Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Little Late - But My Top 10 Games of 2011

Yeah yeah its 2012 now, but I finally got around to do my top 10 for 2011 revolving games. Let's just say it is not the top 10 you expect with some different titles and one notable game that has been getting GOTY honors that won't be here because I didn't play it is admittedly the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Perhaps I'm a little too worried about the numerous issues that version has, but anyway let's move on with the top 10. (Note - if you want more explanations on the specific games, check out the reviews)

10) Child of Eden

If you know how much of a Rez fan I am, it is no surprise Child of Eden made the list. No matter which version you play it on whether its the 360 version with Kinect controls or the PS3 one with Move, you're in for quite a trip. Some say it is still some weird acid trip, but it is a beautiful looking acid trip with tons of colors.

9) Shadows of the Damned

Here's my sleeper hit of the list, which is Shadows of the Damned. While is a RE4 style shooter done right for once (yeah Capcom on blast), it is the characters and the banter Garcia Hotspur and his skull sidekick have with each other that is my highlight of the game. Even the little things like them reading backgrounds of the bosses as if they're a children's story. If you love Grasshopper and especially Suda 51's insane take on games, this one should not be missed and hopefully Lolipop Chainsaw lives up to the developer's pedigree.

8) Mortal Kombat

Sure there are the obvious haters of the new Mortal Kombat especially earlier this week hearing that game is coming back for a second year at Evo, but it got numerous fighting game of the year awards for a reason. Personally, it sets new standards on how fighting games should be packaged (once again Capcom on blast) and how to have a key single player component with its story mode. The DLC characters and numerous patches have kept this game fresh even to today despite how questionable the game often gets patched to a certain crowd. The Komplete Edition is coming in a month or two if you missed out on the game and the DLC.

7) L.A. Noire

Rockstar has done it again with L.A. Noire being another top notch product. It is rare to see a detective-based adventure be that good despite its flaws. It is also one of the more original and refreshing games out last year. The facial technology is that groundbreaking and unlike anything I seen in most games this console generation. It is a shame how things shook up between Rockstar and developer Team Bondi, but if there is some sort of sequel coming, it will be completely different from this one.

6) Catherine

Catherine is another unique game I loved last year. Yeah, its a game about love but also dealing with a man's maturity to accept what is more important in life, which is marriage and a family, or lust and despair. The puzzle gameplay is something different as well despite its flaws, but I still give Atlus credit for having the balls to release a game like Catherine, a game that uses themes and concepts most games don't really use today. One thing that has kept Catherine going besides the infamous story is its multiplayer courtesy of the NorCal Install folks. They have running tournaments on the last third of 2011 with this unlockable mode and has gotten the fighting game crowd hype seeing crazy moments. Hopefully there is more Catherine in the future since it was a successful hit for Atlus.

5) Vanilla/Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Despite Capcom releasing two games last year, the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 games were my most played in 2011 due to the whole fighting game community thing and whatnot. They got some things right with vanilla establishing the core gameplay, but certain things like X-Factor and Dark Phoenix being a problem kept it from being the best and why Ultimate came out to change stuff. We'll see how Ultimate will play out in 2012 whether or not the game is fine as is especially with the new Heroes and Heralds mode to spice things up, or another big update might be coming to change up the playing field again.

4) Mass Effect 2 (PS3)

Typically games out in January get left out of GOTY contention because of people forgot about them (yeah what happened to LittleBigPlanet 2?). Good thing I didn't forget about playing the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2 in 2011. Sure, its an old game being on 360 first back in 2010, but it was still new to me and I did like the original a lot. The core changes to ME2 have been received a mixed reaction among fans being more shooter-focused and the only RPG-ness of the game were pretty much the dialogue choices. It seems to be a bit more balanced in the finale, ME3, out this March and I can't wait. I still had a great time with ME2 especially with the diverse characters introduced to the storyline and continuing the adventures of Shepard (I still love the ME1 cast though).

3) Batman: Arkham City

After the amazing Arkham Asylum bringing Batman back to gaming glory, Arkham City takes things to another level in terms of scale and story. The combat is still as good as it has been with its improvements and playing as Batman to his true self is one of a kind in today's standards. The amount of polish is superb and filled with memorable moments against the villains you know and love. Its gonna be interesting where Rocksteady goes from here when they make another Batman game, but hopefullly they can go crazier than they had before.

2) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 3 is just that good, but even though it is still pretty high on my top 10, it didn't have the same impact as the last game had. It is indeed one breathtaking adventure being Nathan Drake again and the insane moments are up there in the series. Mutliplayer got way better being more of what you see in other shooters these days with an improved level up system, loadouts, and numerous plays to kill opponents in. The production by Naughty Dog is still the best in the business personally and I look forward to what The Last of Us will bring to the table this year.

1) Saints Row: The Third

So I just reviewed this earlier in the week and boy I love this game that much being a last minute entry to be my favorite game of 2011. My favorite gaming moments of the past year came from SR3 alone ranging from the "Power" jump, the http://deckers.die mission, and so many more. As I said in my review, this is an open world game done right (yeah GTA on blast now) just the insane campaign and the crazy stuff you do in the story missions. In addition, fill the game with lovable characters and actually fun toys to mess around in the city and you got yourself my favorite open world game this current generation (I still admit I overrated GTA4 looking back on it now). Basically, you have to play Saints Row: The Third and trust me on this!

That's it for 2011 on the gaming side... hopefully 2012 will be the same in terms of many great games on a consistent basis.