Video Game releases to look out for in January 2021
January always starts slow in the video game world. We are all recovering from the holidays so the first two weeks of January are usually pretty bare as far as game releases go. The same applies to this year, but the awkward calendar position coupled with the absolute drain that was 2020 has caused the dry period to last a little bit longer this year. Aside from scattered indie releases, there are no major releases until January 20. Then everything hits all at once, so have your holiday cash ready.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Complete Edition (January 14 – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
We don’t usually include re-releases on this list, but this is the only prominent game coming out before January 20, and we are just really big Scott Pilgrim fans. The old school beat-em-up with sprite art from Paul Robertson and a soundtrack from Anamanaguchi returns, with all previously released DLC, new content, and online play. It’s a game that was lost to time, punted from digital stores shortly after its release, finally back for everyone to experience in all its glory... at least until our current digital distribution methods die and it gets punted again.
Hitman 3 (January 20 – PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X)
The conclusion to the World of Assassination trilogy is here, featuring new disguises, new weapons, and the biggest sandbox maps of any Hitman game yet. Maybe you’ll hack security systems to gain access to high profile locations. Maybe you’ll scale buildings from the outside. Maybe you’ll socially maneuver your way into important events. Either way, the end result is murder and lots of it.
Redout: Space Assault (January 22 – PC, PS4, Switch Xbox One)
Space dogfighters are surprisingly common on the upcoming games of 2021 list, and Redout is leading the charge. Set in the semi-distant future during the colonization of Mars, this game is marketed on its massive boss battles and rogue-like elements. You’ll always end up flying different ships, using different weapons, and facing different bosses, which makes this fairly unique as far as dogfighters go.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy (January 26 – PC, PS4, PS5, Switch)
The next installment in the Atelier RPG franchise is a direct sequel, featuring the same protagonist as the previous game, a rarity for this franchise. Taking place three years after the previous game, Ryza gets a letter about some newly discovered ruins and a lost alchemic treasure. She will team up with old friends and embark on a brand new adventure, with new tweaks to the battle system, new ways to explore massive new maps, and new alchemic formulas to discover. Don’t worry if you missed the first one, several bundles will be sold with both games together, letting you catch up on Ryza’s adventure before setting out on a new one.
Stronghold Warlords (January 26 – PC)
The first major sim release of the year, Stronghold Warlords is billed as a “castle sim” which splits its focus between a combat-heavy military campaign and a city-builder-focused management campaign. You’ll have to both manage your people, from festivals to farming, in order to boost morale and gain resources for your armies, who will travel the world and fight battles across Vietnam, China, Japan, and Mongolia.
Cyber Shadow (January 26 – PC, PS4, Switch Xbox One)
What have Yacht Club games been doing since Shovel Knight? This! While Shovel Knight was a love letter to movement-based platformers like Duck Tales, Cyber Shadow is a love letter to combat heavy platformers like Ninja Gaiden and Shatterhand. Once again, they are limiting themselves to retro limitations, but it’s very clear that they are also taking advantage of modern technology, if only in the game's speed. With no draw limit and no sprite flickering, they could make this one of the most fast-paced 8-bit ninja games in existence. Is your ninjitsu strong enough to defeat a horde of enemy cyborgs?
Olija (January 28 – PC, PS4, Switch Xbox One)
Olija, the first release from Devolver Digital this year, is an interesting game that is part puzzle platformer, part Metroidvania. You take control of Faraday, a man shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Terraphage. Armed with a harpoon, you and your castaway buddies have to navigate the islands, delve deep into mysterious ruins, and maybe even fight some monsters and zombies, in a quest to return to your homeland.
The Medium (January 28 – PC, Xbox Series X)
One of the killer-app exclusives for the Xbox Series X, this mystery horror game puts you in control of a medium who has the ability to walk through two worlds at once, the real world and the spirit world, overlapped on top of each other. For a good portion of the game, you will be shifting from one reality to another to make progress, however, there will be some points where you are stuck in both realities at the same time, with both worlds displayed on the screen at once. Obviously, solving puzzles in one world can affect the other, and you’ll have to use a variety of spiritual abilities to progress through the game. It’s also worth noting that this game will have a soundtrack composed by Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame.
Sword of the Necromancer (January 28 – PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X)
Sword of the Necromancer combines Zelda-like dungeon crawling with rogue-like random elements. Your goal is to delve into the dungeon, defeat five guardians, and uncover the ancient magic to bring your loved one back to life. The game’s major gimmick is the ability to resurrect enemies you defeat with necromancy, adding them to a small army that will follow you around and fight for you.
Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne (January 29 – PC, PS4, Switch)
Even if you aren’t a fan of the Re: Zero anime, you should probably check out this game billed as a new style of “tactical adventure.” Someone has screwed with the timeline. Five candidates were prophesized to vie for the throne of Lugunica, but six have shown up. It looks like the timeline is screwed up somehow. It’s up to Subaru to get to the bottom of it by looping through time the only way he knows how… dying. With Spike Chunsoft, the people behind great mysteries like the Danganronpa and Zero Escape series at the helm, you can be sure that this will be a complex web of betrayal and intrigue that will definitely pull you in.