Sooooooooo….I was supposed to add a list of my top/favorite games to my last post. Hahaha…would you believe I totally forgot about it? Hahaha….ha…..ha……yeah……….better late than never amiright? 😉 This list is purely the list of games that I really enjoyed this past year. It doesn’t contain games published from this year strictly. Mostly because this year was a bit slower for me in terms of acquiring new games. I played a lot of catch-up on certain games series (Half-Life, SupCom, Descent, L4D2, TF2). Also, I picked up the really cool Indie games during Christmas last month and as such, cannot be on this list. But they might show up on the list for 2012. We’ll see.
Also, mobile sucked up a good chunk of time as well and to be frank, I went over the list and with the exception of one game, they really don’t stand out enough as truly enjoyable this year. Games like Infinity Blade II had game-breaking issues, other games started to copy formulas from popular games like Angry Birds or other games just got terribly greedy with freemium-models that are guaranteed to suck out your money faster than a spinning vortex. (We also had a lot of meh ports too…) Now with iCloud behind us, I hope to see iOS start to get some really quality games out this next year. I’m also planning on being 10X pickier about games that I pick up on iOS because its sad how few games survived this year on my home-screen. Anyway, on with the list.
#7: Half Life 2.
Your probably going “wait, what?” Yeah, I finally got around to this series this year and talk about being sucked into this game, it was crazy. Compared to the original, the time played in this game went by blitzingly fast, mostly because the story was more engaging. It was a great run through this futuristic world and I really enjoyed the characters, the emotions you go through and just the sheer joy of the game. I don’t really need to say more, Half Life 2 is a well known series as it is, and maybe it shouldn’t be on the list because its a no-brainer that its good, but I need to recognize it at least once for being such an awesome game.
#6: Portal 2.
Portal 2 was surprisingly good. I couldn’t believe how funny this game was. I was chuckling the entire time at least and the puzzles were quite enjoyable. If I had to slam this game on anything, its the complete lack of replayable content. With the exception of just doing it for the story/commentary (which I’ll probably get around to), this game is a dud for replayability. Which is a real shame, but there is just no reason to do the puzzles over again and speed-rushing them just isn’t that interesting. Still, the story was fun, engaging and deep, the characters felt alive despite being robotic in nature and finding out about the origins of the universe we were put into was very interesting. A thumbs up from me!
#5: Anomaly Warzone Earth. Both iOS and PC versions.
Anomaly Warzone Earth, would definitely have to be my favorite Tower Defense game of 2011. To take and twist the tower defense into tower-offense led to some great fun with this game. They very successfully ported this game to iOS and I would darsay that it was more enjoyable on that platform, but the PC version does look better and have more content. The story is a pretty basic alien-invasion on earth, but I liked that we attacked the aliens (on-earth) rather than the other way around. Overall, the game is polished, the story is enjoyable enough and the game was a pleasure to have this year. 🙂
#4: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl.
Ok, yeah, this is another not-made-this-year game. And unfortunately for next year, its likely its sequel will find a place if I had to guess. For those that don’t know, STALKER takes place in post-apocalyptic Russia, more specifically the Chernobyl area. An event somehow involving the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has transformed the entire area with monsters, radiation and pretty much an entirely different world on earth. STALKER offers a setting that is so dang creepy, so scary that I had issues playing it just because I was afraid of the monsters. Yeah, I’m a big bad scardy cat. 😉 But on a more serious note, this is the kind of game I really want to see in the future. In this game, your not the hero, not everything revolves around you and it doesn’t feel as scripted. It actually feels like a living, breathing world and that any second you could die in some horrible, monstrous way. In fact, its such an open world that you can fail a mission simply because a the NPC ran off without you or got killed by passing mercs. It just feels original and unique and you want to know more about this world, while this world is trying its best to kill you. SOC has sucked up a good chunk of time for me and I’ve enjoyed the world, the design of it all and the sheer depth of the game.
#3: Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.
Yeah….this is definitely not a 2011 game, unless you count its Steam-Store release which is Sep 28, 2011. So there, found a loophole, didn’t I? ;). I still really, REALLY enjoy the multiplayer part of this RTS game. The pacing and balance is just right for an RTS game and the amount of different strategies you can use and different races just works. I can’t say how many hours have dived into this game, but its quite a few and no doubt more will come in the passing years. Nothing more to say really, it was a ton of fun and if your into RTS games, this is definitely one to try out, the graphics still hold up well even by today’s standards.
#2: Ai War: Fleet Command (Light of the Spire).
Ok…slightly cheating here but the expansion came out this year along with version 5.0 of the game which pretty much remade the game. It fixed a lot of issues with units that didn’t work, added a few new interesting strategies and so many other thigns I couldn’t hope to put it into one blog post, its just impossible to do. Arcen Games is just an awesome Indie Developer and this year I think we’ll see something really impressive out of A Valley Without Wind. In the meant time, Ai War is pretty darn great if I say so myself. The expansion itself added a new race to the game, a storyline-mission which is an alternative way to win against the AI and a lot of new content as well as a new mode to play with. It is thoroughly enjoyable, well balanced and well worth your time if your into RTS-games, especially of the co-op variety. They aren’t kidding though, you are literally out-numbered, out-gunned and out-matched, even when you have eight players at the same time. So you need to out-think the AI before he decides to crush you under his heel. I have over 100 hours sucked into the game and its likely another 100 will get sucked out of me this next year.
Terraria took me by surprise. Its pretty hard for me to enjoy sandbox games because they eventually just start feeling very samy. Even when Terraria came out, I was skeptical that a 2D sandbox world would be all that interesting. But skepticism went out the door as soon as I started digging into it. Literally and figuratively ;). With Terraria, you have a great mutiplayer feature, a huge world to explore and many things to build and create. The plentiful and creative bosses make sure your time won’t be boring nor the rampaging armies of goblins/snowmen o_O, or the friends who set dynamite right at your feet or the front door of your home. Or even certain people who like flooding hellevators for no good reason. *coughs* Or drowning to death because you forgot to bring light sticks and fell into a deep pool that you can’t see out of. Or falling off a cliff and finding out that you don’t bounce. Or getting massacred by the red moon’s zombies. Or…well you get my point. 😉 There is a lot you can do in the game and with patch 1.1, the game has gone to a new level of polish and what you can do with the game and I just really enjoyed this game this year. I’ll say it again, I really enjoyed this game and with friends this game is just crazy fun.
So, Honorable Mentions:
Nitronic Rush: This free game definitely deserves a mention for the atmosphere and the racing provided, but I felt that the lack of multiplayer just didn’t give the game enough replay-ability for me. Granted, it is free so I can’t really complain about it. I still enjoyed it for its Tron-like atmosphere and music and the racing mechanics it had. The developers showed a lot of love to this game, despite it being free. Its certainly my most favorite free game of the year.
SpaceChem: This puzzle game is a great idea, where its chemistry but yet not chemistry at the same time. For me, it just kicked my butt and it makes it hard for me to put on the list because I didn’t play enough and its frustratingly hard to play. But that’s the point of it. But at the same time, hard to recommend, so if you think your really good at puzzle games, go give that one a try.
Dead Space: It was a good game…at first. The main issue really is, is that the scare/horror was lost half way through and I just wasn’t as enveloped by the game as the others. It was still a fun game and I enjoyed it to the end, just not nearly as much as I did the other games.
Defense Grid: You Monster. Take the best Tower Defense game and add GlaDOS from Portal into its own unique story-line and you get an awesome DLC pack. This definitely is one of my more favorite DLC downloads of the year. I wish I had more time to actually play it!
So I hope you enjoyed this post. I know the games are not strictly 2011, but its the games I enjoyed this year and any of those on the list I highly recommend you check out. Any thoughts? Disagreements? Agreements? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought was your favorite game(s) of 2011!