Our correspondent in Japan (no matter how many times I type that it makes me feel like we are awesome) has come up with a list of his gaming faves for 2011.
Batman: Arkham City
In 2009, I named Uncharted 2 as my game of the year. But with the shiny pink goggles of retrospect now at my disposal, I look back and see that, in fact, the game I loved most from that year -and indeed, more than any game released since- was Batman: Arkham Asylum. Debating whether Asylum or City is better is beside the point – that’s like arguing about Licensed to Ill or Paul’s Boutique is the better Beastie Boys record. In both cases, we’re talking about consecutive classics, where the followup dramatically expands in scope and range while maintaining most of the key elements that made the original so beloved. Also: I got to punch a goddamn shark in the face!
Days after completing my first play-through (and certainly not my last) of Bastion, I was still trying to perfect my vocal impression of its omnipresent narrator in my daily routines. ”And then the toast just slipped out of his hand and fell to the floor. Of course it landed butter-side down. But then, the kid never was much good at buttering his bread.” Like the game itself, those lines seem straightforward and uninteresting to the uninitiated. But to those who’ve experienced it, the emotional mark left is indelible.
Egads! Such beauty!
That ending! All those hilarious lines of dialogue! The tremendous sense of satisfaction upon solving room-sized puzzle after room-sized puzzle. And, you guys, I haven’t even touched the multi-player yet! I bet it’s good. In a testament to my enjoyment of this game, I’m saving it for when I can play it split-screen with people I love.
The Odd Couple of the future.
Child of Eden
Played with a controller and simulated surround-sound headphones, this game sent me into a drugged-out haze of euphoria. It is the first game ever to leave me feeling relaxed and at peace with the universe after a play session. It is the only game I have ever been excited to show to a girl, and when I showed it to her, she said ”oooh” several times and that also made me feel good about life.
Girls like guys who like Child of Eden.
This was the year for me to quit being a square and get down with iOS games. Turns out, this is where the future’s at after all. Though I played and enjoyed many game-like things on my 4th Generation iPod Touch, Jetpack Joyride feels to me like the most pure distillation of fun. It combines a clear love for the SNES-esque pixel art aesthetic I love so much with the greatest thing to come out of this generation of gaming: layers upon layers of achievement systems.
There are subtle hints in the game.
Last But Not Least
Four words that are amazing and possibly comprise the title of the game of the year: Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf.
‘Nuff said. – ed.