My Top Five Games of 2011

2011 has been a great year. I was able to play all the games that I wanted to play, which is something I couldn’t accomplish in previous years. However, having said that, most of those “played already” games didn’t make it into the list because they are the ones I don’t think can compete with the ones I haven’t played yet like Uncharted 3, Skyrim, etc.. Yes, I’ve not played those games yet unfortunately. You can check out the full listing here but for now, let’s get started.

5. Dead Rising 2: Off The Record

I love Dead Rising games and this one is no exception. Even though the game is pretty much similar to the original Dead Rising 2 but I still consider it to be fresh and original.

4. Rage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

id Software has done it again. John Carmack and the gang have once again blown me away with this amazing game. Rage has so many cool stuff to offer I feel that there’s more to it than what the back cover had to say. The thought of moving from confined space corridor to an open world concept was a risky move but as Creative Director Tim Willits put it best, “our risks always pay off.” Apart from its glitchy graphics and awfully poor ending, Rage is exquisitely awesome in terms of playing and spectating. I love this game!

3. Dead Space 2

A worthy sequel. I love the fact that Isaac Clarke is now a talking protagonist as oppose to a silent one because it adds a whole new experience when you hear him speak. The psychological thrills really delivers and I can’t think of no other game this year that provides the same level of scares and adrenaline rush like Dead Space 2.

2. Batman: Arkham City 

I love Batman and I love this game. Rocksteady has proven themselves that they are the kings in making solid comic book games and I salute them for the impact it had to me and other comic book fans. Some parts of Arkham City may not be as refreshing as the original and Catwoman’s costume annoys me like hell but this game is overall a force not to be reckoned with.

1. Mortal Kombat

My absolute favorite game of 2011. Everything about Mortal Kombat is beautiful, visceral and mindblowingly superb. I normally don’t favor fighting games but Mortal Kombat is so cool, I just can’t get enough of it. It is such an improvement from its predecessors. The X-ray moves and story mode are definitely the biggest highlight and I simply adore this game very very much. I heart you, Ed Boon!

My id Software Addiction

Man, once again I’ve been neglecting with my blog updates. Bad. So very bad. Well the truth is I once again have been very busy with work and video games. Yeah it’s a curse and a blessing but let’s not go deep into that.

First of all, I’m currently hooked with the games on my iPhone. Street Fighter IV is surprisingly good. I’m not sure how Capcom is able to squeeze all the contents into one handheld game but whatever the case, it is awesome.

Playing as Ryu and Ken is always the best choice especially if you a Hadouken expert since the 90’s era. It’s a funny experience for me to play the iPhone version because I still haven’t played the console versions. Pretty lame I know. Other iPhone games I’ve been playing are Doom Classic, Doom II RPG, Wolfenstein 3D+ and Wolfenstein RPG. Yup, they are all id Software games. Since last year, I start becoming an avid id geek, reading about John Carmack and his team, learning about the id Tech engines and of course, playing their games. I recently finished playing Prey, a game made by 3D Realms and it uses the id tech 4 engine. It’s the same engine that powers the ever so powerful Doom 3.

I’m a huge fan of the id Tech 4 engine (Also known ad the Doom 3 engine). I just love gooey textures of the creatures, the metallic interiors, the weapon designs and just about everything. I’m sad to learn that the engine didn’t do so well in terms of licencing. id Software has a record of people fully utilizing their game engines starting with the Doom engine, id Tech 1, id Tech 2, followed by id Tech 3 which is also called the Quake III engine. Dozens of video games utilized these id tech engines over the years such as Half-Life, Star Wars: Dark Forces, American McGee’s Alice and more. id Tech 4 on the other hand only have seven games which utilized this engine and Prey is one of them.

I didn’t understand why it was not doing so well but then I realized it was because of competition. The biggest competitor the id Tech 4 has is the Unreal Engine and from what I understand, Unreal is capable of doing more stuff than the Doom 3 engine. Gears of War uses it. Batman: Arkham Asylum uses it. BioShock uses it. A hundred more are using it. It’s a sad turn of event for id Software because they’ve always been known for revolutionizing video game interactivity. But no matter what others think of it, I will always be a supporter of the id Tech 4 engine and I can’t wait for John Carmack to officially release it as open source sometime this year. I really want to harness the power of the engine so that I too can make a kick ass game some day.

The latest Wolfenstein game uses the id Tech 4 engine (Heavily modified) but many critics have complained that the graphics is slightly outdated. I don’t care what they say but the game looks really good in my eyes. I’m planning to play the game on the PC this week. Will write a short summary of my experience in the next blog.

The next game I want to talk about is Daikatana: a controversial game back in the late 90’s and the year 2000. It was created by John Romero, co-founder and programmer at id Software until he was fired from the company in 1996. Long story short, he formed a new company called Ion Storm and claimed to the world that he’s going to make a game that would sell. Alas, he was unable to fulfill that statement. Due to arrogance, poor decisions and ambitious goals, Daikatan turned out to be a huge flop and was panned by the critics. Although it happened ten years ago, people do still talk about its suckiness and it was recently added at GameTrailers’ Countdown as the second most disappointing game of the decade.

I didn’t believe all of that. I thought the media were simply exaggerating and not taking the game seriously. I decided to give the game a try and after only playing a few minutes, I took it all back because yeah, Daikatana really sucks. But why does it suck? That’s what I want to know. After some extensive research on my own, I now know why people dismissed it so much. Here’s a preview of Daikatana, a year before it was released.

As you can see, John Romero and his team got both the press and the public all pumped up with excitement by telling everyone that Daikatana will be a great game thanks to its advanced AI, cool graphics and non-stop action. But when the game finally came out on store shelves, gamers found neither of those promises. The graphics are unimpressive and it looks so dull and depressing, both the enemies and your allies are incredibly dumb who’d do dumbfounded things, and the action level is pretty shallow thanks to its poor level design and pathetic weapons. I know this because I’m literally playing the game right now and it’s appalling to see how awful the game is. But having said that, I’m determined to finish the game until the end to see the final conclusion of Hiro Miyamoto and the gang. Despite the abysmal performance, Daikatana at least has a good story to tell that might make a curious gamer like me to check it out. I could go on explaining more about John Romero and Daikatana but I think you should find out yourself, or I could write it down in my next blog. We’ll see.

The last game I want to talk about is American McGee’s Alice. I just finished playing the game a few days ago after ten years of delay and overall, it was alright. The first part of the game is really exciting but as the game progress, it gets repetitive and you get to the point of wanting the game to end soon. And when it does end, it has the shortest and the most disappointing ending I’ve ever seen in a game recently. Sure, it’s a happy ending but I think it could’ve been better. I wanted to see Alice talk to the Wonderland characters before she departs to the real world but nope, that didn’t happen. Gamers who’ve played this game will know exactly what I mean. Again, it was an ok game. Terrific visuals and music score but the experience not so great. Looking forward to see how Alice 2 follows up.

You can tell that I’m into id games at the moment. I’m even reading the autobiography about the two Johns who changed video games forever. It’s called Masters of Doom by David Kushner. It’s a fantastic read especially if you’re an id freak like me. Highly recommend it

-Phear