Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Games of 2011

Myself and Lewis have taken a bit out of our busy schedules to write about the games we liked and disliked this year. So, without further ado, here it is.

BEST: Portal 2
I don’t really play a lot of games to be honest I’ve probably only played about five that came out this year. But I’ll try my best with this. My favourite game of the year was probably Portal 2. For three reasons. First, it’s a fun game to play, I liked the puzzles in the first Portal and this one is more of that with a couple of nice new things. Second, it’s really funny. I was laughing out loud at some of the comments in it, especially the part with the original owner of the Aperture facility, Cave Johnston (COMBUSTABLE LEMON!). And third, it really got me into the other valve games. I’d never played Half-Life until this year, which might make me sound behind the times, but I don’t care. Portal 2 got me interested enough to check them out and I’m glad I did. So yeh, very well made, very enjoyable, I’d advise you go out and play it.

RUNNER UP: Saints Row The Third
I wanted to put this at number one. I really did, but that’s because I’ve only just got it a couple of weeks ago. Saints Row The Third. This game is just so fun. It’s the ultimate sandbox game. You can do anything and get away with it. Want to skydive in a tank? Want to beat up mascots with a giant sex toy? Want to fly a jet and then hover and blast people with lasers? Etc, etc, etc. There are only two complaints I have. One, you can’t replay story missions. I don’t know why, they had it in the last game, but in this one you have to start a whole new campaign. It’s annoying. And also, the story is total shite. It leads you to fun missions and has hilarious cut scenes, but it’s just not very good. One of your crew gets killed by a man in a suit and you think he’ll be the main villain, but then he dies a few missions later and you get a whole load of different gang leaders, but it just doesn’t feel like it matters. I mean the story isn’t the main focus and it’s a really fun game to play, just, it wasn’t as good as it could have been.

WORST: Duke Nukem Forever
There’s only really one game I can put in here. A game that was 12 years in the making. A game we all knew wouldn’t be good. But really, did it need to be this bad? It’s Duke Nukem Forever. It’s offensively bad. It starts off with Duke starting a war and we’re suppose to think he’s the hero, then it goes to an alien spaceship where there are girls stuck in the spaceship as hosts for aliens. Now that would be good in a horror game, but this is Duke Nukem, and it’s just sick and unnecessary. The controls are shit, the load times are loooong, and when I got to the second boss, the Quick Time Event got stuck and I can’t finish the game. Basically, it’s awful. If you want to read more, here’s Daniel Taylor’s review and I agree with every word he says.

Skyrim. I don’t really like games like that, but I’ve heard so much good about it. I think I might pick it up at some point, but by then everyone’ll moved on, and I’ll be running along trying to catch up. It was either that or SR3 for me, so I think I chose wisely for myself, even if other people wouldn’t agree. My main reason for not getting it was Oblivion. I got told that was a great game and I bought it. Then it was shit. I really just couldn’t get into it and it was a total waste of my money, so I’m not doing that again. So if anyone feels like buying it for it, I'd be quite willing to play it. Please? Oh fine then.

BEST: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

This was inevitable, how could I ever pick a game that wasn’t this? I mean, a mainline Zelda game? It honestly doesn’t get any better in my head, and this one really is brilliant.

When Skyward Sword was first really shown off I wasn’t entirely convinced. I was hoping for a more realistic, and dark Zelda game like the last main story one; Twilight Princess, but no, these screenshots were a colourful, arty, impressionist world far more similair to Wind Waker. I wasn’t impressed. But, as time went on I was more and more interested, and eventually really excited once it was dated for release here. And so it came out, and was released in a special edition bundle with a gold Wii remote+ which is gorgeous, and a CD of a recorded show from the Zelda 25th anniversary orchestra, which is excellent, but lets talk about the actual game itself.

I instantly took back every bad thing I’d said about the graphical style, it’s wonderful. The colours and design are so perfect even down to a distance effect which I didn’t know about before, where as things blur into the distance, they become like swirled painted versions of themselves. The gameplay is brilliant, improved upon perfection with adding more modern RPG elements to the already existing Zelda style, with a Stamina gauge, levelling-up equipment, and several choice based parts of the plot. The sword controls are also particularly good, being controlled with motion+ it feels far superior to those of Twilight Princess.

Overall, best game in my opinion, of 2011, and I’m so glad.

RUNNER UP: Sonic Generations (Xbox 360/PS3)

I love Sonic the Hedgehog games, I always have, and I always will. Almost. Since Shadow the Hedgehog was released last generation, things haven’t really been the same, games being churned out with weak, sometimes god-awful plots, based on fairytales or sometimes just bizarre creations of the writers. I still loved the series though, and I persevered. Something had to get better. And then, to celebrate 20 years of the series, Sonic Generations was announced, as if rewarding my faith and my struggle and giving me what I’ve always wanted.

A bit far, but you can tell I was excited for this game, and rightly so. The premise of Sonic Generations is basically a time warp, where Sonic from modern games meets his younger, chubbier self from the original Mega Drive games and together, they have to find out why their timelines have been so disrupted. The levels are all taken from Sonic’s past, with boss fights and stages separated into three categories; Mega Drive(Genesis), Dreamcast and Modern Sonic (Modern Sonic actually being everything after Sonic Heroes, rather than everything after Dreamcast). The re-imagined stages are beautiful, the music is second to none, and it’s clear that an awful lot of effort has gone into making this perfect, a true game for the fans.

WORST: Pilotwings Resort (3DS)

I’m not someone who buys games on a whim, that’d be ridiculous, and I just don’t have the money, so I can’t really say what was a bad game this year. I mean, it’d be unfair to say this is the worst game of 2011, it’s just the one was personally disappointed me, and was certainly not worth it’s price.

Pilotwings Resort is a flight simulator in the Pilotwings game series which lets the player fly planes, gliders, and jetpacks around the Wii Sports Resort island of Wuhu. In it players can either play challenges or free flight, which is basically about collecting different items in different craft. The visuals for the game are genuinely pleasing, being a very good example of the graphical quality and depth that the 3DS can put out, meaning it was one of the more visually impressive of the console’s frankly...shit launch line-up. Now, this all sounds great, but this is a game with no plot, no obligation to advance, nothing to gain from progress and no characters. The overall gameplay is horrendously short, I mean you could get all collectibles and gold trophies in a very, very short period of time. This is my problem, the game doesn’t feel like a game, or at least one you can buy full price in a shop. It seems like it would have come preloaded, or offered as a download, or, maybe like the original NDS’s bundled demo of Metroid Prime: Hunters before it, packaged on a cartridge just to show what the console can do. So yeah, as fun and pretty as this game may be, it’s definitely not worth the price of a full game, because it isn’t one.

WISH I PLAYED: Conduit 2 (Wii)

The sequel to the amazing The Conduit, possibly the best first person shooter on Wii was released in April, after being pushed back by about half a year, and since has been one of the hardest games to find in-store. I loved The Conduit, it’s gameplay and visuals were absolutely superb, it was good to see a company really pushing the console rather than churning out the same on-par-with-PS2 or if you’re lucky, Gamecube trash that’s weighed the console down since the start, and destroyed the console’s credibility. But those games aren’t important. We’re talking about Conduit 2. Now this, promised to improve on the original, graphically and in amply, with the addition of support for Wii Motion+, as well as the Wi’‘s Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro. The multiplayer also seems to be amazing, as it’s an extreme improvement on the original, which was great already, but maybe felt slightly lacking compared to the other current-generation consoles. I’m sure you could tell by now that I want this game, but I’ve only ever seen it for sale once. Ever. In London. The game was for sale preowned in second-hand electronics store CEX, but I only got here after spending an enormous chunk of money, so I couldn’t afford it. It broke my heart. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking ‘why don’t you just buy it online?’ and you’re right, I should. But I don’t want to. I’m weird with buying stuff online like games and DVDs, I far prefer buying from shops so I might hold out and hope that I find a copy of it in a high street game store...maybe.

So there you have it. Lewis and I's best and worst games of the year. Check back in tomorrow to see what we thought of the TV of 2011.

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