Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Look Back at Gaming 2011 - Pt.3

September - Mid November

After a stunning teaser trailer left many fans in eager anticipation of a new big zombie game, and Dead Island delivered an open free roam zombie apocalypse game like no other. Featuring a skill tree to personalize your character, up to four players can fight with customizable weaponry and vehicle combat. Like a bad love child of Left 4 Dead and Oblivion, the game's RPG elements mixed well with the heavy emphasis on melee combat.

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine ditched the typical third person cover system and instead asked the player to charge in head first in this third person melee shooter. Taking place in the Warhammer 40k lore, you assume the role of ultramarine Captain Titus as he tosses Orcs in the air with each hit. When health dropped, performing executions boosted the health bar and got you back into the fight. The focus on running into the fire was something to adapt to, but proved an enjoyable alternative to the typical cover and run feel of third person games.

It was the highly anticipated Gears of War 3 that closed out the month of September. Continuing the exploits of Delta Squad, players fought off the Locust horde and the new glow induced Lambent forces to put an end to the war once and for all. Boasting the new Silverback mech, an improved Horde mode, and a refined multiplayer experience; there was something for everyone in this game. With continual "events" scheduled, it will surely be a game that is revisted time and time again. During its first week, Gears 3 made over 3 million in sales.


Following Shattered Dimensions, Spiderman: Edge of Time offered a unique twist to the Spiderman story. Using voice talent from the animated series, the story followed Spiderman's death by Anti-Venom, and Spiderman 2099's intervention. Though the gameplay did not vary from the typical beat em up formula, the story and voicework put it a notch above the typical comic book hero game.

RPG enthusiasts seeking brutal difficulty were gifted with Dark Souls. Featuring the difficulty the series is known for, adventurers once again died continuously in their determination to quell dragons, undead, and other monstrosities. Changes to the game include a single flask replacing the numerous potions, Bonfires that act as checkpoints but would respawn enemies, and a refined combat experience that rounded off an unforgetable and sometimes frustratingly enjoyable experience.

Rage provided FPS fans a new id Software title to tide them over. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, players made use of a slew of weaponry and vehicles to survive the harsh factions claiming the land. The highest point of the game ended up being the sharp animation, and the intelligent AI that would result in a fast paced shootouts with unpredictable enemies.

For the die hard Battlefield fan base, Battlefield 3 became the must-own PC title. Featuring the new Frostbite 2 engine, the visual presentation was beyond anything seen before; with sharp character models and a level of destruction that was unmatched. The strong multiplayer fan base and 64 player servers will soon be treated with a Back to Karkand expansion pack. The game sold strong with over 5 million units moved within the first week.

The Dark Knight proved his worth once again this year, with Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City. With a story by comic book writer Paul Dini, Batman fought his way through classic villains to uncover the latest plot by Joker and Hugo Strange in a city/prison full of criminals. The open world experience allowed players to stray from the main plot for additional missions, taking to the skies for their next destination. The small improvements worked wonders for the already stellar gameplay, and the inclusion of Catwoman and Robin kept the fights interesting. It quickly went on to sell 4.3 million units.

November (1-14)

Fans of Middle-Earth were treated to Lord of the Rings: War in the North. Alone or in co-operative play, players chose from one of three protagonists to quell the tides of enemies. Choosing from a mage, melee, or ranged character; players developed their skills and could even branch out to customize the character to the player's preferred play style. Coupled with special appearances by characters from the books, the game gave Tolkien fans something to keep them occupied until the next film.

November kicked off a slew of titles with a bang, as the highly awaited Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was released. Nathan Drake continues his adventures with his usual cast of characters, in an interesting look at his relationships and drive. Not to disappoint, the presentation and feel was still as strong as ever with some truly jaw dropping set pieces to compliment the cover shooting. It has sold over 3.8 million copies worldwide.

The remakes also made an appearance this month. Goldeneye: Reloaded remastered the previous Wii title for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Featuring a new engine, achievements/trophies, and Mi6 Missions; it allowed other console owners the chance to be Bond once more.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim gave RPG fans an adventure like no other. Boasting hours of gameplay and an expansive world to explore, Skyrim set players loose to create a character to their liking. With tons of options to create a hero tailored to the player's liking, there was no limit to the possible combinations in Skyrim; be it a stealthy rogue or dual casting mage. The unique experience for each player offered dungeons to explore, quests to complete, and a healthy supply of dragons to battle.  In the first week of release, Bethesda estimated over 7 million copies of the game were shipped.

Call of Duty fanatics had something to be thankful for with the release of Modern Warfare 3, as it took the month by storm. Continuing the successful formula, players were once again treated to a stellar campaign in a World War 3 setting to close out the Price/Soap ordeal. Adding a co-op survival mode in addition to specs ops was just the cherry on top of the already established multiplayer. Competitive shooter junkies had more customization options, modes, and a new Elite service to further their passion for the game. Within 24 hours, the game sold 6.5 million copies in the US and UK alone and went on to make $400 million, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time.

Part 1 - January - April

Part 2 - May - August

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