If you know me, then you know I think New Years resolutions are for the weak and petty, but if I did have any, it would probably be to blog more and finish the singleplayer games I haven’t completed 🙂 I don’t know why, but I feel like 2011 was a good year for me, for two main reasons. First of all, I landed a really good job. I enjoy the work I do and I feel like I’m making a difference. My boss wants to talk to me about a raise when I go back on Tuesday and he’s even mentioned maybe making me a full time salaried employee, so things are looking great for me on that front.
The second thing that made this year great was gaming. This year was amazing for gaming, especially if you’re a PC gamer. I felt like the last two years were awful, and I even bought some awful games too, mainly because there was hardly anything else. Talks of the death of PC gaming were starting up again, but as usual, it was nonsense! The year started off a bit slow, but ended really well. Here’s my take on the ups and downs of gaming in 2011:
January was a slow month, but that’s normal. Dead Space 2 was released, which seemed like a good game, though I never got around to finishing it. I’ll have to give it another shot when I get the time.
February gave us
- Test Drive Unlimited 2 – I looked forward to this game because I liked the concept. I didn’t like the first game because the driving model was awful. I got in to the private beta for this game and unfortunately, the same thing as the first – great concept, awful driving model.
- Bulletstorm – Before this game came out, the developers made a fake game, mocking how Call of Duty is just another run and gun corridor shooter without any thought. They said that Bulletstorm would be different and of course I was interested. Unfortunately the game ended up being an immature disappointment and just like the Call of Duty series it mocked, another corridor shooter. Normally I don’t mind simple shooters, after all, why mess with something that works? But they tried to make the game feel different and failed miserably. It just felt like a Halo game with magic tricks.
March actually had some promising titles. Some were disappointments and some were better than expected.
- Dragon Age II – first off, I’d like to mention I haven’t actually played this game and I never finished the first one because I never had the time to. When I finish the first game, I’d like to try Dragon Age II but I’ve heard many fans of the original express their disappointment (how many times will I use this word in this post?) with the sequel.
- Homefront – I was skeptical about this game because I was still salty about Black Ops being a terrible game after it promised so much. And that was BEFORE I take into consideration the performance bug that they took 4 months to fix. Unfortunately Homefront wasn’t that great either. The multiplayer looked fun, but I didn’t want to spend my money. The singleplayer was terrible. I felt like the game treated me like a baby all the way until the end. I can only image they were trying to instill a feeling of teamwork, but they failed at pulling that off.
- Crysis 2 – I enjoyed the singleplayer of this game. I think the multiplayer tried to rip off Call of Duty a bit, but it seemed fun anyway. But the singleplayer was the best part for me. It was one of those fun shooters where you get from A to B and kill everything in your way. I like originality, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes sticking to a fun formula is just as good.
- Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed – The original Shift wasn’t that bad. It had better graphics than Forza 3 and a slightly more realistic driving model. The same applies to Shift 2. The graphics are nice (important for a simulation) and the driving model leaned more towards realistic, as opposed to arcade-y. Overall I probably wouldn’t recommend it to a casual racer or a hardcore sim racer, but somewhere in between.
The only game worth mentioning in April is Portal 2. Can you believe this game came out in April? It feels like only yesterday. If you liked Portal 1 you’ll like the second one. For some reason I felt Portal 2 was the perfect length. I got tired of it towards the end, no idea why, but it ended just as I was about to say “I can’t be bothered”. Strange.
In May the most disappointing game was Brink… I know I wrote a good review on it, but I think I wrote it too soon. The game was very promising, I loved the movement system and it seemed fun… Except it was lame. The maps didn’t make any use of the movement system, the A.I. was horrible, no one played it online, the weapons all felt the same… The list goes on. If I’m allowed to take back one review per year, I’ll take back this one. The Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings came out as well, and it seems like a great game, but the controls and the way it teaches you to play sucked. I still want to finish it though, it looks like a deep RPG experience with a great storyline, which is always appealing to me.
June brought Alice: Madness Returns (looks fun, but I never spent the time to finish it) and F.E.A.R. 3 (boring and short). But of course, in the spotlight was Duke Nukem Forever. It finally came out and I know it wasn’t going to be the greatest shooter of all time. In fact, I had pretty low expectations of it – I just wanted it to be a fun corridor shooter. Couldn’t even pull that off. The game was awful, with poor level design, weak feeling weapons and stupid A.I.
July didn’t have anything that interested me, so on to August where the most important game (for me) this year was released. Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I actually had high expectations for this game. I mean, if you’re going to make a Deus Ex game, why bother unless you’re going to do it properly? I was a bit worried that it would be ruined because they wanted to make it for all platforms, which meant pleasing those console kiddies, but in the end, the game turned out fantastic! My only two complaints were that the boss fights were unnecessary and lame and all four “endings” were awful. Otherwise the game stays true to the original in both story and gameplay.
In September we had:
- Dead Island – I was skeptical at first, but I’m glad I bought this. First off, don’t compare this to the Left 4 Dead series. Second, the game isn’t that much fun without friends, so get some friends. After about 2 hours of gameplay, I didn’t really care about the story and the game was a bit buggy at first. But you learn to love this game anyway because it’s actually a lot of fun to play, despite its flaws. I have to admit this was one of the pleasant surprises of this year.
- Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad – I never played the original much, but I knew what I was getting in to if I were to buy this game. It’s a challenging tactical shooter that I wish I spent more time on, but I didn’t purely because of college, work and another multiplayer game that I’ll mention later (though I know you know what it is).
October and the rest of the quarter was really good. Here’s what stood out for me October:
- Rage – I don’t know why some people are disappointed with this game. I didn’t expect much from it and I really enjoyed playing through it. I could see areas where it could of been improved, such as graphics and it’s open world concept, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
- Forza Motorsport 4 – I’m sorry, but as the owner of both, any argument as what is the better game between this and Gran Turismo 5 has been decided. Forza 4 I feel is the better game, I always feel compelled to play it, it feels like a much more complete experience and anyone who likes cars can pick it up. I love GT5 but it feels like it’s missing that ‘spark’. I’d be friends with GT5, but Forza 4 has a much more varied personality and she looks great too, which is why I’d be in a relationship with her. (Sorry, but if you’ve made it this far in this post you deserved that).
- Battlefield 3 – This is the reason I’m not playing any other multiplayer game. I can’t get enough of it and despite my hate for Origin, EA’s greed and the way Battlelog works, this game is amazing. The singleplayer and co-op seem ‘meh’ but the multiplayer is why you buy this game. After the pile of crap called Bad Company 2 I was worried this would end up being terrible as well. Fortunately, it ended up being a real PC game and dare I say it, it might even be my Counter-Strike replacement.
November was hit and miss for me. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (or, if it were an Apple product, Modern Warfare 2S) was one that I didn’t bother with and won’t be missed. You have to be a real pubeless fanboy to buy this game at full price and then say it’s good. They made no effort at all to make this game any different. Skyrim was a hit for me. I finished the main story but there are still so many side quests to complete. My only complaints about this game is the combat feels clunky, the interface sucks (on all platforms) and it seems a bit repetitive at times.
I also played Need for Speed: The Run. I think it took me about 4 hours to complete. So yeah, don’t get that. Serious Sam 3: BFE I got for around $25. It was the worst Serious Sam game ever made, but playing the co-op with friends was still fun. Definitely worth $25, but I don’t think I could play it more than once. The game didn’t have that many enemies in the beginning and a lot of times we were running around trying to find where to go next, which isn’t really Sam’s style. Also didn’t get any cool weapons until later in the game.
December didn’t have anything new but that’s okay because the rest of the year had some great titles and gave me loads more games that I need to finish. Overall I’m happy with the way everything turned out. Of course I didn’t mention every game that came out, you can find a list on Wikipedia, I only mentioned the titles important to me. With that being said, I think 2012 has it’s work cut out. I’ll be amazed if 2012 ends up being another great year in gaming. I can’t think of anything that I’m looking forward to except Guild Wars 2 but I don’t even know if that will be released this year. Either way, I have enough to keep me occupied for the rest of the year anyway.
If you made it to the end of this post, then happy new year to you 🙂