By GunstarRed 2 Comments
I'm going to link this in my badly written top 10 which I will most likely and scarily attach to the forums.
This was all written quickly and some of it over two months ago so I might have written something incredibly stupid, but oh well I guess.
Ico & Shadow of the Colossus: The Collection (PS3) - Both of these games are still pretty good. Who'd have thunk it. I don't feel comfortable about giving old games that are still widely available any space on a top 10 list for 2011.
Killzone 3 (PS3) - Have you ever tried to kill Rico? of course you have. First time it's fine. *revive him* Second time it's fine *revive him* Third time "It's payback motherfucker" and he will murder your face. Guerilla know you hate Rico, They don't care that you hate Rico and have to be admired at their refusal to sacrifice such a universally hated character.Killzone 3 is a short (five hours!!!), beautiful, weighty shooter that has far too many turret sequences, but at least it tries to mix things up from the usual bombed out buildings by adding alien jungles and spaceship battles.
Where the game shines is in its multiplayer which is full of insane moments where rockets whizz by your head and robot drones fly about the sky. I had so much fun and many hours of being genuinely good at the game. The ever-changing objectives and perks that disguise your soldier among other things are both beginner friendly and incredibly efficient.They somehow managed to create a set of abilities that neither break the game or feel unfair. It is incredibly satisfying to stand amongst a group of the enemy team shotgunning them all in the back and thumbing them in the eyes over and over before they finally realize what is happening. Any other year and Killzone 3 would probably have been a top-tenner.
El Shaddai (360) - I have not finished the game, but what I have played of it is entertaining and visually great. The voice acting is terrible, the story incomprehensible and the combat is a little repetitive. It is nice that the stages vary so much in style, but there doesn't really seem to be anything compelling me to move forward with the game other than to hear its grand music and hopefully fight more bosses that seem to act like David Bowie.
Cyber Troopers Virtual-On force (360) - This was one of those weird import moments I had where I was convinced I would enjoy this game despite already knowing I dislike the Virtual-On games. The graphics are bad, the music is bad, the controls are bad and it is absolutely no fun. The only plus I can give the game, is that after twenty minutes of play I had over 400 points in it.
Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (360) - I came to the game with every intention of learning how to play it properly and just under a week later I wanted to smash the game into pieces. I have a lot of love for many characters and the overall look of the game, but terrible training modes, barebones single player and some horrible lag in the few soul crushing online games I played really turned me off... Luckily Game had an offer to trade the game in and get Bulletstorm for £5.
Bulletstorm (360) - I liked this game, quite a lot actually. I was not a fan of the demo they put out, but I needed anything to wash the taste of MVC3 out of my mouth. I liked the characters, the look of the game and the heavy use of silly weapons and childish skill shot names. Some of the dialogue is forced, very forced, but don't mistake it's immaturity for lack of humour. for every "dicktits" there's a genuinely funny joke or visual gag and the whip-kick-shoot gameplay is very fun for the duration of the game, but not something you'd be itching to play above the million other, better shooters out there.
Child of Eden (360) - I don't really have any real comment on this other than I can't really play it, not that the game is too hard or it trips me so much the fuck out that i'm having seizures on the floor, but in that my brain cannot work out which way to move the stick . It's not the first time I have run into this problem it's something about inverted controls. If the aiming was on the right stick I'd be fine but because it is on the left sometimes I want to push up to move up and other times I want to push down making for a frustrating time. I have no idea why this is such an issue as I have no problem with Star Fox 3D. I'm a little bummed out by this as I have gotten to the end of the second stage (with difficulty) and it's visually amazing... oh well.
Raving Rabbids 3D/ Travel in Time (3DS) - My very first 3DS game, it's ok in small doses, very basic, very easy and would have probably been better suited as a small downloadable game. There's about a billion levels, but once you've seen one, you've seen them all. I don't regret buying the game, but I wouldn't be able to recommend it to anyone now that there are some quality platformers on the system. The Scarab 3D effect is nice... The first time you see it anyway.
Stacking (360) - Easy to forget this came out this year, liked the style and the music and some of the weirder humour elements, but I was done with the game in a single evening and towards the end I was kinda bored by the whole thing. The rolling Slo-Mo explosion moment near the end is kinda amazing though.
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (360) - I quite liked this game, like others it didn't grab me like the first and the pretty good soundtrack isn't even close to the quality of BCRA. There's some cool platforming stuff, some exploration and the "OMG YOU BROKE THE GAME" jump button isn't even an issue. There's no hiding the fact that it's all very mediocre though.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (360) - Beautiful art and controls, but the game lacks any punch and the Metroid/Castlevania (Never merge the words... it's like crossing the streams!) exploration elements are so minimal that I can't help but feel a little disappointed. The final boss is also an issue in the game in that it ramps up the difficulty requiring you to become proficient in bullet hell shooters despite no other part of the game requiring this level of skill. It wouldn't be such a big deal if the game wasn't so devoid of challenge elsewhere, it just seems odd and out of place.
Hard Corps: Uprising (360) - A cool game that would have greatly benefited from a more casual mode. I'm all for nails-hard games like this being created and learning the levels/boss patterns, but Uprising's solution for the less skilled is buyable upgrades in one of the modes. The problem with this is that they're all ridiculously expensive and by the time average players are able to get upgrades of any worth they will most likely be bored of the second or third level where they keep getting murdered by some barely off screen enemy/pit/trap. The 30 lives upgrade isn't even buyable until you've completed the game making it completely pointless. The game is good though if you're willing to put in the time and effort, and if you really want to contribute to paying money for DLC that should be in the game you can buy one of the extra characters that turns a side scrolling shooter pretty much into Strider.
L.A Noire (360) - I liked this game a lot more at the beginning than I did at the end. the problem is that there's just far too much of it. I wanted the game to be over before I got to the last desk and the last few action orientated missions are the opposite of fun... Infact any time I had to shoot something I was wishing for a skip button.( I know you can skip the action, but when I buy a game I like to play all the different parts... and y'know achievements are tied to the combat) Obviously the facial stuff and acting is amazing, The bodies look weird and the puzzle solving/interrogation stuff could be handled better. You can't deny the games atmosphere and storytelling though. A truly mature game that isn't all about chainsawing a lizard man in half. (Dudes what is in Mad Men are in it so it must be pretty good.)
Galaga Legions DX (360) - Yo, this game isn't as good as Pac-Man... looks nice though.
Starfox 64 3D (3DS) - Lots of charm, nice updated graphics, some motherfucker animals that keep telling me I am becoming more like my father. Fuck you peppy, fuck you! lots of fun, too short.
Okamiden (DS) - Do you like the charm, humour and look of Okami on the PS2? If the answer is yes and don't mind some incredibly familiar scenery, not-so-amazing movement controls and frequent loading screens then this game is right up your alley. I actually like this game despite the negativity. There's really not a lot more to say about it other than it's totally more Okami, yet clearly not suitable for the system it was developed on.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions (3DS) - I have a lot of love for the game, my first ever DOA game and I was hugely fond of the insane story even though I know it's the edited down bullet point version of it. I think the game looks beautiful, plays incredibly smooth and there's a ridiculous amount of unlockable content in characters, costumes and figurines. It's fun in short bursts and pretty accessible to someone who has never touched the series before. The game also features some really nice 3D effects in the battle arenas.
Batman: Arkham City (360) - Batman is cool. he's like a bat and y'know a man. I liked Asylum, It was a great game, not the GOTY contender many proclaimed it to be, but a great 3D take on the Metroid/Castlevania formula with some great animation and visual flair in its combat and some stealth sequences that create a good sense of feeling like you are Batman. City is more of the same in a pretty small open world, that's slightly awkward to get around because of a stupid no-go area in the middle of it. I found the game to be a bit directionless at times, far too much information. From the moment you get your costume it's - riddler trophy, phonecall, man in street getting punched, "It's the Batman!", mission, trophy, trophy, trophy, catwoman trophy, trophy, trophy, trophy "It's the Batman!" and while I know this is primarily the enemy of the completionist inside of me and most of it is optional, there's just far too much of it. The story missions are all great though and while the bosses are visually amazing they're dull as dishwater to actually play. There's a lot of content here and the game looks amazing with a stirring musical score that's probably the most improved feature of the game. It's hard to be negative about something that plays so well. I enjoyed B:AC, quite a lot actually, no more, no less than the first one. There are far too many trophies to collect though.
Infamous 2 (PS3) - This game is cool, part platformer, part open world, part shooter. Far bigger in scale than the first game, but at the same time feels far too similar to the original. Gone are the interesting bosses replaced by faceless monsters and big lavamen. I like the Cole story, how it's gone from origin to full blown acceptance of his place as a hero/antihero. The game does the impossible though and that is to make Zeke a likeable character. The choices are still so black and white that at times its laughable and the switch at the end is the only time they ever change it up and i'm mostly ok with that. I don't play games like this for complex Karma systems. Once again the snipers and one hit kills put a downer on making you feel like a true superhero and while the character acted moments are really well done I kinda miss the comic book sequences that were all over the first game.(there's some but a lot less) It made so much sense. If I wanted to play Uncharted I'd play Uncharted. After the ending I'm curious to know where they'll go from here and as long as they do a little more to change things up and keep the quality of acting and brilliant music I will continue to enjoy the series.
+ Festival of Blood - Sucker punch's Undead nightmare equivalent is a ton of fun as long as you know you're getting the video game equivalent of an alternative one off television episode. The flying bat power is fucking awesome and some of the audio files scattered about the city are amusing/interesting and fun to collect. This is more infamous 2, just more bitey.
Aliens: Infestation (DS) - Wayforwards spritework is so incredibly gorgeous and the developers love for the franchise is evident in every single corner of the game from memorable quotes, scenery and sequences ripped straight out of the movies. Many moments of the incredibly brief almost-metroid game left me, someone that believes Aliens to be pretty much the greatest movie in the world ever in the world ever with the hugest smile on my face. For a DS game there's a surprising amount of tension and the death of an unretrievable marine is always around the corner resulting in the frantic scramble to the nearest safe room a pretty regular occurence. The monkey aliens in the latter areas and bosses kind of hurt the game forcing you into a fire-the-most-damaging-weapon-in-the-enemies-face and hope for the best attitude where some pattern based bosses would have been more appropriate. Despite the few problems it feels like a game that was made specifically for me and people of a certain agegroup. If you love Aliens, the 16 bit era or just love beautiful 2D animation this game is easily recommended.
Alice: Madness Returns (360) - 2011 has been an amazing year for platformers and Alice is a great example of an old fashioned jumpy platformer, infact theres so much jumping in this game it could possibly be a little too excessive. The darkness of the first Alice game is back in Wonderland and Alice needs to double and even triple jump the fuck out of a trillion tiny platforms. There's a lot of game here, a lot bigger than many other games this year and while the core of the gameplay never changes the combat is always very smooth and exciting with an emphasis on knowing which enemies to take out first. I really like the games weapons even if the pepper grinder is essentially a machine gun and the teapot is a grenade launcher. Some of the transistions when you go back to real world London are cool, even if they're mostly unimportant filler. The game also features one of the darkest and most mature endings I have seen in a game.
The original also came with the game and as someone that used to speak of it as one of the best games ever made it's very hard to go back to. Chris Vrenna's score is still amazing and creepy and it has better ties to the source material than anything in Madness returns, but I'd recommend the sequel over it as it is an improvement in almost every single way it plays.
Modern Warfare 3 (360) - Sometimes even fun things can get a bit boring and MW3 is a lot of expertly crafted noise. The formula needs some serious change, something that I have seen echoed in a bunch of places. That spark in my heart is no longer activated by a bit of guitar and a "challenge complete".
Socom 4/ Special Forces (PS3) - Like Battlefield 3 A series known for its online had its new game put a lot of focus on it's single player and whilst BF3's campaign feels like a go-here-shoot-that-yawnfest Socom goes the more action adventure route. The games use of greens and jungles already separate it from the other military shooters and while there's a bunch of weird control issues and some strangely scripted yet exciting stealth sequences I always felt like the more restrained approach to setpieces is the way forward for a lot of these shooters. Some of the character interaction is great and playable 45 ( A female, Korean stealth specialist) makes a refreshing change. The music is easily the best score in any game I have played this year coming off a lot more like the original Rambo's than the standard Zimmeresqe score that's become so tiring and predictable. There is some competitive, but my interest in it was play one of each type for a trophy and then never touch it again, the co-op is fun and reminded me a lot like GRAW's. Possibly the best thing about it is that there isn't a single forced Turret sequence to be seen in the game.
Deathsmiles (360) - I thought I liked this game a lot more than I actually did at the start of the year when it came out (UK), but after going back to the game after playing Espgaluda II I realized I prefer the vertical scrolling Cave shooters to the Horiziontal ones (Is that right? I have no idea i'm not hardcore enough into this scene or whatever) and the flow is better in the enemies. I can't quite explain what I mean, but the way you move from left to right scoring is like a kind of hypnotic wave motion. Anyways Deathsmiles is great despite not being my preferred Cave game. Lots of great enemy designs, shouty Goth-Lolis in questionable non-age appropriate poses and a boss which is a giant murderous cow.
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (360) - I like the Lego games, This one looks the nicest. You know what you think of these games by this point. Harry Potter years 1-4 is still the best I have played though.
Radiant Silvergun & Guardian Heroes (360) - I love Treasure, so much I changed my username this year to a character in one of their games. Radiant Silvergun is a wonderfully crafted puzzle-shooter hybrid with some insanely stupid anime sequences bookending the game and Guardian Heroes is a fantastic side scrolling beat-em-up with RPG elements and some choice in the way you go through the incredibly short story. Both games are great, have awesome music and leave me with the same feeling that all of the best Treasure games come off like Licensed games for the best Saturday morning cartoons that were never made.
Bloodrayne Betrayal (360) - Great combat and once again beautiful art from Wayforward, but the platforming isn't good enough. You never, ever feel comfortable in sequences where you must jump from tiny platform to tinier platform and it really hurts what is a pretty good hack & slash game.
Ms. 'Splosion Man (360) - The Meat Boy comparison... The more I think about it, the less I think the different controls are a problem. The Twisted Pixel humour is intact, making this one of the funniest games of the year, Predator, Total Recall and countless female pop song snippets sung in semi gibberish are all wonderful things. The difficulty is this games biggest issue, I like hard, I like overcoming tough obstacles and saying "yeah, I beat this game tons of people couldn't" But some of the checkpointing in MSM is mean spirited and sucks a lot of the fun out of progressing. Meat Boy always had another option, another thing to try and its bitesized nature never made for a frustrating game, but this game has such long levels and checkpoints that are occasionally semi-luck dependant that there is often brick wall moments. Eventually you'll do it and there's definately satisfaction in getting to the end of a level, but getting stuck on a checkpoint after being stuck on a tough checkpoint in the middle of a level creates more of a "fuck this game" attitude than I had in any part of the first game. When the game gets its difficulty and flow right its amazing, but far too often it's cruelty erases any goodwill you had towards it.
Shadows of the Damned (360) - I wanted to love this so much. Everything about this game is amazing! Y'know other than the part where you have to play it. Not-so-good combat, annoying enemies and far too many one hit kill encounters that put you back before slow loading, unskippable cutscenes. The visually great side scrolling sequences are painfully unfun, but that writing... Just perfect mixture of black humour, filth and the nuttiest Japaneseness of any game this year. I'd love to see a less wonky sequel, but the awful sales have pretty much put any idea of that to rest. If there was ever a game that needed fixing and a second chance this is it.
Outland (360) - Yet another Metroid/Castlevania type game that's not as Castlevaniaey or Metroidey as It could have been, there's a lot of hidden money and valuable heart items if you backtrack but nothing really in the way of powers. All of the ones you need are given to you in the story progression. The art is great despite it sometimes being a little hard to differentiate between the background and the foreground. It really does shine in it's brilliant pattern based bosses and rooms filled with insane bullethell. The game demands some real quick thinking platforming as you shift back and forth between the blue and red forms. The game is almost never cheap, If you died it is nearly always your own fault, probably impatience with an area. The game demands you to learn how to shift, just forcing your way through an area taking damage will almost certainly result in death, even after aquiring many of the much needed health and magic items. It's a great game that hung about on my top 10 for a looong time, more people should play this.
Saints Row: The Third (360) - The structure of this game is a bit weird. They throw a lot of pretty uninteresting side mission tutorials at you very early on and you're left wondering if the insane nonsense the trailers showed is ever going to come. It definitely does, but for every amazing sky diving tank or wrestling sequence you're give a billion uninteresting side missions. Yeah, I know they're optional but without doing them a lot of upgrades and perks that make the game more fun are locked away from you. The Helicopter and insurance fraud missions are the worst. I can't quite understand why they left these in especially the latter with it's annoying controls and the traffics insistence on stopping at lights. The core of the game is solid, but a LOT like the game that came before it. I'm hoping they do go all out crazy next time though. There are long stretches of SR3 that are far too sane for my liking.
The Binding of Isaac (PC) - I seem to have replaced my love for Twisted Pixel with a love for Team Meat. Yeah, I know this isn't a Team Meat game, but it has the same kind of spirit as Super Meat Boy, similar art style, similar twisted humour and an incredibly punishing difficulty. the structure of the game is great and every single time I'd have a bad run I would immediately say "ahhh maybe next time it will go better" and I end up sitting there for a few hours. It's a nice distraction, although my opinion on it was harmed a little by a corrupt save. There's also some really great music in there, it's not all as good as the Meat Boy stuff but the first dungeon has an amazing tune.
Battlefield 3 (PC) - I played about half an hour of the campaign and don't really have anything of worth to say about it other than it felt like the usual old modern, military first person shooter. It looks really nice, but man is the constant use of quick time events annoying.
I played two online matches I got killed a bunch. I'm sure it is great if you like big open maps and whatnot, but this game really, really isn't for me. I really do just prefer the small maps and run and gunnyness of Call of Duty.
Pushmo/Pullblox (3DS) - This game is a really cool puzzle game, it's simplistic and fun and can get really tricky quite early on. great use of 3D and almost infinite playtime because of the level editor and QR codes.
Freakyforms (3DS) - It's not really a game and the character creation is really, really limited, but the voice changer is fun and cracking eggs for coins is always awesome.
Mighty Switch Force (3DS) - Awesome puzzle platformer with possibly some of my favourite music of the year. It has beautiful sprite animation and some stunningly intricate backgrounds. It probably the best game on the 3DS e-shop at the moment. a ton of fun for the whole of its very brief playtime.
MUSIC FROM GAMES WHAT I LIKED!
The first time this bit of music played in Batman was during a stealth sequence and It got me so pumped. I was all fuck yeah, i'm Batman and stuff... Love the music in that game. Also the main title theme is wonderful as fuck.
CHEMICAL PLANT ZONE MUSIC IN A GAME MADE IN 2011 IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!... Oh yeah and there's about a million other old Sonic tracks remixed in that game and they're all mostly awesome. If you hate Chemical Plant zone there's a high chance I hate you and I bet you like Ecco the Dolphin or something.
Holy shit is the music in Mighty Switch Force awesome. Catchy, electronicy, poppy funtime music...and theres a Track on the OST called "Whoa, I'm in space Cuba"
Love the shit out of the Socom 4 score, some of Bear McCreary's best stuff outside of Battlestar or the Walking Dead. The main theme for this game is phenomenal...also you should go listen to his music from Dark Void. Shit game, Ace music!
Sooooo much music in the game, Most of the first party Sony games this year has fucking awesome scores. The Bit here isn't fully representative of the score in that game because there's a bunch of different styles, some Jazzy, some rocky and some big dramatic orchestral pieces... most of it is awesome though.
Brilliant music in Killzone, not really all that fitting with the game it belongs to, but that violin that plays at the beginning is beautiful.
Love the westerny vibe that Bastion has in it's music. everyone loves the music in the game apparently, I hear there's some vocal tracks or something. You should probably play that game to hear them.
Like the music in Ghost Trick it's pretty old fashioned game music but it has catchy beats and fits the style of game perfectly.
Plinky-Plonky Mario music, Fuck yeah! I hated the 3D land theme to begin with and it grew on me the more it played in the game, but this remix of it used in a couple of the levels is kinda great. Also, MARIO 3 ATHLETIC MUSIC REMIX!
Steve Jablonsky is one of those dudes you get when Hans Zimmer isn't available and the Gears 2 score was kinda dull, but there's a lot of great themes that run through Gears 3 and the big, epic theme in the final level is a great use of big swelling strings. The music he did for Gears 3 is better than anything he has done in the mostly unmemorable Transformers movies and I am hugely fond of it.
Possibly the weakest Uncharted score because it so clearly wants to sound like it comes from The Lawrence of Arabia movie... which is funny because the game is about Lawrence of Arabia. It's the usual grand thing, brilliant but far more predictable this time around.
Yeah whatevs. I grew up loving the music in the MK games and the new versions of old songs are fucking great!
Love this bit of music, so meatboy-y, kinda depressing, kinda awesome!
I really liked all of the orchestral score in Skyward Sword, especially the Sky music every time you flew on the bird. It made me feel like I was in a Miyazaki film or something. Also love the Theme song Zelda plays on the harp and the clunky, light industrial sound of Lanryu desert of the past.