I'm back from my self imposed Christmas and new year holiday, and what better way to bring in the new year than by talking about games from the now old year! Ok, so I'm just going to write here what some of my favourite games of 2011 were. It has been a fantastic year in general for games, now that we're coming to the tail end of this console cycle, we're seeing games that are seriously pushing the power of the consoles that they're on. So without further ado, here are some of my favourites from 2011 in no particular order.
Saint's Row: The Third makes a very good case for games that are just plain and simple fun. In a world where super serious games like LA Noire, GTA IV, Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty, Saint's Row dresses up in a giant hotdog suit, slaps these games round the face with a giant dildo and then flies away in a futuristic VTOL. It really can't be overstated how crazy this game is, and it really warms my heart that there are still people out there that want to pour millions of dollars into games that don't tell epic stories or revolutionize the industry, but let you go naked skydiving.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a fantastic game through and through. While it has taken over 5 years to get here from Oblivion, Bethesda has made a brilliant addition to the Elder Scrolls series. The game manages to make an entire world in which all aspects are just as interesting as the main quest line. Bethesda have managed to make a game in which I found myself devoting hours and hours of my life to helping people out and following quests and epic story lines that could be missed all together. Skyrim is a great example of how to do an expansive, free roaming RPG. I'm currently 65 hours in and still have loads left to do.
LA Noire, much like how Saint's Row makes a case for dumb fun, makes a great case for games that involve a lot more thinking. Look through a list of 2011's releases and you'll clearly see a great number of shooters, but LA Noire isn't one of them. True, it does have some shooting elements in it but the majority of the game is spent solving crimes, hunting for evidence and interrogating people. This is something never seen in games nowadays, it's generally all about shooting the clearly defined enemies, never about finding out who the enemy actually is. I've never seen a better use in technology either, LA Noire's interrogations would be pretty much impossible without the incredible facial scanning technology.
I feel a mention should go to Star Wars: The Old Republic too. While the game is technically a 2011 game, it was so late in 2011 that I feel it's not worth considering this year. The game is also in it's very early stages, and MMOs are almost never complete. I imagine it will be worth more consideration next year when improvements get made and people have more time with it, and we will see if it ends up going free to play.
I would also like to give “Runner up” prizes, so to speak, to a few other games of this year. Deus Ex, for being a great shooter/RPG hybrid even though it ended quite poorly. Bastion, for being such a enthralling game with a story telling device that I feel is one of the best and at a fraction of the price of any standard game. Finally I'd like to mention Rock Smith, While I haven't reviewed it and it hasn't even been released in my country yet, I've been having loads of fun with my import copy. I wouldn't really classify it as a game, more of a teaching tool that is really useful for beginners. Anyone wishing to learn should really pick it up when it comes out here.
So I guess now is the time that I do the grand reveal of my favourite game of 2011 and it is *drum roll* The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim!
As I said earlier, Skyrim is a fantastic RPG that manages to do so much, but it is not only that fact but also the fact that it does so much right. No other game I played this year kept me so engaged, no other game gave me so much to do, no other game managed to keep me entertained for 65 hours and still counting. It is simply a fantastic game that just needs to be played.