A 2011 Gamer Chronology
2011 was an amazing gaming year. Each month was a new experience, and as the year progressed, so did the quality of the games that were released. Here is a synopsis of my year in gaming: 2011.
Final Fantasy XIII
A massive title with massive visuals and massive problems among fans, Final Fantasy XIII was a time-soaking title for the first few months of the year. Every “side quest” had to be completed and every item obtained. Even then, I couldn’t complete everything. With the upcoming release of FFXIII-2 in January, 2012 could turn out to begin similar to 2011.
2011 began the first annual “video game” fast. It is healthy to food-fast regularly, so why not media-fast? From the beginning of April until March, I refrained from playing any type of game. Honestly, I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t addicted, but it turned out to be a refreshing experience and a difficult one. Portal 2 was released this month, and all my friends raved about how awesome it was. Staying un-spoiled about Portal proved difficult.
What a mind-bending experience Portal 2 was earlier this year. No puzzle game has ever redefined the genre like Portal has. Neither has any other game modified figures of speech. We know “think with portals” instead of “thinking outside the box,” but there is no better way to describe what the developers did to create such a masterpiece.
Welcome back program FTW! It’s a good thing that Sony changed their sharing policy after their welcome back program. I downloaded Infamous, Super Stardust HD, Dead Nation, and Wipeout by sharing my account. I was a trophy addict while playing Infamous, and spent many hours after completing the main story line hunting down those damned blast shards. Man, those things pissed me off. I circled each district in Empire City 3 times searching for the last one. In the end, I was able to find it, and I now sport a shiny, platinum trophy to show for it. Infamous was a fun title but not one of my favorites this year.
I was apprehensive to begin playing Dead Nation as I had previously played Zombie Apocalypse, a game that I was more than dissatisfied with. Boy was I wrong. The upgrade elements integrated into Dead Nation give it the edge that Apocalypse lacked. More care and attention by the developers made Dead Nation rise from the mass of zombie games, and truly shine, in a rotten, flesh-eating kind of way.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
After over a year of talking myself out of buying Arkham Asylum, I finally caved and bought the game of the year edition from Best Buy. At first, I was pretty turned off by the difficult controls. Once I thought of Batman: Arkham Asylum as a stealth game, however, that changed. The controls are suited to stealthily maneuver the dark knight, and actually work quite well when viewed from the right perspective. The combat is tailored like fighters, which doesn’t appeal to my style of gaming, so certain battles and mini-games turned out difficult. Now, I’m not going to wait for Arkham City. I just have to figure out which friend I can weasel a copy out of.
God of War III
God of War III made me feel dirty. I never quite got used to disemboweling centaurs and chest-bursting out of titans. I never even finished the final boss; it was just too diffucult. In the end, it was a fantastic game but not one I will return to.
After I made my preorder for Uncharted 3, I needed something to hold me over until its release: enter Dungeon Hunters. This title is a classic multiplayer dungeon crawler on par with Dungeon Siege or Baldur’s Gate. Players choose from 3 classes: mage, warrior, and thief. Sorry ladies, but there are no ladies to choose from. One big flaw in the game’s creation was the inability to choose a female character from the selection screen. Otherwise, the game offers hours of local or online multiplayer action. Once the campaign is complete, a hardcore mode is activated that increases the difficulty and experience received, to allow for maximum leveling.
November began with a bang. The best months of the entire year for gaming were crammed in at the end. The Uncharted franchise started November 2011 and is a must have for any PS3 owner. The game is a theme park ride of action and suspense. The story is intriguing, and the level of depth in the characters creates an emotional connection. In anticipation for Skyrim, I rushed through Uncharted 3 and had a platinum trophy in a week. This title was definitely overshadowed by The Elder Scrolls V but was a hell of a ride until then.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
11/11/11. Mind: BLOWN. Skyrim was hands down the title of the year, and for the next 90 hours over the next month and a half, I would live in the fantastic world, slaying dragons, orcs, wolves and the like. Skyrim’s story never got boring, I was actually interested in the dialogue instead of rapid-pressing X like I usually do to get through it, and the in-game environment is gorgeously unrivaled. Although this title drained 95 hours out of my life, I live a daily fight to go back and eke out 95 more… maybe as a thief this time…
The noir look and quirky personality of Limbo was an appropriately styled game to finish off the year. Its bleak atmosphere empathizes the drab feeling of a Utah winter. The puzzles and action in Limbo complement the anti-story to give it a naturally mysterious feel. Completing Limbo felt like falling asleep, and finishing off an epic year in gaming.