2011 is almost in the books and what a phenomenal year it was for gamers. Below is a list of both the best and worst games that I played during the past 365 days. Remember, these are my personal choices and do not represent The Koalition as a whole. With that said, enjoy!
Many fantastic games hit PSN and XBLA this year such as Outland, Bastion, Sideway: NY and Resident Evil 4. However there’s one game that has keep me coming back on a regular bases and will probably keep me hooked throughout 2012. That game is Cubixx HD. Cubixx HD is a fantastic take on the classic arcade game Qix but with enough innovative gameplay variants to make it feel brand new. In my review I called it an essential purchase and I still stand by that statement today.
WORST: Resident Evil: Code Veronica X (HD)
The old Resident Evil games were great 15 years ago when Playstation controllers didn’t have analog sticks and people actually thought the Dreamcast stood a chance. But today there is really no need to play any Resident Evil game that was released prior to RE4, not unless you also enjoy self-harming while watching the latter SAW movies. Resident Evil Code Veronica X: High Definition Edition is no exception, even if it does feature slightly touched up visuals and achievements. Avoid like a pack of vicious, skinless dogs!
BEST: Wheatley (Portal 2)
I’m not a fan of British humour. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed a British comedy since I was a child and my parents forced me to watch VHS recordings of Only Fools & Horses. But I must admit I found Portal 2’s Wheatley to be an absolute delight! If you’ve yet to play Portal 2, Wheatley is your rail-bound, mechanical companion who tries to free you from your life as a human test subject. Voiced by Ricky Gervais’ mate Stephen Merchant, Wheatley’s idiosyncratic awkwardness and persistent rambling was one of the best things about Portal 2.
WORST: Cole (Infamous 2)
Never before has a voice actor prevented me from playing a game, that was until my ears were physically assaulted by Eric Ladin, the voice of Cole McGrath in Infamous 2. Whoevers idea it was to make Cole sound like a seedy pedofile who recently had his throat slashed by one of his victims parents needs to take a long look in the mirror before shoving their head through it.
BEST: Dead Island
WORST: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
BEST: Motorstorm Apocalypse
I’ve probably said this 30 times already but Motorstorm Apocalypse is the game that sold me on 3D technology. Just a few days after playing Apocalypse for the first time I ran out and bought a 3D TV in anticipation for this games release. In the end I have no regrets. The game looks unbelievably good on my aging Samsung plasma and once I upgrade to a TV that has Motionflow, it’s gonna look CRAZY son! Word to my Aunty.
WORST: THOR: God Of Thunder
Enabling 3D in this god awful Sega release turned Thor from a terrible game to a terrible interactive slideshow. If you enjoy seeing a framerate that you can actually count, this is the 3D game you need!
SURPRISINGLY GOOD: Sonic Generations
I don’t think anyone, anywhere was expecting Sonic Generations to be good. After all as the saying goes; “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a dozen times over the course of 10 years? F*** you!” But Sonic Generations wasn’t good, it was great! The 2D levels were awesome; the 3D levels were even better and aside from a few spotty platforming sections Generations was a joy to play.
MOST DISAPPOINTING:Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
Although Warner Bros and Netherrealms have never confirmed it, there’s enough evidence floating around to suggest that this game originally began its life as a HD retail release. How great would it have been to play Mortal Kombat II and 3 with updated visual, a 16:9 aspect ratio and online support! Instead what we got was a trio of broken arcade ports that were way too difficult, frequently crashed consoles, had sound glitches and was a complete lag-fest online. It’s almost as if the developers at Other Ocean purposely went out of their way to ensure you’ll have a terrible time unless you’re playing local multiplayer matches.
BEST: Nintendo: "20 Free Games"
Shortly after the 3DS’ launch Nintendo significantly reduced the price of the system. As an apology to those who purchased the device at its original launch price Nintendo gave all early adopters exclusive access to 20 free games. 10 NES classics and 10 really, really good GBA releases. Read the original news story here.
WORST: Sony: “All your info are belong to hackers”
The third week of April started out really well for Sony. A new SOCOM game, Portal 2 with exclusive Stream support and Mortal Kombat with Kratos as a playable character. How could they possibly mess things up? By getting hacked, losing all of our personal information and shutting down the entire Playstation Network for 6 weeks. That's how! Read the original new story here.
RETURNS & RETIREMENTS
GREATEST COMEBACK: Rayman Origins
Rayman has been wasting away for years while those pesky Rabbids got all the shine but rather than cry about it, the limbless hero hit back with the greatest non-Mario platformer EVER! Rayman Origins is a beautiful and fantastic title that probably won’t sell as well as it should but if you have an ounce of compassion in your heart you’ll at least give this game a chance
PLAYD OUT: Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Did we really need Assassins Creed II part 3? No we didn’t. I’m all for trilogies but when you put trilogies in trilogies before the trilogy is even complete that’s where my interest checks out. I loved Assassins Creed II and Brotherhood was a great follow up but with Revelations Ubisoft began to milk the blood out of the AC cash cow. I don’t plan on ever playing Revelations and thus I’ll probably never play Assassin Creed III. Hopefully the series takes at least 2 years off to regroup.
MOVIE OF THE YEAR
Look, I’m a Disney whore. If I was to rank my top 10 movies of all time they would all be Disney releases and Tangled would be one of them. You probably don't care though so I'll move on to tits and giant robots...
WORST: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
Confession Time: I like the Transformers movies. The first one was great and I'm probably the only person on earth who enjoyed the second one. However Dark of the Moon was a stinker of epic proportions. Two things I liked about this movie, Carly’s tits and Carly’s ass. Everything else made me wish I was dead.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
BEST: 50 CENT - THE BIG 10
If it weren’t for the embarrassing pornographic skit which precedes “I Just Wanna”, I could listen to the entire Big 10 LP without skipping a track. Yes I know this technically isn’t an album, it’s a free mixtape but 50 Cent has given us a product that is better than any album released this year and for that he deserves this award.
WORST: Ruff Ryders - Past, Present & Future
You know your career is finished when bootleggers don’t even bother to pirate your album any more. When I think of Ruff Ryders I think of DMX, Eve, Drag-On and The LOX. Not Murda Mook, Shella, Lil’ Waah and Hugo. Throwing in year old DMX/Eve songs and putting old verses over new beats just adds insult to injury. If this is the RR of present, they won’t have a future ahead of them.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
BEST: DJ Khaled - I'm On One (feat. Drake, Lil' Wayne & Rick Ross)
WORST: Nicki Minaj - Roman In Moscow
BEST SOCIAL NETWORK GAME
Words With Friends (Facebook)
For two years straight Words With Friends has been my favourite iPhone app but now that the game has branched out to Facebook, online Scrabble has never felt so good! The ability to play with those who don’t have smartphones means I can now play against virtually all of my friends, no more random strangers!
BEST MOBILE GAME
Infinity Blade II (iOS)
Every platform needs a great franchise that is exclusive to their devices. Microsoft has Halo, Sony has Uncharted, Nintendo has Mario and now Apple’s have Infinity Blade. Chair’s visually stunning action title proved that mobile games can keep up with those found on dedicated handhelds which should keep Nintendo and Sony on their toes. This is the most epic game to ever grace a smartphone (no pun intended) and it costs 1/8th the price of a 3DS title.
BEST HANDHELD GAME
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Mario Kart has always been my favourite videogame franchise and Mario Kart 7 is the best entry in the series to date. This is the 3DS game I've been waiting for and it didn't disappoint. The gameplay is as frantic as ever, online works wonderfully, the graphics are crisp and vibrant but above all the game is just a tremendous amount of fun! It's lacking the mission mode found in Mario Kart DS but the new and improved Battle modes more than makes up for it. Mario Kart 7 is unadulterated fun at its purest form.
BEST WII EXCLUSIVE
Kirby's Return To Dreamland
Why isn't Zelda: Skyward Sword my Wii game of the year? It's simple, I've been playing the game for almost 6 hours and I've yet to enjoy a single moment of it. Yea I know it gets good later and the story is really, really great (blah, blah) but the fact that I don't feel compelled to play it any longer makes it impossible for me place it on a high pedestal at this early stage. I love the Zelda series, in fact I'm currently playing through Minish Cap again and I’m having a great time but that's probably because I don't have to swing my 3DS around. I'll probably pick Skyward Sword back up soon but for now I have to pass the gold cup to Kirby's Return To Dreamland as it’s the only other Wii exclusive I played this year.
BEST XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE
Fruit Ninja Kinect
WTF! Fruit Ninja Kinect is better than Gears Of War 3? In my opinion, yes! Who needs to chainsaw Locust when you can slice pears and pineapples in half? It’s not going to keep you hooked for dozens of hours like a Halo game but this unassuming $10 title is one of the most entertaining games I’ve played all year!
BEST PS3 EXCLUSIVE
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
To quote my review... Uncharted 3 is a masterpiece. The jaw-dropping cinematic gameplay works in tandem with the gorgeous visuals, phenomenal voice acting and emotionally engaging story, all of which cumulates to form a priceless artefact that can be yours for only $60. Is it the best game of the year? I certainly think so.
BEST MULTIPLATFORM GAME
While I'm quoting reviews... Mortal Kombat is exceptional fighter which offers more content and hidden extras than any other fighter on the market. There is enough single player content to keep you busy for at least 20 hours and the all new King Of The Hill mode dramatically shakes up online play. After 20 years of trying, Mortal Kombat has finally won a round against the Street Fighter series. It’s not quite a flawless victory but MK9 is still a masterpiece.
And that's it for 2011! There were many other great titles released this year such as Skyrim, Battlefield 3, MW3, Arkham City and Saint's Row: The Third which are all winners in their own right. For more game of the year goodness be sure to check out this weekend's Co-Op podcast but for now Happy Holidays and keep gaming!