By Mago 0 Comments
Man, 2011 was a great year for games, in terms of quantity and quality of AAA titles and downloadable games. The quantity is part is bittersweet, working an hourly retail job I don't really don't have the time or resources to play all the games that come out. If you're interesting in my shame check out my to-do list. There are some games I feel no shame for not playing such as Modern Warfare 3 of Battlefield 3 because those games just aren't my scene.
This game depresses me sometimes. Mortal Kombat is so much fun to play. It's a shame that the online is kompletely unplayable. If the online component wasn't such a mess, I probably would have sunk way more time into it and I would have put it much higher on this list. Let's stop talking about Mortal Kombat's failures. You know what Mortal Kombat does right? Everything else. The core mechanics are fun, the game is beautiful, and the blood is bloody. The biggest thing to mention is how much NetherRealm Studios nailed the story mode. Hands down, it's the best story mode in a fighting game to date, and I really hope that some of the other developers in this genre take lessons from it.
I feel like this is one game that I let the hype get to me and I didn't enjoy as much as I could. I actually didn't get around to playing it till November and it took a couple of times before I felt like playing it more. Once I let it, the game sucked me in and I didn't stop playing till completion. Bastion would have been mentioned a lot just based on the unique narration, but all the other aspects of the game are so good that it would get GOTY props without the narration. The combat is satisfying and suits all types of play styles with customization with many weapons and upgrades. The story is one of the best one's told in gaming this year. The music is appropriate, memorable, and will stay stuck in your head. There's not a part of Bastion that doesn't shine with polish and passion.
Gears 3 is the way to end a trilogy. You get the sense that this is the end of Marcus Fenix's tale and there's some finality to that that makes the story feel all that more impactful. In addition to the terrific story, there's the multiplayer. Gears 3's PVP can be addicting, I spent a few way too late nights just playing against random people and getting angry at their shotguns. If PVP is not your thing then there's Horde mode, back from Gears 2 when Epic made the mode popular. They prove they are the best at it, by improving upon the formula with the ability to built defensive structure and difficult boss waves. There's so much stuff to do in Gears that you could spend the whole year just playing it.
This game may have a few issues, but you're able to look past those issues because L.A. Noire is just that fun. As odd as it sounds, L.A. Noire is a triple-A adventure game. If you told me 5 years ago that an adventure game would be getting a bunch a GOTY praise and would sell to a mainstream audience I would call you crazy, but here we are. It may not be flawless, but I kept playing L.A. Noire till I beat it for a reason. That reason is the story and how it was portrayed, and I won't soon forget this game.
The is probably the game that I put the second most hours into this year. Everything about The Binding of Isaac is pretty simple down to the art style, but it's how everything works together that makes this game so much fun. The Binding of Isaac is as rewarding as it is difficult. Your reward for playing the game is seeing and using an incredible wealth of upgrades that range from laser eyes to a floating fetus familiar. The further you go through a game the more upgrades you get and Isaac ends up looking goofy as hell because each upgrade also has a cosmetic effect. Let's not forget the music of Danny Baranowsky, making the challenge of the rooms feel that more arduous by matching the tone. If you haven't played The Binding of Isaac yet you really should, it's only five dollars and will give you days worth of entertainment.
Little Big Planet 2 is a delight. Media Molecule improves upon the formula from the first game in the series and makes a game that is charming as hell, plus it's fun to play. The main story is a blast with many different types of levels and a great presentation that keeps you going till the end. Not to mention, the endless user created levels to keep you busy for months.
Arkham Asylum was a great game and a genuine surprise when it came out in 2009. Rocksteady takes the winning formula and puts it into an open world full of collectibles and side-mission to keep you busy for awhile. The simple-yet-deep combat is back and so is scaring the shit out of goons. Arkham City doesn't do a whole lot different than its predecessor, but it doesn't really need to. Wrap that up with a pretty interesting story and you have a formula for me not doing anything, but play this game for a couple of days. I wait in eager anticipation to see what Rocksteady does next.
This is how to do an open world RPG. You can play this game however you want and there are hours upon hours of content to go through. The crazy thing is that most of that content is actually interesting stuff. I've played just over 23 hours of the Skyrim and I've barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. You can complain about the combat not being very interesting, but in the end it doesn't matter. The game is purely about exploration and just discovering an interesting world. Skyrim is a game I will play well into 2012.
UMVC3 has many flaws. When the first version came out there was no spectating, which is a major feature to be missing from a fighter game and makes fighting in a lobby very boring. There's some major balance issues and there's not much to do in the game other than fight against other people, whether online or offline. Not to mention the quick around from MVC3 to UMVC3. With all that negativity, the game is still very fun to play and I've probably put the most hours into this game in 2011. I dearly hope that Capcom gets it's shit together and stops releasing unfinished games only to charge us for the final product again at a later point. Sadly, I think I'm holding my breath.
Truly funny games are a rare thing to find. Portal surprised everyone when it came out and became an instant classic with it's humor and thinking man's gameplay. Portal 2 manages to outclass the original in every way. It's more challenging, funnier, and longer. It manages to do this even with the surely bloated expectations of many gamers. Oh, did I mention it also has coop? Which is just as funny and probably more challenging. If you missed out on Portal 2, you owe it to yourself to play one of the best games of this generation.