2011: Games retrospective

Posted by Bellsey, 4 January 2012 12:00 am

So here I am back at work after a much needed Xmas and New Year break. But before I start piling into 2012, I wanted to look back at 2011 and some of my fave games of last year, mainly because for the first time in a while, in the last few weeks, I’ve been able to catch up on some much needed gaming.

There are several ‘best of’ lists around at the moment, many that go deeper than what I can, so my list isn’t conclusive in anyway because I have kept to a small number of picks and there are some genre of games that I’m not into.
So here goes….and I must point out that these are in no particular order as I can never pick one game to tower over the rest…..and these are just my own personal choices.

First up, are three titles from one of my favourite gaming genre’s - driving, and they are Forza Motorsport 4, Dirt3, and F1 2011.

I’ve always admired the Forza games and after 3 very solid titles, the fourth didn’t disappoint and for me Forza 4 was the most enjoyable of all the games so far. I did like the Forza4 trailer with Jeremy Clarkson :-)

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Dirt games, mainly because I had a brief tenure at Codemasters, so I know some of the team and also how good they are. Now on its third outing, Dirt has just got better and better with each version, there’s so many different types of off-road racing for you to try and this is off-road racing at its best.

And finally there’s F1 2011, again from Codemasters (Birmingham studio to be precise). Being a big F1 fan and having worked on F1 games myself, I do have a critical eye on this type of racing game. After a brief hiatus Codemasters had picked up the F1 gaming baton and after a kinda understated start on the Wii and PSP, finally delivered the excellent F1 2010. Not without its problems, but a real breath of fresh air from previous F1 games and a very well balanced game. F1 2011 is just more of the same with lots more detail and tuning into the technical aspects of the sport and with continued improvements in the graphics, F1 hasn’t looked so good. 







Next up are two great titles, and in fact re-releases - ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection HD for the PS3.
Back in the 2001/2 PS2 days there were many big franchise games being released that were flexing their graphical muscles over their seemingly dated PS1 predecessors. Sony released a simple 3rd Person adventure platform game called ICO. A real sleeper hit, it would become one of the best loved games on the PS2.
Now together with its spirtural successor Shadow of the Colossus (again first released on the PS2), ICO has been given a clean up and released in HD for the PS3. Both games already looked good on the PS2, but now kinda reborn on High Definition, they look stunning - glorious in fact.

Anyone whose interested in seeing how great art direction and atmospheric design can be applied in games without the need for cheap visual tricks should check out ICO and SOTC. Not many games appear as seamless, with simple yet bold visuals, and both serve as good examples of how, when applied in good measure, good art direction, production and solid game design, can deliver a stunning and enjoyable experience. 



Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception – easily summed up in one word – brilliant.
With each console cycle, game technology gets better and better, many games have tried to deliver that cinematic and movie experience. And at the moment, imho, no one seems to be doing this better than Naughty Dog and the Uncharted series. I love these games, I feel like I’m watching and playing in a movie, they’re part Bourne, Bond, combined with Indiana Jones - terrific.
(Be sure to check out the Autodesk feature on Naughty Dog here



And now the big face off – Battlefield3 and Call of Duty: MW3. Both sequels, both first person shooters, both look great, and both are good, really good. But for me MW3 pips it. MW3 just seemed a tad tighter and slicker than BF3, and closes off the narrative of the Modern Warfare games very nicely, making them a rather fine trilogy. I’m gonna miss Soap and Price :-)
But whilst MW3 was closing the book on its storyline, Battlefield3 gave me the impression it was only just getting started, so it will great to see what comes next from EA DICE. 



Finally last, but by no means least Portal 2. Initially included in The Orange Box bundle by Valve, the first Portal game seemed to sneak under the radar and to some gave the impression it was there to simply make up the numbers. How wrong they were and this simple yet delightful puzzle game quickly gained huge following and popularity, and left many with wanting more. Well at last, Valve  have finally released a sequel. It may have taken them a while but it was worth the wait. I’ve only just started to get into Portal 2 so its early days but I’m enjoying this wonderful game so to sum up I’ll leave it to this great quote from the Guardian’s review

“Valve has created a masterpiece in Portal 2. The depth of content, the mind-bending mechanics and fantastic experience are almost certain to satisfy ardent fans of the first game; and to all newcomers to the series, it's as simple as this: prepare to have your mind blown. Over and over again.”

Couldn’t of said it better myself. :-)




1 Comment

waz mack

Posted 29 August 2012 4:56 pm

the mocap on MW3 is class.

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