Year of the Games: January 2011

I submitted my Game of the Year picks to Shacknews today. I don’t think we’re keeping them under lock and key, but since my picks are going to be factored into the overall scoring I figure I’ll keep my mouth shut for now. That’s no reason not to do a bit of retrospective, though. I decided to go big this year, and catalog every single game I played. That’s no small task, because by my count it’s over 70 in all.

2011 was a huge year for games, and cataloging them all really throws that into stark contrast. It was an embarrassment of riches this year, and I can only hope we have more like this one.

So, welcome to the January edition. These are cataloged by which month I started playing them, not which month they came out; the list probably will include some games from 2010. I’m not including games that I only played in demo form, but I am including games that I rented and played only a short bit of before sending them back. So I’ll be giving a short, pithy description of my feelings on each one, month-by-month, for twelve days. Expect it to be twelve straight days, unless something big happens that demands I give it a break for a night.

So let’s get started. January’s a relatively light month, as it tends to be. Just wait. I’ve already mapped out the full year, and some other months will be much, much bigger.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective – I wanted to like this game, but I found it such a bore and the art style was too off-putting. I can understand some people’s affection for it; it just didn’t make me see stars.

Little Big Planet 2 – It might be cliche to accuse it of being more of the same, but it really was. I know the creation tools got a serious overhaul, but as a mere player instead of a creator it felt more like a level pack.

Dead Space 2 – A fantastic trip back, though a bit less moody and quiet than the first. It was much refined over the first in a lot of ways, and the tonal shift didn’t bother me. I particularly liked the free-roaming space segments, and the little gag at the end that winked at the first game’s twist. Also, the eye sequence alone more than makes up for any watering down of the creepy factor.

And that’s it! Tune in tomorrow for February’s games.

  • I noted it in the story, but I find the ESA connection a little tenuous. Some are a little eager to claim the companies are continuing to support SOPA indirectly, but I can’t say I would call them complicit merely by belonging to an industry organization. It’s like claiming every actor in SAG is “supporting” a bill by virtue of membership.
  • Very clever, Capcom.
  • I’ll save my full thoughts on Bastion for a bit later, but suffice to say they deserve these sales. I’d like to see them double that.

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