Looking back at the year I played more than I thought I would. Much of it was between the hours of 10pm and midnight. There were some good games in there and there were some bad games. So here is my list of the games I played in 2011. Not all of them are represented on the site, but most of them were so we will limit it to those available. This is in no way meant to reflect the accomplishments of each of these games. I DO NOT think that Mario & Luigi is a better game than L.A. Noire. I just had more fun playing one than I did the other.
Portal 2: I got this game twice. Once on steam and then again on the Xbox for my birthday. Unlike other games, I wasn't late to this party. After having so much fun with the original game I was confident that I wanted to play this immediately. After running through the story (which was both better than Portal's and worse?) I coerced a friend to come over and play through all of the coop stages. I know there is DLC out there that I need to get to, and I am looking forward to picking it back up. Let me explain my "better and worse" comment. I think the story of Cave Johnson and the story of Wheatley are stellar. The thing that I didn't like as much as Portal was how direct the game was in telling you the story. That really isn't a very good complaint, but that is how it felt.
Skyrim: I really, really loved Fallout 3. I bought all of the DLC and got my S rank in that game. Skyrim has been more of the same. I feel like the world is organic, even though I know it isn't. I have by no means finished this game, but I cas easily see myself playing for the better part of the next year. This game is amazing. Last night I jumped a little when I saw a dragon's shadow race across the ground in front of me. The dragon didn't engage, and there was this moment of "do I take a shot or not" that makes that game so wonderful. I'm confident I will play again with a different style of character.
Bioshock 2: I got to this game really late, and with an amount of skepticism due to other people's comments about the game. But I absolutely loved Bioshock, so I had to give it a shot. I was disappointed. While the parts that people bashed about the game weren't that great, Bioshock 2 was a fun and atmosphere-rich shooter. I didn't get all of the DLC (only Minerva's Den), but I played through the game twice to get all of the achievements. Like Portal, the sequel didn't match to the first, but it was still better than the average #2.
Borderlands: One great thing about being late to games is getting GOTY editions with all of the DLC included. This game was a lot of fun. It was easy to not pay attention to the story and just go through killing things. I spent a lot of time with this, but never really got to the DLC. I'm sure I will in the future, but for now I have gotten my fix.
Halo: Reach: I was very pleasantly surprised by this game. being underpowered (compared to Master Chief) felt good. The story kept me going pretty well. I even played it twice (again on legendary? or maybe it was heroic). This was a game where I kept the volume up so I could hear the dialogue. Arguably the best Halo game I've played (keep in mind I don't play multiplayer).
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: This was the reason I played AC2. I'm not sure if this was significantly better than AC2. Many of the systems felt better, and the story felt better (at least the non-Desmond story). The downside was that I had played AC2 so recently I think I got burned out on the whole Assassin's Creed concept. I did a lot of the side missions, and all of the Borgia towers, but I didn't get as into the town or the shops as I thought I would.
Civilization IV: On ridiculous sale from steam at the end of last year, I kept playing it as 2011 rolled in. It is a Civ game, which is praise enough for this game. I got deep enough where I was figuring out how to determine optimum paths for a cultural victory. This game was great . . . so great that I have yet to buy Civ V.
Pac Man CE: DX: this game was great. It was a suck a wonderful thing to play for just a few minutes before I started to go to bed. It was easy to get the achievements, but hard to do well in. I never watched any youTube videos, but I have no idea how some of those high scores are even possible. As a kid who grew up in the arcade, this was an awesome experience.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: This is the type of game that I would start and never finish. But somehow I was able to make it all the way through this interesting romp of a M&L game. The story was interesting, although lapses in play meant I had to look at FAQs sometimes. All in all a great experience, but I don't know if I would go do it again.
Etrian Odyssey III: I started playing this game as a group that was determined to finish the game and chat about it in order to figure it out. That went well until I realized that most other people had finished the game and I was stuck on the 18th floor. I really did enjoy the game, however. The grinding wasn't terrible, and I was able to stay engaged with the story. Being on the DS I was able to play it literally before I fell asleep and also when I traveled. In the end it was the loss of compatriots that made me stop playing the game.
Assassin's Creed 2: I got Brotherhood for Christmas last year, and I figured that I would want to play #2 before I got to it. I'll say that I enjoyed this game for the game play, which was greatly improved from AC1. But I didn't really pay attention to the story. This is probably the result of playing late at night with the volume down, but it meant I never really knew what was going on. That was fine, because the collectable components of the game kept me going and I finished the whole thing.
Civ: Colonization: At the end of last year I got Civ IV and three expansions for something like $10 on steam. I played a lot of Civ IV, but also messed around with Colonization. It is a very different game than Civ, with a complete economy section that made the game very interesting. I never really won, but I don't really know what that would even mean.
L.A. Noire: I got this game for my birthday and was super excited about it. I was behind the curve a little, so I knew most of what the game was about (adventure game with face reading). I started the game with all good intentions, but had a hard time keeping it going due to the pace. Most likely it was due to the way in which I am able to play games, but I had a hard time keeping my interest up for the game. I'm sure I will go back and finish it since one of my friends works for Rockstar, but I don't know when.
MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012: Yeah, I jumped back into this habit for a little while. It was fun, but the online and deck management still aren't where I would like them to be.
Crysis 2: This game was sensory overload. I was all prepared to sit down and play it for a long time, but as soon as I got to the first real combat section I was overwhelmed. I'm going to go back to it, because I know the combat system is worth it, but for now it is on the back burner.
DQ9: I'm still in the middle of this game, but it has been fine so far. I have always wanted to finish a Dragon's Quest game, which led me to DQ8 on the PS2. never got far in that one, but have done better in this one. I doubt I'll be able to stick it through to the end, but I have enjoyed the silly story telling in the game. I haven't enjoyed the leveling system. Spending points to get towards a skill that I don't understand only to get no real gain this level feels odd.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box: A christmas present that I started playing in the last week. It is just like every other Layton game so far. If there are subtle differences . . . I don't know what they are.
Alan Wake: I started this game and then almost immediately stopped it. I couldn't get past the combat mechanics at a time when my game time is so valuable. Oh well.