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The top 20 best action games in 2021

Action Games: May 2021

Valentin Aschenbrenner
@valivarlow
You are right: I have criminally neglected our action charts in the last few weeks, if not months. Maybe the lack of major releases stopped me from doing it. Perhaps our ratings of the releases that existed were simply not enough for a placement in our top 20. One does not know.

But now it's May and it's high time to clean up our list. Because there is actually a lot going on in our best action games in 2021. First of all we have to say goodbye to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Because both games are now more than two years old and thus fly off our list.

And in case you're wondering why, given this reason, titles like Mortal Kombat 11 and Metro Exodus are still hanging around: This restriction does not affect games that have received content updates after their original release. In these two cases the Aftermath expansion and new fighters like John Rambo and RoboCop or the story DLC Sam's ... Story.

In addition, with Resident Evil 8, Crash Bandicoot 4 and It Takes Two, three new titles will join our 2021 action charts. But you have to find out for yourself which places these titles are comfortable for.

How do our toplists work?
At GameStar.de we test all relevant action games, but not every title has what it takes to be a hit. In our top list of the best action games 2020 you will find the 20 games with the currently highest GameStar rating at a glance. As soon as a new action highlight makes it into this group of chosen people, this overview will of course be updated.

20. Crash Bandicoot 4 - rating: 87

10:35 Crash Bandicoot 4 - Test video for the jump & run hit for PS4 & Xbox One

Developer: Toys for Bob | Release: March 26, 2021 (PC) | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch PS4, Xbox One

It was damn time that Crash Bandicoot swirled around on the home computer with his latest adventure It's About Time. Because after consoles received one of the best jump & runs of the past few years, PC gamers were finally delighted in March 2021.

And the bag badger was as skillful as ever: To stop the nasty scientist with the catchy name Neo Cortex, we jump over obstacles, solve small puzzles and, above all, try not to die too many screen deaths.

The well-known formula is as effective as it was in 1996, while the graphic style and animations are particularly convincing. Sure, you could have got more out of the optics for the PC, but that doesn't make the actual game design worse. So if you fancy a little time travel, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's about Time is the best choice.

How good is the game?Check out the Crash Bandicoot test here: It's about Time

19.Watch Dogs Legion - Rating: 87

Watch Dogs Legion - View screenshots from the PC version

Developer: Ubisoft Toronto | Release: October 29, 2020 | Platform: PC, PS5 / 4, Xbox Series X / One

Who hasn't always wanted to lift a diabolical regime out of its joint as an elderly pensioner? Or set swarms of bees on devious mercenaries as cyber beekeepers? Or speed through urban canyons as a British spy in a souped-up car that could pass as a Wish version of an Aston Martin? Well, the latter happens relatively often thanks to countless video game adaptations of the James Bond film series.

Watch Dogs Legion provides you with a quite stately open-world playground in which it as good as no NPC. Because if we go by the classic meaning of this word ("non-player character"), this definition does not really apply to the inhabitants of a dystopian London: We can recruit almost anyone ... PC and in his role for law and Order or chaos and devastation - depending on how we like it.

This is not only the greatest attraction, but also the greatest strength of Watch Dogs Legion. Incidentally, this is expressed in a playful way in a varied mix of shooting, sneaking, chopping or alternative solutions. Not all of these aspects are really mature - you can't get rid of the impression that Ubisoft wanted too much at once. But Watch Dogs Legion is definitely a successful open-world experiment that should neither be underestimated nor ignored.

How good is the game? Click here to test the PC version of Watch Dogs Legion

18. It Takes Two - Rating: 87

12:43 PM It Takes Two Could Become The Best Game Of March - What the action platformer has ahead of most AAA games

Developer: Hazelight | Release: March 26, 2021 | Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One


Nowadays you are often looking in vain for new games that focus entirely on the couch-co-op principle. Sure, in case of doubt there are the classic zombie ball booths or multiplayer games, most of which can then only be played with each other online. It Takes Two offers both: online and couch co-op. And even if you only make limited use of the latter during a global pandemic, it's nice to at least have the option to do so.

Because without getting together you won't get very far in It Takes Two anyway - as the name might suggest. A wonderful game world, many intelligent mechanics packed into varied gameplay and a nice story, which is not suitable for everyone, are in the foreground here.

It Takes Two wants to lead and touch each other - and even manages it in his best moments. And even if the sometimes somewhat idiosyncratic story leaves you indifferent, at least a fun co-op experience remains, which in a playful way offers something different than always going into the next battle heavily armed.

How good is the game?Check out It Takes Two here

17. Destiny 2 - Rating: 88

9:38 Destiny 2 - Test video: A complete package with Raid?

Developer: Bungie | Release: October 24, 2017 | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

You're right: Destiny 2 was actually released in October 2017 and would have to be disqualified for the action charts. However, Bungie only breathed new light into the shooter in 2019 with the new Free2Play variant "New Light". That was enough for us to check out Destiny 2: New Light in the course of a new test article and lo and behold: The Free2Play model suits Destiny 2 pretty well.

So New Light comes with numerous in-game activities and contentfor which the player doesn't have to pay a cent. However, if the extensive offer is not enough for you, you can still invest money in Destiny 2 to really take every feature of the game with you - which there is basically nothing wrong with.

Despite not too narrow criticism of Destiny 2 and its predecessor - which was mainly based on the manageable content - there is an absolutely successful shooter experience at the core of the game, which becomes an almost unique experience, especially in the well-rehearsed team. This is ensured by the pleasant variety of play stylesthat makes it all the more fun to match your character's abilities to those of your team members.

How good is the game?Check out Destiny 2: New Light here

16. Mortal Kombat 11 - Rating: 88

Mortal Kombat 11 - View screenshots

Developer: Netherrealm Studios | Release: April 23, 2019 | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Let's make it short: Yes, Mortal Kombat 11 is also a brutal orgy of violence. This is not a surprise, but is part of the good tone of the series. But MK11 can do a lot more! If you fade out the fatalities, the eye falls on an extremely ambitious fighting game, which is convincing both technically and with its scope.

There is an extensive story mode with almost three hours of film sequences, additional - albeit sometimes extremely difficult - tower challenges and a crypt with loads of unlockable items.

The fights are easy to access, but offer enough depth even for professionals. Each of the 25 or so fighters has their own style and feels unique, but at the same time no one is too powerful. All of this makes Mortal Kombat 11 the best game in the series to date.

How good is the game?Check out Mortal Kombat 11 here


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