So, here we are, another year has passed and since last years “Best Video Game of 2010” went so well, I decided to continue that trend.
Now, as most of you know, I don’t judge a game on how big it was in terms of sales or how advanced the graphics look. I have one main criteria – is it fun to play?
With that being said, let’s roll.
I played the demo version of this game, and I recognize that doesn’t do justice for the complete gameplay experience, but it was just too much of other games – Call of Duty, Battlefield and some elements of Halo. But, a lot of people like this game.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
Yes, I know this game made something like 700 million dollars and is what everyone uses as the “standard” for military style shooters. Again, played through this and wasn’t impressed, felt like I’ve experienced all of it before.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
This is probably the best franchise I’ll never play. Everywhere I look, it gets great reviews, and I’ve heard praise across the spectrum of opinions about this game. I’ll leave it at that – I’m not really interested jumping from buildings to hunt down and assassinate people.
Saints Row: The Third
Insanely fun. If there is a version of “pop” video games, this is it. Open world and copying the best aspects from GTA and ignoring bad ones (like the driving in GTA), this game delivers stupid fun with outrageous characters scenes to partake in.
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary
343 Industries should’ve spent their time building a massive map update instead of an upgrade to the graphics. I will have to admit that I asbolutely LOVED the way the grunts explode on the 10 year version of the game – I hope they use that animation style moving forward for the entire Halo franchise.
I toggled between the old and new versions of the game a few times to see the graphics update. Sure it was impressive, but I don’t think it warranted the sticker price for a grpahics enhancement.
DC Universe Online
This should’ve been bigger, but because of some issues (it being lame) this game failed to deliver to it’s potential.
Dead Space 2
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
I still hate the original game because it permanently effed up my then 1 week old PC forever. I don’t care if they tell you the secret to life, I’m not getting this game. EVER.
Duke Nukem Forever
The wait was finally over for this urban legend of a game. You can’t really blame the studio for this game. They had to get something out since it had been in dev hell for years. However, if they make another one and wish to recapture the title they once had, I will judge that game to see if they come anywhere close.
Madden NFL 12
BOOM! Gettin’ Penetration! The EA cash cow called Madden arrives again with nothing more than some updated code. It’s hard to change the formula when it’s making bank like crazy.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Having never really been a fan of the Warhammer 40K universe until readers here started bringing the franchise to the forefront with all the battle requests, I wasn’t sure wht to expect when I played the game. The trailers made this look like everything you might image life in the WH40K universe would feel like. But, as I assumed the role of the Space Marine, that’s where it ended. Yes, some of the blood splattered killings were cool, and the weapons used to inflict harm were fun to play at the start, it quickly felt like nothing more than a button mashing fest. Here’s to a more involved gameplay mechanic in the next version…
Gears of War 3
Is this the end for Marcus? I sure hope so. I confess that while I played the first two, I never really was into the franchise. But seeing the previews for GOW3 made me want to play this game since I was hoping for an improvement on how the story was woven into the fabric of the franchise and story. Well, that kinda happened, and some othe fights were fun, but at the end, I really didn’t care what happened to everyone – much like it was for Halo Reach.
FIFA Soccer 12
Still can’t get into soccer as a video game. Real life? Sure.
Stronghold 3 (My replacement for Lord of the Realms 2)
I’m probably the only person that got this game, based strictly on the fact that one of my all time fave, Lord of the Realms 2 is so old you need Windows 98, NT or Windows 95 to play the game. Yes, I know there are MS-DOS emulators, but the entire game is about 850 MB, why can’t I just play it on any old OS? Anyways, Stronghold 3 is pretty close to Lords of the Realm. You are a lord trying to expand your empire and you need ot build castles/towers and either align with other lords or take them to war to conquer their land. Good times for an old fart like me.
Just in time, with the NBA strike over and the players are back, it’s time again to figure out how LeBron James will chole this time.
Forza Motorsport 4
More of the same as the third installment. Yes, graphics improved, cars handle a bit better. But after that, what’s really changed?
Super Mario 3D Land
This title delivers just about everything you can think of from the past Mario games. Think of Super Mario 2 & 3, sprinkle in some Mario Galaxy, tunr up the 3D affects and PRESTO! Super Mario 3D Land. It’s not making fun, rather it’s a compliment how Nintendo can essentially churn out the same game with neat “Bells and Whistles” and sucker another generation of Mario lovers. Despite my sarcasm, it is a fun game to play, just wish there were more “new” puzzles involved.
Mario Kart 7
I know a guy who quit his 100k a year job just to make custom maps for Mario Kart. I wish I was lying about that, but I’m not. That’s the type of fan base this series has and allows nintendo to push out games like this every year to the applause of it’s fanboys.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I confess – didn’t play this one at all. Tons of reviews saying it was great. Since I have no point of reference, here’s a video:
TOP 10 Video Games of 2011
Dragon Age 2
Sequels seem to be the story of the year. Only 2 games could be considered truly original and one of them makes the top 10. Dragon Age 2 had more depth and interesting ways to explore the world which made it fun, and that’s always been the main criteria for this list.
Already considered a great game by itself, but allowing me to add great players like Lemieux, Gretzky and Roy make this perhaps the greatest version of this franchise since NHL 94.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The only reason to have a Wii. For me personally, Nintendo will always have it’s own place in gaming, only because of this franchise and Metroid. Save for those two, and there isn’t much more going on at Nintendo. Finally a game that it makes sense to use the motion controller and combines the Zelda of old with new updated gameplay. It’s no Dragon Age or Skyrim, but it offers a great way to include gamers of all levels and keeps it interesting for all involved in playing.
Infinity Blade 2
Another mobile game makes the list. Last year that was Angry Birds, and this year it’s yet another fantasy style game. Watch the trailer to see this in motion. What impresses most is that the game stores progress on icloud – so you can play at work on your iphone, then hop over to your ipad later and continue right where you left off. This is how technology should be applied!
Trailer -Yes, this is for an Iphone…
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Custom character creation in the Star Wars universe. Since apparently George Lucas isn’t worried about trying to make anything else named Star Wars decent anymore, at least this game will do wonders in getting some respectability for the franchsie.
Much better gameplay than Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, allowing you to fly jets, helicopters and drive all sorts of military vehicles against a game where everyone camps. Hmm, wonder why that didn’t make the top 10?
Batman: Arkham Asylum 2
Very rare is it that a sequel can live up to the original. Here the Caped Crusader gets a somewhat similar experience of “Escape from New York” but without the eyepatch. I’ve heard rave reviews that this game is fantastic, this might be the best part:
full size (opens new window)
Another Sequel that surpassed the original. Mostly. Sure this time around the game was longer and there were a few surprises along the way and that’s always what you want to see. It was great to see a game like this get the publicity and fanship it’s earned. Not all games need to be shooters or intense RPG’s to have a big impact on the industry.
And the winner for Video Game of the Year 2011:
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I have to admit that at first I wasn’t too sure if I would like this game. As you all know, I am a huge fan of the Fable franchise. But I feel like they are taking that down a path of mediocrity that will never return. So, while I felt like this was somewhat “forced” on me, I’m glad I went through with it.
Simply put, this game is stunning. There are seemingly endless ways to play this game. What I like the most about this is that I can play at my own pace. I know alot of people beat this in a week, and have since played it multiple times again. Even with all the cheats, glitches and crazy things you could do (my favorite – “Butt Jumping” – turn your back to the mountain you are trying to climb and jump backwards to make it up the hill), this game delivers.
I think the best way to explain the feeling of this game is to imagine that you are a character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and this is your character’s “hero” story. From the seemingly endless quests, to the custimization available to just about any object you can pick up to the fantastic back stories for just about every town and character, this game has raised the bar for RPG play, and the open world experience by far.
The only that would’ve made it better would be if there was some type of Battle Arena where I could fight others playing through Skyrim and it would’ve been cool to see how they customized their character. Mostly, I would’ve enjoyed thumping Expert‘s dual-weilding sword character…
Any games that should’ve made the list? What are your top ten games of 2011?