Best Title Screens of 2011!

Title Screens! What are they more than a hurdle for us to get into our games and run and jump and shoot? For one, they give us a chance to get immersed into the game's atmosphere. Simply put: they get us in the "mood" to hit X or start before a loading screen. A lot of times they get us in the "mood" by playing the game's main theme or a still photo of one of the environments. Here are some of my favorites:

10. NBA 2K12

Yeah, I know its not a true title screen in the traditional sense, but it's still a joy to watch this game boot up. Plus, Larry Bird.

9. Catherine

Having the main character in your game yell, "CATHERINE!" in your title screen really tells the player, "hey, a Japanese person made the shit outta this game." And boy did they. The eerie piano theme with Vincent crucified by barbwire warn you of the wild ride that's ahead.

8. Warhammer 40K Space Marine

Like Jeff Gerstmann might say, "This title screen makes Master Chief look like a fucking hobo." It's one thing to call yourself a SPACE MURRREEN!, its another to start fucking shit up before you even load up a save. The only thing that could make this screen any better is a more epic soundtrack. But still, its worthy of top ten on visuals alone.

7. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Two games? That's cheating. But both games have beautiful art and even better soundtracks to go with them. Best of all? That fucking transition!

6. Deus Ex Human Revolution

Though this one wasn't much for visuals apart from Jensen's triangle particle face, the main title theme is hypnotic. It enveloped me with its warm tones and futuristic hums and beeps that I never wanted to load up a save.

5. Bastion

I'm a sucker for that western, twangy guitar theme.

4. Portal 2

At first glance the very first Portal 2 screen of an ambient shot of dying Glados seems par for the course but after getting in a couple chapters, you'll notice the title screens change depending on where you are in the game. You'll see the bowels of Aperture labs, the old offices of Aperture Science Innovators and finally... well... empty space. *wink wink*

3. Skyrim

Skyrim has the least amount of visual flair in its title screen out of any game on this list. Only the symbol of the dovahkin or whatever. You and I both know that doesn't stop us from taking a few minutes to stare idly at the symbol while being blown away by one of the best main title tracks of this generation.

2. LA Noire

While the title screen is just a lit sign with the respective title, once you hit start you'll see why this one is high on my list. I love how the UI is beautifully blended into "noire"-ness with a dark, smoky alley with that sad ass trumpet+piano duo.

I apologize for the low quality video. It's hard to find the main menu of this game!

1. Batman: Arkham City

Finally, the game that inspired me to make this list. The dynamic, 3D stills snuck up on me at first but once I saw the shot of Batman throwing the batarang, I knew someone put a lot of love into this title screen. The main theme is reminiscent of Nolan's Batman movies but its still manages to be its own. A title screen that tells a story without even requiring you to press a button, and that's why it's my favorite of 2011.

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*Spoil City* Mass Effect 3 - My thoughts on the saga

I feel like with all the choice given to you throughout the series, Bioware had to eventually converge onto one conclusion. And that they did. Whether you believe Shepard was indoctrinated or not isn't the point. In the end, shit happened and everyone died or they didnt die. What matters is that throughout the entire game, Shepard was able to solve the galaxies biggest problems. People making robots that eventually rebelled, assholes creating the genophage, and multitude of other shit. As the reapers themselves stated about organic life, "it is chaos." And for a few brief moments, at the end of this epic saga everyone across the galaxy was united against one single thing. No more chaos.

The protheans mentioned that they had built upon things left behind by other cycles. The crucible, the citadel, the mass relays. But their galaxy was still in chaos and they were eventually exterminated. They didnt have a "shepard" to rally them and essentially atone for the sins. So the question is, now that this cycle is over, what did they leave behind?...

Shepard and the galaxy left their story for the next cycle. The story of him doing the seemingly impossible of uniting them. To stop all the nonsense of playing god and living lives full of sin and hatred. If Shepard wasn't there to unite them, they would've all retreated to their own worlds. Their own selfish bubble. EDI mentions this in a conversation aboard the Normandy. She says that its confusing to her why prisoners of the Reapers would rather die than give useful information to them. In other words, she would normally "rat someone out" to survive rather than stand together and face death. She then "rewrites" her protocols to override her own self-preservation attitude. EDI and Legion both say that Shepard is the reason they think more like organics. That even a machine could learn the good qualities of being human from one man is just one of the great stories left behind by Shepard. In the end he resolved the issues of the galaxy, and all he needed was a catalyst.

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