Piggy-backing off of Fist's 2011 awards, I will be following suit with a years end wrap up of my own. No argument can be made to the point that 2011 was a banner year for video game fans. If you couldn't find at least THREE games to sink your teeth into this year, you probably forgot that you actually hate video games, and are in fact a human shaped decorative candle, devoid of emotion, reason, and a PSN account. However, just because a game reviews high, or sells well, doesn't mean you have to play it, or even want to play it. In fact, with so many AAA titles released this year, it felt almost refreshing to be able to simply recognize "that's not really my type of game" and pass on a big game, only to have a game more in line with what you enjoy come out the next week! Submitted for your approval (or not) I present my list of 10 games of 2011 that I gladly let slip by.
Ironically not on the list, but rest assured: I Passed on this one.
You could almost call this list a "judging a book by its cover" type rundown. The difference being that a lot of these games were sequels to games I have played, or else just genres I find hard to get excited about. There was buzz, there were marketing dollars, and maybe even killer reviews, but for these 10 games, that just wasn't enough for me. Of course it's not that these games are bad by any means. It simply speaks volumes for how crammed this year was that games that I could skip on these and STILL be swamped with great games to play! Well no more apologizing, let's do this! Chronologically, OK?
10. Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 - Feb 1st
Blame the stache.
I loved the remake of Bionic Commando on PSN. Despite hating the original NES version for reasons of childhood inadequacies and jealousy (my dad bought it for a cousin I had never met before, while I wasn't even allowed to have a Nintendo...poverty.), sitting down with GRIN's reboot of the original kept me captivated for hours. Sadly by the time the sequel was coming around I had sort of lost interest. The inclusion of jump seemed to go against everything that was Bionic. When reviews for Rearmed 2 were lukewarm I passed on it, and have never looked back. If I need Bionic Arms now, I'll get them in MVC.
9. Bulletstorm - Feb 22nd
Maybe "FootStorm" is more accurate.
I guess I get it. It's like "Hey! All your modern FPS are crappy and linear! You should be able to shoot crazy shit and score tons of points by killing with creativity!". Ok. But the louder you scream at me that you're better by putting down the competition, the more I wonder why you look exactly like Gears of War, and seem about as "far out there" and crazy as Halo. You want to learn about over the top? Talk to the Japanese.
8. Killzone 3 -Feb 22nd
The Helghast evolved to cope with the hostile terrain and unresponsive controls.
I enjoyed Killzone 2 alright. I played through the murky campaign and logged enough hours in the MP to get to general or whatever. To be honest I was really excited about KZ3. Fixed controls? Level variety? Ricco gets lobotomized one minute in? Sign me up! Of course that was before I played the MP Beta. After excitedly jumping into the online fray, I furiously rage quit after spending about 2 hours trying to come to terms with the god awful controls and narrow FOV that I had forgotten I hated so much. "Never again!" I swore and gleefully returned to TF2 and responsive controls.
7. Dragon Age II - March 8th
I never played the first Dragon Age. The second was released with some fanfare. I passed on it. The world continued turning.
6. Crysis 2 - March 22nd
"Heard you needed the help of some guy in a suit of some sort?"
I messed around with Crysis 1, but like all the Crytek games I've played it's a great sandbox for boring gameplay.With the exception of wondering how the hell a console would run the CryEngine, I had very little interest in Crysis 2. Crysis guy is perhaps the most generic hero since Master Chief, and he looks more like a default bad guy than the lead protagonist. I know I shouldn't be judging a FPS based on these sort of things, but when there are soooo many to chose from, I may as well get the ones with amazing multiplayer, entertaining environments, or collectible hats. Besides as Fist mentioned, I would get to protect New York more times than I could imagine by years end.
5. L.A. Noire - May 17th
Phelps breaking up a civil rights sit in. Don't worry those are lethal bullets.
Me and Rockstar have a general disdain for each other. Well at least stuff that runs on the GTA engine. Taking 40 foot wide U-turns on foot leaves much to be desired. From what I saw of Almasy playing "la noire" it seemed that playing the game was really an inconvenience in the way of the narrative. Not in the good way of Metal Gear "I can't believe the story is this fucking insane", but more in the way of "I can't believe he just called that black guy a n*****". I appreciate the attention to detail, but it seemed like more of an educational game, than say an enjoyable game. For instance, I learned that I really didn't want to play L.A. Noire.
4. Dead Island - Sep 6th
That zombie game!
3 years ago I would have been all over this game. I can't fault it for anything other than being really, really, REALLY fucking late to the party. I am pretty burnt out on the zombie stuff, but apparently I am the only one. It seems like the easiest and least offensive way to cater to wholesale genocide without the hassle of motive or reason. Needless to say I let Dead Island slip by as I recover from the zombie game hangover until I'm forced to play "The Last of Us" out of morbid curiosity.
3. Rage - Oct 4th
New meaning to the term "Rage Quit"
Around Doom 3 I learned not to trust id with making a compelling FPS any more. Everything I saw of Rage screamed, nice tech, boring game. While I don't trust id to do a FPS that keeps me engaged, I really have doubts about them trying their hand at an RPG. The early stuff for Rage made me think of a much shallower (much prettier) Fallout 3. Then the inclusion of the buggy stuff shifted my interest from "silently watching and judging" to "need to find out more about Battlefield 3". It's a shame to see a world where id struggles to stay relevant in a genre it defined.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Nov 11th
I may get my gamer card revoked. Bathesda games, 1st person melee combat games, and fantasy games are three things that I don't enjoy on their own. Combine the 3 and you have a recipe for pass. Fallout 3 was amazing, but that's because I had an easy mode button that made raiders heads explode off of their bodies and soar hundreds of feet into the air before rolling to an ever so satisfying rest. If I had to play Fallout without VATS I'd flat out just NEVER play a Bathesda game again. Swords and magic in first person do nothing for me either. I have seen Skyrim in 3rd person, I wish I hadn't. Even my closeted love of dragons wasn't enough for Skyrim to win me over. I'm sure the game is amazing. I probably would have played it, but then I took and arrow in the knee. Sorry.You all deserve better.
1. The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Nov 20th
Apparently the defining game for the Wii, and I though Dead Island was late to the party.
Yeah I know, I know. I don't have a Wii. If I did maybe I'd look into this game. Honestly though, nothing I have seen of it even resonates with me in the faintest. A first party game made in 2011 without voice acting in a story driven narrative is too dated for me. Also saying it's the best waggle game ever, and in the same sentence that it's an 80 hour adventure is not in the slightest appealing. From the reviews I would get the impression it is the second coming...of Link I guess. I know Nintendo makes quality games, I also know Nintendo fans are the most rabid. I must have skipped that part of my life where Zelda games were supposed to imprint feelings of yearning and euphoria for the years ahead. Enjoy Skyward Sword everyone, I'll be over here: Hate'n.