RurouniQ’s Games of 2011
Another year is upon us. And by “upon us”, I mean riding on top of us, bucking wildly, waving that riding crop in the air and shouting “Giddy-up you fucking nag, or I’ll turn you into crafting materials!” No doubt, one way or another, this year is going to be a wild ride, complete with dance numbers, shaky camera angles, and heroes walking slowly away from massive explosions.
Of course, the biggest object of interest to us, the hardiest of the hardcore gamers, is going to be games. And of course, each person is going to have their personal looking-forward-to list. The least I can do, dear Reader, is give you mine, and let you make decisions based on my thoughts. At least, the thoughts that are game-based and don’t have layers of id plastered all over them like a used whore.
On that note, on to the games!
(Please note I’m trying to stick to games that are more or less guaranteed to come out this year. Sorry, Diablo 3 and Bioshock Infinite.)
Obviously, this game is already out, but it’s a very solid recommendation as far as I’m concerned. If you like creative platformers, you can’t go wrong with this entry, and it even gives you the chance to exercise your creative bone, as it were, by making new levels in almost every style imaginable. Want to make a vertical shooter? Can do. Racing game? Can do. Remake of Mega Man 2? You can totally do that. And then you can post them online and have all your friends play it WITH you. If you’ve got $60 burning a whole in your pocket right now, this is the way to go with it.
DC Universe Online
Again, this one’s already out, and while I have not played it yet, GAWD is it intriguing. Reviews have been solid for a new MMO, and fans of DC Comics lore are sure to enjoy it. With any MMO, it’s best to wait a few months for patches and features to release (look at Star Trek Online; it launched as one of the most incomplete MMOs ever released, and eventually came to win MMO of the Year in many locations through its sheer amount of vast improvements). Once that rough period is passed, though, you will be able to see what an MMO is truly like. The promising reviews plus the sheer comic-nerd content will likely be enough to entertain anyone with a geek-streak in them.
Recommendation: WAIT A FEW MONTHS, THEN PURCHASE
Anyone who’s played the demo yet has at least a rough idea of what’s in store for this one. Think Gears of War with a more light-hearted balls-out foot-in-mouth creativity to it. Personally, I look forward to innovations in the FPS genre, and rewarding players for creative over-the-top kills with shoutouts like “YEAH, EAT THAT DICK-TITS!” and a higher score is a great way to go about it. I’m not expecting all that much from a shooter where I can’t even jump, but I highly approve of anything with a comedic bent like this. And I do mean “bent”.
Recommendation: PURCHASE IF YOU LOVE FPS GAMES, OTHERWISE RENT
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Anyone with their thumb on the pulse of the games industry knows why this is a big deal. I played the shit out of MvC2 back on the Dreamcast, enough to unlock everything the game had to offer (and anyone who played that knows how much time that took). February 15th can’t come soon enough for the pinnacle of fighting game perfection to be in my hot little hands.
Recommendation: WHY HAVEN’T YOU BROKEN INTO CAPCOM ALREADY TO GET YOUR COPY EARLY
A classic-style JRPG by the makers of Disgaea where each of the characters are anime girls that represent a current-gen console (and the hypothetical Sega console that would have existed). You can even make your own summons from pictures on your PS3, so it could even be yourself or your pet cat you summon. If you’re wondering to yourself how this snuck under your radar, I was asking myself the same thing two weeks ago. Famitsu reviews aren’t glowing, but if you love a good JRPG, you probably won’t care.
Recommendation: PURCHASE IF YOU LOVE JRPGS, OTHERWISE RENT FOR THE SHEER WIN FACTOR
It’s no secret that I’ve always disliked this franchise. The first one had no jumping, which just pissed me off, and while the second one looked prettier, it still wasn’t anything to shout about. Plus, I get pissed off when anyone says that they are a “killer” of something I enjoy (like the N-Gage labelled itself a Game Boy killer, and Killzone labelled itself a Halo killer). It reeks of unworthy, overglorified pretension. However, the Move compatibility of this is very intriguing, and I can’t help but wonder how it’ll work, and if its users will be able to compete against people with a good old fashioned controller, or heaven help the poor Move-waving souls, a keyboard and mouse. Single-player, though, sounds like jolly good fun.
Recommendation: TRY THE DEMO IF YOU HAVE A PLAYSTATION MOVE
I’ve always loved 3D in media, but I’ve always hated the glasses. All of a sudden, Nintendo, of all companies, rolls out a glasses-free option. Some of my favorite game franchises are going to be in glorious tres dimensiones, and knowing Nintendo, it’ll be done well. I haven’t had a chance to see what it actually looks like in person, but I’m anxiously awaiting the word that DEMO STATIONS are available for me to try, and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. Let’s not forget that my favorite N64 game, Starfox 64, is being remade for the system.
Recommendation: A MUST-HAVE FOR ANY NINTENDO FAN, IF YOU DON’T GET MOTION SICKNESS
Dragon Age 2
I haven’t finished it, but I’ve really enjoyed the first Dragon Age, and can confirm that it’s the epitome of Western RPG design. If the second one is AT ALL like the first one, it’ll be one of the best RPGs of our time. Except on the PS3, where it’ll be riddled with bugs, if it’s at all like the first one.
Recommendation: PLAY THE FIRST ONE, MAKE YOUR DECISION BASED ON THAT
This one will be fun for the story alone, and the trippy puzzles are sure to please. Throw in cooperative multiplayer (I’ll take co-op over competitive multiplayer anyday) and it’s a recipe for win. You can’t go wrong with Valve design, plus Steam’s Cloud features will ensure your gamesaves work across multiple platforms, something that more games need to embrace. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be a very long game, which makes dropping down that large dollar amount a little scary.
Recommendation: RENT IT DUE TO PROBABLE SHORT PLAYTIME
Duke Nukem Forever
You know what, I’ve never been a fan of Duke Nukem (unless you count the old Apogee 2D platformers). DNF was never on my radar. But now that it’s died a thousand deaths and has come back, given life by the makers of Borderlands… well, I’m fucking CURIOUS now. I need to see how this turns out. It’s the same reason anyone ever finishes watching an episode of Jerry Springer (because God knows that show has no value in society whatsoever): they want to see how good and/or ugly it’s going to get. I’m not saying anyone should go out and buy this, because it could be the biggest trainwreck since Daikatana or the most glorious resurrection since Jesus. It’s a crap shoot. But it’ll be an interesting crapshoot.
Recommendation: PLAY IT SOMEHOW, I DON’T CARE HOW, THIS IS FUCKING HISTORY
Shadows of the Damned
Take 1 part Resident Evil, 1 part Army of Darkness, 1 part Nightmare Before Christmas, 1 part Quentin Tarentino, and sprinkle in a dash of Cannibal Corpse. Bake at 666 degrees for 2 years and you have Shadows of the Damned. I don’t typically like B-movie horror flicks and gratuitous gore, but this one seems to hit all the right spots for me so far. Properly executed horror is so much more entertaining than the goreporn most horror houses churn out these days, and Suda51 (No More Heroes, Killer7) has it on the money.
Recommendation: PURCHASE IF YOU LIKE ANY OF THE INGREDIENTS ABOVE
I loved the original Smackdown games for the PSX. Loved them. They were more like fighting games than anything else, with more character creation than you could shake a folding chair at. My wrestler, The Evil Midnight Bomber What Powerbombs at Midnight (so I’m a Tick fan, so sue me), decimated all who stood in his path. Over time, however, the Smackdown games became less like fighting games, more like simulations, and I lost interest. They were slow, clunky, and lost the face-paced action I craved. THQ is bringing that back with WWE All-Stars. I’m sad that they’ve abandoned the realism in favor if Rob Liefeld-style characters and moon-like gravity (I can juggle-punch my opponent multiple times mid-air bouncing off the ropes???), but I’ll take it in favor of the fast-paced action with the wrestlers I grew up loving.
Recommendation: PURCHASE IF YOU LIKE WRESTLING
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Most people probably haven’t heard of this one. This is an underdog I’m wholeheartedly rooting for, an action RPG headed up by former Red Sox pitcher and MMO-fanatic Curt Schilling. He’s brought together a dream team of talent, including R.A. Salvatore and Elder Scrolls III & IV Lead Designer Ken Rolston. I’m a fan of Curt and his philosophies, and can’t wait to see this little company do big things. I think this one’s got the potential for the long haul.
Recommendation: PURCHASE AND SUPPORT THE LITTLE GUY
The makers of Bioshock 2 turn their eyes to an alien invasion conspiracy set in what appears to be the late 1940s-early 1950s. Two great tastes that taste great together, three if you count the pedigree of its development team. Yeah, Bioshock 2 wasn’t the must-play experience Bioshock 1 was, but this is 2K Marin’s turn to prove it can do great things, and from what I’ve seen the art direction alone lives up to this. Bring on the strange!
Recommendation: PURCHASE IF YOU THOUGHT THE MOVIE 2001 HAD POTENTIAL
and last but not least…
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Yeah, that’s fucking right. Fucking Lego Pirates of the Fucking Caribbean. You got a problem wit’ that?! Seriously, all of the Lego games have been solid, and I’m a big fan of the PotC series. Seeing a Lego Jack Sparrow (sorry, Lego Captain Jack Sparrow) run around fighting Lego soliders and Lego zombies while sailing on Lego pirate ships just sounds like my idea of a good time. If it isn’t to you, then you are not alive, sir.
Recommendation: RENT THIS ONLY BECAUSE IT’LL BE TOO SHORT
There you have it, folks. Can’t go wrong with the wise wisdom of RurouniQ. Just keep in mind that neither RurouniQ or Padinga.com are liable for any of your purchasing decisions and subsequent happiness. No lawsuits, you crazy litigious public! Go sue your uncle or something, you know, the one that touched you when you were little. And if he didn’t, sue him anyway. He probably wanted to.
(Image courtesy of Cafepress.)