Top five video games of 2011

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Thomas Keating ’13| Entertainment Editor

If you like video games, 2011 was a great year. Although, there were plenty of hits, there were quite a few misses. After playing both great and terrible games, these are my favorite games of 2011.

5) “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”

Selling 6.5 Million copies and grossing $400 million in the first 24 hours after release, “MW3” was the most successful release in the history of the entertainment industry. Did it deserve that success? No. Is it still an enjoyable and well-done game? Yes.

The campaign (story mode) of “MW3” takes place during a fictional World War III. The game begins in New York City, where Russians, not protestors, seek to occupy Wall Street. The story then progresses to Paris, Prague, Somalia and all around the globe as you seek to kill Makarov, the Russian terrorist responsible for the war.

But nobody buy a Call of Duty game for the campaign mode. The multiplayer mode is where “MW3” truly shines. Countless hours can be spent playing on the 16 beautifully designed maps. Hundreds of unlockables makes online multiplayer addictive, stringing you on for that next kill and that next weapon upgrade.

4) “Saints Row: The Third”

You start the game as the leader of the Third Street Saints. The Saints are the most successful crime organization in history, and are expanding their influence into the city of Steelport. The only thing between you and control of the city is the Syndicate, a rival organization comprising of Steelport’s established street gangs.

Other than that, the story isn’t really that important, and it doesn’t have to be. Plot and narrative take a back seat to pimping, drug dealing and cop killing. “SR3” is also a perfect game for cooperative play; running over innocents to aggravate the police, for example, is way more fun with a friend.

The best part of “SR3” is customization. Your character, your cars and even your gang are fully customizable (I personally made my character look like presidential candidate Ron Paul and drove a hot pink SWAT truck around town).

3) “LA Noire”

Set in the late 1940s, “LA Noire” follows the story of LAPD detective Cole Phelps, a WWII veteran with a keen eye and a sharp suit. The story follows Phelps as he hunts down drug-dealers, arsonists, serial killers and even corruption in his own police department.

True to the title, “LA Noire” has the feel of the “Film Noir” era of American cinema. The story of a detective with personal baggage, corruption and an eerie jazz soundtrack add to this feel. You can even set the color scheme of the game to black and white (although I just found it really annoying to play a black-and-white video game). Every case takes 30 to 45 minutes, so the game feels like a marathon of your favorite cop drama.

The gameplay is mostly focused on finding clues, questioning witnesses and interrogating suspects in order to solve the cases that comprise the storyline. Interrogations involve asking a suspect or witness a question, listening to the answer, and judging whether he/she is telling the truth, lying or withholding information. Motion capture software allows actual actors to play persons of interest, so you must watch their faces to determine if they are telling the truth.

“LA Noire” combines beautiful graphics, gripping narrative and enjoyable gameplay to create a game that is truly one of a kind.

2) “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations”

The “Assassin’s Creed” series is known for its unusual historical fiction settings; previous games have been set in the Crusades-era Holy Land (“Assassin’s Creed”) and Renaissance Italy (“ACII” and “AC: Brotherhood”). “Revelations” takes place in 16th century Constantinople (Istanbul). The main protagonist is Ezio Auditore, hero of the previous two games in the series. Ezio is now an old man, searching for artifacts left by his ancestors. Between him and the artifacts are the Janissaries, soldiers and police of the Ottoman Empire.

Other than obscure world history references, “Assassin’s Creed” features a plot full of action and intrigue. Ezio may be old, but he can still fight, spy and most importantly, perform assassinations. The story is fascinating and culminates in an epic ending that is arguably the best I have ever seen in a video game.

1) “Skyrim”

This game takes place in a fictional country after which the game is named, called Skyrim. The country of Skyrim in plunged in a bloody civil war, now facing attacks from dragons risen from the dead. These two conflicts account for about 20 hours of the game.

Twenty hours may sound like a lot, but 20 hours in “Skyrim” barely scratches the surface. Side plots include joining a thief’s guild, going to a school of magic (not Hogwarts) and killing an emperor. This and plenty of other content add up to about 200 hours (note: the internet told me that; I DID NOT play for 200 hours). With so much to do, the game is a unique and addictive experience. I personally played for a disgusting 20 hours in my first 48 hours of owning the game.

With a huge and detailed environment, a compelling story and over 200 hours of game play, “Skyrim” is easily the game of the year.

 

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