The Best Games Of 2024 (So Far)

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Characters from Final Fantasy, Helldivers, Like a Dragon, Dragon's Dogma, and Tekken.

This year has carried over two significant trends for the video game industry from 2023 into 2024: a lot of excellent games are coming out, and, unfortunately, the people who make them are suffering. It’s still early, but we’ve gotten some fantastic new games like Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and the surprise hit Balatro to keep us playing for hours upon end. On the flip side, developers are still struggling as mass layoffs have affected thousands of jobs in the first three months of 2024 alone. At the very least, we can pay tribute to some of the great games these talented developers have put out. We’ll continue to update this list accordingly, just like we did our best games of 2023 collection.

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Here are some of the best games of 2024 so far.

Shep holds his staff.

After over a decade of waiting, Capcom finally released a sequel to Dragon’s Dogma. The second game almost feels plucked out of the original’s PS360 era, but that’s a good thing. For all of Dragon’s Dogma 2’s occasional clunkiness and jank, it embodies a style of friction-driven RPGs that we don’t get as often as we should. Capcom’s dark fantasy tale is full of mystery, intrigue, danger, and depth. Dragon’s Dogma 2 invites you into its world while also punching you square in the jaw. It requires patience, caution, and mastery to navigate. That’s why, even though I wholeheartedly recommend it to you, I’m still slowly progressing through it myself. I would love to devour Dragon’s Dogma 2 and all its glory, but it pushes back at every spell I cast and every swing of my pawn’s sword. There are so many secrets I’ve yet to unravel, but even when its challenges discourage me, I pick up my staff and head into Dragon’s Dogma 2’s dangerous world once more. — Kenneth Shepard

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A samurai looks over a city.

The cast of Unicorn Overlord.

Developer Vanillaware’s take on the strategy RPG is nothing short of mechanical perfection. That’s the selling point of Unicorn Overlord: deep systems and challenging large-scale battles. What’s surprising is just how many systems there are and how well they all work together to create a complex web for you to unravel and master.

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Unicorn Overlord combines the best parts of turn-based and real-time strategy games to create a unique blend of its own that keeps you engaged. Organizing characters into units and setting their Final Fantasy XII gambit-style tactics is all about planning and understanding the rock-paper-scissors relationship between classes. But once battles start, it’s a frantic rush to direct units and outmaneuver your opponent. Every battle is bigger and better than the last, adding new twists and variations on what you think you know about how the game works. It’s like extra-complicated chess. The only downside is that this all takes place in a pretty basic medieval fantasy world, and features a story that,while not outright bad, is terribly forgettable. But the excellent combat more than makes up for that. — Willa Rowe

A Prince of Persia character fights enemies.

Kiryu and Ichiban look very concerned.

Jin looks angry.

Akihiko prepares to attack.

A table shows several cards and the Justice Arcana tarot card.

A full squad of players in Helldivers 2's desert region.

Cloud looks angrily at something off-screen.

A character in Ultros leaps to a ledge.

Sometimes it is when we are in the deepest depths of despair that a light shines through to give us renewed hope. This may be how fans of the Metroidvania genre are feeling as five years have come and gone since we first heard about Hollow Knight: Silksong, Team Cherry’s highly-anticipated insectoid side-scroller. With nary a release date in sight, the faithful have resorted to clown memes in an attempt to dull the pain this long wait has inflicted on them. Ah but what’s this? Ultros, from Swedish developer Hadoque, has arrived, acting as Metroidvania manna from heaven. The game begins with your amnesiac character waking up on The Sarcophagus, a giant space station that doubles as a cosmic uterus holding an ancient demonic being, the titular Ultros.

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“What?” You may be asking. Don’t sweat the story too much, because Ultros nails its gameplay loop, unlocking abilities and exploring new areas while smartly interweaving roguelite elements that jive with its time-twisting narrative. A unique element of Ultros is its robust gardening mechanics. There are a slew of seeds to be planted across its psychedelic stages that all fill a role, whether for traversal or feeding to enemies and making them pals. Planting fruit in Ultros is so satisfying that this is the first title of its ilk where I sought out playing the pacifist path, but fret not—traditional combat is slick in its own right. Should Silksong slip out of this year, 2024 has already been a banner year for the Metroidvania genre. — Eric Schulkin

A boss fight in Momodora.

Not long after the start of January, a Metroidvania with tight controls, gorgeous art, and an enthralling story sucked me in. I am, of course, talking about Momodora: Moonlit Farewell. Not to be confused with the other Metroidvania that released this January also on this list.

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As the fifth and final entry in the Momodora series, Moonlit Farewell feels like the culmination of years of fine-tuning. Watching leaves float through the wind or your reflection in a pool of water shows off just how good the game’s pixel art is. Dodging away from an enemy and retaliating with a perfectly timed hit feels more responsive than ever. And while it may seem intimidating to try out a game that ties up all the narrative beats from four titles that came before it, Moonlit Farewell is a perfect entry to the series that somehow manages to equally succeed at being a fond farewell sure to satisfy longtime fans. Put simply, it might just be the best indie Metroidvania since Hollow Knight. — Willa Rowe

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