Five Must-Play Games of 2011


It’s almost a shame that 2011 is nearly over as it was one of the best years for the videogame industry featuring some of the biggest releases this gaming generation.  Now that the year is approaching its closure, it’s a good time to look back at some of the most memorable titles of the year as we prepare for what is in store for us in 2012.  In no particular order, here are some of the most impressive videogame releases of 2011:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  Set in 2027, this prequel of the previous Deus Ex games sets players in the boots of protagonist Adam Jensen.  This first-person shooter (FPS)/role playing game (RPG) hybrid features a wide variety of choices throughout its non-linear, cyberpunk storyline.  Often regarded as a true “return to form” after its predecessor, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Human Revolution is a well-rounded package that offers dozens of hours of gameplay and high replayability due to its “player-directed” story.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution was developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  The third installment in Naughty Dog’s high-adventure series brings back series protagonist Nathan Drake for another Indiana Jones-inspired romp through thrilling set pieces complimented by excellent story telling.  The series has become well-known for its unparalleled action scenarios as well as its sharp writing and memorable cast of characters, and all of those features have made their way comfortably into the third installment.  Brilliantly crafted plotting isn’t Uncharted 3’s only high point as the game can easily stand on its strong gameplay with responsive controls and suitably intense platforming.  Uncharted 3 is also a visual stunner, pushing the PS3 to its limits with some truly breathtaking vistas.  Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 3.

Gears of War 3.  The conclusion to the Xbox 360-exclusive science-fiction trilogy is best described by the name of the studio that birthed it:  Epic.  While the series may have begun as a vehicle to sell Epic’s graphics engine, Unreal Engine 3, it has matured greatly in both storytelling and features since the first installment.  With sci-fi author Karen Traviss (who has written the Gears of War novels as well as fiction in the HALO and STAR WARS universes) on board to pen the story, the conclusion to this story arc in the best-selling franchise is fittingly sincere with several surprises along the way.  Complimenting the game’s campaign are the standard multiplayer modes, the revamped Horde mode, and a new Beast mode.  Gears of War 3 is one of the most robust shooters on the market and a title that certainly should not be missed.  Gears of War 3 was developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox 360.

L.A. Noire.  While the studio that conceived and developed this title may have gone under due to a series of disputes and poor business practices, they certainly left their mark on the industry.  This action-adventure game centers on protagonist Cole Phelps as he rises through the ranks in the Los Angeles Police Department from a beat cop to detective.  With the use of advanced facial capture techniques for use in the game’s animations, the interrogations and character dialogue have a realism that was previously unseen in games.  With a period-appropriate version of L.A. open for players to freely roam and a captivating story told in intertwining episodes, it’s easy to get sucked into Cole’s journey from his modest beginning to the game’s closing moments.  L.A. Noire was developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  Bethesda’s fifth installment in their The Elder Scrolls series is unquestionably one of the biggest games ever released.  Not simply in terms of sales and popularity, but the scope of content in the game is nigh incomprehensible.  Bethesda doesn’t just create games, they make worlds.  With the return of the dragons, players assume the role of a Dovahkiin, or “Dragonborn,” of their own making who embarks on a quest to defeat the Nordic god of destruction, Alduin, who has taken the form of a dragon.  While the main storyline in the game is captivating fantasy fare, the real meat of the experience comes from the countless side quests, which consist of scripted story quests as well as randomly generated adventures and is as wonderfully addicting as any of Bethesda’s prior RPG releases.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

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