The Top Games of 2011

The Top Games of 2011

The year’s end always feels a bit melancholy thanks to the post-Christmas crash and the seemingly endless white stretch of frozen months ahead. If you’ve got the winter blues though, cheer up! Turn your thoughts to the greatest of indoor pastimes: Video gaming. There are some great titles set for 2011. Hopefully this simple reminder will bring sunshine into your life. Or, if not, at least a few decent games to waste time with.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo 3DS / Spring 2011) – Like most information about Nintendo’s upcoming 3D handheld system, the actual release date for Ocarina of Time 3D is a little foggy. A “Spring 2011” release seems to be in the works for Japan, not long after the Nintendo 3DS handheld itself launches at the end of February. Chances are decent that North America will enjoy a 2011 release of this remake: Though it dates back to 1998, the original Ocarina of Time remains one of the most beloved Zelda titles in the franchise’s long history. It’s hard not to get excited about playing one of the greatest games of all time with updated graphics and 3D effects.

Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360 / Q4 2011) – Gears of War lives on with Cliff Bleszinski’s third entry in the popular shooter series. Bleszinski promises that Gears of War 3 will answer players’ outstanding questions about the series’ story. Even if it doesn’t, the prospect of new weapons and a four-player co-op mode should still be enough to get you excited. What warms more thoroughly than a mantle of spattered Locust blood?

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Nintendo DS / January 2011) – An adventure/puzzle game in the style of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. It’s conceived by Shu Takumi, the father of Capcom’s famous virtual lawyer, so you can except a cast of off-the-wall characters and bizarre dialogue. The game’s premise revolves around a dead fellow who aims to solve the mystery of his death–and protect other potential victims–by issuing warnings via possessed objects. It’s like the movie Poltergeist, but with fewer ancient Indian burial grounds (as far as we know).

Kid Icarus Uprising (Nintendo 3DS / Spring 2011) – Pit, the little winged star of the Kid Icarus adventure series, hasn’t starred in his own adventure since 1991. During his time off, Pit has endured puberty (or some angelic variant), which transformed him from a boy into a teen. Early footage of Kid Icarus Uprising shows Pit battling huge enemies and dodging cutting lasers. The game stands to be an example of what the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D effects are really capable of.

Portal 2 (Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 / April 2011) – Also known as “Cake, Lies, and Guns” (okay, not really), Portal 2 is the follow-up to one of the most pleasant surprises ever published on a game console. It’d be easy to say “Expect more insane portal-generating puzzles” and “Look forward to more witty jokes and dialogue,” but in any matter where GLaDOS’s trickery is involved, it’s best not to lay down any expectations.

Crysis 2 (Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 / March 2011) – The necessary follow-up for 2007’s FPS hit, Crysis, which raised the bar for graphical fidelity. Crysis 2 takes the player from the jungle to the broken-down, alien-infested streets of New York City. Hey, whether you’re talking about dense leaves and swamps or New York City, it all still falls under environments that human beings were not meant to tread in, right? Le zing.

Killzone 3 (Playstation 3 / February 2011) – Killzone 3 is the fourth game in the Killzone FPS series, and the first title of the franchise to feature 3D compatibility. What’s especially intriguing is the game’s optional compatibility with PlayStation Move. Consider it a necessary break from virtual sports waggle, if there ever was one.

Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection (PSP / Spring 2011) – Square-Enix sure does love its re-releases of Final Fantasy IV–and to be completely fair, we love playing them. Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection will feature a graphically-updated version of the SNES classic RPG Final Fantasy IV, as well as its direct sequel for WiiWare, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. No word if it’ll hit America just yet, but it’s hard to speculate that it won’t while keeping a straight face.

Twisted Metal (PlayStation 3, Fall 2011) – The Twisted Metal series knows all about providing you with a first-rate vehicular combat experience, and this highly-anticipated installment looks to provide the very same. Recommended for play after an especially bad stint on the highway at rush hour. Warning: Do not imitate in real life. Unless you want to just put on a scarred clown mask while driving, then wave to gaping children. That’s perfectly OK, as long as you’re wearing your seat belt and obeying the rules of the road.

Star Wars: The Old Republic (Windows / Q3 2011) – It’s difficult to gauge how EA’s subscription-based MMORPG will fare against the likes of World of Warcraft in the long term, but there’s no doubt it’ll garner a huge audience from the outset. Who doesn’t want to spend at least one day frolicking in the Star Wars universe as an Ewok Jedi? Only the soulless, that’s who.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii / Undetermined 2011) – Link’s latest Wii adventure is set to debut sometime in 2011, but there’s still a great deal we don’t know about it. We do know that it will utilize the Wii Motion Plus for true 1:1 sword fighting. We also know that Link is wearing parachute pants for the event. Intriguing!

Rage (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 / September 2011) – Rage is a project by id Software, the talented (if slightly deranged) ladies and gentlemen behind the DOOM series. As an FPS, Rage’s heritage is evident, but there are definitely some surprises in the formula, like RPG elements. Oh, and the driving and smashing of cars.

Here’s to an engaging 2011.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

1 Comments

  1. no homefront?

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