Here are two games that I would say are my number 2 and 3 for 2011, enjoy.
Best Game to play alone in the dark both literally and figuratively: Dead Space 2. I nearly forgot about Dead Space 2 because of its early January release. It seemed like a game that was made to be forgotten but this horrifying mass of teeth and puss made sure to stay as a poignant staple of 2011.
Dead Space 2 is not a game changer, its actually one of the more iterative games of the year. It makes large improvements on everything the original Dead Space started.
First of all the game looks great and not just because of smoother textures and more graphical overhaul, though those do help. I’m referring to the well-crafted world that was made in DS2. Every detail seems to have gone over with a fine tooth and comb. From the way Isaacs’s suit removes his helmet to detailing on random walls and even the monsters of the game that interact with the environment in very well meaning ways.
This leads into the enemies and how they were designed in conjunction with Isaac’s arsenal. Most of Isaacs’s weapons can be used effectively against all enemies but you’ll find certain weapons that work best on certain enemies. So knowing this you go into the game trying to counter pick weapons to deal maximum damage to their appropriate enemy. The creators make a meta-game out of weapon management as well as enemy management. The areas you search through are often tight corridors and linear hallways that funnel you into engrossing enemy encounters. I touch more on this in my article from earlier last year over here.
Many people boast of how scary DS2 is, on this point I disagree and instead label it as a very tense game. Another thing DS2 does well that it never pulls you out of the action as cuteness are done in engine and you don’t realize that you have control of Isaac till your hanging of a giant monsters tendril. It also has one of the best cold openings of a game in the last couple of years only trumped by Mass effect 2’s opening.
Dead Space 2 maybe a game a lot people will right off as just another sequel that is linear as all hell. And though that is true, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most cinematic, visually engaging and great games of 2011.
Or put simply – “Most Batshit insane Fun game of the Year”
No game this year, hell any year, values your time more than Saints Row: the Third. At no point are you given something to do that isn’t fun/insane, even the slow moments that all sandbox games run into are removed or remodeled. For example, Every time you fall into water you are immediately are offered the ability to warp to shore even though you can swim. Even the already amazing act of jacking cars ala GTA style is made simpler and way more entertaining by taping one button and you fly through the air and kick out the front window into the driver’s seat. Your computer homies do this also with some hilarious gravity defying jumps. The game doesn’t gimp you with the slow progression of acquiring weak weapons like pistols and instead after your first mission in the game in which you sky dive through a plane, your given a predator drone straight out of modern warfare.
The game rewards your playtime by offering upgrades much most other games, with one key difference. Most of the final level of these upgrades would appear game breaking in most other games. Examples like infinite ammo, explosive rounds or you no longer take damage from bullets are just a few.
Even the actual story based levels are mostly feeling unique and fun with only a few exceptions. At one point in order to prove your bravery you’re forced to drive at high speeds while fending off a tiger in the passenger seat. Other moments have you going through a Tron-esque world as a toilet with a mega buster; this also includes a text adventure and some Atari based tank battles. You’re also forced into a Wrestling match against a group of luchadors with your wrestler teammate (voiced by hulk Hogan) and a chainsaw.
The writing is top notch and they never seem to miss a beat to make you actually chuckle. Your character also has 6 different voices to choose from in the character creator not including playing the entire game with a zombie voice. All of the voices are written in a distinct way with different lines of dialogue based on the voice. An example is my British male who constantly says “Bollocks” while my eastern European lady constantly refers to the homeland. The level of detail and minutia in an open world game is unheard of. Then again, I haven’t played Skyrim yet.
I could probably gush about SR3 all day but I feel I’m taking some of the surprise away from you fine readers. So I’ll close it up, everything about this game is crafted for your enjoyment, Saints Row the Third maybe the smartest dumb game of all time.