2011 – Another Golden Year?By Tom Yeates | May 9, 2011 | Editorials | No comments | Share
1998. What a year. Probably not the normal way to begin an article about 2011, but bear with me here…
1998. Gaming’s Golden Year. A year which gave us more classics than almost any other year I can think of. Metal Gear Solid, Half Life, Starcraft, Unreal, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Resident Evil 2, Grim Fandango…the list is long and beautiul – A gorgeous, life-defining sunset of a list. It’s hard to beat…perhaps impossible to beat in my mind, but thirteen years on – I think we’re in for a good one.
It’s already been a fantastic year for me personally – maybe you’ve heard of Portal 2? Not to mention the red-eye inducing late nights that Shogun 2: Total War brought me. However, whilst the start of the year has been a good one, it’s set to get even better, which – as I’m sure you will agree, is always a good thing. The list is extensive, so here’s a little rundown on just some of the games I’m personally looking forward to in 2011 and because I’m feeling generous, I’ll even tell you why!
I’ll be honest – by and large, I love Rockstar Games, they rev my engine. Red Dead Redemption is still a mainstay in my gaming rotation. Heck, I still play Grand Theft Auto IV occasionally, three years on from its release. There’s just something about the way they construct their worlds and present me with the stories they want to tell that keeps me coming back for more and keeps me excited about almost every title they release.
L.A. Noire is no exception to this rule. I was hooked from the first trailer. Head over heels. I want to play Cole Phelps’ story. I want to rise through the ranks of the LAPD and immerse myself in the closest thing in gaming to L.A. Confidential.
This game could potentially have it all. Incredible facial capture technology, great open world gameplay, copious amounts of shooting and an incredible story to boot! All that and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that you SOLVE CRIMES! You can interrogate people!
It’s the game I was born to love, I’m almost sure of it and the best thing is – it’s out REAL soon.
Batman: Arkham City
Before Arkham Asylum was released, if you had asked me to play a comic book game adaptation, I would most likely have rolled my eyes, sighed and maybe even stamped my feet a little in agitation. I’ve very rarely played a super-hero game which held my interest for more than five minutes, which is a shame as I love comics and more importantly, I am a huge Batman fan-boy. Then Arkham Asylum changed my life.
The combination of superb combat, excellent story and voice acting and such an intricate and well designed game world kept me coming back for more. I’ve completed it many times and it became the first game I grabbed all the achievements for, something I never usually do. To put it simply: they nailed it. Arkham City looks set to do the same – setting you loose into a bigger environment this time, with more freedom of movement but still sticking to the core concepts that made the first game so compelling. New gadgets, new villains and further improved combat serve to further sweeten the deal.
I want it. Now.
Battlefield 1942 became almost an obsession for me. It was the first multiplayer game that I really put a lot of effort into. I joined clans, participated in matches and I practiced and practiced to become as good as I could be. It was a revelation and it changed the way I felt about multiplayer gaming. Since then, I never felt the series has touched those heights so perfectly as it did in 1942. Recently, I found Bad Company 2 to be an excellent time-sink, and, probably my best experience in the series since the original…but it still wasn’t enough.
Battlefield 3 looks set to be the best in the series to date. The new Frostbite 2 graphics engine is arguably the best in the business currently and with a multiplayer set to feature a plethora of vehicles and incredibly dynamic destructible environments improving on the offering from Bad Company 2, this game is setting my mind a-fire with excitement.
I think this time, I can finally lay the ghost of Battlefield 1942 to rest and move on.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I love RPGs. I might even go so far as to say that RPGs make my world go round. Good RPGs are the gifts that just keep on giving – long, detailed and immersive games which more than justify their price tags. Do you know what else I love? – Elder Scrolls games.
The last offering, Oblivion, was a triumphant breakthrough for the series. Games which had previously been only popular to a relatively small hardcore PC audience suddenly found a legion of console based fans. Bethesda really hit the mark on balancing Oblivion and since then they have moved onwards and upwards, becoming a publisher in their own right (aqcuiring id Software, amongst others) and also releasing the highly successful (and fantastic) Fallout 3. However, both games certainly have their detractors and also, their fair share of faults and bugs.
Skyrim is looking to change that, with a new game engine and streamlining certain features that it has deemed obsolete – such as levelling up skills like ‘Athletics’ purely by jumping constantly. Great graphics, an immersive world and a length single player experience…sign me up please.
Keep an eye on…
2011 is shaping up to be such a good year that this list could go on for an extensive period of time. I’ve not even mentioned inFamous 2, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and not to mention the possibility of Blizzard finally unleashing Diablo III later in the year! I live in hope…
So whilst 1998 may quite possibly be the greatest ever year in gaming…I think 2011 is certainly going to run a good race.