As the New Years passes, I have started deflating following a Christmas of stuffing my face with Skyrim deliciousness beside the delicious King of Roast dinners, the Christmas dinner. Casting unwanted toys aside I thought it apt to remember what 2011 brought us to our gaming world and much like Christmas, I will only be playing with the best presents here.
I will give worth mentions that I have only dabbled with at the end of each month, and give a summary of what occurred for me too.
The beginning of the year, people hoping for a PS4, internet trailing around with people’s ‘leaks’ of a xbox720 and pre-empting what modern warfare 3 would be like already, the release of Dead Space 2 allowed 2011 to start with a bang. The sequel to Dead Space, the hit third person shooter, carries on the story of Isaac Clarke, our protagonist from the original. The story is similar to that of the original, stuck on a space ship, full of mutated beasts that wish to devour you. The big feature included this time around was the inclusion of multiplayer.
We also had Mass Effect 2 released. The vast RPG where thousands of different stories were possible.Another sequel release, both are amazing games and by now as we prepare for Mass Effect 3, there is no excuse for you to not own this masterpiece. The longevity of the Mass Effect series, combined with the ability to keep the player gripped throughout is something that many games wish they could do. I highly recommend this as one of the best game series of all time, with character depth to add emotional ties too.
Other big hits of the month:
Little Big Plant 2
Mass Effect 2
DC Universe Online
February brought with it the First Strike map pack for Black Ops, the marmite of the Call of Duty series. The expectant (over priced in my opinion), additions to every Call of Duty we see now bring 4 multiplayer maps and 1 extra zombie map included, not particularly exciting, but helps generate funds for Activision and keeps the rabble quiet for a few months until the next map pack.
We also had Marvel vs Capcom 3 released, a huge game for masters of the fighting genre to test their skills after hours of training. The frantic pace and newly designed graphics moved it past its predecessor and opened a new world for fighting tournaments across the globe. Some huge names in the fighting world would pit their mights against each other, from fan favourites of Wolverine and Spiderman, to comic villains of Magneto and Doctor Doom.
This is a title that still has me returning to it to test my skills against friends and admittedly much better players online constantly. If for the casual gamer, it is merely something to do with a bunch of pizza and friends, yet still tons of fun.A relatively quiet month for big titles i believe.
Big hitters of February:
De Blob 2
Moving into March saw the release of Homefront, a game that I thought was brilliant fun, and it was so well received, that a sequel has been confirmed. The innovative way to allow players to take an alternative to kill streaks, allowed the lesser players to not miss out. A simple design of points accumulated set free the Call of Duty players, who aimed for the highest killstreak by any means necessary, particularly the campers. This was a game that aimed to break the shackles of the first person shooter world, with its gripping story, which the big guns of the first person shooter world.
Also in March, saw Dragon Age 2 hit the shelves. The sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, a widely praised game albeit a few glitches, which led you through the story of Hawke. I didn’t play it so all i know is that it received great ratings, surely everyone can’t be wrong?
Pokemon Black and White editions were also released for the Nintendo DS. As I have lived with Pokemon throughout my life, even though I’m 20 now, I still love them. If you haven’t played a Pokemon game to date, you must be living under a rock. The Japanese franchise took another step, adding even further monsters to the already impressive list. Collect badges, catch and train Pokemon, level 99 domination and satisfaction. The loop of every Pokemon game, which keeps me wanting more! Damn you nostalgia addiction.
Hits in March:
Pokemon: Black and White
Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed
Much like a dormant volcano, all seemed quiet, then the eruption of Portal 2 surrounded us in a divulging story with comedy and puzzles. With the follow on from Portal, a new companion Wheatley, voiced by Stephen Merchant, added further dark humour to the game. In typical Portal fashion, the Internet was aloof with forums and websites dedicated to unraveling the truth behind the story of Chell.
With it, the introduction of a co-operative mode allowed for the player to enjoy the puzzle solving world of Aperture Science as two robots, P-Body and Atlas, who were specifically created to solve test chambers with teamwork. This is a must have, the story is unbelievably hypnotize and some puzzles are frustratingly easy.
The no-jokers of April:
Prince of Persia Trilogy
Arcana Hearts 3
One of the big hitters this month, were undoubtedly L.A Noire. The build up for this Rockstar title, had us watering at the mouth. This seven-year creation implemented facial expressions to be made an integral part of the gameplay mechanics to investigate murders, interrogating witnesses and determining the liars from the truth tellers, as you took the reigns as Cole Phelps. It’s worth a look at if you have the desire to complete it.
Also we saw Dirt 3 hit the tracks, the next in line from the Colin McRae series. Praised for its gameplay and impressive car handling, Dirt 3 was always going to follow in the trends from its’ predecessors and be high among the racing charts. The single and multiplayer are both elements that will keep you gripped for hours.
Another in the LEGO series, saw LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean video game release. Pretty much the same as all the other LEGO games; follow the story of all the franchise movies with LEGO characters, make almost everything destructible, place in humour and make the most of a franchise. Any LEGO title you can think of has those elements. If you’ve played one, you’ve played them all, yet they still have a nostalgic feel to them that makes you need to love it and the simple comedy implemented can bring a grin to any face at most times.
Spring of May:
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
Midway through the year, you would expect some of the biggest titles to be released around now, ready for the young adults to have full advantage of them over the summer break. However, in retrospect it was fairly quiet. A release of the the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, on the Nintendo 3DS pretty much topped the month’s gaming releases. The pointy eared green saviour churned up to offer the Ocarina of Time story again, and it is still as brilliant as it was before. We also saw the Escalation map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops released, I suppose this was the holiday break for most gamers.
Gamers also witnessed the return of the King, Duke Nukem Forever was brought to us after an extremely lengthy absence of 15 years. The mixed bag of reviews, hampered his return, but he still brought joy, with the new multiplayer addition. Like a fast DOOM, with ‘witty’ lines aplenty and many ego boosting Nukemness, it may be worth a look at, if you can get past the ‘clunky’ controls.
Halfway point of June:
Super Street Fighter IV, Arcade Edition
Following shortly, a round up of the second half of 2011.