Freelance writer based in Sydney's heart, event enthusiast and founder/editor of growing sports syndicate 'Injury Time' www.injurytime.net.
Published November 26th 2011
Well the weather here has been a bit up and down of late. It's meant to be spring, yet it will rain, humidity will be high and it will be cold in the evening. Sometimes such misfortunes results in a couple of hours well spent on the console you spent a few hours pay on. Now that we're coming to the end of the year, which games make the top 10 for you? Here's my front runners.
10. L.A. Noire
After the dizzying success of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar came back with an equally impressive response in L.A. Noire. It's similar in a way to RDR as you can expect, but boy does it take a different approach. This time you're a detective who is looking for truth, and you'll get further in the game by your ability to read if someone is lying over a bullet in the brain. Interrogation with witnesses is a highlight of the game and it really feels like that classic Hollywood scene when you're trying to get the truth out of someone. It's certainly different to mainstream adventure/action games out there, but you'll love the moments when that perfect piece of evidence leads to a huge discovery.
For a long time Tekken has ruled the world of fighting games across the platforms. With MvC3 we could have a genuine contender. Gameplay has a lot of depth in that, yes, it's still the button mashing fun we've grown to love, but you'll be rewarded with unbelievable results if you can strike up a few combinations. One thing I love about this game is the tag-team mid air combos. When you launch your opponent air borne you can call upon your other teammates to land further blows and make it an all out array of damage. Doing that with Spidey, Wolverine and the Hulk is nerdy-goodness. MvC3 has a terrible storyline, really it is woeful, but you want to buy this for the multiplayer. It's a real fun game and great for parties or a big bunch of mates.
8. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
People might be annoyed that I've included a Wii game in the list, but wow, Skyward Sword is an amazing piece of work and it's great to see the Zelda franchise back in play. The use of Wii's Motion Plus is incredible and the way Zelda games should be played. It makes general gameplay all the more fun and enjoyable. Plus it's not just the sword usage but it is great on everything from general browsing to using the range of weapons on offer. You won't pick it up straight away; it will probably take a little practice getting used to. The game also takes you back to a bunch of old locations that will have you reminiscing. Great story and gameplay has breathed new life into this franchise.
It was always going to be between Battlefield 3 and MW3. Like its main rival, BF3 lacks a good campaign mode – and oddly enough it's quite reminiscent of COD's Black Ops by the fact that the story is told via flashbacks of the protagonist. Unlike the superb multiplayer side of the game, you can barely take the reins of any vehicles and it just has a different feel compared. It's a very dark story compared to previous releases and a bit of a letdown because graphics are great. Multiplayer though, is awesome and makes up for the poor campaign. Does it beat MW3? Not just yet.
6. Dead Space 2
Wow, what a game. A title that builds upon its predecessor and really hit's the spot. DS2 begins a couple of years after the story in Dead Space, with Isaac Clarke still our main protagonist. This game is effectively revenge for Isaac after losing everything in Dead Space and whilst he shows signs of insanity throughout the game, you really feel like a boss when you pull of multiple kills on the monsters. A lovely touch is the story line video, voice acting is great and it really gets you enthralled within the game. Multiplayer is cool, but nothing to ride home about. This game is all about the personal experience and don't be surprised if you get a bit attached to Isaac! Make sure you play Dead Space before this second edition.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Like Black Ops last year, MW3 had a ridiculous amount of publicity and hype in the lead up. Again we've been given a truly great first person shooter with amazing graphics. I'm still not convinced with the story line though, not so much with the themes but rather the depth of it. It's a fun campaign mode but even new players won't take long to get it over and done with. Again, it's all about multiplayer. The new maps in this edition are even better than Black Ops and are really fun to play, more so when you're split-screening with friends. You can't fault the gameplay, I just wish that whoever decides to make the next one actually puts some work behind campaign mode, because at the moment, that's all that is separating this game from being the perfect package.
In truth, I didn't know much about Skyrim until recently, but this game is one of the best role play games I've come across. If video games are about stepping into another world, this is the perfect example. You'll come across dragons, elves, surreal mountain ranges and a magnificently presented landscape. The best thing about this game for me is its longevity, in that you can play for hours and still feel like there is so much fun to be had. A little work needs to be done on the physical combat when taking down a dragon or thrashing an enemy. But with the bonus of a sweet soundtrack that really makes you feel like you are in another world, this Skyrim is in another class.
3. FIFA 12
FIFA is more than just a game, it's a lifestyle. It is not another roster update that will fork $80 odd out of your back pocket. New additions like the player impact engine and the impressive tactical defending system add even more realism to the franchise. Combine that with the always impressive graphics and a crazy awesome career mode (which includes a deadline day during the transfer window) and you have the complete product. The lads at FIFA clearly aren't happy to rest on their laurels and want to really make these games the closest thing to actually being out there on the field. Great fun with a bunch of mates as well.
2. Batman: Arkham City
It's been quite a while since we had a decent superhero game series. We've seen a tonne of them released over the years, with many coming on the back of a movie release – and they are the worst. So it's refreshing to see this franchise doing well. Arkham Asylum was impressive, but Arkham City is even better. Proper combat and technique instead of button mashing mixed with a great storyline that you won't finish in a day makes for a great success. The story continues on a couple of months after the events in Asylum and features our favourite Joker and even Mr. Freeze! The array of sub plots and side missions means that even if you finish the main story, you can still have plenty of fun.
1. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
The Uncharted series hit another height with the third installment, Drake's Misfortune – I simply couldn't move past it. The series as a whole is reason enough to buy a PS3 and if it was multi-platform, I have no doubt it would be breaking records. We follow Drake again on his adventures around the world in search of the lost city of Iram of the Pillars. The visuals are amazing from the sand blowing in the desert, to the minute things like Drake stumbling when fatigued. Do yourself a favour and pick up this game because not only is the story amazing and full of twists, but the gameplay and shooting is fantastic. There is also a range of lovely 'snap' scenes where Drake is put into a crazy situation when you least expect it. But I'll leave you to stumble upon those, they're too good to reveal. Combined with a new and improved multiplayer mode, Uncharted 3 is a summer blockbuster you have to play.
So the next time the weather sucks or you can't be bothered to spend a night in the city, grab some mates or go solo with some video game fun. I've probably missed a bunch of gaping inclusions, so let us know in the comments what your favourite games from 2011 are!