Video Games Played in 2011

I should have done half this list somewhere back in the summer since I played a lot of games this year. As a result, I’ve shortened it to exclude older titles like “Prince of Persia,” “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” and “Arkham Asylum” just because I don’t have any new or funny observations on those games (not to say “Arkham Asylum” isn’t awesome, of course – but it seems weird to blog about when everyone else is playing Arkham City.)

Dante’s Inferno
Cool game. Tapers off near the end, but still awesome. Nothing quite tops the boss battle list like fighting a naked 50-foot Cleopatra who shoots unborn babies out of her nipples. I’m serious; because of this game, THAT is a thing.

Final Fantasy XIII
Argh! Nothing looks like anything in this game! Is that a building or a giant mutant popsicle? Did I just add a giant killer robot to my team, or four pickle barrels mounted on chicken legs? Am I fighting a pack of wolves, or a bunch of paper clips glued onto porcupines?

I could also riff on the incredibly confusing and disjointed story, but… I’m actually entertained by how pointless the whole thing is. At 60 hours play-time, it’s still more fun than FF12. I actually prefer the game’s bad story to it’s “good” graphics. I think the best thing about the game is its soundtrack – they have sort of a “Katamari Damacy” meets “A Charlie Brown Christmas” thing going on.

This was an interesting game. You switch between two people who can cross the rift between life and death, and you use your powers to capture creatures of folklore and use them to solve a supernatural murder mystery. It’s like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” meets “Pokemon.”

Back to the Future: The Game
Episode 1: As I mentioned before, it’s VERY faithful to the spirit of the movies. You go back to the 30’s, meet a Teenage Doc, gangster hijinks ensues, and it ends with a cliffhanger. Pretty solid opener, actually.
Episode 2: Episode 2’s about as good as the first one. The puzzles are few and easy, but the story is still interesting. You’re still in the 30’s though. I think I would have liked to see each episode in a new time period.
Episode 3: Because of what you’ve done in the 30’s, Hill Valley in the 80’s becomes a police state run by an evil version of Doc. AWESOME PREMISE. The bad side – just when you think you’re half-finished the episode, the credits run. I’m taking off marks for that.
Episode 4: This one goes between the 80’s and 30’s. It feels more fleshed out, and the fan-service stops here, allowing them to take BTTF in a new original direction, but again – it ends too soon.
Episode 5: I won’t ruin anything here, but I have to repeat – I love the story in this game, even if the climax comes and goes too quickly. I think this could have been better told in three episodes rather than five because the puzzles are spread too thin and the credits keep running in the wrong spots. And yet in spite of this, it still has an amazing ending. I’m very conflicted about the BTTF season as whole, but I’m leaning towards a thumbs-up with this one. All-in-all, it’s still fun!

Eternal Sonata
I’m forcing myself to shorten this rant because my last couple drafts were longer than this whole post combined.

The game is painfully stupid. Pretty graphics, yes. Pretty music, yes. Even an awesome fighting system, yes. But watching the hours upon hours of insanely long cut-scenes full of characters who can’t string together a single intelligent phrase is about as engaging as watching something starve to death.

And I’m not kidding when I say these cut-scenes are long. One of the first things you see in the game is a twenty-minute cut-scene where the narrator describes a landscape you’re looking at, followed shortly by a ten minute slide-show presentation on Frederic Chopin. It gets worse from there. Remember Aeris’ death from “Final Fantasy 7” (is that still a spoiler?) Imagine a similar scene where Aeris keeps talking for fifteen minutes and you’re begging for her to die already. That happens in this game.

The nice thing is, this is the first game I’ve ever seen where you can actually skip every cut-scene and not miss anything important.

Jurassic Park: The Game
This isn’t really an adventure game. It’s a “click everything until you win” game. It’s an interactive movie, where you only play to watch. All the action sequences are automated, and the outcome is determined on whether you mash the right amount of buttons in time. The game is an acquired taste, and you should play at your own discretion.

But given how BTTF performed earlier this year, I’m really surprised to see this much detail put into a Telltale game. The story is great, the settings are huge, and the action sequences are INCREDIBLE. At 4 episodes, JP still feels more fleshed out than BTTF, and it’s better than the last two JP movies. The button-mashing sequences really help the “action-thriller” style of the game. I can’t remember the last time any game had me on the edge of my seat like this.

REPLAY: Afterlife
I tried playing this one again after I gave up on it years ago. I re-discovered the reason I gave up on it: most of the game is spent with me yelling at my computer screen telling my buildings to evolve. No matter how much crap I do to get my buildings to turn into super-buildings, they just sit there doing nothing. And then I have to go around re-balancing all my Fate Structures and listening to my helpers complain about road problems. It’s a game about building Heaven and Hell, but no matter what I do – I always end up with Hell.

Space Quest 2: The VGA Remake
This seemed like an ideal place to bring this game up since it happens to be a full-length fan-made remake of the original Space Quest sequel – which came out just one week after “Vohaul Strikes Back!” (And with my own Space Quest game potentially being the next update, you have to admit, this is either crazy or downright brilliant.)

The folks at Infamous Adventures have done a great job re-designing the old pixely adventure from 1987 to give it a fresh flavorful look that comes right out of… 1993. I know to non-adventure gamers, it may sound weird for a team to spend all that work designing a game to LOOK almost 20 years old, but that’s just how the adventure community rolls.

Anyhow, the graphics are nice, the music is brilliant, the voice acting’s top-notch, and the writing is on par with the original series. It’s a well-made remake. Check it out.

And if you find a mysterious staircase in it, just WALK AWAY.

Vohaul Strikes Back
Hey, what’s this amazing game doing here? Didn’t I blog about it a dozen times already? I surely don’t need to blog about it again because all the cool people have already played and enjoyed it (and have downloaded it here because that’s what cool people do.)

Space Quest Incinerations
This game must be awesome because I think I’ve clocked more hours on it last year than any other game. And what an incredible adventure it is! An open-world sandbox spanning half the galaxy, thousands of mini-quests including driving sims and fettucini cook-offs, online multiplayer missions, customizable characters and more! Or making I’m just blowing smoke out of my ass. You walk around, talk to people and pick up everything that isn’t nailed down. How does next week for release sound?

January 06 2012 09:01 pm | Video Games

2 Responses to “Video Games Played in 2011”

  1. The Beezer on 07 Jan 2012 at 1:53 am #

    OMFGROTFLWTFBBQ?!?!?! next week?? Yaaaayyyyyy!

  2. Chris on 07 Jan 2012 at 2:19 am #

    That’s just an inquiry, not a promise. Things happen.

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