By jorbear 1 Comments
--Warning: Spoilers ahead--
At the beginning of 2011, a friend and I had a conversation about what we wanted the upcoming year to become. As I have a tendency to do, I turned the conversation around to gaming, and we began our discussion on what games we were excited about, and ultimately, what would most likely be our favorite game of the upcoming year. Of course, predicting the course of an entire year is nothing but pure, unadulterated hubris, and looking back on what I had hoped and dreamed the year might be, I can't help but be a little disappointed, considering my initial assessment. I would prefer not to go into the reasons why this year ended up being a slight disappointment (I'm looking at you, Dragon Age 2), but if this experience has taught me anything it is that it is really stupid to hype anything up to the heights that we did, especially an entire year.
This blog post isn't about the bad things of 2011 though, it is all about the good stuff. Despite how the above paragraph somewhat highlights the not-so-good things of 2011, there are a lot of games that 2011 (if 2011 was some sort of omnipotent being that controlled everything that occurred year) would be proud of. I mean, just think about the "Power" Mission in Saints Row: The Third, wasn't that awesome? Wait, I take that back, wasn't everything in Saints Row: The Third awesome? Look back to the time where you shot the moon in Portal 2, or the time you first laid your eyes upon the beautiful cities of Markarth or Solitude in Skyrim. These are only some of the greatest moments in the games that I played that came out this year, and there are plenty more that I have not played, which I'm sure are just as amazing and beautiful as those aforementioned. So never mind the hype that some people placed upon this year (namely myself) and just judge the games for what they are, nothing more, and you will find a lot to like. Now, I suppose we have reached the part of this thing I am writing where I tell you which games are the best games that came out this year, so, here it goes.
Best of 2011
|1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love anything that Bethesda puts out, so, it should be no surprise that this game is on the list. In fact, Bethesda could have just took Oblivion, slapped a Nordic coat-of-paint on it, and I would have eaten it up. However, Bethesda created one of the most engaging RPGs ever as well as one of the most mysterious open-worlds that preyed upon my wanderlust. The beautiful gameworld and the sheer amount of breadth of quests to do, things to see, and monsters to kill will never leave you bored of this game. Simply put, I would gladly put another 100 hours into this game.
Much like everyone else who played this game, I finished it and then immediately went back to play through the New Game+ option. That alone says something about the quality of this game, but I need to give this game more credit than just that. The beautiful and somewhat minimalistic story had me in tears at the ending and the already snappy combat was made even more fun with some fantastic and unique weapons. Everyone should play this game, regardless if you enjoy games or not.
|3. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings|
The original Witcher is one of my favorite games of all time, so naturally, I was excited for the sequel. Unlike another RPG that came out early in the year, I was not disappointed at all. It lived up to the original in every facet and improving upon the already solid framework. If you have any love for a deep RPG experience and a dark and mature story, you will love this game. Oh, did I forget to mention that this is probably the best looking game ever made?
|4. Portal 2|
It would appear as Valve had set themselves up for failure when they announced they were making a sequel to the (what I feel) perfect game that is Portal. However, they somehow made a game that improves on the original in nearly every way, introducing new and delightful characters, neat puzzle mechanics, and probably one of the best endings in a video game. Also, GLaDOS turns into a potato. A POTATO.
|5. Batman: Arkham City|
I really didn't think Rocksteady could improve the combat of the original Batman: Arkham City, but somehow, they totally did. The combat is just as fast, just as fluid, and just as graceful and simultaneously brutal as the original, while also introducing some neat gadgets to mess around with during combat. Also, the ending, characters, and story in general are all truly fantastic
|6. Star Wars: The Old Republic|
Sure I'm not level 50 yet and haven't finished my class story, but Goddammit, I can not stop playing this game. In fact, I wish I could stop writing this so I can go get frisky with some Sith Lords and say stupid stuff with The Kessler Run. Even though this game doesn't quite do anything new or exciting, it is a very solid MMORPG with some fantastic writing and an exciting story.
|7. Saints Row: The Third|
When I heard Kanye West's "Power" play as I parachuted off a helicopter and then proceeded to violently take over a luxury penthouse, I knew this game was something special. As fun and ridiculous that the weapons were, at times I found myself dreading the combat in a game that is full of it. Nonetheless, I have too many fond memories of some of the absolutely ridiculous moments of the game.
|8. Deus Ex: Human Revolution|
Never mind the somewhat dull combat and the at-times-frustrating stealth, the atmosphere that this game creates is the perfect backdrop for a gritty, cyberpunk, and very dark story which kept me enthralled the entire way.
|9. L.A. Noire|
Flat combat, nonsensical plot devices, and strange visual quirks notwithstanding, after finishing this game I was astounded. The facial capture technology never ceased to amaze me and the picture perfect recreation of the 1940s was a true treat for anyone with a passive interest into noire or history of the era.
|10. NCAA Football 12|
Honestly, you probably should not buy this game. It is a game for those that really love College Football, and if you do, you probably already have NCAA Football 11, in which case there is literally no reason for you to buy this year's edition of the franchise. However, I have played far to many hours of this game to have it be snubbed from my list. Congratulations to EA...I guess.