By Yummylee 8 Comments
Since I noticed people are emptying their GOTY guts via blog form, I figured that my ''highly valid and relevant'' opinions might as well go along with 'em. I'm just copy & pasting from my GOTY 2011 list. So... yo:
2011 has been a very middling year for me, videya-gaymz speaking anywhoo. A large portion of the year has of course been sequel-centric, and for me a shocking amount are sequels that didn't surpass their predecessors. A lot can be said for my choice of games I opted for, however, and not to mention a large amount of this years most well regarded completely cut from the proceedings, due to me simply not having the platform or because my computer is a disgrace to its kind.
Such stark examples like The Witcher 2 and Ghost Trick (and plenty more, I assure you), both of which I had no access because of the aforementioned reasons, are two I really wish I could of played. The Witcher 2 I'm in luck since it's getting a 360 release next year, and Ghost Trick I'm sure I'll get one day. I should probably get a DS too, I think that might help. But when that time comes, 2011 will be long behind me leaving both to stay as casualties towards my 2011 gaming span.
There also a lot of big titles that I haven't played because I don't have a great degree of interest towards, or not quite enough to prioritise over other games I bought. Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Mortal Kombat, Outland, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and not to mention Skyrim! One such title I have no doubt would make onto my list somewhere, but money woes kept getting in the way, and then when I finally caved in, that was about the time I noticed a lot of the ensuing pitchforks and hatred pelvic-thrusted at Skyrim because of its degrading technical issues. So I opted out of it, and even now should I decide to order it it'd probably take a week at least to get here, cancelling out any possible positioning on this heeya list.
Let's see, there's also El Shaddai that I did actually order around 4 days ago, but the fucking thing hasn't even been dispatched yet, so that too must be crossed out unfortunately. It's one I was fairly interested in, too, but my interest admittedly never quite peaked the ''£40'' margin.
Because of all of these mishaps, my 2011 list has been pretty difficult to surmise. Hell, even actually squeezing in 10 games was a little tricky; I have played more than 10 this year, but there's quite a few (including Dragon Age 2 and L.A Noire) I really wouldn't want to place here just for the sake of filling up the slots. And while all 10 I did enjoy this year, there's still one or two I'm not entirely comfortable with having it take up the slot, and I just wished I at least played Skyrim to better even things out. But oh well, given what I had on offer, this is what I've personally found to be my top 10 for 2011.
Now I never played the original Hydrophobia, nor it's second release, so for me this was entirely new. I know of it's not-so-heralded reception and the backlash the developers have so vehemently spewed across. But speaking for the Prophecy edition, I can say that whatever upgrades and improvements they administered, they worked.
Hydrophobia's story and gameplay may not be all too refined, and in essence it almost resembles a poor man's Uncharted. But it's documented physics engine and the way it handles water is as awesome as people have(?) said. The game itself was pretty breezy on the default difficulty, too, so I mostly strolled along simply enjoying the way the water dynamically sloshes and flows depending on the environment and whatever obstacles were present. Shooting a glass window to witness the water pour out and catch a dude off-guard, drowning him in the process, was pretty impressive.
What is a shame is how Prophecy didn't exploit it's brilliant physics more so than nearing the end, when your character inexplicably gains the power to literally control the water. It introduced a single water puzzle that I quite enjoyed, and would of allowed Hydrophobia some warmer reception should it of been introduced earlier, if not instead just built the game entirely around those mechanics.
I gotta be honest, I didn't particularly enjoy 'playing' through Bastion. Something about it just didn't feel all that right; the combat and movement felt a little stiff and didn't flow together that well. Maybe it was down to me not finding the combination of weapons that suited me the most, but I certainly did try a damn many combinations.
Even still, it was the incredibly detailed graphics and the superbly cool narration that kept me going. The story itself took far too long to actually give me a little fire; I literally groaned after collecting all of the cores, only to then be tasked with collecting a set of core ''shards''. But when it did pick up, I was a skosh more enthusiastic.
I did eventually complete Bastion and while the final few story beats didn't hit me as hard as I was predicting, judging by the comments I've read, it was enough to leave me satisfied overall. I don't think I'll be heading into the NG+ anytime soon, though.
8. Yakuza 4
Man, I only entered the fray with Yakuza 3, but already the series is starting to a wear a little thin. I still appreciate it's almost stubborn adherence to the design it wants, but some of the stranger choices--like cutscenes which constantly switch between full-voiced cutscenes to static text delivery--are quickly starting to become less so quirky and more so archaic. With that said, the Yakuza games have some brilliant and brutal combat mechanics, and the soap-opera storyline is chock full of Japanese drama that I can't help but be motivated to learn more. The best aspect of it all is how there's now four very distinctive characters, all who link up to the same story via some fairly clever means. It's how each character must tackle the fictional city of Kamurocho differently, be it by befriending the hobos as one, or using your police-issue radio to search for criminal activity as another, that helps Yakuza 4 stand out for me.
Also the soundtrack is ace.
7. Resistance 3
Resistance 3 is like the Bizarro edition of Resistance 2. Whereas Resistance 2 featured an expansive and highly addictive multiplayer suite, with an absolutely fantastic 8-player cooperative offering, it's story wasn't very engaging to the general community. Me, I still found the campaign to be a lot of fun, but definitely nowhere near as Resistance 3's. Gone are the limitations of the modern-day weaponry stockholds, with a drool-inducing selection of weapons, all with alt-fires and origins very alien, to now collect and be ready to unleash at whim. Returned is the unique handicap of health that doesn't regenerate, giving Resistance 3 a more hectic pace as you struggle to manage your health, hoping to stumble upon any nearby health packs.
It's campaign is a fast-paced somewhat-homage to the old ways of shooters--if not at least Resistance: FoM--but apparently that also meant losing out on a lot of the multiplayer options that Resistance 2 gladly flaunted. It was a harsh trade, but I've at least taken solace with my time during Resistance 3's hectic single player.
Uncharted 3 is a weird one; it's single player I most definitely enjoyed a lot more during my following playthroughs. The initial adventure I joined alongside Nathan Drake for was a fucking nightmare, however. The stilted shooting mechanics, the awful combat scenarios and the less-so-engaging story really tore at my insides. Even when I adjusted to the shooting mechanics and could actually have some fun with the single-player, that never saved how the combat portions still delved into a lot of the very same lazy design choices that plagued Drake's Fortune way back when. Add to that with Uncharted 3's ''samey-ness'', and it was overall underwhelming.
Then why does this hit the Number 6. mark? Well despite all my moaning, the single-player I would eventually learn to have some fun with as I said before. But most importantly it was the greatly expanded multiplayer aspects that have I've resonated such love towards. I was well into the multiplayer for Uncharted 2 and always felt it was harshly shrugged off, and Uncharted 3 has now only improved upon that formula with every facet. Much like with Uncharted 2, playing with folks I know is a blast and given how little I generally play multiplayer (RDR and the Resistance are the only other franchises with which I actually put a heap of multiplaying hours into), it's a nice change of pace to be working within a small community. Uncharted 3 surpasses Uncharted 2's multiplayer and will no doubt keep me in even longer than Uncharted 2 did. And I am currently nothing but eager for the upcoming map packs.
Oh how I love me my legos. I've loved assembling lego shit since I was a kid, and while that fascination unfortunately died down as the years spiralled up (as did a lot of other things...) my enjoyment with Lego still transcends into the virtual portrayal of these Danish son'bitches. And Lego Star Wars 3 also just happens to possibly be the best one yet. Based within the continuity of The Clone Wars CGI series (which I totally watched through to.. keep up, so to speak. Turns out that series is actually pretty good) allowing me to once again swing lightsabers, shoot droids and collect a never-ending supply of studs! Add a lot of the series original foundation to a larger degree of variety including vehicles, and least of all the RTS gameplay mechanics, and I was yet again left to sink in 50 or so hours attempting to unlock everything. I love me some Legos; I love me some Star Wars, and Lego Stars Wars 3 provided plenty of opportunities to once more express that love all within the glee of whatever little innocence remains within.
4. Dead Space 2
Both Dead Space 2 and its predecessor are two of the very few games I've actually been awarded the Platinum for. I think that alone speaks to how much hell I'm currently enjoying out of this franchise. Now while I still prefer the slower and more horror-orientated pacing of the original, Dead Space 2 does in no way take itself down the kind of path I wouldn't like, and more so just drifts down an alternate path over Dead Space Senior. The shooting is still some of the best around, the over-arching storyline is now starting to get surprisingly broad and interesting, and man, Necromorphs can still be damn intimidating under most circumstances.
Dead Space 2 is the kind of game that takes around 7-8 hours, yet can still keep you stuck in for around 15-20. Much like Dead Space Uno, I sucked Dead Space 2 dry, I cut off every limb and I, as mentioned earlier, got me that platinum. I completed the Impossible, and all I want is more.
God I love this series. The Saints Row series, no matter the tone it's drenched in, is still one of the best at allowing you to wreak havoc the way you want with the character you want. Saints Row 2 probably hit this same position for my non-existent 2008 GOTY list (which I should maybe make one day...) and it's crazy how each game has ranked so high for me, yet for differing reasons each time.
The original Saints Row it was all about the placeholder for the next GTA; Saints Row 2, it was all bout the crafting of its own identity and the tremendous list of stuff to do And not to mention the ever-surprising story made up of great voice work, writing and a dozen moments that I'll never forget (nor can, considering the amount of times I completed it). And now Saints Row The Third, with it's significantly improved production values, heartily expanded character-creator, overall improved Boss voice selection and some of the greatest moments across the entire franchise - which, speaking as a bit of a fanboy towards SR2, is saying a damn lot. While I'll always wish for what-could-have-been, had The Third not severed a startling amount of the side stuff nor replaced their vibrant, colourful urban areas for a starch, lifeless shell during the process, that never stopped me from yet again noticing the 100+ hour dump at the top of my in-game's statistics sheet.
2. inFAMOUS 2
As long as Sucker Punch keep doin' what they doin', then everytime they release an inFAMOUS game, it's sure to star amongst that very GOTY list for me. inFAMOUS 2 sticks very close to the original like it was a conjoined twin, and is one of the few sequels that didn't feel fit to lob off something in exchange for something else. inFAMOUS 2 is inFAMOUS but with more powers, better graphics, a city that isn't completely coated in grey and a new story - and that's all I could of asked for from an inFAMOUS sequel. Hell, they even ''somehow'' turned Zeke into a surprisingly likeable guy as well... for that alone, Sucker Punch deserves a piece of my heart.
1. Dark Souls
I haven't even completed Dark Souls and yet I am still fully confident in placing it as my Number 1. for this year. Well, I say I haven't completed it, but my main character is quite literally at the end-boss. I just can't beat him because my character's a bit of a mess, build-wise. I've still all the same plugging in a massive investment of days and nights, playing through with multiple characters, and just doing a huge degree of farming with my main. I loved everything to do with Demon's Souls, and Dark Souls is essentially Demon's Souls but better. A more varied enemy design, a seem-less world (that does still suffer from some near insufferable frame-rate issues, however) and the same freedom to create your character however you want.
Dark Souls is even more intimidating for its scope and complete lack of guidance for the most part, but that only makes it all the more satisfying to uncover the many mysteries the game holds. Dark Souls is ''exactly'' like something I've already played before, but that doesn't stop the surprises and the drowning density of wonder for me to quickly lose myself to.