It took a while to come to terms with writing this piece. For one, I’ve barely played enough games to even allow me to MAKE a top ten list, but thankfully, I scraped by, again. In no means is this list an indication of objective quality, moreso a personal list of what I felt provided the best possible experiences from videogames, in 2011.
When I was younger, I used to play Duke Nukem 3D a lot. It was funny, it felt super tight, the weapons were great, and it was just such a wild variation from other things like it that I was used to (Quake/Doom/Wolfenstein). So like many others, I was pumped to find out that Duke Nukem Forever was actually happening. And like many others, I soon came to realise how trashy and stuck in the past that games tone was. Thankfully, Bulletstorm filled that gap amiably. Like Duke 3D, it was funny, clever, and just a ton of fun to play. The story was garbage, it was nothing more than a wafer thin string to encourage me to carry on for whatever contrived reason, but it was enough to make me carry on. I needed more skillshots…
It’s weird that so close to the end of its lifecycle, the DS still has some bangers coming out. Okamiden was one of those, delivering a consistent, exciting game, that made smashing use of every part of the DS imaginable. Stylus controls, microphone input, the works. A top to bottom great action RPG that has some sharp writing and moving narrative.
8)Saints Row: The Third
Okay so let’s make this game where you’re robbing a bank with a celebrity but you all have giant masks and the giant mask is the face of one of the guys who’s robbing the bank then you’re on a private jet then you freefall off the private jet and shoot people WHILE YOU ARE FALLING then land in A DIFFERENT private jet, kick a pilot out, then fall down AGAIN while catching your friend then opening a parachute and landing safely.
In the first 30 minutes. Hot damn.
7) Ghost Trick
Ghost Trick is unique. From the staggering visuals, suspenseful story, and ingenious gameplay mechanics, Ghost Trick was without a doubt the single most unusual experience of the year. If you told me that “Hey this game’s made by the dude that made Ace Attorney”, I’d usually just give you money up front. However, what I did not expect was a game so well written and featuring such a detailed world that I would stay up till 3 in the morning trying to get JUST A LITTLE BIT more of the story. You should play this game if you enjoy your games in which you are not just murdering dudes.
6) Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I found DX to be entirely polarising. On the one hand, the world and the fiction were so incredible, I felt graced to be able to explore in it. The gritty streets of America, parallel to Shanghai’s incredible looking cityscapes were a true delight, especially with the breadth and detail featured in each location. Sneaking in to people’s offices and houses, so that I could read their e-mail about how they had to feed their cat, was strangely one of the most compelling reasons I can find to play this game. A part of me desperately wanted to rate this game more, but the bit where you actually have to PLAY the game is such a downfall. Awful bossfights, poor A.I, and generally just a game that fights you every step of the way, almost defying you when you try to do things in your own unique way. Sure, the story stuff adds some wicked diversity, but when your combat options boil down to “I’m a stealth guy who shoots people with tranq darts” or “I’m a shooty man who shoots people in the head once to kill them, or twice if they’re in a helmet!”, it kinda breaks the rest of the game. Nevertheless, for them to make a Deus Ex game in 2011…and for it to be GOOD? That was the biggest treat of all.