Berlin or a murder mystery set in England, you are both assassin and detective in this highly acclaimed adventure.

So pack your gear Agent 47, your contract awaits.

4. Half-Life: Alyx

  • Initial release date: March 23, 2020
  • Genre: First Person Shooter, Virtual Reality
  • Publisher: Valve
  • Developers: Valve
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux

Half-Life and its sequel Half-Life 2 were both timeless classics that redefined the genre of first person shooters. So it’s only natural that there was a huge burden of expectation placed upon the producers by the gaming community to deliver once again. After almost 13 years, Valve finally decided to give players what they’ve been asking for, with a surprise that no one quite expected – It released Half-Life: Alyx exclusively for VR, allowing their fans to immerse themselves completely in the game.

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Players take on the role of the titular Alyx Vance on a mission to seize a superweapon belonging to the alien Combine. Virtual Reality equipment allows the player to interact with the environment and fight enemies, using “gravity gloves” to manipulate objects. Physics puzzles, combat, exploration, and survival horror also make a comeback as signature elements from the previous games.

Receiving almost universal acclaim, Half-Life: Alyx is a stunningly rich experience from start to finish and is regarded as one of the cornerstones for VR technology.

Recommended: Half-Life: Alyx: VR Game of The Year

5. Wasteland 3

  • Initial release date: August 28, 2020
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Developers: inXile Entertainment
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, macOS

Post-apocalyptic RPG is a genre that’s been overlooked for quite a while in the gaming scene. That was, until Bethesda released its first-person Fallout 3. Following along the same footsteps, inXile Entertainment released Wasteland 3 – A turn-based, party-based, isometric RPG that lets the player decide the course of the story.

The game is set in an alternate future during the 2100s, over 100 years after a nuclear war between the United States and USSR reduced the world to rubble. Players take control of two Arizona Desert Rangers, members of a paramilitary peacekeeping force, who are then forced to work with the local ruler, known as the “Patriarch”. What follows is a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime, leading the player to make hard decisions and question their own virtues as the game slowly pulls them deeper into its rich storyline.

If you’re someone who appreciates the subtle nuances of RPG gameplay, decent combat and intriguing story paths, then this is the game for you.

6. Apex Legends

  • Initial release date: February 4, 2019
  • Genre: First Person Shooter, Battle Royale
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developers: Respawn Entertainment
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android (2022 release)

Apex Legends is a battle-royale game that took the multiplayer scene by storm. Up until then, Fortnite was dominating the genre and no one could see a competitor for miles. Respawn Entertainment then decided to launch a first-person multiplayer battle royale game set in the same fictional universe as Titanfall and Titanfall 2. Within weeks after its release, Apex Legends became the hottest game in the market.

So what sets Apex Legends apart from the others?

Each match generally features twenty teams of three-player squads. Before the match, each player on the squad selects one of the 16 playable characters, with their own unique design, personality, and abilities that provide different playstyles to the team. These characters, or Legends, are then airdropped into the map where they fight it out to be the last squad standing.

Teamwork is a quintessential aspect of the game. Players are encouraged to choose Legends whose abilities to complement each other and provide tactical benefits. A large array of weapons ranging from shotguns, SMG’s, sniper rifles, and light machine guns, combined with revolutionary movement mechanics lead to some pretty absurd, high-action moments.

Whether you want to play as a non-binary game hunter following the path of the Norse Gods, a grapple-swinging robot in search of his creator, or a humorous holographic trickster, Apex Legends has just the hero for you.

7. Mortal Kombat 11

  • Initial release date: April 23, 2019
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Developers: NetherRealm Studios
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, Stadia

Mortal Kombat is, and will always be, one of the most classic fighting games that completely reinvented the genre. For decades, Mortal Kombat, along with Street Fighter, dominated the arcades. Although arcade machines have become a thing of the past today, the spirit of these fighting games still continues online.

Mortal Kombat 11 is the newest entry in the series that places heavy focus on the single-player campaign instead of the more multiplayer dimensions of the original MK games.

With an extensive roster of 23 fighters, both old and new, the game ensures that veterans of the series, as well as the newly acquainted, have a diverse set of characters to choose from. The roster includes classics such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kano, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade to the newer fighters from Mortal Kombat X – Jacqui Briggs, Cassie Cage, D’vorah, and Kotal Kahn, among others.

So choose your fighter, face your enemy, and mash those buttons for those elaborate combos and gory beatdowns. Oh, and when you hear Shao Khan’s infamous dialogue “Finish Him!”, don’t forget to execute those flawless fatalities.

8. Red Dead Redemption 2

  • Initial release date: October 26, 2018
  • Genre: Single Player, Action-Adventure
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Developers: Rockstar Studios
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Stadia

Being one of the most critically acclaimed video games in recent years, it’s no surprise that Red Dead Redemption 2 is on our list. To be honest, this is a game that deserves a list all for itself!

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the brainchild of the same studio that brought you GTA V and Max Payne 3. However, if you think this game is anything like those others, you’d find yourself extremely surprised.

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Set in 1899 in a fictionalized representation of the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States, the story follows outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang. As Arthur, the player must deal with the decline of the Wild West whilst attempting to survive against government forces, rival gangs, and other adversaries.

Gameplay elements include shootouts, heists, hunting, horseback riding, interacting with non-player characters, and maintaining the character’s honor rating through moral choices and deeds. The game explores many themes that truly capture the player’s attention – The evils of capitalism. The loss of long-held belief. Corrupt administrations. And of course, the choice to build or demolish relationships with the various NPC’s throughout the game.

The intricately detailed graphics and allure of this world is only matched by the masterful storytelling of the game. With memorable missions featuring train robberies and fiery mansion shootouts, Arthur’s story will keep you hooked throughout the end, giving you an experience that will last a lifetime.

9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Initial release date: 19 May 2015
  • Genre: Single Player, Action, Role Playing
  • Publisher: CD Projekt
  • Developers: CD Projekt Red

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is what you would get if you combined the best elements of GTA 5 and Game of Thrones into one dark, fantasy role-playing adventure.

The game takes place in a fictional world based on Slavonic mythology. The protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, is a monster slayer for hire known as a Witcher and is searching for his adopted daughter, who is on the run from the otherworldly Wild Hunt. Players battle the game’s many dangers with weapons and magic, interact with non-player characters, and complete quests to acquire experience points and gold, which are used to increase Geralt’s abilities and purchase equipment.

The huge open-world map, one of the finest in any games, is yours to explore at your leisure. Do you not like the main storyline? Not to worry, you can simply wander off and hunt some monsters in the woods or explore ancient ruins.

Even if you’re not a diehard fantasy gamer, the Witcher 3’s massive world, gorgeous landscapes, balanced gameplay, detailed quests, and story are all compelling enough to hook you in and keep you there for at least 70 to 80 hours (and this is the low estimate!)

10. Control

  • Initial release date: 27 August 2019
  • Genre: Single Player, Third Person Shooter, Action-Adventure
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Developers: Remedy Entertainment
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, Luna, Nintendo Switch

Often touted as one of the most popular games to be released in 2019, Control offers a completely novel game setting that hooks the player in from the get-go.

The player takes on the role of Jesse Faden, the Bureau’s new Director, and is tasked with exploring the Oldest House – the FBC’s paranormal headquarters. Your mission is to utilise your powerful abilities in order to defeat a deadly enemy known as the Hiss, which has invaded and corrupted reality. You gain these abilities by finding Objects of Power, mundane objects like a rotary phone or a floppy disc imbued with energies from another dimension, that has been at the center of major paranormal events and since recovered by the FBC.

The more you delve into the gameplay, the more abilities that Jesse gains, almost giving her a superhero-like status. Levitation, mind control, telekinesis, you name it. Mastering all of the various abilities is an exhilarating power trip in itself.

Control is set in an engrossingly weird paranormal world that truly offers a unique gaming experience. Even after completion, the game leaves you wanting for more. This one’s definitely going on our weekend binge list.

11. Borderlands 3

  • Initial release date: 13 September 2019
  • Genre: Single Player, First Person Shooter, Action role-playing
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Developers: Gearbox Software
  • Platforms: macOS, Stadia, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Xbox

Borderlands 3 is the most recent addition to the genre-defining looter-shooter Borderland franchise.

Players make a character from one of the four classes available, and take on various missions given out by non-playable characters (NPCs) to gain experience and reward items. Players can also gain these items by defeating enemies throughout the game. As the player gains level, they gain skill points to allocate across a skill tree.

The game introduces four new playable characters: Amara, a “Siren” who summons ethereal fists; Moze, a young “Gunner” who rides the mecha Iron Bear; Zane, an “Operative” with a variety of gadgets; and FL4K, a robot “Beastmaster” who summons creatures to aid in fights.

A fascinating aspect of Borderland 3 is its diverse range of guns. The sheer magnitude and diversity of its arsenal of fun and surprising weaponry is unmatched. Alongside that, the moment-to-moment gameplay of runnin’-and-gunnin’ around a map, finding cover, climbing obstacles, and looting crates make this game a fully replayable 30-hour fun-fest.

12. Divinity: Original Sin II

  • Initial release date: September 14, 2017
  • Genre: Single Player, Role Playing
  • Publisher: Larian Studios, Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developers: Larian Studios

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Nintendo Switch

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game that’s been touted as the best role playing game of all time. Yes, you heard it. Of ALL TIME. Playing Divinity is uncannily like playing a classic tabletop RPG, allowing the player to be as creative as possible and utilise the game mechanics to their advantage.

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The game places you in the role of a sorcerer with a divine calling, born with the ability to wield powerful magic. You’ve been taken into custody by the corrupt Magisters — the game’s fanatical villains — to stop you from becoming more powerful. What starts off as a mission to escape prison spirals into a quest involving gods competing for survival and an evil poised to swallow up the world.

As with the first Divinity game, you can play solo or with up to three others in their party. Several pre-made characters with backstories are available, however, you can also create a custom character and choose their stats, race, gender, and origin story at the start of the game. You can play everything from an undead Dwarf who loves nothing more than swinging his two-handed axe and throwing rocks to a sneaky Elven wizard who can talk to animals and get visions by chowing on corpses.

Another interesting aspect of the game is that you can split up and individually control your party members, leading to potentially complex battle tactics and role-playing opportunities.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a beautifully rendered isometric RPG that promises hundreds of hours of pure entertainment.

13. Among Us

  • Initial release date: June 15, 2018
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Party, Social Deduction
  • Publisher: Innersloth
  • Developers: Innersloth

Platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Among Us by now? It’s perhaps one of the most meme-worthy games on this list.

Although it received little mainstream attention when it released, there was a massive influx of popularity in 2020 (the lockdown year) due to many well-known Twitch streamers and YouTubers playing it.

Taking place in a space-themed setting, players take on one of two roles, most being Crewmates, and a predetermined number being Impostors. The goal of the Crewmates is to identify the Impostors; the Impostors’ goal is to covertly sabotage and kill the Crewmates.

Players suspected to be Impostors may be eliminated via a vote, which any player may initiate by calling an emergency meeting or reporting a dead body. Crewmates win if all Impostors are eliminated whereas Impostors win if there is an equal number of Impostors and Crewmates, or if critical sabotage goes unresolved.

It’s this simplistic approach to gameplay and thrilling multiplayer that catapulted Among Us as the most popular game of 2020, even being played by US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a live stream watched by almost 4,00,000 people.

An intense, refreshing multiplayer experience, we definitely recommend you to try this out for a much-needed break from reality.

14. Hades

  • Initial release date: September 17, 2020
  • Genre: Single Player, Roguelike, Action role-playing
  • Publisher: Supergiant Games
  • Developers: Supergiant Games
  • Platforms: macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch

If you’re a fan of the Dark Souls series, where you’re ready to brave through countless playthroughs to beat the game, then Hades is the next one you should pick up.

You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from the Underworld to reach Mount Olympus. Aided by gifts bestowed on him from the other Olympians, each run challenges you through a random series of rooms populated with enemies and rewards. The game has a hack-and-slashes combat system; you’ll need to use a combination of the main weapon attack, dash power, and magic ability to defeat your enemies while avoiding damage to progress as far as possible.

While Zagreus will often die, you can use gained treasure to improve certain attributes or unlock new weapons and abilities to improve chances of escaping on subsequent runs.

Hades is a one-of-a-kind roguelike game that does a brilliant job of interweaving fast-paced action with a persistent, fulfilling story through a vividly reimagined Greek mythological underworld.

15. Cyberpunk 2077

  • Initial release date: 10 December 2020
  • Genre: Single Player, Action role-playing
  • Publisher: CD Projekt
  • Developers: CD Projekt Red

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, Stadia

Did you really think we were going to end this list without including the most anticipated, most popular, and most controversial game in recent history upon its release?

Cyberpunk 2077 is an artist’s masterpiece brought to life by CD Projekt Red, the creators of the Witcher game series.

The game is an open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour, and body modification. You step into the shoes of V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality. You can customize your character’s cyberwar, skillset, and playstyle, and explore a vast city where the choices you make shape the story and the world around you.

Although the game received considerable criticism upon release due to the multitude of bugs across platforms, CD Projekt Red has since released various patches to address the issues and improve playability.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a paragon of open-world gaming, offering you the freedom to explore and define your character. It’s a beautiful mashup of all the things we celebrate about open-world games, with such detail and innovation. Bring in the human-like level of reactivity and emotional depth that it brings to its narrative, and it all makes for a spectacular experience.

So what are you waiting for? Night City is yours for the taking.

Quadir is to blame for all this. A Mechanical engineer and a tech nerd. I love technology and everything about tech, anime, and games. You can contact me at quadir@hablr.com

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