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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

2011 IN GAMING   *   02.01.2012
The new year is here, so it is time to summarize what it had to offer when it came to gaming.

It was a pretty good year. We had many good games, some surprises, and of course some major disappointments.

The first of this year's games I played was Portal 2. While it is not as original as the first Portal was back in 2007, it is a proper sequel. Big, spectacular, and challenging at times. I did not expect this game to be this good, and I think most people were fully satisfied with what it offered. I only played the singleplayer so far, but I am planning to go through the co-op campaign with a friend, so I will get even more out of this amazing game.

Next came LA Noire. While technically it is not a Rockstar game, they had significant impact on what the final product looked like. And it came out amazing. It is something completely new. In this case, I love the fact that playing the game feels like watching a movie, which we are also directing in a way. The cutscenes are great, so are the interviews with all the motion-scanned faces. Driving is not a vital part in this game, and I like that too. Some cases were better than others, and the homicide desk was terribly boring, but the general story of the vice and arson desks was very intriguing. All in all a superb game, and I really thought it would make the top of my GotY list last year, until a few months later.

DiRT 3 was a racing game I was really looking forward too. I absolutely loved DiRT 2, and expected this to be at least just as good. Well, it was, and it was not.
The graphics in DiRT 2 are amazing, it is still one of the best looking racers to date, and one of the most beautiful games ever. DiRT 3 offers very similar graphics. The car models have been improved, so have reflections, but the general look is pretty much the same. That is good, of course. I do not really expect games to look much better in the coming years, and I do not really have any complaints about that.
What I can complain about, is that the game was supposed to focus more on rally. I did not. We only got four rally/trailblazer locations, and even though all had a few variations and different weather conditions, it felt like we had to drive on the same stages over and over again. Even the addition of Monte Carlo did not change much, as those stages were very similar and short as well.
The addition of gymkhana was very nice, but we had too much of this. It is nice to play that mode from time to time, but it was rather repeatable in career mode. I loved the multiplayer Joyride, though, and the singleplayer D.C. Challenges too.
For me DiRT 3 was a bit disappointing compared to DiRT 2, but it was still a great racing game, miles in front of creations like The Run.

Then we had E3 in June, and it is not really worth mentioning. Wii, Natal, Move, well that was pretty much it. The PSV looked nice, but so far there are no games that would interest me. Waiting for some good racers, and something from Rockstar Games, maybe then I will consider buying the console.

In July I decided to play Crysis 2. I have already written a few words about it, so I will be brief - worst game of the year, a total disappointment, a game I would not even take for free after having completed it. A disaster.

Now is the time for Dead Island. This is the game that gets the Game of the Year title from me, but for one thing mostly - co-operative play. I completed the entire game with my friend, and it was an amazing experience. So long, so fun, so intoxicating. It did not get boring at all, it was too much fun all the time. This game shows what co-op is supposed to look like. I really hope this is the future, and more and more singleplayer games will built around a co-operative story. Some games will always be meant for singleplayer, like GTA or Fallout, they are just too expansive, but more simple games like shooters with RPG elements are perfect for co-op. I would love to play Far Cry 3 with a friend, and this is just one title that comes to mind.
Again, well done Techland, I cannot wait for the sequel.

Forza Motorsport 4 is a yet another amazing game from Turn 10. I do not like the multiplayer in games like these, so I judge it just by what the singleplayer offers, and that is a nearly perfect experience.
You decide what and how you play, and that is brilliant. Still a lot to improve, though. Hopefully, not on the 360. Number 3 this year.

I like Battlefield 3 more every time I play it, but it is still far from I would call an amazing game. It is just too random, too much depends on other people. You can either play with noobs, or against them, or some noob punishers who do not let you live for more than 10 seconds. I usually love and hate this game simultaneously, and that is just sick. Plus, there are too many bugs, DICE should really focus on that instead of nerfing everything and fixing ladder or bipod sounds. I will probably play this for a long time, but I do not think I will ever be fully satisfied.

There were other games I was thinking of playing, but I decided to put them off, or skip them altogether.

The Witcher 2, the still-PC-exclusive was a well received game with very good graphics, but it was just not for me. I do not like fantasy, or the middle ages, and unfortunately most RPGs use that setting. A pity.

RAGE was one of the most hyped up titles last year, but it was still a bit of a disappointment. Yes, it offers very good shooting mechanics, and very good graphics in general, but the most common bugs and texture problems were very annoying. Plus, the PC version was a failure, which Carmack himself said. This sounds pretty much ridiculous coming from id Software.

The Run - a few hours of singleplayer in a racing game? Well, at least that is something new.

Batman: Arkham City - a very good looking game, on consoles, and especially on the PC. Very good use of DX11, of course it came at a price. System requirements for DX11 are ridiculous (yes, I like that word), but I guess they would not bother making it if it would not help sell high-end GPUs.
Batman's gameplay is completely not for me, so I will never play it. I enjoyed watching gameplay videos, though.

I have not played Hard Reset yet, but I got it on Steam during the Holiday Sale. I will wait for a good PC, though.

I think I mentioned all the major games, at least from my point of view. I played some other games, as well as some indie titles, but nothing really made an impression on me.
Still, a nice year. Now let us see what 2012 has in store for us.


Top 5 Games:

1. GTA San Andreas
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Fallout 2
4. NFS Underground 2
5. Fallout 3

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Top Games of 2018:

1. Red Dead Redemption II
2. Forza Horizon 4
3. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
4. A Way Out
5. Gravel