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With another year in the books, allow me to list my top 10
Xbox 360 games of 2011. While this list may not surprise you, my pick for #10
certainly will. Read on:
10: Duke Nukem Forever
– Oh boy, I’m going to get flamed for this one. Look, I will say it right here:
Duke Nukem Forever is an awful game, but that doesn’t mean it
isn’t awesome. Paradox? The graphics are bland, the AI is horrendous, but it’s
still one of my favorite games of 2011. I found it hilarious (In a good way),
even if it’s a bit too over-the-top at times (the “Hive” level, for instance).
I enjoyed Forever just because I really
haven’t played anything like it. Well, at least since Duke Nukem 3D, that is. I was thoroughly entertained the entire
time with Forever.
9: Sonic Generations
-Wow, a Sonic game on a Top 10 list? I will admit that I’m slightly a fanboy of
Sonic’s Genesis days (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement). I love Sonic
1, 2, 3, Knuckles, and I even got some entertainment out of Sonic 3D
Blast. Seeing classic Sonic levels such as Chemical Plant Zone in HD and
hearing remixed versions of the songs brought so many nostalgic memories back
to me. It almost made me forget about 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog…almost.
8: Crysis – What’s a
game from 2007 doing on here, you ask? Well, Crysis was never
released on the Xbox 360 until this year, so technically it can be considered a
2011 release. I have the PC version, and it can still hang with the best of
2011. While I didn’t really care for the story, or the main character Nomad, Crysis has one of the best interactive game worlds I have
ever seen. Everything you can see, you can probably destroy. You can support
deforestation by plowing into trees with a vehicle, or even place an exploding
barrel inside a building and watch (from a safe distance) the entire structure
blow up into splinters. I spent more time in this game experimenting with the
physics than I did with the actual game.
Combat Evolved Anniversary – Yes, in
theory this game is ten years old, but even in 2011, Combat Evolved
is still my favorite game in the Halo
series. This is the game that essentially guaranteed Microsoft’s success in the
video game world. The story is just so intriguing, and the twist the game pulls
on you about halfway through is one of my favorite video game moments. Not much
more to say here that hasn’t already been said during the past ten years. Combat
Evolved Anniversary makes you realize what
made the Halo franchise so great.
6: L.A. Noire – L.A.
Noire is probably the most realistic video game I have seen. The
movements of the characters are recreated almost perfectly, but like I’ve said
before, it can be a bit creepy at times. L.A. Noire puts you in the shoes of a detective, and you truly
feel like you are solving cases. I enjoy 1940’s film noir, and this game is
able to capture that atmosphere.
5: Portal 2 – The
original Portal was the biggest surprise of 2007’s The Orange Box. I bought the
compilation specifically for Half-Life 2, but Portal ended up being my favorite game of the package. But
once I finished it, I wanted more. Portal 2 offers the same excellent puzzle-solving and superb
voice acting that made the original so great.
4: Deus Ex: Human Revolution – I am a huge fan of the original Deus Ex game, but I
was disappointed with the “meh” sequel Invisible War. Human Revolution brings the Deus Ex franchise back, and in a big way. The way you play
this game is entirely up to you—will you sneak by those bad guys, or will you
go in guns blazing? I prefer to annihilate any bad guy I see in my video games,
and Human Revolution allows me to
play the way I want to.
3: Batman: Arkham City
– Take Batman: Arkham Asylum, add more awesome Batman villains
and heroes, place it in an even larger world, and what do you get? Batman:
Arkham City, of course. As a Batman fan, I
was thrilled to see many characters get their due in this game, after being
relegated to a mere collectible in Arkham Asylum. The voice acting is stellar, and Arkham
City is one of those rare games where you can’t
wait until the next cutscene.
2: Gears of War 3 –
My choice for Xbox 360 exclusive of the year, and by far. The first two Gears
of War games are some of my favorites, and it’s no surprise that Gears
of War 3 is high on my list. I’ve noticed
that as the series has progressed, the storyline becomes more developed, as the
story in Gears 2 trumps Gears
1. I then expected the story in Gears
3 to exceed the previous two, and I was
right. Oh, and of course it’s always exhilarating to split Locust drones in half
with the chainsaw.
1: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – What more can be said about this game? So much is available to
explore and interact with, and you will possibly never see it all. I still
haven’t seen everything in Skyrim’s predecessors Morrowind and Oblivion, despite committing over 200 hours to each of them. The
Elder Scrolls series, in my opinion, is one
of the few “true” adventure franchises out there. I feel like I’m truly there
in the world, exploring forgotten tombs and caves, and no other game offers
this sort of satisfaction. Skyrim
is the real deal.