5 Video Games I Am Thankful For (and Five I Am Not)

Five Games to Be Thankful For… and Five Others Not As Much

Before you’re sitting around the table this Thanksgiving, stuffing your face and regretting life, there’s something I want you to do for me. And this can be done regardless of whether or not you’re one of those families that has everyone take a turn saying what they’re thankful for. Once the fam is seated and ready to eat, you stand up, raise a glass, and explain that you’d like to toast to the following five video games. Dad’s going to ask you to sit down, and you’ll tell him – sternly – to shut up. It’s crucial to enunciate, hitting this chirp with the sort of force that lets the table know, “okay, it’s serious-time.”

This may sound like drastic action, but I assure you, it’s completely necessary. Just wait until you’re through the list, and I think you’ll agree these are fives games so good that the only way to genuinely convey their brilliance is to disrespect your father. Come along as we first look at the best of the best and what you should most be thankful for this holiday season.

forza horizon 5 early access


Bethesda’s own personal groundhog day is a blast from start to finish. Not only does it feature some of the smoothest, most satisfying gunplay of the year, but it’s also got my vote for best new character – Colt Vahn. The levels may be small, but they’re diverse, offering spoils to those bold enough to search every nook and cranny. And the story is engaging right up until its dramatic finale. There’s been a lot of good stuff in 2021, but Deathloop might be the cream of the crop.

Metroid Dread

If you’re sitting on a Nintendo Switch and haven’t picked up a copy of Metroid Dread yet, you might as well retire from gaming. Samus’ latest adventure may just be her best yet, utilizing the Switch’s hardware to its fullest in order to deliver a masterclass in both style and substance. It looks good, plays good, and if you have one of those shiny new Switch OLEDs, there’s no better way to break it in.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Who would have thought I’d be thankful for this?

Guardians of the Galaxy is an easy darkhorse game of the year contender. It’s fantastic, and I can’t help but think like this is precisely what Avengers should have been. Instead of relying on a half-baked Destiny-esque loot system to keep us coming back for more, Eidos-Montreal opted for a tighter, single-player experience. And it ultimately paid off. Guardians of the Galaxy is a tremendous adaptation of its source material, chock-full of witty quips, bangin’ tunes, and frantic gameplay.

Forza Horizon 5

It’s about time the Xbox Series X received its first true killer app. Just in time for Christmas, too. Forza Horizon 5 is the pinnacle of the series, bringing its unique blend of simcade-style racing and unparalleled world-building. Playground Games has once again delivered an utter masterpiece, and if you consider yourself a racer, or, hell, for that matter, a video game player, you owe it to yourself to get to the starting line and grab a copy.

Lost Judgment

While the original game in Sega’s Yakuza-spinoff series – Judgment – launched in late 2018, I didn’t get around to diving into its protagonist’s tale of lies and deception until earlier this year. And it quickly became one of my favorite games of the past decade. Enter Lost Judgment, which takes the formula concocted in the first game and adds a pinch of this and a dash of that to create everything Judgment was and more. In addition, the sequel offers a new story set in the charming, absurdly dense city of Kamurocho. Skateboard, smoke cigarettes, beat up teenagers, and solve a murder or two. What more could you ask for? Say a prayer, and be thankful for Lost Judgment.

Head on over to PAGE 2 for five more games that I don’t feel quite as strongly about.