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The games of winter 2021

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All the big video games coming out in winter 2021

With two months of winter left, here’s what we look forward to playing

Take our mittened hand and let Polygon’s Winter Games package for 2021 guide you through the playground of wintertime games — what’s great, what’s not, and what exciting features await you in the games coming out in February and March.

The winter months are coming to a close, and spring is almost here. We’re already one month into 2021, the first full year of a new console generation, and there’s a lot in store for those who are looking to fill their machines full of games.

While games like Hitman 3 dominated the collective mind share of video game players in January, February and March hold a few big names, from new-gen games to updates and re-releases. And if you’re a PlayStation Plus member with a PlayStation 5, you’ve probably already got two of these downloaded onto your shiny new console.

We’ve compiled a list of all the big games coming in the next couple months, and those that just came out. Whether revisiting past greats like Control and Disco Elysium, going on a new adventure with the Phantom Thieves, or finding out what a “Returnal” is, you’ll hopefully find something in here for you.

Control Ultimate Edition (PS5, Xbox Series X) - Feb. 2

February kicked off with the new-generation version of Remedy’s reality-bending action game. Initially released in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, Control is now on the new consoles, though not without a fair share of controversy.

Control has been playable on the new consoles since they launched via backward compatibility, but Remedy just released updated PS5 and Xbox Series X versions — with a catch. While many other games have used digital carryover and Xbox Smart Delivery options to let all previous owners migrate ownership to new consoles, Control’s carryover is limited only to those who bought the Ultimate Edition, which was released about a year after the original game launched. It’s a decision that has caused a fair bit of discontent among those who bought Control at launch on PS4 or Xbox One. There is a bright side for PlayStation Plus subscribers, though: Control Ultimate Edition was just released as one of the free PlayStation Plus games for February on PS5.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions include all Control content, including the AWE expansion that ties the Control universe into Alan Wake. They also have two visual modes: a 30-frames-per-second graphics mode that includes ray tracing, and a performance mode that runs at up to 60 fps.

Control tells the story of Jesse Faden, a woman with a strange past who enters the mysterious Federal Bureau of Control to find her brother. Soon after arriving in the brutalist building, she finds out that things have gone very wrong inside the Bureau: Corruption is spreading, the bureau’s captive and dangerous trinkets have escaped, and leadership is in disarray following the death of the Bureau’s director. It ends up falling on Jesse to find some answers, contain the breaches, and restore order.

In 2019, Control earned one of our Polygon’s Recommends picks and was our runner-up for game of the year, capturing the best aspects of Remedy’s superpowered shooting and effusive style. Reviewer Dave Tach wrote that Control is “as much a technical marvel as an artistic achievement,” combining quirky oddities and beauties together into something unlike anything else out there.

Destruction AllStars (PS5) - Feb. 2

One straggler from the PS5’s launch lineup has finally come around. Destruction AllStars was originally supposed to arrive alongside the console in November, but was delayed shortly before launch. Now it’s here! Developed by British studio Lucid Games, the multiplayer-focused title is available to PlayStation Plus subscribers for the next two months.

As shown in a gameplay trailer, drivers skid around an arena, ramming their fully kitted vehicles into other cars and, once their ride has been wrecked, running around and parkouring on foot, potentially taking over enemy vehicles. It’s a bit like Twisted Metal meets battle royale, with a focus on speed and maneuverability over missiles and guns.

Lucid Games has an interesting history. The studio worked with Ghost Games on 2017’s Need For Speed: Payback, and might be best known for 2014’s Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.

The free offer of Destruction AllStars for PlayStation Plus users is nice too, as the game was originally set to be one of a few games with a $69.99 price tag at launch. Alongside a free copy of Control’s next-gen upgrade, it’s a pretty good month to be a PlayStation Plus subscriber.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X) - Feb. 4

The Vampire: The Masquerade world might already have a solid footing in video games, but Werewolf: The Apocalypse has established its own base with Earthblood.

While games like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines relied on more of an RPG approach, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood is much more focused on action. Playing as a werewolf named Cahal, you transform between three different forms, depending on the task, to carry out a war against an oil corporation, Endron.

There’s the obvious werewolf form, turning Cahal into a massive, hulking were-beast that can fight hordes of enemy soldiers. He can also move around in a smaller wolf form, sneaking behind cover and through air ducts for a stealthier approach. Or, if you want to just be a dude, you can do your regular human stealth takeouts, and use Cahal’s crossbow to snipe soldiers and interfere with enemy electronics.

It seems that in every man there is a wolf, and also an even larger wolf. If you’re looking for an action-heavy game set in the broader Vampire/Werewolf universe that explores its lupine potential, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood looks to be just that.

An original illustration shows a warrior fighting a snowman
The Nioh Collection

The Nioh Collection (PS5) - Feb. 5

Keeping up the trend of the previous generation’s hits coming over to the new consoles, the Nioh series from Team Ninja has gotten a full relaunch. Nioh and Nioh 2 have both been remastered as part of The Nioh Collection, bringing both games to PlayStation 5.

Nioh, first released in 2017, was Team Ninja’s take on the Souls formula. It wasn’t another “it’s the Dark Souls of X,” either; Team Ninja set out to do its own version of what FromSoftware popularized. It’s a story drenched in Japanese history and mythology, with touches of Ninja Gaiden woven into the patchwork of Souls-like action. At the time of release, it was certainly a punishing but promising first draft, and its interlocking systems of guardian spirits, samurai skills, and brutal combat garnered enough goodwill for a sequel.

Nioh 2 leaned even further into the mythology and the difficulty. Here, you play as characters like a half-human, half-yokai demon ninja. You fight gigantic monstrosities, with even more of an emphasis on the combat and the frustration that can ensue when you fail at it. Nioh 2 still proved to be fun to get better at over time, and though it had to fight for the samurai action spotlight with FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it still received praise for what it accomplished and got a number of post-launch expansions.

Little Nightmares 2 (PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X) - Feb. 11

It might be February, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be in the mood for scary games. Tarsier Studios’ sequel to Little Nightmares is on its way to PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as Nintendo Switch and Windows PC, and it looks pretty darn creepy.

Tarsier previously worked on happier games, like the LittleBigPlanet series, before releasing horror game Hunger. Then in 2017 came Little Nightmares, a puzzle-platformer that further explored the studio’s capacity for scares in a Tim Burton-esque setting.

The first game was an often creepy, ominous experience about being small in a big, dark world. Each area followed a sort of dream logic, as protagonist Six ran around massive worlds and away from monsters.

Little Nightmares 2 looks to be doing more of the same. In our preview of the upcoming sequel, we saw a similarly unsettling world of haunting realms and evil monsters. Mess up a single puzzle, or get caught while trying to sneak around, and tiny protagonist Mono will meet a terrible end.

The second chapter in particular features a “schoolteacher from hell” with plasticky skin and a terrifying grin, along with a twisting, ever-extending neck that plays into the game’s stealth puzzles. “The teacher’s design is a massive step up from the burlap-sack monsters of the first Little Nightmares and shows just how far Tarsier Studios has come in the few years since its release,” wrote our own Austen Goslin. “The teacher looks like a flesh-and-blood abomination, and every little glance and sneer from her is uniquely creepy.”

You do get some blunt weapons, like a pipe or hammer, to use against the game’s smaller enemies. Those are still horrifying — in the case of chapter 2, the teacher’s minions are a class full of porcelain doll-like students — but they’re at least on the same scale as the main character, so you can fend them off with a few swings. Whatever the other levels hold, it certainly seems like Tarsier Studios’ latest looks to take the small-scale scares further with its next installment.

Update (Feb. 9): This article now states that Little Nightmares 2 will also be released on Google Stadia.

An original illustration shows Mario in a cat suit
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Switch) - Feb. 12

The year of Mario might be over, but there’s still more to celebrate ahead. Following a battle royale and a collection of older 3D Mario games, another 3D Mario game is getting a re-release on Nintendo Switch, with a new mode in tow.

Last year was the 35th anniversary of the Mario series, and Nintendo released a number of games to celebrate. Between the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection, gathering together the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii iterations of Mario’s 3D adventures, and the battle royale title Super Mario Bros. 35, there was a lot of Mario to play on Switch. Now, his Wii U adventures are coming to Switch too.

Super Mario 3D World originally launched for the Wii U in 2013. It gathered together the cast of the original Super Mario Bros. 2 — Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad — and built a multiplayer 3D Mario game with lots of fun levels. Each character had their signature skills, like Peach’s ability to float or Luigi’s higher jump. You weren’t just beating them as Mario, but as any of the Mushroom Kingdom’s cast, or together as a party.

Simple concepts like switches and rammerheads got ramped up over time, building up to complex and intricate levels. And if things got too tough, there was the Tanooki suit, which gave you a sort-of easy mode to breeze your way through levels. Also, did I mention the cat bell? The cat suits were a fascinating new development in the world of Mario, helping the game earn high praise in our initial review in 2013 and a spot on Polygon’s top games of the last decade list.

With the Switch version, Super Mario 3D World isn’t just getting a relaunch. The new version will have online play and a photo mode, allowing players to take photos of the cast as they explore in their cat outfits. It will also have a new mode called Bowser’s Fury, where Mario and Bowser Jr. team up to deal with an extra-large, extra-furious version of Bowser that looks kind of terrifying. Of course, to combat the extra-large Bowser, Mario can become a super-sized giant Cat Mario.

Two new amiibo will also launch alongside Super Mario 3D World’s Switch debut: one for Cat Mario and another for Cat Peach, both of which will offer in-game enhancements. The Mario anniversary may be over, but February will see another round of nostalgia for the plumber’s adventures.

Persona 5 Strikers (PC, PS4, Switch) - Feb. 23

It’s been a few years since Persona 5 debuted on PlayStation 4, and even longer since it was first announced. But since launch, the Persona 5 machine has steadily rolled along. Alongside the rhythm game spinoff and the “extended cut” of Persona 5 Royal, the story now continues in a musou-style collaboration between P Studio and Dynasty Warriors studio Omega Force called Persona 5 Strikers.

This particular spinoff has been available since February 2020 in Japan as Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers. But near the end of 2020, it was announced that the spinoff would be localized and launched in North America under the title Persona 5 Strikers.

The game once again stars Joker and the cast of Persona 5, also known as the Phantom Thieves. Set six months after the events of Persona 5, Strikers sees the cast reuniting as Joker and Morgana return to Shibuya for a visit. Some things have changed — characters are at different stages of their life, reflecting their own growth throughout the course of Persona 5’s story.

Yet, it’s also a musou-style game, with battles more akin to Dynasty Warriors than a turn-based RPG. In our preview of Strikers, Ryan Gilliam wrote that the game felt like it had a similar relationship to its source material as Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity had with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Don’t jump to judgments on that basis, though; Gilliam also said Strikers has more Persona 5 DNA in it than you might expect.

While battles are fast and filled with action, with four playable members of the Phantom Thieves ready to hop in at all times, there are also Bonds to form, conversations to have, and stylish menus to flip through. Time may roll on, but the Metaverse stays the same.

How it carries forward the Persona 5 torch, especially after the addition of Persona 5 Royal’s extra content and the relaxed fun of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, will be interesting to see.

An original illustration shows Arthur fighting a monster
Ghosts ’n Goblins Resurrection

Ghosts ’n Goblins Resurrection (Switch) - Feb. 25

Ghosts, goblins, and chivalric knights are back. Ghosts ’n Goblins gets a new look with Ghosts ’n Goblins Resurrection, a new adventure for the heroic knight in shining armor Arthur on Nintendo Switch.

But while the armor — and boxers — are back, it’s all with a storybook style that’s new for the series. Characters like Arthur and the Red Arremer look like they’re torn straight from a Brothers Grimm picture book, and everything from the backgrounds and platforms to the hordes of the Demon Realm moves and animates like a storybook.

This is still a Ghosts ’n Goblins game, though, which means simple controls and lots of challenge. There will be different difficulty options, including a “Page” setting that will grant players immortality, though they won’t be able to experience all of the game’s content that way. There’s also a setting that matches the punishing difficulty of the original games.

Ghosts ’n Goblins: Resurrection looks to take inspiration from both the original Ghosts ’n Goblins and Ghouls ’n Ghosts, and add some completely new ideas. Players will progress through zones, hopping across platforms and vanquishing demonic foes, with each stage completed bringing them closer to finishing the zone and saving the princess.

Though there’s the usual mix of arms and magic, Arthur will also be able to find Umbral Bees to bring back to the Umbral Tree, which can unlock and upgrade magic and skills. And you’ll probably need it against the hordes of zombies and skeletons that stand between Arthur and the kidnapped princess.

It’s definitely a new look for Capcom’s storied series, but considering the company’s track record for video game remakes over the past few years, a Ghosts ’n Goblins revival could have some real potential.

Bravely Default 2 (Switch) - Feb. 26

Closing out February is a new RPG whose name might cause a bit of confusion. Bravely Default 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch on Feb. 26, but it’s not a direct sequel to Bravely Default (which already has a sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer). Instead, as in the Final Fantasy franchise, this is a new story with new characters, carrying forward the systems and mechanics of the Bravely Default series.

The first Bravely Default was a wistfully nostalgic RPG from Square Enix, harkening back to classics from its storyline to its design. It was a game where you needed to occasionally grind for levels, and yes, there’s a group of youngsters taking on world-ending evil forces. It wasn’t all by the book, though. A key part of the game’s battle system was using “Default” to bide time, which built up Brave Points for a “Brave” action, creating combos of abilities and all-out assaults.

It resulted in notable success, both as a debut game in a new franchise and relative to Square Enix’s other series at the time. It wasn’t long until a sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, rolled around. Set two years after the events of Bravely Default, Bravely Second adopted many of its predecessor’s systems, though sometimes to its detriment. In our review, Janine Hawkins noted that Bravely Second: End Layer didn’t feel like it was deficient in any way, but its strict adherence to the original — which was, itself, a fairly clever RPG — ended up being underwhelming.

It’s here where Bravely Default 2 fits in, with its number acting more like a Final Fantasy bump than an actual sequel. Several pieces of its battle system are still around, namely the Brave and Default system, as well as earning jobs from defeating boss enemies. There’s also a demo available on the Nintendo eShop, so if you’re a newcomer to the series, you can try its brand of turn-based RPG action before you buy.

With Team Asano and Claytechworks stepping up again to helm Bravely Default 2, it seems like this could be a solid bet for RPG fans hungry for something new on their Switch.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon (PS5) - March 2

The Yakuza series has traditionally been an action game franchise, with longtime protagonist Kazuma Kiryu taking on legions of yakuza gangsters in larger-than-life situations. It worked really well, carrying a story through six entries and a prequel, Yakuza 0.

With Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the story doesn’t just move forward in time, but also shifts focus to a new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga. Kasuga grew up in the care of a soapland owner, all the while dreaming of becoming a yakuza under local head Masumi Arakawa. As a young member of the Arakawa family, he takes the rap for a crime he didn’t commit, and goes to jail for a very long time. What happens after he gets out, and how the world has changed while he’s gone, sparks a long journey that has major implications for the series moving forward.

When it launched last November on other platforms, Yakuza: Like a Dragon was a reinvigorating force for the Yakuza series. Kasuga has a particular affinity for Dragon Quest games, so he sees all his battles on the streets as RPG battles. The game still contains all the requisite Yakuza goofiness, like beating someone up with a nearby shop sign or popping champagne in someone’s face as an attack, but in turn-based fashion.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s minigames also hold up to the series’ legacy of surprisingly in-depth side ventures, with a business management game that will quickly lure you to the dark side of capitalism. You might also want to open up a guide on the side to help you climb the business ladder and start making the big bucks. How else will you get to see your company’s mascot, a chicken named Omelette, effectively calm an angry shareholder during a quarterly earnings meeting?

Those who already picked up the game on PlayStation 4 won’t need to buy Yakuza: Like a Dragon again if they want to play on PS5, too. Digital PS4 owners will get a PS5 version of the game when it arrives on March 2, according to Sega.

New games for a shiny new console are always welcome, but considering Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s long runtime and fairly involved side missions, it might be the best option for sinking another 60 or 70 hours on your new PlayStation 5. At the very least, it’s worth it for the business management game.

An original illustration shows plants and pumpkins in a garden
Harvest Moon: One World

Harvest Moon: One World (Switch) - March 2

Sometimes, all we crave is a quiet life out in the country. No worries about social media or loud city life, just a serene existence, tending to crops and livestock, and steadily making friends and forging relationships with your neighbors. That’s the appeal of Harvest Moon and its many successors, though the genre has changed a lot in the time between its debut and the upcoming launch of Harvest Moon: One World.

The upcoming One World is looking to expand the world of Harvest Moon even further. In a gameplay trailer, Natsume showed the ways in which the series is expanding into an open-world game where you can pack up your farm and take it on the move. Yup, portable farms. We are living in the future.

It still has all the trappings of a Harvest Moon game, though, from farming and local competitions to wooing your eligible bachelor or bachelorette of choice. There also looks to be some exploration and mining, and the world is pretty big. The setting for Harvest Moon: One World is actually a world without any crops — a place where tomatoes, strawberries, and cabbage aren’t around. It sounds a bit like the setup of Dragon Quest Builders, but instead of teaching the world to build, you’ll be reviving the farms of the planet.

Of course, you can’t really talk about the farming genre without talking about its revival, sparked by indie spiritual successor Stardew Valley. Patches have still been steadily rolling out from ConcernedApe and Chucklefish, with one of the game’s biggest updates yet arriving just last December. Also competing is Story of Seasons, the split-off series from Harvest Moon, which has its own new entry arriving later the same month for Nintendo Switch. Basically, there’s a lot of competition in the farming life sim genre right now. There were already burgeoning rivalries, and they’ve only expanded with Stardew Valley and the success of other, more general life sim games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

It will be interesting to see how Harvest Moon’s new world-spanning adventure approach holds up against the influx of updates and new games.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (Switch) - March 16

Kingdoms of Amalur is back, or at least, remastered. The updated version of this Xbox 360-era RPG already hit other platforms, but now it’s heading to Switch, in case you’re looking to take your RPG nostalgia trip on the road.

The original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning launched for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in 2012, from publisher Electronic Arts and developer 38 Studios. Though Reckoning was relatively well received by critics, 38 Studios ended up going bankrupt for a whole host of complicated reasons. If you’re wondering how the state of Rhode Island got involved in this story, check out our breakdown of 38 Studios’ history. It’s a lengthy story involving a former MLB pitcher and a hefty financial incentive, leading to a yearslong investigation.

Years later, THQ Nordic picked up the Kingdoms of Amalur intellectual property, as well as the rights to the game itself. And now, Kingdoms of Amalur is getting a Re-Reckoning with a remaster for modern consoles. The Nintendo Switch version may be coming just a little bit later than its PC, PS4, and Xbox One counterparts, but the portability definitely makes this version appealing.

Balan Wonderworld (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X) - March 26

March seems like the right time to add a little wonder back into your life. The announcement of a new game from the former programmer and producer of Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights Into Dreams was a bit of a surprise last year, and as it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long to see the end result.

Balan Wonderworld was announced in June as a collaboration between Sega veterans Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima. The game looks like a fittingly fantastical platformer from the duo, as players venture through the strange and surreal Wonderworld. Using different costumes, you can acquire different powers to help explore the stages and dig to the heart of each of the game’s tales. “As you journey through this land between fantasy and reality, you must find a way to bring balance to others and yourself,” reads the official description.

Yup, that seems like the sort of odd, wonderful setup that the creators behind games like Nights Into Dreams would create. This is the first game from Square Enix’s new studio Balan Company, and the talent alone makes it seem like a game to keep an eye on; it’s already on Polygon’s list of most anticipated games for 2021.

Add on the fact that it’s coming to just about every system under the sun, and it’s easy to see yourself getting lost in Wonderworld. If you want to read more about Yuji Naka’s history in game development, including a look back at the years of Phantasy Star Online, check out Polygon’s interview with him from last year.

An original illustration shows a person with a spear fighting a dinosaur
Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise (Switch) - March 26

Monster Hunter is hitting Nintendo handhelds with not one but two games this year. The first of the pair is Monster Hunter Rise, which looks to bring the classic style of Monster Hunter onto Nintendo Switch.

Announced last September, Monster Hunter Rise has many of the familiar trappings of a classic Monster Hunter. There are plenty of big monsters to hunt, like Aknosom, Magnamalo, Great Izuchi, and Tetranadon. Palicos, your lovable feline companions, are back as well to help take down those pesky monsters.

New to Monster Hunter Rise is a little bit of verticality. Players can maneuver up walls and use a grappling hook, powered by a tiny little Wirebug, adding a bit more Z-axis to battles against massive monsters.

There’s also a new companion, the Palamute. It acts much like the Palico helpers, assisting the player in combat, but is a little more combat-focused than its cat counterpart. Palico helpers, meanwhile, fill more of a support role by healing and buffing the player, as well as placing traps. You can choose to take one of each on your excursions, or double down on either Palico pals or Palamute pups. Most importantly, you can pet the Palamute, and also ride them around to move faster, even sharpening your weapon with a whetstone while riding. They truly are a hunter’s best friend.

Much like the very popular Monster Hunter: World, Monster Hunter Rise will also do away with map “zones,” creating one contiguous area to chase monsters around in. This is fairly impressive, considering the processing power needed to make that happen.

Though Nintendo Switch players have already had Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate to fill their Monster Hunter needs, the launch of a brand-new Monster Hunter game on the Nintendo Switch is pretty exciting. There’s even one beyond it, as Capcom is currently aiming for a summer 2021 launch for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, building upon the Stories spinoff on the Nintendo handheld.

It Takes Two (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X) - March 26

Indie studio Hazelight is diving back into the co-op genre this year. Starting with 2012’s one-controller, two-character journey Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and on through the co-op adventure A Way Out, the studio is once again appealing to the two-player crowd with the appropriately named It Takes Two.

You might recognize Hazelight co-founder Josef Fares from his “fuck the Oscars!” speech at The Game Awards. When he’s not telling off the Academy Awards, Fares and his team make pretty well-regarded co-op games. A Way Out was a somewhat-flawed but heartfelt experience about two convicts escaping prison and the bond that forms between them. Before that, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons offered an emotional journey of two brothers, which was designed to let a single player control two characters at the same time.

It Takes Two seems to follow after A Way Out, as it will once again have two players work together to complete tasks and journey forth. Each character is a doll-like representation of the main character’s parents, who are apparently at odds with each other. It plays a lot on imagination and the mind’s eye, but given the early glimpses of its subject matter, will probably get as heart-wrenching as A Way Out and Brothers. Fares has, appropriately, said it will “blow your fucking mind away.”

The other bit of good news is that, just like A Way Out, It Takes Two will also offer a “Friend’s Pass” system that will let people play together using just one copy of the game, even on separate consoles. Whoever owns It Takes Two can simply invite the other party, and they’ll be able to download and play the game without having to purchase a second copy.

While Hazelight’s co-founder might be well known for his brash persona, the studio’s games have become well regarded for their use of unique game mechanics to tell stories, whether splitting your brain in half to control two brothers at once or finding touching sentimentality in a game of Connect Four between pals.

An original illustration shows two characters looking at a fallen snowman
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia) - March

2019 was a year of surprises, and one of the biggest was an RPG about being an absolute disaster of a detective. Disco Elysium was a breakout star, and in 2021, it’s getting a big update that looks to round out the introspective narrative while also bringing it to even more players.

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut will also bring the detective adventure to PlayStation consoles. Not only does this mean controller support, with 4K resolution and 60 fps action on PS5, but there’s a reason for folks who already played through this tale to pick it up a second time: new content.

For those unfamiliar, Disco Elysium starts in medias res: You are a man waking up in a hotel room after the bender to end all benders. As you slowly piece together fragments of your memory and your existence, you start to recall what led to your slippery slope downward. You’re a detective, here in the town of Martinaise to solve a murder. As you drop points into a character sheet populated by the various facets of your mind — keen Logic, discerning Perception, the novel Esprit De Corps, and more — each piece of you becomes something akin to a party member. When you see footprints in the mud, your Visual Calculus might help you decipher the exact number of people who made them, if you’ve invested enough points; and similarly, a whiff of tobacco might set your Electrochemistry ablaze.

Alongside your newly assigned partner, you explore the town and talk to its citizens, undertaking small quests to solve the greater problem, while also trying to discover why your character tried to dive deep into oblivion. It’s a funny, heavy, thoughtful story that feels like a spiritual successor to the likes of Planescape: Torment.

One of The Final Cut’s features is a host of new quests, which include new citizens, an extra area to explore, and new sights. Developer ZA/UM hints that these will play into your character’s political compass as well, so look forward to becoming an even more politically mindful investigator.

Full voice acting might be one of the biggest new features in The Final Cut, with every character getting their own spoken voice lines. Disco Elysium is a pretty text-heavy game, so this is a major addition.

Of course, the base game that elicited a lot of praise in 2019 is still there, enhanced by the new features and content. ZA/UM’s story ended up being a late-in-the-year critical hit, doing especially well at the The Game Awards 2019, where it took home four awards.

With rumors of a possible TV adaptation circling, it’s certainly worth considering a replay. And for those who already own the game on PC, The Final Cut will be a free upgrade, allowing you to pick up back in Martinaise right where you left off or start a whole new journey. How could you not want to spend more time hanging out with the world’s best partner, Kim Kitsuragi?

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