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 Community top games of 2011

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PostSubject: Community top games of 2011   Community top games of 2011 EmptyThu Dec 29, 2011 12:46 am

So, I just finished listening to (and thoroughly enjoying) you guys list of your top 10 games of 2011 on the podcast, and I decided to share mine. Regrettably, there are some more popular games that I haven't gotten a chance to play, and I won't be going quite as in-depth as everyone on the podcast, but I think my list is pretty well-rounded nonetheless. I hope other listeners will come post their top choices as well. Smile



As people may remember from one of my first postings here, I'm a big fan of Okami. It's not only my favorite Wii game, but also one of my favorite games in general. This sequel, while also great, fails to capture me in the same way. I think the main problem I found with the game is one I didn't expect to be a problem at all, and that's the graphics. I don't know what it is, but the cell-shaded/watercolor hybrid style of graphics just doesn't do it for me when translated to the DS. It's strange, because Zelda did the same thing, and I found the graphics just fine there, but here I just find it unpleasant. The story, music, and gameplay are all just as great as I would expect from a sequel to a game like Okami, but it just failed to resonate with me.


Pokemon White

Okay, first off, let me say this: While I am an enormous Pokemon fan, as should be obvious considering the site I write for(and subsequently how I found out about this site). That said, generation V so far is my LEAST favorite generation of Pokemon. However, that doesn't mean Black and White aren't good games.

White did some great things for Pokemon. It was the first Pokemon game to add a real, legitimate focus on the story and characters. I was intrigued by the mythos of Reshiram and Zekrom, and enjoyed how real the effect of team plasma felt on the entire region. I felt for N in the end, when we discovered him to be victimized and raised as a simple tool by Ghestis. That said, all of this did manage to detract a little from the actual gameplay. The battles are still great, but the new Pokemon varied. There are a lot that I love, but also a lot that I hate. (FUCKING ICE CREAM CONES!) Also, the world felt frankly boring. I know many people hate generation III for its endless sea routes, but at least Hoenn had accented points of variety and interest. All of Unova just feels like one big cycle of places we've seen before. It does have some cool places, like Chargestone cave and Twist mountain, but overall it just seems to fall flat. I still love the game though, and I see it as a step in a great direction in Pokemon game stories. The day when we see a Pokemon game that mixes the storytelling of B/W with the gameplay and vast world of G/S/C will be a great one. Smile


Battlefield 3

I've never been too into military shooters. I have a friend who plays them obsessively, and so I basically get a dose whenever I'm at his house and that's all I really need. However, having played several hours of both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 at the house of said friend, I'd have to say that this is not only the superior of the two games, but one of the finest shooters I've played. I don't have it yet, but it won me over in my search to choose a competitive online game I can enjoy for hours on end. The difference between the Battlefield games and the Call of Duty games was best summed up by someone on Kotaku, whose name escapes me: In Call of Duty, you're fighting amidst ultimate destruction. In Battlefield, you get to cause that destruction.

Mario Kart 7

Why is this so high on the list? I really don't know for sure. I think the reason is because, for all my love of games with fascinating, in-depth stories(more on that later), I still have a huge fondness in my heart for simple, plotless games that are good at delivering a simple, effective, immersive good time. And to me, Mario Kart 7, like most Mario kart games would, did a great enough job of that to warrant the halfway point on this list. I think that's all that really needs to be said.


Ocarina of Time 3DS

I know so far this is mostly portables, but don't worry; this is the last one for a while. Ocarina of Time was never my favorite zelda game. As someone who's parents only started allowing him to play video games 8 years ago, I missed the earlier Zelda games, similar to my position on Pokemon. (I'm one of the people who liked gen 3, but I don't need to go back into Poke-talk) By the time I finally got around to getting Ocarina in the virtual console, I had already played Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. When I finally got around to playing Ocarina for the first time, I just found it bland and overall unsatisfying. I never even finished it.

Then came the 3DS, and as was said in the podcast, the port of Ocarina really managed to revitalize the experience. It's still not my favorite zelda title(an honor which is divided between Wind Waker and Skyward Sword), but I finally understand why so many people hold so much love for it. I don't even understand what it is, but there's something about this game that leaves a lasting impression unlike any other. It remains a great game, and...well, I think that's about all that needs to be said.


Batman: Arkham City

I never played Arkham Asylum. I plan to eventually, but having just picked up a 360 over the past summer, I have a lot of older games to check out. (currently enjoying Mass Effect 1) But I felt like Arkham City was a game I could jump into fairly easily without having to know an enormous amount of backstory, and I was right. Things were easy to follow. I like this game because it feels a little bit of a combination of Batman incarnations. In this game, I found the beautifully crafted darkness of both Christopher Nolan's movie installments and the 80s cartoon, blended with the slightly cheesier action hero exploits of the older comics and, dare I say it, the live-action 60s show. I don't really know what else to say about Arkham City, other than that it delivered what I, as someone who never played its predecessor, found refreshing and intriguing.


Dead Space 2

I really, really wish i could've spent longer with Dead Space 2. The copy I played was borrowed from a friend, and that friend has since moved away, so I had to return the game to her before I had managed to finish it. That said, this game does a beautiful job of two things that I find truly admirable: First, it creates an unsettling atmosphere that just seems to envelop the whole game, transcending the point of being part of the game, and feeling more as if that just is the game. It's similar to Bioshock, where everything you encounter just leaks a sense of eeriness that, as Georgie said, is very reminiscent of Silent Hill. The second thing I admire about the game is the way that the character, who was silent in the first Dead Space, was portrayed in this game. Giving voice to a character who was initially silent is a daunting task, and it was handled with true class here. You see a character who is recognizably affected by not only what happens throughout the game, but everything that happened to him in the first game.



Yeah, okay, enough pretending this wasn't going to make the list. I'll be very brief, as I don't want to gush on about this damn game like EVERYONE ELSE ON THE INTERNET. LIKE, EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PERSON.

But yeah, Skyrim's great. The graphics are great, the presentation is great, the quest system is great. The one gripe I have about this game actually doesn't involve the game itself, but rather a misconception by its fandom. Most people treat the infinite quest system as an entirely new thing, but I'm going to blow some minds here. You know what game did it before? The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games.

That's right.

Now obviously, this system wasn't nearly as vast or complex as Skyrim's, but the point remains that it would generate random quests to different dungeons, to do a huge variety of tasks, with a large scope of different rewards, especially in the DS installments.

Okay, I'll get of my Pokemon fandom soapbox now.


Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I AM AN ENORMOUS ZELDA NERD. Das' right. I obsess over timeline theories (the official one is BULLSHIT BTW), and have handmade paper replicas of the sage medallions from OoT. That said, Skyward Sword failed to wow me at the get-go. i found the opening sequences very visually impressive and emotionally adorable, but something was lacking.

Then I got the sword.

The gameplay of Skyward Sword is really what makes it. Few games are so defined by their gameplay as this one. (one of the few exceptions to this is my #1, but let's not get ahead of ourselves) Everything about this game was great, from the story to the world to the overall experience. The way it sets up the rest of the games is magnificent, and yet still leaves great questions. It implements the popular Zelda concept of time travel in an interesting new way with the timeshift stones, and creates a stunning backstory for the continuity of Links, Zeldas, and their various future enemies. On top of all that, every character in Slkyward Sword goes through some sort of development, usually in the form of maturity. I think I can safely say taht this was done better in this game than in any past Zelda title.

So what could be better than Skyward Sword, now taht I've sufficiently gushed over it? Well now, let me tell you...


Portal 2


Portal 2 is a fascinating game in a way much like an abstract piece of art; there's just so much to interpret. Specifically with Glados, and her actions and developments throughout the game. Without spoiling the game, let me just say that for the minimal amount of characters we're presented with, we get a shitload to think over once the game's finished.

Portal 2's gameplay starts off like that of the first game. Simple and ingenious. How it changes comes in the form of environmental changes, through the gels, light bridges, and the change in atmosphere and tone as you progress through different parts of the game. The game takes a little bit of a horror aspect on, in the form of revisiting the facility after its been unoperational for so long, while still keeping a huge amount of wit intact. It built a story that can be as deep as you wish to look into it, as complex as you wish it to be. No matter how you see it in the end, though, it still brings home an amazing experience that should not be missed. All of this is aided by a soundtrack that mixes ambient techno with harder, gritty sounds not unlike some dubstep. Everything about this game is simply marvelous, and after a long and hard struggle between magic ans science, it won out over Skyward Sword for my game of the year.

So there's my list. As I said, I encourage others to post their own lists, or just a single favorite or two. Hope everyone enjoyed 2011's game roster, and I for one can't wait to dive into 2012! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Excellent write-up!   Community top games of 2011 EmptyWed Jun 20, 2012 9:21 pm

I'll be excited to see what you think about the games of 2012 when it gets to that time. Portal 2 was outstanding, I really hope we get more from Valve at some point.
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PostSubject: On that note   Community top games of 2011 EmptySun Jul 08, 2012 7:58 pm

Well in a similar vein to Portal 2, I do plan on picking up Quantum Conundrum at some point soon. From what I've been hearing it's good but not fantastic, so its presence on the list will remain to be seen.
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