A Look at the retail games that impressed us most in 2011
Well, this is it. The end of 2011 and the completion of Lasting First Impressions’ first full year online. It’s been a great year for both new IPs and sequels but which games truly stood the test of time and kept on impressing even after the first hour of play? While many games are impressive at first, some can quickly decline in the fun factor while others truly shine even after hours of play. In what I hope to be an annual award for both Retail and Downloadable games, I will rank the top games each year as the Most Impressive games that I consider worthy of your time. These games went far beyond the first hour of impressive gameplay and kept bringing me back for hour after hour of continued fun. So, without further adieu, here is The Most Impressive Awards 2011.
10) Child of Eden
Child of Eden is a psychedelic masterpiece. The visuals are captivating, the controls are simple, the music is mesmerizing and the gameplay is addictive. One of the first full action games for the Kinect, Ubisoft has brought a virtual kaleidoscopic matrix of synchronized music and mind-blowing imagery unlike anything you’ve seen before. If you don’t have Kinect, don’t worry, you can use a controller with it instead. If you have not yet played this game, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Child of Eden is an utterly visceral experience that simply must be experienced.
This game was one I was ready to dismiss before ever seeing it. It seemed like a silly kids game and a rehash of Kinect Adventures with a Disney skin. It is much more than that. I have never had so much fun with a Kinect title as I did with Disneyland Adventures. It is a simple joy to just walk around the park and interact with the Disney characters. The games included in the park are perfectly designed and respond very well to the Kinect controls. There is nothing in this game that deserves dismissing and I would encourage anyone to give this one a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.
Any franchise that can take the same concept year after year and still make a game so fascinating definitely deserves to be in the top 10 best games of the year. Assassin’s Creed Revelations is the 4th console game in this franchise and shows no signs of ending any time soon. I have not played this game all the way through because I want to go back to the beginning again and play them all in order, but I love this franchise and each game simply gets better than the one prior. After four solid games, I am still eager for more of the Assassin’s story.
The end of an Era. Gears of War 3 took what came before and simply made it better. This is a franchise that will go down in video game history and will forever find a home in my collection. While I have yet to finish the game, this was one of the first games where I actually wanted to get online and play multiplayer. I usually tend to play the single player campaign in games but Gears 3 was so much fun that I just wanted to play more and share it with friends. This is a historical title and one definitely worth playing.
This game surprised me. I had no interest in the game knowing who the developer was simply because I was never a fan of Quake or Doom. In light of this, Rage just flew under the radar for me. When I was sent a copy for review, however, I was unbelievably surprised at how addictive the game was. I was expecting a hard core FPS game that would just frustrate me to no end. Instead I found an intriguing story, great cast of characters, a beautiful post apocalyptic landscape and perfect gameplay. Although the end of the game left me a little surprised and wanting, I was, nonetheless, quite impressed with this game and thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through.
Having never played the original Deus Ex games, I was enthralled with this latest chapter in the saga and couldn’t put this game down until I was finished. Wonderful mission based action and RPG elements merged perfectly with a third person shooter made this game a must play in my opinion. The story was captivating and kept me coming back day after day. Even after completing the game, I wanted to start again from the beginning and try a different approach. This is a title that will remain in my library for some time.
4) L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire brought to gameplay something that had never been done before. Wonderfully beautiful and utterly realistic facial expressions and emotions. Emotions that were actually an integral part of the gameplay. The environment created for this game was incredibly real and each case was uniquely different from the one before it. L.A. Noire is a game certainly worthy of the time I spent completing every case and every DLC available. I am eager for more of this in the future.
Bringing your toys to life has always been the staple of any child’s fantasies. Now, thanks to Activision and Toys for Bob, this fantasy is reality. Not only is the game fun to play, the collectable toys are quality action figures and are definitely fun to.well.collect. Each Skylander brings their own unique personality and powers to the game and you are sure to find a few favourites in the over 32 available toys. Skylanders has proven to be a joy not just for kids but for adults everywhere. I really hope this franchise continues on for several sequels.
Rocksmith strives to be your personal guitar teacher and does it superbly. Any game that can take someone who has never played a single note on a guitar, to someone who can pick up a guitar in a store and play a song, is worthy of your time. If you have ever wanted to play guitar, or if you are already a master, this game is well worth your time. Put down the plastic guitar and pick up a real one!
Over 240 hours of play, 2 characters, 55 consecutive days of playing (and counting). I think that says it all. Skyrim is videogame crack. Once you start playing, there is no turning back. You will be hooked and you will think of nothing but Skyrim. Time has no meaning when you begin to play this game. Minutes turn into hours before you even know it. For any company to be able to pull off this kind of game for a console, that is not an MMORPG, is utterly incredible. Skyrim is, by all accounts, the Game of the Year for 2011. This kind of wonderfully addictive gameplay will be hard to surpass by anyone in 2012.
2011 has been a wild ride and 2012 is looking to be just as incredibly wonderful. Titles like Mass Effect 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, and Borderlands 2 are sure to keep us busy. The future continues to look bright for our beloved hobby and Lasting First Impressions will be there to see if the new titles are impressive or not. As always, You’ve Got an Hour to Impress Me.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!