Gaming 2011 – Reflecting On What I Played This Year That Hasn’t Sucked

by Josh

I was very worried about the quality of games coming out this year. We started on a high note with Dead Space 2 (that game made me rock hard) and then the shitty tone was set with the release of Dragon Age 2 and Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime (totally flaccid). But as they say, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”… or, “I shouldn’t have said that all games this year are going to suck ass based on my hatred for just a few games I played back in March.” Continue on after the break to hear about the games that are worthy of your time.

Crysis 2

Crysis 2 even looks this good on consoles...take that PC gamers!

Things got better for my blood pressure this year with the purchase of Crysis 2, released late March of this year. This game wasn’t spectacular, but it was a breath of fresh air for the FPS genre. Environments were open and one could approach a level multiple ways. I didn’t feel like I was being funneled down a linear path in which I was fed one adrenaline filled cut scene after the next…you know, like in Modern Warfare or just about every other FPS lately. The game had a story in which I felt immersed, and that almost reminded me of how Half Life or Half Life 2 immersed you into the Half Life world…almost. Sad to say, I wasn’t too thrilled about the online component of the game. It wasn’t horrible, but didn’t really bring anything new to the genre. There really isn’t much more to say about this game. If you missed it earlier this year and want to try a FPS that isn’t EXACTLY like the rest, I do recommend checking it out at least. Especially if you can find it at a reasonable price.

Mortal Kombat 9

This scene right here...raging hard on.

In April I had to skip on Michael Jackson: The Experience to save my greenbacks for Mortal Kombat 2011. Let me say this to anyone in their late 20’s to mid 30’s who have fond memories of Mortal Kombat when it first came out back in 1992…buy this game. Stop reading this and go buy it. As someone who is not that great at any fighting game and really just plays most fighting games for the social experience (especially at the arcades back in the days), it was a surprise to me that I was actually hooked on this. I was actually trying to improve my Mortal Kombat skills. I took it seriously because Mike is an asshole and always seems to kick everyone’s ass at any Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat game so I had motivation to practice and better my game.  That wasn’t the only reason why I was hooked. Yes, its full of ridiculous gore to the point its funny (Sheeva’s Lend a Hand fatality, need I say more)…yes, I have this nostalgic tingle in my body when I play as Scorpion or Sub Zero…and yes I’m a sucker and bought the Freddy Krueger DLC character. All that aside, this game plays well. The kontrols are tight, the game looks great and somehow has a nice bright kolor palette despite being a dark and violent game and most important of all, it’s fun to play! I do take gaming seriously and I always want new games to push all possible boundaries as an artistic medium, but its nice to have a game that plays well, is full of nostalgic overload and is just good ol’ fun…which seems to be missing from games that take themselves too seriously in our current video game generation (Grand Theft Auto IV anyone?  Ya…I said it!).

Brink came out a month later…FUCKING ASS!! Then Duke Nukem Forever came out a month after that…holy SHIT! I should have something more constructive to say about these two games…maybe use my vocabulary. But I feel vulgarity gets the point across. Don’t play these games.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Check out my elbow augmentations fellas!

One of the biggest surprises for me this year was Deus Ex: Human Revolution, released August 23rd. My biggest fear was that Eidos would not be able to transpose the true spirit of the original to this reboot. Considering how all RPG hybrid type games are giving up their intricate RPG components for more fast paced, Western friendly gameplay (Mass Effect 2?), it was a complete kick in the nuts that this game held true to the original in many (but not all) ways. City hubs were open for you to explore. Dialog trees with NPCs (both critical and non critical) were not completely linear. There were a slew of weapons, items and hi-techery (I just made that word up) to play with. The skill/augmentation tree was satisfying and experience point system was rewarding and fun (you get experience points just for climbing into a ventilation duct!). Most important of all, just like with the original, all scenarios could be approached differently depending on what abilities, tools and weapons you have at the time. This gave me a freedom I have not experienced in a FPS/RPG hybrid game since…well, maybe since the original Deus Ex and System Shock 2. This game is solid, and worthy of your time and money. My only complaint would be that towards the end of this game, I was able to almost max out all my stats/augmentations. That’s fine for all of you completionists out there, but it takes from what this game is about. Its about molding a character with a limited skill set, developing that limited skill set, and then utilizing those skills to approach and solve scenarios within the game uniquely. Once I acquired all critical skills and augmentations towards the game’s end, Deus Ex:HR didn’t really lose its charm or become easier, the game just began to lose that “personalized” feel I got earlier on in the game when playing with a more limited and focused skill set. That feeling was of heading into an impossible scenario only to find that there was one solution that the game seemed to leave their just for my character build.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls will own you...but it's so worth it.

I’m playing many more games right now, but there are too many games to talk about. Yes, the year has become that full of great games. I’ve failed to mention some of the other games I’ve been playing such as Forza Motorsport 4, Dark Souls, Punch Out Wii (yes it’s old, but I haven’t played it yet so suck it), L.A. Noire and Starcraft 2 (again, suck it), and Skyrim. All great games so far and probably worthy of a review in another blog post. Right now, I think I’m done talking. I made my point; go buy some of these games. Enjoy the onslaught of great games we have had and still have to come this year. Also, let me know what you all are playing and what games have you hooked this year be it new or RETRO. I’m sure Derek and Mike will chime in soon with some of their current gaming adventures, but I’d rather hear from the readers/listeners. Also, be sure to check back soon for our Wolfenstein (and other Id games) podcast and our first impressions of Skyrim. I know there are already tons of reviews for the game, but check back anyways and see what Derek and I had to say. If not as informative as all the other reviews, we’ll definitely be more entertaining.

3 Responses to “Gaming 2011 – Reflecting On What I Played This Year That Hasn’t Sucked”

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