We're almost half way through 2011. Looking at my list of games I've played so far, I may not have made the best purchasing decisions, truth be told. Quite a few of these game purchases were more knee jerk reactions than sound and informed decisions. Guess that'll be my New Year's Resolution for next year. But let's look back at these games for a bit, shall we? I'll try to keep each of these short.
Rock Band Country Track Pack Volume 2: This was my first 2011 game I played. Kind of sad, but I'm still hanging on to my closet full of plastic instruments and I like country music so why not? The game unfortunately runs on the old Rock Band 1 engine. It's not quite as nice looking as Rock Band 3 and I can't sing worth a darn on that engine. I played through it on expert guitar and had a pretty fun time with it. Bass (my main instrument) was okay, and let's not talk about drums (hint: I suck at them) All of the songs can also be exported to any of the main games in the Rock Band franchise as well, and harmonies are included (when applicable) Unfortunately, there is no support for the keyboard peripheral, though there are clearly songs that have keys playing.
Overall: Good if you like country music, may not be for everyone else.
Stacking: Fun little puzzle game from the fine folks at Double Fine. I haven't been able to finish this one yet (blame college for that one) but the time I've spent with it so far was fun, and I had quite a few laughs so far. Some of the puzzle solutions were interesting, and trying to figure out every solution to any one puzzle (of which there are four for each) was pretty fun and creative. I hope to finish this in the coming weeks.
Overall: (So far) it's a humorous and fun puzzle game.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: This one I actually didn't buy, but played it at a friend's house during Spring Break. We held a small tournament (just so we're clear, my friends and I are casual players when it comes to fighting games) and then I played around with the single player stuff for a bit. Truthfully, I didn't have as much fun with it as I thought I would. Playing it while I was there felt like that was enough for me and didn't look back on that decision at all.
Overall: May be good for fighting fans, just isn't my cup of tea.
LittleBigPlanet 2: Another game I played at a friend's house. Sackboy still feels like he (or she) floats a bit too much. We played around with a few user created levels and some interesting videos. I think I may be done with the LittleBigPlanet franchise, but love the creativity of the fanbase and hope people that stick with the franchise have a lot of fun with user generated content and try to create some interesting levels themselves.
Overall: User generated content and trying to create your own levels are the highlight here.
Xbox Live Labs: Let's move on.
Pokemon Black/White: I fully blame my roommate for this one. The last Pokemon game I played was Colosseum way back when. This was also his first Pokemon game in quite some time. He would try every day to talk me into getting Black or White so we could battle. I finally gave in and purchased White. Had a great time with it. It was like going back to when I was 10 years old and trying to shove monsters into tiny balls to force them to fight my battles for me. Unfortunately, my roommate graduated before we could have that battle. Maybe some day we'll be able to have that fateful battle, but I won't hold my breath.
Overall: If you still have an interest in Pokemon, you may want to try this one out too.
Mortal Kombat: The first game I purchased for the Summer. It was also during the PSN outage. Like I said earlier, I'm not some pro at fighting games, I thought maybe I could train a bit and try my hand at Online play. I also thought this would be good for the one month I had a break then I'd go to work and never play it again. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case. The story mode in this game is a blast to play through, and actually kept me interested in what was happening (something very few, if any, fighting games have been able to do in the past) There's also quite a handful of unlockables, such as alternate costumes, music, and character art. There's also the Challenge Tower, which contains various missions and things to do, including a few mini games (Test Your Sight/Might/Strike/Luck) Some are humorous (one has you fight for your right to hate teddy bears) and later challenges will test your skills as well. With a new fighter coming out this week (and more coming throughout the Summer) I think I'll be playing this one until the end of the year.
Overall: Surprisingly, this is actually a contender for my personal Game of the Year. I'd recommend picking it up.
Beyond Good & Evil HD: Just as good as I remember it back on the PS2. It's a bit on the short side and an easy S Rank (for those of you interested in that sort of thing) This game is a jack-of-all-trades kind of game, being similar to Zelda, a focus on stealth later in the game, and covering wars before Frank West came on the scene. Unlike other games that try to be multiple things in one package, this one pulls off all of them really well. Here's to hoping Beyond Good & Evil 2 comes out before I die.
Overall: If you didn't pick this up back in the day, $10 isn't a huge asking price for a great game. For those that have played it, it still hold up pretty well, unlike the next game.
Prince of Persia Trilogy 3D: What a disappointment. I just didn't have as much fun with this as I did Beyond Good & Evil (coincidentally, this was also the case back when these games came out, but I actually enjoyed the PoP trilogy back then) The games didn't seem to get very many updates at all (except 3D, as the title suggests and which is useless to me) Perhaps this was just a casualty of nostalgia and should have just stayed in my memories.
Overall: If you're still a fan of the Prince of Persia franchise, and the Sands of Time trilogy in particular, this may be up your alley. But you might want to wait for a price drop.
inFamous 2: Specifically the Hero Edition. Really glad I picked it up, the statue and bag are nice, the comic was an interesting read, and the downloadable skins were kind of neat. As of this writing I've finished my Good playthrough, and am nearly half way through my Evil run. It improves on a lot of things from inFamous and traversing the islands in New Marais is incredibly fun. I won't lie, I stopped playing the main story a few times just so I could jump from building to building and gliding around to find blast shards and defeat enemies to make my powers grow. If you enjoyed the first inFamous, this will be right up your alley.
Overall: If you're a fan of the first game, don't hesitate. For others, this is still a fun game that improves on inFamous in just enough ways to make things feel fresh.
And there you have it, these are the ten games I've played so far in 2011. I still need to pick up Portal 2 and then I can wait for the big releases that are coming later this year. I have high hopes for the end of the year, with games such as Dark Souls, Twisted Metal, the Zone of the Enders collection, and many, MANY more games, I and many others will have plenty of great games to keep us busy until 2012. Let's just hope our bodies and wallets are ready.