Saturday, June 2, 2012

Best Games of 2011

Hello and welcome to a long-awaited edition of The Doctor's Prognosis!

Like last year, I will be giving micro reviews and scores for every game mentioned, leading up to the coveted Game of the Year spot. These, of course, are my own opinions and only games I have actually played are eligible. Let's begin with best downloadable game!

Best Downloadable Game of 2011
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes

Never having played a Might and Magic game, I had no interest in the universe whatsoever. But the idea of an RPG with battles that are puzzle-based intrigued me. So I gave the demo a shot and I was hooked! I purchased the game and got 100% completion in about 40 hours. Multiplayer options give the game longevity. But the main game is really good, and worth the price of admission alone. Clash of Heroes also has some amazing music. Skip to 3:30 for my favorite part of the following track.

Do not just listen to me. Try out the trial version of the game yourself if you like RPGs and puzzle games. Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes gets an 8.5 out of 10, and honor of being the best downloadable game of 2011!

Best Portable Game of 2011
Super Mario 3D Land

They took the best of the 2D Mario gameplay and mixed it with the feel of the 3D games, and what we got was Super Mario 3D Land. The 3D effects were well used too. While not as good as the Galaxy series, SM3DL uses tried and true gameplay, and puts in enough new to make it one of the best games available on the 3DS. Super Mario 3D Land gets an 8.5 out of 10.

Console Second Runner-Up
Gears of War 3

The story mode of Gears of War 3 had its moments, but felt secondary to the multiplayer, which is fine. The multiplayer is what keeps everyone coming back for more. And thankfully, there are many improvements to the multiplayer. Unfortunately, there are always going to be problems and exploits that can ruin the fun a little. However, Gears of War seems to always draw me back in more than any other shooter. I am still playing this game with friends. Gears of War 3 gets an 8.5 out of 10.

Console First Runner-Up
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I almost made this number 1. Almost. And the main reason I did not was there were some control issues I experienced. But the controls are very innovative and are amazing when they work well. I do not remember being so immersed in combat before. The battles are also some of the more difficult in the series because figuring out how to fight a new enemy can be a little puzzle in itself.

Furthermore, there are portions in the game where it felt like they were artificially lengthening the game. This isn't nearly as bad as in Phantom Hourglass where you had to return and redo the Temple of the Ocean King. In fact, I would recommend everyone stay away from Phantom Hourglass due to its tediousness. But I recommend everyone with a Wii to play Skyward Sword. Its positives are just too good. Some of the best level design I have ever seen, which is saying a lot when it comes to the Zelda series.

I also really enjoyed the story, and the music is just beautiful.

Amazing boss battles, music, art direction, and level design means this is one game not to miss. Go play it now! Skyward Sword earns a 9 out of 10 and just narrowly misses becoming game of the year.

Best Game of 2011
Batman: Arkham City

Many of you know how much I liked Arkham Asylum. Well Rocksteady took everything great about it and ramped it up for Arkham City. However, this time they made it more open-world as opposed to the closed-corridor gameplay of AA. There are both pros and cons to this approach. We don't get as much amazing level design of the closed-corridor sections. It's there in AC, just not as prevalent of course.

Amazingly, traversing the large game world is fairly quick with Batman's grappling gun, which can be upgraded to make it even faster. But there is a flaw in the game's map. There is a huge section in the middle of the map that you cannot pass. So if you want to go from East to West, you have to go around instead of a straight line. This is annoying but not a big deal. It was probably due to hardware limitations. It is also worth pointing out that there were some loading issues during gameplay (I played the 360 version), though they were few and far between.

Catwoman adds some varied gameplay to the mix.

Back to the good in the game. The fights have improved to make you choose the right moves against the right enemies to keep your combo going. The Riddler side mission is even larger than last time, and is almost a game in itself. It will take you a long time to get everything there is to find. The open-world map also allows for multiple side missions to challenge you and lengthen gameplay. The boss fights have also been improved greatly. No longer are you fighting the same goons and titans over and over.

However, the best thing about the game is the amazing story. AC has a shocking ending that I did not see coming. Even if the game has been out for a while, I won't dare spoil it for anyone. This is a must-play game. Batman: Arkham City gets a 9 out of 10 and earns The Doctor's Prognosis' coveted Game of the Year Award!

Hope you enjoyed my best of 2011! See you again soon!

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