2021 is a year full of big gaming anniversaries. Not only is Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise celebrating its 35th anniversary, but Pokemon has its 25th anniversary this year as well. 2021 also marks the 10 year anniversary for some of gaming’s biggest hits, serving as a reminder of how great 2011 was for the industry.
There were quite a few remarkable games that launched in 2011, some of which became some of the highest-rated video games not just of their generation, but of all time. With 2001 being a great year for gaming as well, hopefully it’s a sign that fans have plenty to look forward to in 2021.
Here are five notable games that are celebrating their 10 year anniversary in 2021.
For the most part, licensed video games are written off as being cheap cash grabs, as the vast majority of them are inferior quality. So when Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was such a smash hit, it came as a big surprise to fans and critics alike. Earning widespread critical acclaim, Batman: Arkham Asylum is often named one of the best superhero games ever made, and so the bar was set incredibly high for the sequel.
Defying all odds, Rocksteady managed to deliver Batman: Arkham City to even more acclaim than Arkham Asylum enjoyed. Featuring a more open environment and an even more gripping story with some of the industry’s most jaw-dropping plot twists, Batman: Arkham City is widely considered to be an absolute classic video game. Luckily, it’s easily playable on modern consoles, so those wanting to revisit it don’t have to dig out any old hardware.
Another blockbuster sequel that launched in 2011 was Mass Effect 2. Offering a more streamlined and action-packed approach to gameplay, Mass Effect 2 otherwise enhanced everything that fans loved about BioWare’s original sci-fi RPG adventure. Players were once again able to make universe-altering choices that would have a massive impact on the storyline leading in to the third and final game in the original trilogy, Mass Effect 3. Plus, choices players made in the original Mass Effect game were taken into account for the sequel, which gave significantly more weight to the choices players made in each title.
Mass Effect 2 was one of 2011’s most-acclaimed games, and it will soon find itself in the spotlight once again. BioWare has remastered the original three Mass Effect games with plans to release them later this spring as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. This version of Mass Effect 2 will have all of the DLC collected together, plus some various quality of live improvements that should make it a generally superior game if everything goes as planned.
The original Portal proved to be a pop culture phenomenon, with various lines and moments from the game still referenced in memes to this day. Like some of the other games listed here, Portal 2 was a sequel with a lot to live up to, yet it somehow managed to defy expectations. Finding itself on many “Best Games of All Time” lists, Portal 2 takes the mind-bending puzzle-solving gameplay of the original and ups the production value significantly, offering a full single-player story as well as a fun co-op mode. But even though the budget is higher, Portal 2 retains the tongue-in-cheek humor and charm that helped the original game become such a classic in the first place.
The biggest games of 2011 simply can’t be mentioned without bringing up The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, which remains one of the industry’s most popular open world games to date. One of the most successful video games of all time, Skyrim‘s staying power is staggering, with new versions of the game still played regularly to this day. A healthy mod community has also gone a long way in keeping interest in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim alive, though it’s definitely upsetting to some fans that it’s been 10 years with no new main series entry in the beloved Elder Scrolls franchise.
On the bright side, there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to The Elder Scrolls 6. While fans have had to wait an excessive amount of time to play the game, Bethesda has at least confirmed that it’s in active development. After Bethesda’s Starfield game comes out, fans should be able to look forward to learning more information about The Elder Scrolls 6 and what it has in store for them.
Released as a swan song for Nintendo’s innovative Wii console, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a somewhat controversial entry in the long-running action-adventure franchise. Skyward Sword‘s forced motion controls didn’t sit well with all fans of the series, but that didn’t stop it from earning significant critical acclaim in 2011. There are rumors that a Skyward Sword Switch port may be in the works, perhaps to help celebrate the franchise’s 35th anniversary this year, so Zelda fans should keep an eye out for more information.
Besides the games listed here, there are many other notable games celebrating their 10th anniversaries in 2021. This includes the likes of Dark Souls, Dead Space 2, Gears of War 3, and many other titles. Perhaps those games will be celebrated in some way this year as well, though any plans to that effect have not been announced at the time of this writing.