If you look at the release calendar, this month is a variety platter: big remasters, mid-tier ports to Nintendo Switch, and a lot of smaller games hitting PC with console releases still up in the air. However, you should still find several big single player experiences to anticipate on a variety of systems, so for May 2021, we are taking a look at Resident Evil Village, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and Biomutant.
Resident Evil Village
Release Date: May 7, 2021
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Capcom‘s flagship series is on something of a tear right now, one that even the middlingly received Resident Evil 3 remake was unable to trip up. The recent games are drop-dead gorgeous: from their graphical effects, to the realistic human models — and of course, the monsters — all the way to the wide variety of locales and little environmental details that radically enhance believability.
Resident Evil Village fully continues this trend with a (sort-of) return to the sprawling European pastiche of Resident Evil 4. Instead of vaguely Spanish pod people, this time the series travels to eastern Europe with vampires and werewolves, but the same classic “spooky woods, peasant village, and imposing castle” type of levels.
As the next mainline installment, Resident Evil Village continues 7‘s first-person perspective and faceless protagonist (hopefully to later include a VR playable mode, but as of yet nothing is announced), all the better to make it a more approachable prospect for new fans. However, if Resident Evil Village interests you at all and you would rather not buy it on spec, Resident Evil 7 is available now for a fraction of the cost and has a truly banging, very scary first half.
Hopefully this longer, more mechanically deep sequel will still retain some of the excellent spookiness that 7 had in its earlier hours. But regardless of the quality of its horror, this single player game is sure to sell well off the supernaturally tall back of internet crush Lady Dimitrescu alone. Is “vampire giantess” really a positive role for today’s market? Time will tell, though she is certainly a step up from the regrettable African stereotypes in Resident Evil 5.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The fact has come to my attention, as a mid-to-elder Millennial, that a large chunk of today’s console gamers have never encountered Mass Effect, Bioware’s ambitious, flawed, awesome, politically confused, epic modern space opera saga. That makes Mass Effect: Legendary Edition worth discussing despite being a remaster.
Although the first game launched closer to the release of the last Wing Commander than to today, it came in a time of drought for space opera fans. The Star Wars prequels were over, Battlestar Galactica and Stargate were winding down without much of a presence in games, and the eye of popular culture was poised to turn toward superheroes and Lost wannabes. Mass Effect was refreshing.
Playing the saga of Commander Shepherd is a singular RPG experience. Even Mass Effect‘s fantasy-themed brother series Dragon Age was unable to carry as much narrative personality from game to game. For new players, there are tweaks to modernize the visuals, especially to the “dated but charming” Unreal Engine 3 look of the first game, and all but one of the series’s DLC chapters comes built-in — including the fixes to Mass Effect 3‘s rushed and divisive ending.
Well-versed players may not have as much reason to return to the trilogy, but having the three games now take full advantage of modern televisions is not to be sniffed at. Mass Effect is not perfect, and to some degree the trilogy follows the downward trajectory of many AAA trilogies of the PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 generation. However, BioWare polish combined with a reactive, multi-game storyline make it one of the most memorable.
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Biomutant converges several trends from Far Cry or Just Cause-inspired open-world action with the exploration and discovery of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And it’s all set in a post-natural-disaster world that appears to be catnip for fans of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Horizon Zero Dawn, or countless PlayStation 2 action adventures.
The real special sauce of Biomutant comes in the form of the mutants themselves: Rather than a pre-built character, players design their own fuzzy creature at the start and build on that base with additional mutations and mechanical attachments found throughout the world. In true Metroid fashion, equipping different features and powers will be necessary to unlock new areas of the world.
From the publisher of Darksiders and developers behind Just Cause, with acknowledged influence from Zelda and other classic games, Biomutant certainly aims high. Can this new IP spread its biomechanical wings and reach those fans of the science-fantasy action adventures of decades past? May 2021 is the time to find out for this single player game.
Notable Dates for Single Player-Friendly Games in May 2021
May 2 — Small Press Tycoon (PC)
May 6 — Skate City (PC, PS4, XBO, NS)
May 12 — Retro Machina (PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, NS)
May 14 — Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind and The Missing Heir (NS), Subnautica: Below Zero (PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX, NS)
May 28 — World’s End Club (NS)
As a result of release date shifts and the working-from-home situation around the world, there are also plenty of single player games set to release in May 2021 that lack firm release dates. Until next month, enjoy playing single player games!