A Brief Overview of the Video Games of 2011

Some people might excuse themselves from their obligations with unrelated things like “tiredness” or “school” or “real life”, but don’t worry my zero readers, I’ve been away for the very reason that brought me here in the first place: video games.

All my 2011 computer games.

My computer games of 2011

Yep, video games, and that’s about half of what I still got out of last year. Not entirely sure how I got a hold of this many, what with me having constantly no money throughout the year, but regardless I’ve got quite a few more games to finish up from good ol’ 2011 (for a full list of what I’m working with, check out the About page). But what did I think about 2011’s gaming overall? Well, I’ll go more into detail after the break, but three words automatically come to mind:

Too Dang Good.

But Fly, what made 2011 so good? Why, many a thing, kid. For one thing, there were a bunch of sequels to AAA titles this year. Everything from Skyward Sword to Portal 2 to Witcher 2 to Modern Warfare 3 to Battlefield 3 to Saints Row The third to Yakuza 4 to Dead Space 2 to Driver: San Francisco to Mortal Kombat to Marvel vs Capcom 3 to Marvel vs Capcom 3 a second time to Test Drive Unlimited 2 to Blah Blah Blah 7: Blah Blah’s Burning Revenganating. While some of these sequels, a la Modern Warfare 3 and Dynasty Warriors 7 stick to the time-tested “If it ain’t broke, don’t change it” method, many others sought to bring massive change to their properties, whether it be making crazy new ways to puzzle people for Portal 2 to adding in a cool story filled with mind-bending goodness for Driver. That being said, even the games with change didn’t stray too far from their source, making this a good year for fans of many series (or just straight up disappointing, if you belong to the Duke Nukem fanclub). Oh, and Skyrim.

Archery's pretty cool, just sayin'.

Neat scenery, wicked bow, and a BEAR. Not included in picture: DRAGONS

Of course, the big scene didn’t belong only to sequels. No, there were quite a few titles for those that were just in the market for something else cool from their favorite genre. Shu Takemi of Phoenix Wright fame released Ghost Trick, a ghastly puzzler for the DS, the Persona Team released a sincerely mature puzzler named Catherine, Brink put parkour and FPS together, Monster Tale mixed up Metroidvania goodness with Monster Raising goodness, L.A. Noire utilized some fancy face technology to bring a neat detective thiller to the masses, and Epic’s Bulletstorm whipped out some over-the-top skill shootin’. As might be expected from the sequels paragraph, there were quite a few more sequels than originals out in the boxed retail market, but for those willing to look around, there was still quite a few gems to find.

Just another day at the office, y'know?

A rather nice trend of gaming as of late is the HD releases of a lot of older games. While some might say this is a lazy practice, the many still reap the benefits of old favorites or of missed games that are now stupidly expensive being rereleased. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, and Guardian Heroes all provide gateways into gaming’s past, all with more to come this year, its great to see so many old games getting reworked for the new generation and for myself, since I actually missed most of them, even the games that I just listed.

Co-op beat 'em up Guardian Heroes from the Sega Saturn as seen on 360. Not shown, my anguish at it not being on the PS3.

And finally, the indie/downloadable game category, which boomed this year. Seriously, an insane number of quality games poured out of this market this year! In fact, instead of simply listing them off like I have before, here’s a quick dose of four great ones with each image linking to that game’s site.

Some crazy underground nonsense in sailor's metroidvania, Treasure Adventure Game.

Some co-op goodness from a Cooperative RPG, Wanderlust

Survival Driving at its coolest; Nitronic Rush released the same day as Skyrim and showed off some intense talent from Digipen.

With his hammer just whiffing the air, the kid's gonna be having a hard time in this game we know as Bastion.

And there ya have it, the components of 2011 Gaming Scene that made it so special. Of course, this opinion piece is neglecting to make note of the PS Vita and Wii U announcements as though don’t pertain to the quality of this year’s stuff, and the 3DS is also passed over as the author has not yet had an experience with it, but all of the above made 2011 a great year for gaming, and with all the games that were delayed from Holiday 2011 to the First Quarter of 2012, it’s looking like 2012 will be able to follow 2011 quite nicely.

Disclaimer: All the screenshots used in this entry are taken from each game’s site, save for the Treasure Adventure Game screenshot which I made myself. I take no credit and no pride in using these screenshots, as good as they are, and will strive to make my own for every entry after this.

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