Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Look Back: Games of 2011

2011 is quickly coming to an end, and now is the time to look back at the games that came out during this past year.  This year was marked by many big games, such as Battlefield 3, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.  While all of those games are great, none of them made it onto my list of the Top 5 games of 2011.  Here's the list:

5. NASCAR: Unleashed
NASCAR: Unleashed was Activision's second game with its newly-acquired NASCAR license, and they did not disappoint.  The arcade racer provided lots of fun throughout the whole game.  In my review, I gave it an 8.5/10.  This game is a must for any NASCAR fan.

Photo courtesy Activision
 4. L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire tells the story of the Los Angeles Police Department following World War II.  Rockstar Games revolutionized how a game was made, as they used real actors and 365-degree camera angles to show the emotions of the game characters.  Though the story does get boring at times, the player must be reminded at multiple points that they are playing a game and not watching an episode of CSI.

Photo courtesy Rockstar Games
 3. NASCAR: The Game 2011
NASCAR: The Game 2011 was the first licensed NASCAR racing game since 2009's NASCAR 09 and NASCAR Karts for the Wii.  The game did not disappoint.  While the game was plagued by glitches while racing online during the first few months of the game's availability, the developers quickly made patches to fix all the problems.  While the game is not perfect, it is a good start, and NASCAR: The Game 2012 promises to be even better.

Photo courtesy Activision
 2. Minecraft
This game is a little bit different than most.  At first glance, it seems like a very old game with dated graphics; once you begin playing, however, you understand that it is much more than meets the eye.  I started playing the game back in May as the school year was winding down.  It is a little like Legos for the computer, only there are monsters.  While you have the ability to fight the monsters and survive, I play on peaceful, which is a lot less stressful.  At only $26.95, this is the most affordable game on the list.  After playing, it will have you saying, "Just one more block, just one more block..."

Photo courtesy Mojang
 1. Portal 2
When I decide what my favorite games are, I look at how they affect me when I'm not playing.  I decided Red Dead Redemption was an amazing game whenever I began to dream about being in the Old West.  And every time I saw a bird, I thought I could just switch into Dead Eye mode and shoot it down.  So whenever I began to look at walls and figure out where I could place a portal, I realized that this game was one of the best games I've ever played.  The game stretches your brain with its mind-bending puzzles, and its hilarious dialogue will keep you laughing.  I never thought I'd fall in love with a game this much, but I have, and it's absolutely wonderful.

Photo courtesy Valve
 While I'm sure I've snubbed some games, these are the games that I've been playing this year.  Modern Warfare 3 and Little Big Planet 2 just missed the cut.  I'm sure I would have put Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure on this list as well, but I'm not getting that until Christmas.  Any of these five games would be a fantastic last-minute Christmas gift, but be warned: L.A. Noire is rated M due to its graphic images.  Also, Minecraft is only available online at minecraft.net.  Hope you enjoyed this countdown, and happy gaming!

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