Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011: A Year In Review

With the end of 2011 fast approaching, I figured I'd stop looking for my late Christmas gift to arrive in the mail and go through some of my favorite gaming stories and favorite games from this past year.

The Fighting Game is back for the foreseeable future after two important games hit the market. First, Capcom releases Marvel vs. Capcom 3, then turned around and announced an update mere months later. It rubbed a lot of gamers the wrong way, but many of them bought it anyway. Secondly, almost 20 years after the original game released, Warner Bros. resurrected the Mortal Kombat franchise in a major way. This latest Mortal Kombat has proven to be one of not only the best fighting games of the year, but one of the best games of 2011 period. In addition, THQ released WWE All Stars, which gave gamers a great blend of modern graphics and old school arcade wrestling fun, and SNK Playmore righted the ship with King of the Fighters XIII. It was a great year for a genre that went dormant for some time, and with games like Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and Soulcalibur V coming in 2012, it looks to be another banner year for the fighting genre.

Activision's juggernaut, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, had one of the biggest first weeks in the history of gaming. The game, which received it's typical great reviews, sold upwards of 12 million units over 4 consoles in it's first week on the market, easily making it one of the best game launches in history. Not to be outdone, Electronic Arts attempted to take on the king with it's latest entry in the venerable Battlefield series. While not as successful commercially, Battlefield 3 proved to be a critical success. Microsoft also celebrated the culmination of one shooter Trilogy with Gears of War 3, and the re imagining of the first game in it's venerable Halo series with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition. Microsoft also announced that the first Halo game since Bungie left their umbrella, Halo 4, would be coming soon.

After a development cycle that included every bit of controversy that a game can endure, 2K Games finally released Duke Nukem Forever, and nobody was ammused. The title felt dated, offended some gamers and may have pretty much killed the property for good. Meanwhile, Croteam released Serious Sam 3 and it has proven that a throwback First Person Shooter can work if it isn't bounced around for a decade.

Sony and Nintendo both announced new consoles, and Nintendo released a handheld that was effectively bashed by gaming journalists and messageboard fanboys all over the western hemisphere. During E3, Sony formally unveiled the successor of their Playstation portable handheld, the Vita. The Vita featured a touchscreen and a touchpad on the back of the console. Loads of potential and hype that will either be fulfilled or falter when it's released in the US in the Spring. Nintendo announced the followup to their high selling yet much maligned Wii console, which featured a controller with a 7 inch touchscreen right in the center. The console, named Wii U, was touted to have graphical horsepower superior to the Xbox 360 and PS3, but many folks speculate that the hard time developers are reporting to have with the systems development kits are pretty unsettling news for fans of Nintendo consoles.

Finally, this was a solid year for sequels. Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Portal 2, Arkham City, Infamous 2, Sonic Generations, Rayman Origins, Zelda, Kirby, and Uncharted 3 all proved that sequels equal success if done correctly. It also proved that fewer new IPs are being created by developers, which makes for familiar yet eventually boring experiences. These are exciting yet precarious times for gaming, so here's to hoping 2012 brings a blend of great sequels and strong new IPs.

Happy New Year From The 8-Bit Animal

No comments:

Post a Comment