OrangeSponge's Top 10 Games of the Year 2011.
I can't tell you how much I disliked Oblivion, from its dull combat to its repetitive dungeon design. Don't get me wrong I still appreciated what Oblivion was trying to achieve but it never quite hit the nail on the head, so to speak. With that said I could sit here for hours talking about how the magic system was ineffective, and the archery being broken and how I wish that this game was the open world epic it wanted to be. Thankfully I don't have to because Skyrim is the game you wanted when you played Oblivion, when you played Fallout. It fixes everything that was wrong with those games and goes the extra mile to improve on the formula set out by Bethesda.
As I hinted at in a previous paragraph, I took issue with Oblivion's ineffective magic, and archery mechanics. While the combat in Skyrim is still dull if you stick to just the melee side of the tree, at least Bethesda has fixed that magic and archery so they are now reliable means of attack. Overall combat fells tighter and enjoyable, while yes it gets dull after awhile, encountering an enemy is no longer a pain and that a massive improvement over Oblivion and even Fallout.
Skyrim's world is so detailed. There is always something to do, and you can easily get lost exploring the world or just listening to the people that inhabit the many towns and cities. I found myself spending hours exploring the world finding new towns and cities', listening to the townsfolk as they argue about what faction is more loyal to the empire. Chopping wood, hunting deer, playing tag with some playful children, etc... Starting in a three hour long side quest that has me exploring a dig site to tracking down a powerful artefact. I could go on for hours about the detail that went into the world and the fiction but I'll start to spoil what's so amazing about this game.
While the main storyline was never my main focus while I was exploring Skyrim, I found the side mission, or quest lines whatever you want to call them, are just as fleshed out as the main story. As I mention the three hour quest that I randomly encounter travelling through one of the many cities, the whole game is full with these polished and refined quests lines that are worth digging for.
Overall Skyrim is the game I've wanted Bethesda to make since playing Oblivion back in 2006, and they have nailed it. Like I said the world, the combat, the quest lines are what make this game my game of the year for 2011.
Just to note, I've only play three hours of the PC version and the rest of the hundred hours plus on the Xbox 360 version I haven't touch the Playstation 3 version, but from what I can tell is just plain broken.
Portal was one of those hidden gems of 2007. A game that I hold highly for its clever writing and unique game play.
It's hard to fathom that Portal 2 can be any bit as good as Portal was, and it isn't... It's better than Portal in every way possible. From the epic storyline that will have to jump deep into that depths of Aperture Science, to the unforgettable characters. Wheatley played by Stephen Merchant and the CEO of Aperture Science himself Cave Johnson played by J.K. Simmons. Both Stephen Merchant and Simmons give unforgettable performances and carry the games brilliant story.
The new game play mechanic, such as Thermal Discouragement Beam, Propulsion and Repulsion Gel, add new challenges to the formula without breaking the core mechanic... Portals.
The Co-op is a wonderful surprise to Portal 2. While I haven't finished the co-op storyline yet, I still enjoy the technical challenging of having these puzzle that can facilitate four portals without feeling like I'm cheating the system.
But you know what makes Portal 2 better than Portal, they improve on everything that Portal laid out, it still has the comedic time of a master... And it does all of this without making a single "the cake is a lie" joke throughout the entire game. Yay!
While Uncharted 3 doesn't pack the punch that its predecessor did Drake's Deception still is one of the most enjoyable and visually impressive experience on the PS3. From the character driven story, which sees you drive deeper into Drake's and Sully's relationship, to the technically impressive set pieces Uncharted it something that needs to be seen.
While I'll stop talking about the story, the Co-op mode is something special. I won't spoil it for anyone but it's worth playing through for the incredibly funny storyline. The Multiplayer returns refined and polished. This time around Naughty Dog has played to the strengths of Uncharted's climbing mechanic building multilayer maps that welcomes the traversal mechanic that the series is known for.
While I have fond memories of playing the original Dues Ex, from the number of ways to complete one objective to the story, I didn't know what to expect from Human Revolution. All the PR that was shown before the games release promised so much that I didn't believe that a game like this could stand a chance in a market saturated by mindless shooters. But while not all Human Revolutions features panned as well as they should of the game is still blows away any doubts that I had.
Human Revolution keeps the multipath base format that the series is known for while updating it for new players. Each objective has a multiple to tackle it. The player could decide to sneak into the build though an air-vent, hack the turrets and wait for every enemy to be flushed out or he/she could decide to enter the building through the front door, guns blazing, and paint the walls red, it's up to the player.
While the main storyline has some predicable twists, it's still worth playing but what shocked me the most was how interesting the world is. I found myself hacking, next to, every computer in the game just so I could read the e-mails so I could know more about the world. Characters in this game are largely forgettable; we don't spend enough time with the characters to get to know them before the story is driven pass them. The voice acting in this game is terrible, I found myself laughing at most of the characters, well… this really only applies to main cast. There are a few side characters that give a decent, if not brilliant, performance.
I have never played a Yakuza game before playing four, I didn't really know what to expect, but what I found was a game with an interesting story, with fun and enjoyable combat mechanics, and an open world that has endless possibilities.
As I said before I have never played a Yakuza game before playing four and I was surprised to find an in-depth 'previously on Yakuza' feature, that was essentially every cut scene from all the other games, that got me up to speed on the story so far. That is not to say that you need to have play the other games, for the most part you switch between three new characters and the main protagonist for the series. All the characters are surprisingly fleshed out by the end of the twenty hour story, and you really start to care about them. While the situation they're in isn't believable it's still an interesting story that kept my on seat from start to finish.
Even the side-missions are worth searching for. Some of the missions open up story arcs that span entire portions of the game, and fill in some of information about the main characters. While the side-missions don't get the polish that the main story did. Side missions missed out on that fully voiced treatment, which is a shame but doesn't detract from the narrative. "Worth searching for", none of the side-missions are marked on any map and it's down you to explore the streets to find them.
Saying that this game gives you a lot to do is an understatement. The game is set in the busy and noisy streets of Kamurocho. In Kamurocho you can go and buy food, visit a host club, play poker, play roulette, play mah-jong, visit Club Sega, play pinball, go fishing, run a Dojo, enter tournaments, Karaoke, etc... The list goes on... and on. I never found a dull moment in this game, in-between mission I found myself at Club Sega playing on the arcade machines, or playing a game of Pachinko.
The combat is ridiculous, and satisfying; I can't begin to express how fun it is. The combat flows nicely between enemy to enemy, and is easy to master.
Being a fan of Suda 51's work, all the any from Killer 7 to More No Heroes, I couldn't wait to see what he's next project was... Wait! His next project will be collaboration with Shinji Mikami, best known as the father of Resident Evil... I don't know that sounds alright I guess… Wait! Also Akira Yamaoka, best known as the sound director on Silent Hill, is also working on this game... Sold!
While I know not Shadows of the Dammed isn't for everyone, I still think this game is one of the funniest games of the year.
I've always had a love/ hate relationship with Gears of War. I got to late into the original Gears of War, by the time I played it everyone was playing Call of Duty 4, so I never spent any time in the competitive multiplayer, so I only really played the game for the story. For the most part I didn't enjoy Gears of War, mainly because I only play one half of the package, but the story was also lacking. When Gears 2 came around I found a much more enjoyable game, the story was better... It wasn't prefect but better. While I still can't get into the competitive multiplayer, I still find some enjoyment in the amazing survival mode, Horde. Now here comes Gears of War 3, the final game in the trilogy.
It's surprising to see a game franchise conclude in an industry that has annualised sequels. While Gears 3 doesn't answer all the questions it does give a fair amount of closure to Delta squad, and it's hard to see another game with these set of characters.
While Gears of War 3 doesn't break any new ground it just refines what Gears and Gears 2 lies out. Horde mode has been refined with a tower defence like component and a boss wave that deserves the name 'Boss Wave'. Every ten waves one of the games many giant or boss like enemies, some boss are bigger than the maps there in, spawn and wreak havoc... That is if they don't get stuck in the maps geometry...
So... Street Fighter 4... Marvel vs. Capcom 3... I can finally call it... Fighting games are back! Mortal Kombat brings back its silly, over the top game play that has been missed in recent years. The ridiculous storyline that seamlessly blends cut scenes into game play.
Normally I would never buy a game just for its multiplayer but... Battlefield 3 is just madness. Name another game where you jump online take in the impressive visuals, the detail in the terrain as you run into a tunnel travelling to the frontline. When a helicopter flies into the tunnel hits a pillar and blows up.
The multiplayer is just fun, it's something I can't explain you just need to play. Quickly the story; generic military story line with a few interesting narrative hooks, but beyond that we have seen it before.
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