Honorable Mentions 2011

I played a lot of damn games in 2011 and still there are more that I wish I could play and would if I had more money. Hell, I sold probably half of my PS2, PS3, and 360 games just to buy games that came out last year. Probably the only games scheduled to come out this year that I would do that for are BioShock Infinite, Resident Evil 6, and Assassin's Creed 3 (at least off the top of my head.)

Anyhow, here's a few games that I either didn't play until after my top 15 article or just didn't make the cut, then a long ass list of games that I still want to play. The list is in chronological order with the platform I played each game on in parenthesis.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3)

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is maybe my second favorite 2D fighting game ever after Guilty Gear X2 but I'll get to those some time in the future. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was a game that I didn't think would ever happen and man was I excited when it was announced. I picked it up soon after it came out, and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as MvC2, it was still a great followup to MvC2. My only real gripe is the fact that two of my favorite characters from MvC2, Shuma-Gorath and Jill, were DLC characters priced at $5 each if I remember correctly. Jill in her MvC2 appearance is even in my header image, under the M in "Matt's". I'm really sick of DLC.

Like its predecessor, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a 3 on 3 tag team fighting game featuring some of the craziest action in any 2d fighter. Capcom really got creative with the roster in this one, especially in the game's "Ultimate" followup (which, for the record, I have yet to play.) The roster includes the likes of Deadpool, who is easily my favorite new character in the bunch, M.O.D.O.K., who is a pretty much a huge head in a hovering chair, Arthur from Ghosts and Goblins, Mr Wife arm himself Nathan Spencer (Listen to your TalkRadar kids. Best podcast ever.), freakin' Phoenix Wright, and Rocket Raccoon, whoever that is. Now they're getting too obscure even for my geeky ass.
Finally, FINALLY! I can play as my dream team of Nathan Spencer, Super-Skrull and M.O.D.O.K.

Bulletstorm (360)
People Can Fly, Epic Games, EA
Remember how I said that Shadows of the Damned had a team-up of industry giants that was unmatched? Of course you don't because nobody reads this drivel but regardless, Bulletstorm comes close. Developed by People Can Fly of Painkiller fame, with help from Epic Games, and the financial backing of EA. Sounds like a recipe for success to me, and I think it turned out fantastically. I know it gets some shit for not being the best game ever made or whatever, but I think it's an amazing game with a really dumb sense of humor, much like Shadows of the Damned actually. Both of those games happen to star Steven Blum, interestingly enough.

Also like Shadows of the Damned, Bulletstorm contains a line that made me laugh my ass off while simultaneously demonstrating how God awful my sense of humor is.The two main characters are stranded on a planet full of crazy bandits and are forced to seek out their worst enemy to get off the planet. They run across one of his subordinates who is fighting off a huge group of bandits singlehandedly. As our heroes approach her after the battle, she of course wants nothing to do with them and yells that she'll "kill their dicks" if they get any closer. As she runs off, the main character can't think of an adequate response so he yells out, "What does that even mean?!...I'll kill YOUR dick!" God have mercy, my sense of humor is just abysmal.

The gameplay is just about as wacky with the game's main feature being its "skill shot" system where you are given money that you can spend on ammo and upgrades whenever you do crazy shit during battle. To assist you is your leash, which is pretty much a lasso made of lasers that can drag enemies over to you so you can do all kinds of goofy shit to kill them. By the way, Bulletstorm is a rather violent game which does the #1 thing that anti-video game morons on the news have been saying for years: it gives you points for killing people. DUN DUN DUN! Alert the freakin' Pope. Fox News' website even went as far as to say that the game encouraged rape. BEFORE IT WAS EVEN OUT. Just so you know, the game doesn't encourage rape in any way. As if that needed to be said. My point is, screw Fox News.

One last thing to note is that this game is actually really colorful. It's really a nice change of pace after playing so many brown and gray shooters lately. Unfortunately, I don't think it sold all that well so we might not see another. You can get it for like $20-30 at retail and 20$ on Steam. Support this wacky game, people!

Rift (PC)
Trion Worlds
This should almost go in the section coming up about games that I haven't played yet because I only played Rift for about a week and never did anything beyond quests and closing rifts, which is one of the game's main features. Let me first say that I was a HUGE World of Warcraft fan. I know that I have said multiple times that I hate online games but WoW is the one exception to that. If I had started this blog about a year ago, it would probably be nothing but WoW posts. For about 2 years, WoW was the pretty much the only game I played. For those familiar with the game, I played from the last few months of BC, through all of Wrath, and a few months into Cata before finally calling it quits.

The point of all that was that I was pretty big into MMOs at the time Rift came out so I had to try it for myself. Rift is fairly similar to WoW in a few ways, though it has a very different yet interesting character system. Where as WoW has 10, soon to be 11 classes, Rift only has 4, with a huge variety of talent specializations for each class; 10 each if I remember correctly. They pretty much boiled it down to the 4 RPG character archetypes of fighter, mage, thief, and cleric, but, as I said, with a large assortment of sub-classes. You can use 3 talent sheets at once so there's a massive number of possible class combinations.

As for the titular rifts, they're a pretty amazing thing to take part in. All over the game world are portals called rifts that enemies pour out of, and when a group of players attacks the enemies, the rift event starts where you have to beat increasingly more difficult waves of foes to close the rift. They're pretty much outdoor boss fights that you can take part in any time as long as you have enough players. Thankfully, the game automatically groups up players attacking the same rift so you don't have to waste your time combining groups. I got bored of the game maybe a bit too quick, probably because I was getting pretty burned out on MMOs by then, but I think fans of online RPGs would find their time and money well spent on Rift.

Jamestown (PC)
Final Form Games
Jamestown is a strange one to say the least. I actually did play this one before I did my Top 15 list but it didn't quite make the cut. Jamestown is a vertically scrolling shooter that is a normal shoot 'em up at easy difficulties and a merciless bullet hell game in the harder ones. The game takes place in an alternate 17th century where technology advanced much faster and Jamestown is located on Mars. You play as Sir Walter Raleigh who must fight back an invasion by the Spanish and their Martian allies.

Jamestown pretty much is an arcade game. Like really, you could put this game in an arcade cabinet in the late '90s and it would look right at home. The detailed pixel art graphics are a downright treat to behold. There's just so much detail put into everything that you might lose a few lives marveling at the beauty of it all when you should be dodging. The soundtrack is also incredible with a sort of symphonic/heavy metal sound that I wish would appear in games more often.

Jamestown supports up to 4 players locally but has no online for whatever reason. You'll need to play on co-op if you want to survive on the hardest difficulty (unless you're a bullet hell expert I suppose.) I can't stress enough how meciless this game can be. You will die over and over and over but you'll get a bit better each time until you emerge victorious. Jamestown is only $10 on Steam so you'll definitely get your money's worth here if you are a shoot 'em up fan.

Dungeons of Dredmor (PC)
Gaslamp Games Inc.
Dungeons of Dredmor is a wonderful blast from the past. It's a roguelike which is a genre that you don't see much of these days. While most roguelikes are made up of ASCII art, Dredmor uses more modern 2D graphics for a more accessible presentation. As is standard to the genre, the game is randomized every time you play, and replaying from the beginning often is encouraged but not enforced. See, you can set your character to hardcore when you create them meaning that if you die, the character is deleted. Death is pretty common in Dredmor so be prepared for a lot of restarts in hardcore mode. The game even makes light of your death, proclaiming, "Congratulations! You have died."

Whenever you create a character, you chose from a list of skills that range from bonuses and abilities when using specific weapons, to various schools of magic. You're encouraged to experiment with these which is another benefit of hardcore mode. Dungeons of Dredmor and its DLC are $7.49 together on Steam right now so you don't have much to lose. If you enjoy classic RPGs, you'll love this.

Bastion (PC)
Supergiant Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
If I had beaten Bastion before I wrote my top 15 games of 2011 article, it would have been on it, bumping Minecraft off the list. In fact I beat Bastion the day I wrote this article and it's maybe the main reason I finally got started on it. Bastion is an isometric action RPG with some of the most gorgeous visuals I've ever seen in a 2D game. It helps that the game's art and level design is downright amazing. The game takes place entirely on floating islands where the path rises up from below as you walk forward. You have to see it for yourself to really understand but trust me; it's a beautiful game to see in motion.

The story is also quite interesting. You play as a young man known as "the kid" who must rebuild a sanctuary called the bastion, which may be the only hospitable place left in the world after a disaster known as the calamity. It plays a lot like Diablo though it's less stat and gear heavy and a bit more action oriented.

The entire game is narrated by an old man named Rucks who literally narrates constantly, commenting on things that you do and see during gameplay. You'd think that might be a bit annoying but he has such a cool, gruff voice that you can't help but love the narration. Bastion also boasts probably my favorite soundtrack of the year. The music is just as beautiful as the game's visuals and that's saying something. The soundtrack is available on iTunes, Steam, and probably other online stores so I encourage you to check that out at least.

Bastion really is a marvel of a game that deserves to be played and it's only $15 on Steam and Xbox Live. I really hope I convince at least one person to buy it because I'd love to see what Supergiant Games has in store for us in the future. I may do a full article on this one some day so I'll leave it at that.

E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy (PC)
Streum On Studio
Here is everything you need to know about E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy, brought to us by YouTube user Truongasm, who animated a hilarious conversation about the game that took place last year on Destructoid's podcast, Podtoid:
If that doesn't make you want to play the game then nothing I can say will. By the way, here is a link to the video on YouTube (you could get there through the imbed as well but whatever.) Like it, favorite it, and subscribe so Truongasm will make more videos like this! It's sitting at 11k views right now which is criminally low for how funny this is. If God damn David after the dentist can get 105 million views, then this one deserves a few more. Also, just as Truongasm says at the end of the video, E.Y.E. is $10 on Steam so give it a try if you're a fan of games like Deus Ex.

The Binding of Isaac (PC)
Edmund McMillen
The Binding of Isaac has to be the creepiest 2D game I've ever played. Here's the premise: a young boy named Isaac is one day attacked by his mother who believes that God told her to. He flees into the basement where he finds a labyrinth full of some of the nastiest monsters I've ever seen. It's of course partly based on the bible story of the same name, but this game is pretty anti-religious with Isaac's ultra religious mother being portrayed as totally insane.

This game is hard as hell too. It plays pretty much like the first Legend of Zelda, though the whole game takes place in dungeons with no overworld to navigate. Everything is randomly generated, even the boss battles. You rarely get healing items and you only have 3 hearts which can be increased by super rare items but you can't count on that. All you can really do is keep playing and get good at defeating the various enemies and bosses so you can take as little damage as possible. Now what really makes the game hard is if you die, you get booted to the title screen. There are no saves or passwords so all you can do is practice.

The Binding of Isaac is only $5 on Steam and I believe that's the only place you can get it. I can't recommend this game to everyone though due to its disturbing subject matter and difficulty, but for the brave ones among you, you may just enjoy this one.
By the way, this game is kinda gross.

Rage (360)
Id Software, Bethesda
I really don't understand all the hate this game gets. It's something I'm noticing a lot lately actually. Gamers seem to get pissed if a game doesn't live up to what they expect and fail to see a game for what it is. It's like all the fanboys who say shit like "Modern Warfare 3 was the worst game of 2011". If you genuinely believe a statement like that then you obviously haven't played many bad games in your life for context. Go play Bubsy if you want to know what true disappointment is, then get back to me.

Man, a whole paragraph and I haven't even said the game's name yet. Rage is a first person shooter developed by Id software, the folks that brought us the Doom and Quake series. I guess that may have raised people's expectations right off the bat, especially considering that Rage has been in development since at least 2004. I could be wrong about that but at the very least it's their first major release since Doom 3 in 2004, so it's been a long time coming.

I think the problem that a lot of people have with Rage is the fact that it isn't as big in scope as they expected. Hell, even I thought it was supposed to be an open world game very similar to Fallout 3. Going even further on that point, I was one of the few people that didn't really enjoy Fallout 3. I know that from an objective standpoint, its a good game, but I just didn't like it and hoped that Rage was Fallout 3 done better. That didn't really happen, but it's still a very well made game.

It has some pretty major technical issues however, especially in the PC version which had horrific texture pop in problems at launch. I don't have the PC version so I don't know if it's been fixed but there's one huge issue with the 360 version that I haven't seen anyone else mention so maybe my 360 is just messed up. For whatever reason, almost every voice clip gets cut off before it finishes, so thank God the game has subtitles or I'd be in the dark on a few things.

Anyway, Rage's shooting gameplay is amazing if you ask me. Your foes display great AI in a genre where enemies are pretty predictable. They use cover very well and when they don't have any, they have some really crazy dodging animations that makes them a bit tougher to dispatch. Melee enemies in particular will literally bounce off the walls to avoid your fire as they run at you. Rage also features a few outdoor areas where the gameplay turns into Twisted Metal with some admittedly easy car combat. There's also races you can take part in, some of which allow the use of weapons, making it a rather violent version of Mario Kart.

I feel the same way about Rage as I did about Doom 3. Doom, Doom 2, and Quake are three of my favorite games of all time so I expected a lot from Doom 3. While it didn't quite live up to my expectation, it was still amazing. Rage is exactly the same, with maybe slightly lowered expectations after Doom 3. It really doesn't deserve all the shit it gets beyond complaints about its technical issues. You can get it for $30 on Steam and even cheaper from Amazon. If you enjoy single player FPSs, you might find Rage worth your time.

Rayman Origins (360)
Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft
I really have no freakin' idea what Ubisoft is thinking with their release schedule. Rayman Origins was released the SAME DAY as Ubisoft's own Assassin's Creed Revelations and ABBA: You Can Dance. Also Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Jurassic Park: The Game, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Need for Speed: The Run, Saints Row: The Third, Shinobi (3DS), and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. WHY THE HELL WOULD SO MANY GAMES COME OUT THE SAME DAY!? Just so we're clear, that was 10 games, 3 of which were published by Ubisoft, and 2 by Sega. Space your releases out, people. Save them for next year if you have to. Sell them during a less busy time of year where there's less competition.

Okay, now that I got that outta my system...Rayman Origins is the first game in the main Rayman series in a long time, and man, they got it right with this one. I've never really been a fan of the series beyond the first game, so I didn't really have any expectations going in. Rayman Origins, like Bastion, sports some of the most beautiful 2D visuals that I've ever seen. Origins may actually be the more visually impressive of the two. For the first time, I really feel like I'm playing a cartoon, which is kinda funny actually.

Back in the SNES era of games I imagined that this is what all games would look like in the future. I couldn't have foreseen how popular polygonal graphics would get, especially with how shitty they looked in the PS1 era. Once again I'm reminded of TalkRadar and one of my favorite quotes from the entire series. Quoting Mikel Reparaz on Aeris' death in Final Fantasy VII: "Oh look. A chick made out of triangles got stabbed...By another chick made out of triangles."

All righty. That was a long aside. Rayman Origins is just a mercilessly gorgeous game with addictive, fast paced gameplay. Anyone who pines for the bygone days when sidescrollers were king will love this one. It's available for dirt cheap on the 3 major home consoles and it's coming soon to 3DS and Vita.

Now for a rather shameful list of games that I have yet to buy but wish I had the money to. All of these games have some kind of appeal to me so I expect I'll play most of them eventually but for now they're just entries on a list (in chronological order, by the way):

Killzone 3
   - I still haven't played Killzone 2.

Dragon Age 2 
   - Same deal as Killzone 3.

Crysis 2
   - Same thing AGAIN. I wish I had money.

Mortal Kombat
   - I haven't been interested in MK in years but this one seems pretty good.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
   - Haven't played the first game and my PC probably can't run it anyway.

Infamous 2
   - Didn't like the first game but this one is supposedly an improvement.

Child of Eden
   - Someday.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
   - Gotta get a 3DS first.

   - Haven't played any of the F.E.A.R. games.

Resident Evil: The Mecinaries 3D
   -Same deal as Ocarina.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
   - Someday. I liked EDF 2017.

   - I love Atlus to death but I'm not spending $60 on a puzzle game of any kind.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
   - When they release it on Steam.

Dead Island
   - Maybe.

Disgaea 4
   - I'll probably get this game next acually, along with a later entry.

Driver: San Fransisco
   - Wow. A good Driver game. I gotta see this.

Resistance 3
   - Haven't played any of the Resistance games.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
   - I'll pick this one up soon.

Star Fox 64 3D
   - Again, I need a 3DS first.

Gears of War 3
   - I only care about the single player so I'm waiting on the price to drop.

Dark Souls
   - I hated the first game but am intrigued by this one for whatever reason. I'm weird.

Ace Combat Assault Horizon
   - Maybe. I've never really cared about Ace Combat.

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
   - Didn't like Dead Rising 2 that much but this one sounds better.

Payday: The Heist
   - Maybe. You know how I feel about online games.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland
   - I love the Kirby series. Dunno why I haven't gotten this one yet.

Battlefield 3
   - If I can get it for like $10.

Sonic Generations
   - A GOOD Sonic game? Holy crap.

Uncharted 3
   - Have only played the first game. I'll get to 2 and 3 eventually.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
   - Same deal as Gears 3.

Cave Story 3D
   - I adore Cave Story but again, I need a 3DS first.

Super Mario 3D Land
   - Do I need to say it again?

Assassin's Creed Revelations
   - Currently playing Brotherhood and will probably get this next with Disgaea 4.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
   - I actually like the first Halo quite a bit so I'll probably get this.

Jurassic Park: The Game
   - I loved Telltale's Back to the Future so I'm thinking about this one.

Saints Row: The Third
   - Have yet to play the first 2, though I'll probably skip the first one.

King of Fighters XIII
   - I love the King of Fighters series and this game looks incredible.

Serious Sam 3: BFE
   - If I ever get a better computer.

Trine 2
   - Haven't played the first one but I'll get to them both eventually.

Star Wars The Old Republic
   - If it came out earlier last year I would have jumped right in. Still kinda interested.

It really blows my mind how many great games came out in 2011. 2010 was pretty awesome too but I can't really recall another year where soooooo many great games were released, though I'm sure I'll prove myself wrong on that some day. I know that not having played previous games in a series is a weak reason not to pick up a sequel most of the time, but I like playing series in order. Again, I'm weird.

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