Happy new year!
This, my darlings, is the final ACW news post OF THE YEAR! And to celebrate, I arranged something very special for you today: The ACWiki's BEST! GAMES! Oof..... TWO THOUSAND ELEEVEEEN!!!!
Also, we have a pool by the end of the blog, so stay around till the party ends! ^^
Four personally chosen editors of ACWiki have been asked to write about their favorite game of 2011, and below is the result. Enjoy!
"Batman: Arkham City" by War Clown
One of 2011's most anticipated games, Batman: Arkham City continues the Caped Crusader's adventures after the events of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum. With each and every trailer, info, and image released, an ungodly amount of anticipation builds up into every enthusiast and fan for the game, and raises questions at almost every turn. This year, those questions have been answered, with answers no one has expected.
Thrown into the madhouse-on-steroids by Professor Hugo Strange, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne dons the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight once again to strike at the heart of criminals from within, unraveling the plans of each and every one of his most major enemies to date.
Those that lay in wait for him were shrouded with uncertainty, deception, and secrets. But as you delve further and further into the game, you'll start to doubt whatever theory you've laid out, and before you know it, you'll only want to seek out the answers to your questions, instead of trying to solve it yourself.
With a wide array of gadgets and improved combat and stealth mechanics, Arkham City promises to immerse you into the scene itself and give you an improved experience from what you've played on Arkham Asylum. Besides the main stories, there are side missions for you to complete, as well as the Riddler Challenges.
All of these aspects have been improved to provide a more challenging experience than the previous installment, as well as a more rewarding feel whenever you finish a challenge. Besides the aforementioned, Arkham City also includes the beloved Challenge Rooms, as well as the Catwoman spin-off campaign. Not to mention the Robin and Nightwing add-ons.
The overall presentation of the game is absolutely superb; Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and our dear old Nolan North provide some of the most awesome voice work ever to be heard. Indeed, their performance is something to remember. The beauty of decay in Arkham City is also something to behold; with the new and improved graphics, you'll see your enemies and your surroundings have been done with such beautiful and visceral detail. The atmosphere of the area will haunt you every second; you can feel the dark and dank air with each step you take and every second you fly around.
No question about it; Arkham City is one of the best games of 2011, and dare I say, game of the year. Goaded with good reason by gamers, fans, and professional critics alike, your money is well spent on this installment of the Dark Knight's adventures in the video game industry.
The game will keep you entertained and at the edge of your seat, and is sure as hell no leisurely walk in the park; Arkham City provides rewarding challenges, a brilliantly executed story, and an amazing portrayal of Batman and all his friends and enemies. You'll be playing long after you're done with the main story.
There's a longer version of this review, somewhere. Find it in the darkness.
"Minecraft" by Elchzard
- "Minecraft?", you say, "Hasn't that been out for ages?"
Yes, Minecraft. It may have been available to the public since late 2009, but the game's actual release came in November of this year, much like some other large titles you may have been playing recently. ;)
It's essentially a sandbox game, giving you the choice to do whatever you like within its blocky, randomly generated worlds. Minecraft's main feature is its day/night cycle – You're given the daytime to gather resources, build, explore, and hunt – But during the night, monsters come out, and they are not at all friendly.
Enjoyed by thousands, including the only and only D. Cello, Minecraft took YouTube by storm throughout its development stages, and continues to do so during the official release.
When I started playing, the game was incredibly simplistic. There wasn't much to it other than making tools and weapons, with which you mine for more materials, with which you made... Tools and weapons. During more recent development stages, though, many new features have been added – take Enchanting, for one, a large array of craftable potions, for another, the randomly generated structures – such as Abandoned mine-shafts, NPC villages, and canyons – along with the 2 alternate dimensions it's possible to play in – the Nether and the End and you have a very feature-rich, enjoyable, and addictive game.
Another feature enjoyed by the masses is Minecraft's multiplayer mode, utilized by many here on the wiki, including Apprentice, Il Lupo, the big boss-man himself and... Me! :D
SMP or "Survival Multiplayer" allows you to... Well, play Minecraft in multiplayer. This brings an aspect of social-ness to the game, making it massively more appealing to me, at least. If you'd like to play with us, come on down to the IRC so we can get to know you! :)
Something else worth mentioning are the Mods that many, many talented people have developed, to add something else to the game. You can turn your medieval-feeling Minecraft world into something looking like the year 3000 with an easy modification to the game's files.
These add even more replay value to the title, really meaning you get your money's worth out of Mojang A.B.'s wonderfully crafted piece of software.
I also enjoyed the development team's involvement with their audience, throughout Minecraft's development and after release. Ex-Lead Developer Notch brought (and, indeed, still brings) humorous updates on the game's development to its userbase via the mediums of Twitter, Facebook and tumblr, and is now IGN's person of the year!
I fell in love with this game the moment I downloaded it, after having it recommended by a friend, and my feelings for it have only grown since then. Overall, I would rate it at 9/10, dropping a mark due to the annoying bugs that sometimes, although rarely, crop up. I would most definitely recommend this game to literally anybody. :)
Having sold over 4,000,000 copies to date, I think we can safely say Minecraft is an Indie game success story. Having organised their own convention, MineCon, and beaten Bethesda in court over the title of their next game, "Scrolls", Mojang have also made their mark on the surface of the games industry. Hopefully we'll see many more ingenious titles from them over the next couple of years. :)
"Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" by Master Sima Yi
PlayStation 3 gamers tend to get more of the good stuff lately. With major franchises signing exclusive contracts with Sony, buying a PlayStation 3 is the only solution for gamers if they want to be able to play these games. Me, having owned PlayStation 3s since 2006, am absolutely not complaining about playing these masterpieces. And 2011 gave birth to several more of these masterpieces, including the one that in my opinion tops them all; Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the third major installment in a its series, and succeeds the two other games in terms of storytelling. Meaning that if you haven't played the first two games, you will lack some of the character development and... any connection you might feel to the characters. The game heavily relies on its storyline and the player's own emotions, and as such it assumes you have already played the first two games.
But that's alright, because the actual story is mind-blowing. The game relies more on actual history than its predecessor, and once again focuses on Francis Drake, the ancestor of protagonist Nathan "Nate" Drake. Following in his ancestor's footsteps, Nate discovers his ancestor was sent on a secret mission by Queen Elizabeth I of England and John Dee, that traces back to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn... For those of you who have expressed an interest in the Divine Science pack of Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy, those last three names should sound very familiar. You should also know that Queen Elizabeth had the Second Apple which was located in... ? That's right, Masyaf in Syria. Nate, traveling alongside his long-time companion Victor "Sully" Sullivan, former love interest Chloe Frazer and new buddy Charlie Cutter, starts his journey in London to eventually end up in France and later in... Syria, where his ancestor was secretly sent by Queen Elizabeth. You can do the math...
Throughout Nate's long and thrilling journey through England, France, Syria and eventually Yemen, you will find lots of humor and emotion. I have to say, the Uncharted games are perhaps the only games that make me laugh out loud, due to the occasional dry joke made by Nate or Sully. I will have to admit that as well as laughing, I also had to cry near the ending of the game; which not many games actually do. (You should know that deep inside, I'm quite emotional and sentimental, which I don't always tend to show.)
The graphics of the game are simply astounding as well. The visuals have been taken to new heights, and the gameplay has gotten a more cinematic focus. The graphics are unlike any I have ever seen in any videogame, and this does the series much honor, as the graphics have always been one of Uncharted's strong suits. Cutscenes fluidly flow into gameplay, and the gameplay has taken a more primary focus in the storytelling. For example, you will have to escape a sinking ship by maneuvering your way across the ship, and in the later part of the game you will control a drugged Drake while running through the streets of a city in Yemen.
The gameplay is still mostly the same as its predecessors. You point and shoot enemies like any other normal third person shooter, and you show off your climbing skills from time to time. Gameplay is linear, meaning you can't walk around cities like a sandbox game. You are set to find your course in a specific destination, and once you finish a chapter you will likely find yourself changing to a new destination or a different scenario. The game offers great variety and challenge, with shooting will standing on a boat during a heavy storm or following a convey of truck while riding on a horse.
But that's not all this game has to offer. The game also comes with an improved version of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves' multiplayer which... I have not really tried out yet. The multiplayer offers several modes, including your basic deathmatch and several exotic modes, set across various maps from the series. I am not a big fan of multiplayer, but judging from what I have seen of the game's multiplayer, there have been quite a few improvements including that now, regardless of whether you win or lose a match, you will gain experience nonetheless, which was quite an annoyance in the second game.
Despite not having seen much of the multiplayer, the singleplayer of the game is what I have truly fallen in love with, and I know that I will always be in love with the series. Naughty Dog, if you ever find yourself reading this wiki (on a wild night or whatever): don't leave us hanging, and continue your masterful franchise as long as you are able to.
"The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings" by Vatsa
Being a PC gamer is a great experience. Even though most companies do not like our platform, there are still those willing to release games. CD Projekt is one of the companies willing to support the PC platform.
CD Projekt's recent release was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, based on books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Witcher 2 continues the story of Geralt of Rivia, a sterile mutant with supernatural abilities and is trained to be a professional monster hunter.
Like most classic RPGs, Witcher 2 has a lot of things to do besides the story. Along with the sidequests, Witcher 2 consists of mini-games like fistfighting, and crafting useful and much required equipments such as swords, traps and potions. The difference between Witcher and other RPGs is the gray, ambiguous world that abandons right and wrong for a much more complex focus on choices and consequences. Everyone in this game is corrupt to some level. Even Geralt's friends have their own reasons for following him.
As with most RPG's, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings features character leveling for Geralt by using talent points to customise him for the players style. There are four areas that you can spend points in: Training, Swordsmanship, Alchemy and Magic.
Combat consists most sword and magic at equal measures. His primary weapons consist of Steels swords (used against human enemies) and Silver swords (used against non-human enemies). Fighting only with the swords is not enough, mastering the magical signs will help a lot in combat. These signs can be used to influence dialogue interactions with NPCs. For instance, player can use the Axii sign to extract information from unhelpful civilians or control a few enemy combatants to fight with Geralt.
Unlike most RPGs that I’ve played recently, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is the most mature one in both style and audience. Witcher 2 conveys an awesome story with a few intimate and a creative language. Most consider the inappropriate for younger gamers (or the sensitive types).
CD Projekt rebuilt their graphics engine to give Witcher 2 a realistic image. This has allowed them to add great detail to the environments and sharp textures (Something which Bioware failed to do with Dragon Age 2). Optimization might be the only drawback for this game, since you'll need on of the beast graphics card capable of handling this game. The voice acting has defiantly received some attention, since even the most unimportant character does not sound static but has some emotions (Not like the annoying voices of Assassin's Creed and how they were recycled for Revelations or the citizens of Skyrim). During my playthrough, I heard only a few voices or static lines, repeat themselves.
If you want to experience an RPG which allows you to make choices either good or bad with proper consequences, (Not like the Renegade Shepard having a few forced paragon choices) then Witcher 2 is the best out there. I believe there are no reviews that might justify this game, but only the gamer who experiences it. If your PC can handle it even at medium (looks great at medium after the previous update) then I suggest you to play this.
"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" by Cello
Skyrim is a masterpiece. It is amazing, and it manages to hit a high note in every single aspect from graphics to gameplay throughout story and coming out the other side with music. Skyrim will take you on its wings and fly to distant lands for extended and seemingly fast periods of time. Skyrim will conquer you.
The game is big. Like, really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to Skyrim. I'm a adventurer, and with 60+ hours of gameplay I only hit the fourth main mission among the various side quests and explorations I like doing. And the best part? I am NOT tired XD The game is simply unable to bore you to a point you will stop playing, it's wizardry. And in a game this big, besides walking and running and jumping and fast travelling, you can buy horses *-* My horse is so cute... I bought her because she kept looking at me with those lovely eyes: Ooooun *-* Isn't she the most cutie-cute horsie you ever saw? s2
Anyway, moving from the melting heart subject, we enter the stabbing heart subject! =D or burning heart, eletrocuting heart, freezing heart, whatever-violent-noun heart you wish to kill someone with. The game allows you to wield one weapon or dual-wield two (duh) weapons, or wield a sword and a spell, or two spells, or a Gandalf-style sword and staff. It's up to you, play as you want, kill as you wish. Archery has never been so fun in this game, largely in thanks to the amazing mechanics and physics they developed, making every kill, with a sword, axe, mace, bow, arrow or spell equally satisfying.
And in the subject of "doing what you want as you want it", Skyrim gives you amazing freedom. Want to shoot people like watermelons from miles high with a bow? You can! Wanna run right into the middle of a pack of mercenaries slashign throats and roasting flesh? Check! Rather go sneaky about it and cut throats without ever been seen? Go ahead!
The fun thing is the skills you use most are the ones developed, so the more you do what you like, the better you become at it. That, along with some pretty cool cinematic kills keeps thing interesting (in case killing people in 500 different ways isn't interesting)
Besides that, you got the usual array of stuff to do, like pickpocketing, breaking in, stores, conversations, music, cutting wood, mining ores, smithing, skinning animals and other normal stuff.
And the best part of the whole game? All that... with DRAGONS!
Dragons are the soul and fun of anything ever -- EVERYTHING would be better with dragons. If you think sex is fun, imagine having sex while you and your partner are strapped to a flying dragon. Even awesomer!
Dragons are worthy adversaries, very smart and powerful, and most important of all: unpredictable. They are endless and fly through the land at will, appearing randomly and attacking anything in sight. Nothing compares to the thrill of riding your horse through a beautiful green plain, when suddenly you hear a defening roar, your view is engulfed in flames and the world shakens beneath the thunderous clap of giant wings flying directly above and near you. Dragons can go from "shooting flames from the sky" or "dragon flaming bombing run!" to "up close and personal I want your head SNACK" in seconds, and they look great while doing it. And they ALSO look great dying. Be it from a slash to the head, where you flip on their neck and stabs their skull with a sword, or be it from a arrow shot right in his eye mid-dive ending with him kissing the ground and leaving a huge trench and a trail of destruction, they will captivate you like no other mythical flying creature can. And the best thing, the whole fight is accompannied by a huge battle chorus, setting the scene for a legendary battle of man vs dragon.
One of the most enthralling soundtracks ever found on a videogame -- they are John Williams and above AC1 level of immersion and quality, bringing the gameplay to new levels -- and top notch visuals and details award this the title of best game of 2011 for me.
So if you haven't got Skyrim, go check it out. If this text haven't convinced you to buy Skyrim, do it for the Dragons. Dragons are just so lovable, really.
I hope you enjoyed this post with the participation of others so many hardworking staff members =P And before I forget, we have been considering the idea of a fan section (where users could post fanfictions, pics, and other stuff separated from our canon and real articles but enjoying the same features and resources the whole wiki has) for a couple of years already, and recently after a breakthrough I had on it's implementation, I want the whole community's oppinion if we should go ahead with it or not. So, what do you say?
So that is all for this year! Thanks to all of you who joined us on this journey for the past year, and that next year we may go even further! May you have someone to kiss by New Year's Eve. XD
A Happy New Year for all!
Cello out... until 2012.
"It's not foresight or hindsight we need. We need sight, plain and simple. We need to see what is right in front of us."