The not-quite-ten edition!
Ok so I have a friend, his name is Jack, and he plays about as many games as I do so I thought it would be fun to have him whip up his list of top 10 (or nine) games from last year. Anyone who’s actually reading this probably already knows who he is, but if you don’t you can find him on Twitter (@BigJackAttack) and on Tumblr. Anyway, enjoy!
Hey there, friends of myself and/or Ed!
I know you were expecting a list of my top 10 video games of 2011, but I just couldn’t do it. I’ve played literally trillions of games in my life (possibly all of them), but apparently I only played 9 that came out this year. I was thinking of making one up, just to fit in, but then I was worried someone would call me out on my ruse and frankly, I don’t need that kind of heat.
So here you go, my top 9 games of 2011.
I spend a huge amount of time sitting on a plane, bus, or car, and also trapped in classes like “The Fundamentals of Taxation” (not as exciting as it sounds). Now, I’m pretty good at sleeping, but sometimes I’m just wide awake and trapped in these terribly boring places, so without Jetpack Joyride, I’m not sure I would have survived through this year. I don’t know why Barry Steakfries is flying around with machine guns on his back, but it’s addictive as crap and I kind of just want to collect all the coins and fly around on a robot dragon. Is that too much to ask?
I don’t know what it is about tower defence games, but I just can’t get enough of them. I’ve spent countless hours placing and upgrading towers in any game I could (usually while not paying attention in an IT class or something).
I was a bit skeptical of Robot Entertainment‘s third-person shooter/tower defence abomination, but it’s filled to the brim with charm, chaotic (but not too chaotic) gameplay, and a few genuinely funny jokes. Orcs Must Die! was well worth the 10 bucks I spent on it.
I know, I know, you probably think I’m biased [Jack plays college basketball – Ed], but the truth is I wasn’t too sure about this game to begin with. When video game developers are forced to put out new versions of the same game every single year, I find it hard to see how much they can improve more than updating the rosters and maybe improving the graphics.
Seeing as the last NBA game I bought was in 2006, I figured it was time to give this new one a shot and I did not regret it. Despite a few glitches, including one that made Jack “White Lightning” Railton-Woodcock unable to win his first NBA Championship that he so clearly deserved, 2k Sports‘ NBA 2K12 is one of the most faithful reproductions of the sport I love that I’ve ever seen.
Bulletstorm was one of the most enjoyable video game experiences I’ve had this year and if it wasn’t so darn short it would be much closer to the top of my list.
The game only took a few hours to beat, but those few hours were packed with beautiful graphics, a genuinely interesting story, and shooting a whole lot of bad guys in the crotch. Bulletstorm was so great because the developer made an extremely clever, well-made game, folded up neatly into an incredibly stupid one. Duke Nukem Forever could have learned a thing or two from this little gem.
The Call of Duty franchise is as popular as anything I’ve seen. Their last three games have each broken the entertainment industry record for sales in the first 24 hours, beating out any other music, film, or book release ever.
Modern Warfare 3 seemed to take the approach of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, so despite being more or less the same game as Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2, the new modes and gameplay tweaks made by Infinity Ward are just enough to keep players coming back.
I had loads of fun with this game, and despite the foul mouthed 13 year old kids, and the occasional hacker, it seems that quite a few million other people did too.
Coming off Valve‘s unexpected success with Portal back in 2007, Portal 2 had huge shoes to fill. Fortunately for us, it easily reached many of those high expectations, and became one of the best first person puzzle games ever.
The mechanics hinge on the use of the portal gun, which is easily the most awesome device in any video game I’ve played recently. It would often take me 20 minutes longer than it should have to solve a Portal 2 puzzle, just because I was tooling around with those damn portals.
With this great foundation, Valve added some wonderful voice acting from Ellen McLain (GlaDOS), Stephen Merchant (Wheatley) and JK Simmons (Cave Johnson), which made the already fascinating story genuinely funny at the same time [And let’s not forget Nolan North‘s contribution! – Ed].
I don’t often laugh out loud while I’m by myself playing video games, but Cave Johnson and Wheatley had me giggling away pretty much constantly.
If there’s one thing wrong with Supergiant Games‘ Bastion, it’s that I devoured the whole game in just a few sessions.
The beautiful art style, fascinating story, and the awesome narrator combined to make something that was just better than the sum of its already impressive parts. I really felt compelled to find out what went wrong in the city, and also to smush as many Gasfellas as I could with my big old hammer.
Easily the best download-only game I’ve ever played, and if the developer’s only crime is that they kept me wanting more, then I think they’re on the right track.
So Bane is pretty big...
Batman is awesome. That’s pretty much a given. So when it comes to Arkham City, I think their most impressive feat is that they can actually make you feel like Batman.
Everything from punching a bunch of dudes in the head, to tracking the location of a sniper bullet with Bat-vision, makes you feel like you’re running around the broken down (and kind of terrifying) Arkham City in Batman’s pointy black bat boots.
There is also a huge amount of fan service for the more die-hard Batman fans (which I don’t claim to be), with cameos from a huge number of secondary characters and villains from the comic books and TV show, including Robin, Poison Ivy, Bane, and even the Penguin.
It may sound strange to say about a superhero video game, but there was an impressive amount of realism involved in Arkham City. The whole time I found myself thinking to myself that if Arkham City were real, and I was really Batman, then this is probably exactly what I would be doing. What I was doing, more often than not, was obviously sneaking around and throwing batarangs into the bad guys’ necks, but I just couldn’t get enough.
So, so pretty!
Couldn’t get enough, that is, until Skyrim came out.
Normally I’m not a big fan of these open world adventures, where the game gives you brief introduction before thrusting you out into the world with nothing but a bow and four arrows. I’m just a little intimidated by the amount of choice I have and I usually just end up paralysed with fear, unable to make any decisions for myself in the real world.
Skyrim is really the whole package, from graphics to storyline to gameplay, which keeps me fully immersed in its world. As a matter of fact, I had to drag myself away from stealing a farmer’s cabbages to make soup to write this list for you, and I do believe that’s exactly what I’m going to go and do now.
Good day to you, sir/madam. I hope you enjoyed what I had to say about… the things… that I said…