Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: Year in Review and Game of the Year

It's a big year for video games.
With spaceships and zombies in flames.
We've seen booms and busts
in under 12 months,
And all of it from games we play.

All joking and limericks aside, it's been an amazing year in gaming. 2011 saw Sony's flagship PlayStation Network get breached, a plethora of huge titles released, and even a few long-awaited reboots. So now, let's take a look at the last 12 months for a Year in Gaming: 2011

In March of 2011, The Tohoku Earthquake and resulting tsunami did more than just shut down Japan. Happening mere days before the launch of Motor Storm: Apocalypse, game retailers around the world had to send their copies of the games back to the warehouses due to the game getting delayed. Sony thought that releasing a game about cities falling apart from earthquakes would have been in poor taste at the time, and MS:A was released a few months later.

Most Over-Hyped Game: Duke Nukem Forever

2011 saw one of the most over-hyped games of all time: Duke Nukem Forever. The game that took 13 years to develop finally saw the light of game store shelves. Better late than never, they say. The problem is, it lacked a lot of the polish that gamers expect from a Triple-A title in 2011.

Now, DNF was not necessarily a bad game, it's just a game that was squashed by high expectations. 13 years can do a lot to a game. Mostly just get your fans upset that you're twiddling your thumbs. But that's another story.

If we can learn one thing from DNF, it's that having all the time in the world is a bad thing. Deadlines allow developers to set expectations for development milestones. Without a good progress benchmark, no amount of booze or steroids can get you a successful paycheck.

Runner Up: Fear 3

The Fear series is, for the most part, a brilliant mix of shooter and suspense/horror elements. I really wish I could say the same for the third installment. Sadly, there wasn't much in the way of innovation that meshed with the existing components. The co-op portion is fun and all, and the "f***ing run" co-op challenge is a neat idea, but you can't sell a $60 game on those things alone.

Best New IP: L.A. Noire

This is one of those rare gems that shows up out of f***ing nowhere and surprises everyone. The level of polish on this game really makes it feel like you're watching a movie. The story is deep, the atmosphere is astounding, and it's all around a fantastic game.

Runner Up: Shadows of the Damned

Suda51 struck a goldmine of awesome with this game. The concept of Shadows felt spot-on, the game play was tight, the banter between Garcia and Johnson was hilarious, the innuendos were awkward, and it felt like an overall excellent game.

And now, here are my candidates for Game of the Year:
1: Batman: Arkham City
2: Shadows of the Damned
3: Mortal Kombat (2011)
4: Battlefield 3
5: Dead Island
6: L.A. Noire
7: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

And The Winner is....

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda Softworks delivers another fantastic game this year. The story, mechanics, visuals, and leveling system work in tandem to deliver another amazing gameplay experience.

I just hope I don't quit my journalism due to an arrow to the knee...

Happy new year, everyone!

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