Back at the end of 2010, a glance at 2011′s calendar either sent gamers into a fit of excited trembling or utter despair. How were we going to play all of these games? What surprises were in store for us? Which ones were going to be worth the money? Could the long-awaited sequels live up to the years of promise? At the beginning of 2012, we now have all of those answers and then some. And thus, the GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2011 list is born.
It sounds like we’re using hyperbole, but we truly feel like 2011 was one of the greatest years of gaming we’ve seen in quite some time. That much is evidenced by each staff member’s ballot – the submissions we used to determine our final top 10 (and yes, your votes for Game of the Year counted as one of our submissions, as well) were wildly different and full of an astounding variety of games. One thing was certain – gamers had a wealth of choices last year, and everyone benefited from it.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 games of 2011. Enjoy, dudes.
I’d like to consider myself a fairly patient gamer. I don’t have too many deal breakers or things that make me want to lambast a particular game in general. I’m very much able to greatly enjoy a number of titles despite small (and sometimes even massive) failures. That being said, there are occasional stumbling blocks I hit when playing a game that throw me for a loop.
Take Saint’s Row 3 for instance, a game that I love dearly at the moment. For all of its zany mayhem, hilarious writing and occasional forward-thinking (such as the GPS arrows on your HUD), the game has the occasional bothersome design hiccup. The biggest offender? Escort missions.
Like the top of some ancient relic poking through an otherwise serene landscape, these out of date mission prompts completely disrupt the flow of the game for me. What’s worse than that is the fact that for the first few hours, nearly every other mission you’re performing is an escort mission of some kind. Sure, they take on different shapes – you could be escorting someone below you while raining down rocket launcher fire or protecting a pimp while he goes to make girl/drug deals, but in the end it’s all the same.
As much as I should be used to these things appearing so frequently in games, it kind of seems like we should be past them now as a medium. I’m not saying that they should never appear again, but I do have to say that I’m surprised by their frequency, considering the fact that they have almost never been in the entire history of the people of Earth. I mean really, shouldn’t we have left these things behind last gen? I’m surprised that we still see these at all. You can add exploding red barrels to that list, as well. But I could be the only one that feels that way.
What do you guys think? Are escort missions out of date? Are there any other random gameplay tropes that still surprise you with how often they appear in modern games? Go!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or worse, terribly cliche – I want to take a moment and gripe about sequel-itis in video games. No, I’m not against sequels. And yes, I understand that in a time where AAA games cost big bucks to develop, publishers want to go with surefire hits instead of taking chances on new IPs. All of that’s fine. But what I can’t forgive is when this sequel-itis starts affecting stories negatively.
Take Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, for instance. I’m sure all of you will think I hate this game after posting a couple of negative critiques about it, but it’s more that Revelations’ negatives shine so outrageously because the game itself plays so well – and in some ways is a perfection of the Assassin’s Creed formula. I’m going to have to be as spoiler careful as possible here, but AC: Brotherhood ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. OK, that’s an understatement – it ended on a double scoop of cliffhanger with a major sprinkle of WTF. Part of the lure of Revelations is that it was supposed to give you some of the answers about both Desmond and Ezio that were left hanging at the end of Brotherhood.
The problem is, Revelations ends in much the same way. The cliffhanger isn’t so bad compared to Brotherhood, but the “answers” they finally give you only lead to a dizzying array of questions. No explanation is given for some of the really bizarre things you see in the climax of this game, after the entire narrative kept assuring you that the time for answers was coming soon.
We’re at the end of the road for the inaugural edition of GamerSushi Votes and I think it’s gone rather well. We’ve talked the highs and the lows, but now it’s time to put all of our chips on the table and declare once and for all what our favorite game of 2011 is.
There’s no cheating here by saying 2011 didn’t have a Game of the Year, no sir. Each individual vote shall be inscribed upon the great Tablet of GamerSushi with chisel and hammer by Anthony, borne up the Mountain of Souls by Eddy, passed through the Cauldron of the Blaze by myself, given to Jeff and his eagle mount to soar high into the clouds to the Sky Palace of the Beard for Nick’s final approval. Yeah. It’s that important.
Now that you know what fate rests upon your mortal souls, vote! What was your Game of the Year for 2011?
Every year there are many standout moments in gaming that redefine my hobby and help me appreciate it in new ways. Last year it was riding into Mexico to the tune of “Far Away” in Red Dead Redemption, managing my own guild of assassins in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or riding down a river in a patrol boat with the Rolling Stones in the background in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
2011, being the landmark year that it was, was not deficient in great gaming moments and I’ve pared my memories down to six selections of moments that have helped shape this year for me. Come along as I try to sift through all the great games this year had to offer and try to nail down which small selections changed my perception of gaming in 2011.
As the end of this generation draws near we’re seeing an increase in the amount of franchises that are taking a stab at faster release cycles. Call of Duty has been pulling this trick for a while but even titles with a bigger scope like Assassin’s Creed and Dead Rising are trying to give us a new game every year.
The term “new game” may be a bit of a stretch because in the rush to meet the deadlines a lot of these titles are getting flak for not adding enough to previous iterations. While waiting years for a game may be painful, is it preferable to basically buying what equates to an expansion pack?
Skyrim has been out for just over two weeks, even though it might feel like you’ve already put a lifetime into that game. For those of us playing on the PC, we have the added benefit of modding our expereience and the kind folks over at PC Gamer put together a list of the 20 best Skyrim mods as of right now. If you’re playing on consoles you had best look away, lest you get all jealous like.
Modding is nothing new to Bethesda games as Oblivion and the two Fallout titles have seen a slew of great user-created enhancements, and Skyrim is shaping up to top all of them. Included in PC Gamer’s list are things like a fully 3D map, a crafting enhancement where you can melt down pots and pans into usable ore and several custom tweaks that improve the faces of NPCs right down to their lips (seriously). There’s even a couple goofy ones in here like the one that replaces the spiders with other creatures like bears but keeps the animation model so you have a giant bear scuttling towards you like a spider.
This is just the beginning, though, as I’m sure that there are plenty more of these in the works. You may think that my image for this post is a joke, but oh no, someone is actually working on a dragon riding mod. So, Skyrim PC gamers, what do you think? Any of these mods catch your fancy? Anything that blew your mind? I didn’t think that the water in this game could get any nicer looking, but I learned a thing or two from these mods.
I’m sorry that there are so many mentions of Skyrim happening on the ol’ Sushi, but it can’t be helped. I’m fully vested in this game and its world, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to get away from it any time soon. It’s just one of those games that hits me in the right way (or the wrong way depending on how you look at it).
For anyone that has experienced it, you’ll understand when I say that Skyrim is a truly engaging world. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s one of video games most real-feeling worlds that I’ve ever played.
One of the many games I bought last Tuesday was Saint’s Row the Third, Volition’s newest entry in the kill-crazy crime series. I’ve put a fair number of hours into it (not as much as Skyrim or even Sonic Generations), and I think I’ve come to a shocking conclusion based on how some of the game is making me feel: I’m growing up.
This post isn’t a knock against Saint’s Row’s content; I know it’s full of juvenile humor, diving nut punches and mind-controlling octopus cannons and it does that all very well and even manages to pull off some insane gameplay without it being contrived. Besides, I’d have to be a pretty big troll to call out Saint’s Row for being immature. No, I’m just finding that some of the ancillary quests feel kind of silly and I’m started to get repulsed by the idea of shooting cops and civilians.
Yes, the old tried-and-true stand-by of the GTA-style sandbox game, descending into unbridled mayhem, no longer holds the appeal for me that it once did. I was showing the game off to my roommate and after shooting a mascot dressed as an energy drink and doing the same to a couple cops, I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I know these cops are just pixles and animated rigs moving on my screen, but busting a cap in them doesn’t hold the same thrill it once used to.
Saint’s Row the Third is still fun and I heartily recommend it to anyone who played the second one and loved it, but I’m kind of moving past the “see how long you can kill cops for” type of sandbox play and coming to appreciate structure more. What about you guys? Do you sort of feel the same, or do you think I’m just an old man yelling at Saint’s Row from his porch? Has any other game made you feel this way?
Wow. I think out of all the days that could have decked us in the Fall, it was today that I was most worried about. As Mitch has lovingly dubbed it, Doomsday Tuesday happened today, and with it came a veritable salvo of gaming entertainment. Or horrors, if you’re concerned about what this means for your wallet.
While I’m no doubt going to leave somebody out, the big games that dropped today include Saint’s Row: The Third, Halo: CE Anniversary and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. So, yeah. Lots of stuff to play, I guess.
Rather than doing a slew of posts roll call-ing for each of these gems, I thought I’d put it all together in one post and just ask you straight up: which of these are you getting today? Are you getting any of them at all? As for me, I received Halo: CE Anniversary in the mail, and hope to add Saint’s Row: The Third and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations over time. But for now, Skyrim rules all.
So what about you dudes? Time to weight in on the roll call. Go!
So this just happened. It’s kind of big news, I guess.
There’s not much to say about the Grand Theft Auto V trailer that you haven’t heard already. It’s been several years since GTA IV came out, and Rockstar definitely has a lot to live up to in terms of expectations. Do they rise to the occasion? I guess you can watch and find out.
So what are your reactions to the trailer? As much as I’m not a graphics guy, I have to say that the detail and the quality of the animations shown in the trailer are really impressive. It also seems to me that we’re back in Los Santos, though it’s hard to tell if it’s going to include the same amount of real estate that we saw in San Andreas.
While I’m curious to see more of this game, we all know that I wasn’t a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto IV, so they’ll have to show me something new and interesting to get me more pumped for this than I am for Saint’s Row 3. That’s just my opinion, though. Let’s hear yours. Go!
Between bouts of Battlefield 3 multiplayer, I’ve been going back into Arkham City to try and collect all the Riddler trophies and challenges into order to finish off his sidequest and save those poor doctors. Now, if you’re not familiar with this particular aspect of the game, the Riddler has captured five doctors and hidden them all over Arkham City and the only way he’ll allow you to save them is by collecting 400 plus trophies and riddles and combat challenges. It also doesn’t help that he’s kind of a dick and taunts you the entire way through.
Now, I’m not one to shy from completing any game to 100% (that’s become a bit of a running joke around here) but even I think 400 something collectibles is a little much. I mean, they’re not incredibly well hidden, but just the sheer volume of the things makes this a daunting task. This is a problem endemic to open world games where I imagine the developer is kind of tempted to hide these things all over to justify the massive game worlds (although Call of Duty has hidden collectibles as well).
So here’s the thing: while I don’t blame Rocksteady for having Riddler challenges in the game, I just think there’s too damn many. No offense to the guys who went in and designed and placed all of these things, but didn’t they break 200 and start thinking “wow, we’ve sure put in a lot of these things. Maybe we should stop?”. Have you guys run into a similar sort of fatigue with collectibles, or just games with a lot of content? Which game was it? How are you getting along with the Riddler challenges?
2009′s Batman: Arkham Asylum was not just a landmark title because it was really, really good, it’s also one of the very few games in recent memory to take a super-hero license and use it well. Arkham Asylum was a faithful adaptation of the Caped Crusader, one where players actually felt like they were Batman as opposed to just slapping his moniker on a bland brawler and calling it a day.
Developers Rocksteady clearly have a deep love for the Dark Knight and when the follow up title Batman: Arkham City was announced last year at Spike’s Video Game Awards fans eagerly began salivating at the prospect of another chance to be Batman. Did Rocksteady follow up Arkham Asylum with a worthy successor or should they be locked up?
Confession time, gents and ladies. Playing Batman: Arkham City makes me feel like a kid again, and I don’t really care who knows it. As of right now, it’s my game of the year. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
But first, there’s something you may have already guessed about me, but I thought I should confess that as well: sometimes I can be a bit of a cynic. I always try to look at the brighter side of things, but in this day and age, the overwhelming cynical voice of the Internet can be a bit of a bog that all of us get stuck in. Especially when it comes to gaming.
Swooping out of the shadows with a vengence, Batman: Arkham City has finally arrived and it’s being hailed as one of the greatest games of this year (and that’s saying a lot). People are calling it “Crackdown with Batman” and it currently sits at a 95 on Metacritic (97 on PS3).
I played the game for a few hours last night and I’m seriously impressed so far. Arkham City runs on the Unreal engine just like Gears of War, but I’d go as far to say that Batman actually looks better than Gears. Checking your cryptographic sequencer on a rooftop with the Gotham skyline in the background and the spotlights casting lens flares all over the screen looks really really good. As nerdy as that sentence is, I just can’t get over how awesome the game looks.
The combat has also been refined too, so it’s a lot smoother than Arkham Asylum if you can believe it. There’s an upgrade system that works like Deus Ex’s where when you gain 2000 experience you will get a talent point that can be used to upgrade your suit or gadgets. The story is pretty cool so far too, but I still don’t get why someone thought building a giant prison in the middle of Gotham was a good idea (or how they got all the criminals in there) but I’m sure that will be explained later. I’m also enjoying Hugo Strange as an enemy; he’s of a different breed than the Joker, although the Clown Prince of Crime makes his presence known too (voiced deftly by Mark Hamill once again). I’m also enjoying the more open nature of Arkham City as opposed to the hub and spoke design of Asylum. Stalking the rooftops as Batman is just as awesome as you think it would be and the ability to glide between buildings makes it all the sweeter.
So far I’m really liking the game, but as with every massive release, we here at GamerSushi like to get your opinion on it. So, are you playing Batman? What are your thoughts?
Everyone knows about the recent and heated feud between the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, as kicked into high gear by EA. With both of these juggernauts bearing down on each other this Fall season, it’s looked something like Godzilla versus Mothra, the two beasts lumbering into our collective view and ready to do battle.
However, there’s another number three hitting this season, and it doesn’t want to be forgotten: Saint’s Row: The Third. The newest installment of the open world gangster playground from THQ is now on the scene, trolling on both Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 with this brand new trailer, which also happens to be packed full of win.
Every new bit of media I see about this game ensures that it’s going to be a day one pick up. What about you guys?
Bam! Pow! Zhom! Those are the sounds that Arkham City is making amongst the circle of reviewers as it enters the scene with one heck of a flourish. The sequel to Rocksteady’s Arkham Asylum certainly sounds promising, and many are praising it as the greatest superhero game ever made. Granted, that’s not saying a lot, but it’s still a lofty and impressive claim.
Overall, Arkham City is garnering loads of positive reviews on the high end of the spectrum. It seems like it improves on Arkham City in every way, and adds the open world play style in a way that doesn’t take away from what made the previous game so much fun. Here’s one of my favorite quotes, from the Wired review:
In fact, it avoids the curse of sequelitis by making a major change to the formula — instead of a Metroid-esque series of interconnected rooms, it’s an open-world city that you can fly across, going from point to point in a matter of seconds. You can play only the missions that are required to advance the storyline, but you’re also constantly tempted with a wide variety of side missions, collectibles and challenges scattered everywhere. It doesn’t feel anything like Metroid anymore, but it sure feels a lot like Crackdown.
So yeah. Call me excited. Here are some other reviews for you to peruse:
Where do these games companies get off, making awesome things and then teasing me for a year before I can actually get my hands on their games. If it wasn’t enough making Skyrim look like the RPG to end all RPGs, Bethesda just released a twenty-minute walkthrough of the game, narrated by Game Director Todd Howard. This was the behind closed doors demo shown to games press at E3 and fans at PAX, and now the general public finally gets a look at it. Part one is here, and parts two and three are after the jump.
This post is more out of curiosity than anything, but it’s not like there’s been any noteworthy news this week. (Or maybe there has, I’ve been pretty busy with the first week of school.) Out of the seven million games that dropped on Tuesday, I only picked up Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, mostly because my money is very tight and I wanted to support a developer I respect (Relic Entertainment out of Vancouver). Other than Resistance 3, the other big ticket item from Tuesday’s buffet was Dead Island and I’ve been seeing all sorts of interesting tidbits regarding the game and its post-launch state.
You may have heard about the craziness with the PC version, which was released into the wild as the developer build instead of one suitable for public consumption and all the funny videos that went along with that. I’ve been watching some walkthroughs of the game and while it does look very rough in some parts, it appears to be a sort of Borderlands/Left 4 Dead crossover. The fact that this sort of game has co-op makes it a very appealing prospect, so I’m wondering if any of you guys picked it up.
So, if you’re playing Dead Island, I have a couple questions for you: is the game any fun? What system did you get it on? What are some things you love and some things you hate? Buy it, rent it, or wait for a Steam sale?
Seeing as we’re stuck in kind of a gaming drought and I don’t have regular access to my PC to play me some sweet, sweet StarCraft 2, I’ve been replaying the original inFamous after I got it for free during the PlayStation Network’s Welcome Back program. Coming fresh off of the sequel, it’s given me appreciation for just how different inFamous was when it came out and reminded me about some of the things that the first game did that were awesome that Sucker Punch removed for the second game.
While I am glad that Sucker Punch changed the horrible side-mission structure, some of the powers and the main quest designs in the first game were pretty awesome. The ability to absorb energy while grinding and using your basic lightning bolt to redirect your rockets akin to a laser-guided missile have me really enjoying the game, even on hard difficulty.
While I still maintain that inFamous 2 is truly deserving of the grade that I gave it, the original still holds up even two years later (at least in the sense of gameplay, the graphics are still pretty rough). This got me thinking about the original games in franchises that have a better reputation than their sequels. Games like Knights of the Old Republic and Deus Ex are obvious, but I’d count Halo (which is better than three of its four successors) and Dead Rising among those. Dead Rising 2 was good, but the original sucked me in in a way that the sequel never did.
What about you guys? Any games that you like more than their sequels? If your thoughts go against popular opinions, I definitely want to hear about it.