Matt’s 2011 In Review

Bill has already intro­duced the con­cept, so I won’t tread over that ground again. Instead, here are my 2011 expe­ri­ences, wrapped up in a pret­ty Christmas bow for you! Oh, and with­in this present are numer­ous spoil­ers. I spare no secrets.

Of the games that were released in 2011, I played, in rough­ly this order:

Dead Space 2
Dragon Age 2
Portal 2
Killzone 3
L.A. Noire
From Dust
Crysis 2
Gears of War 3
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
F.E.A.R. 3
Infamous 2
Arkham City
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Good lord.

Games I still intend to play:
Dark Souls
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Awards Time
Best Game: Portal 2

Favorite Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Best Male Voice Actor: Nolan North, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (Are you sur­prised?)

Second-Best Male Voice Actor: Brian Bloom, Dragon Age 2

Best Female Voice Actor: Ellen MacLain, Portal 2

Second-Best Female Voice Actor: Eve Myles, Dragon Age 2

Most Ludicrously Terrifying and Exhilarating Scene: Sinking Cruise-ship, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Most Time Wasted Looking At Unmarked Bottles and Matchbooks: Me, L.A. Noire

Strangest Addition To An Old Franchise: Molemen with Punk Hair, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Best New Weapon: Massive ani­ma­tron­ic T‑rex with lasers, Bulletstorm

Prettiest Game: I swore I was­n’t going to spam it, but Uncharted 3 is gor­geous

Scariest New Enemy Type: Goddamn Chargers, Dead Space 2

Most Tragic Moment: Knight-Commander Meredith leaps a hun­dred feet into the air, Dragon Age 2

Second Most Tragic Moment: Dom dies, Gears of War 3

Least Realistic Character: Bertrand, Infamous 2 

Dead Space 2: Kill Me Again, You Filthy Animal

That’s pret­ty much exact­ly what I told this game, over and over. Dead Space 2 was one of those rare sequels that changed up the nar­ra­tive for­mu­la of the first (by mak­ing Isaac a voiced char­ac­ter) and real­ly pulled it off, forg­ing a much bet­ter expe­ri­ence in the process. I thought the level design was quite solid, and the visu­al design of the game only improved on the orig­i­nal; the space sta­tion of the sequel was, if any­thing, even more per­son­al and ter­ri­fy­ing than the Ishimura of the first, and that’s only sweet­ened by a return to the Ishimura in the late game. Dead Space 2 does­n’t offer up much in the way of a com­pelling plot, but is pushed along by the play­er’s burn­ing need to get to the next intense set-piece that Isaac will have to endure. Or, actu­al­ly, die from a few times, then scrape past. And you know what? That’s incen­tive enough.

Should You Play It: If you like hor­ror movies, games that feel “fin­ished” and visu­al­ly whole, dark games, or a lin­ger­ing sense of dread in dark hall­ways, then absolute­ly. 

Dragon Age 2: Victory in Scope, Failure in Endurance

Like any recent BioWare title, I’ve played through this game at least three times, aim­ing at dis­tinct and unique char­ac­ters with each run. I had sev­er­al issues with Dragon Age 2, includ­ing the lack of vari­ety in com­bat encoun­ters, par­tic­u­lar­ly in vil­lains, and the way that the entire third act was such an incred­i­ble let-down and of such dimin­ished qual­i­ty to the other two that it stuck out, thumb-like and sore. And yet, on my first play-through, I encoun­tered a num­ber of incred­i­ble, dif­fi­cult scenes in which I truly did­n’t know how to respond, or was sur­prised by the extra scenes includ­ed that served just to enhance the illu­sion that my char­ac­ter and Anders had a rela­tion­ship. I always felt like my char­ac­ter exist­ed in a real place, among a real com­mu­ni­ty. The game’s scope was excel­lent, and the aim and spir­it of the game was right on. It’s very pos­si­ble that, as I’ve played, I best see the game they want­ed to make and not the game they released, but there are some real gems in Dragon Age 2.

Should You Play It: Probably, but you should real­ly steel your­self for dis­ap­point­ment in Act 3. 

Portal 2: They Do All Their Science From Scratch

After every solved puz­zle in Portal 2, I expe­ri­enced a simul­ta­ne­ous pride in my own deduc­tive abil­i­ties and respect for the bril­liant folks behind this beau­ti­ful game. Those feel­ings then grew sub­merged by laugh­ter at the next salvo of dia­logue, and then, some­times, to a very real empa­thy for the ridicu­lous, and yet very real, char­ac­ters. Portal 2 does what only it does the very best. This is inar­guable, and laud­able.

Should You Play It: Very yes. 

Killzone 3: Poor Zone 3

The plot and the char­ac­ters are trash, and Killzone 3, espe­cial­ly, got me think­ing about how vir­tu­al­ly every first-person shoot­er I have played in recent mem­o­ry had no trou­ble offer­ing inter­est­ing set­tings and even cohe­sive and art­ful aes­thet­ic pol­ish to a game, but includ­ing decent writ­ing or voice-acting is utter­ly beyond them. FPS is so often the realm of the visu­al and the spa­tial; the audio, and the imag­i­na­tion, are atro­phied. All this to say that Killzone 3 looks beau­ti­ful, and plays like silk; it man­ages to feel like war more than any Modern Warfare or Call of Duty has. But the indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences of per­son­al ter­ror in a mas­sive bat­tle­field never aggre­gate, or if they do, it coa­lesces into a piece of nar­ra­tive that is trite and bor­ing.

Should You Play It: If you like pret­ty shoot­ers that shoot good, you should play it. If you’re a snob like me, but with­out the love for pret­ty shoot­ers, then stay away from it. 

Bastion: Narrate My Dreams, Mr. Cunningham 

Bastion was an utter sur­prise. From the first moments, when The Kid awoke to a strange new world under the watch­ful nar­ra­tion of a gruff voice, to the final deci­sion The Kid must make at the precipice of the unknown, choos­ing between a new world for the out­cast or retroac­tive­ly sav­ing the lives of thou­sands, albeit to uncer­tain effect since there is no guar­an­tee that the same tragedy won’t hap­pen again, Bastion is mag­i­cal, thought­ful, and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly mature and acces­si­ble. Bastion achieves some­thing unique as it tack­les very adult themes while main­tain­ing the soft veneer of a chil­dren’s book. Bill has writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the inter­est­ing mish-mash in Bastion that ulti­mate­ly accen­tu­ates the com­po­nent parts, and I agree with his assess­ment. At the least, Bastion is a real­ly inter­est­ing game, but chances are you’ll find con­sid­er­ably more than just out­stand­ing game play and visu­als.

Should You Play It: Yeah, you real­ly should. And it’s so cheap! 

L.A. Noire: Let The Plot Thicken For 23 Hours, Then Bake At 400

I played through all of L.A. Noire while vis­it­ing Bill, actu­al­ly, over the course of about four days. I received the full pay-load of the game with lit­tle to no inter­rup­tion (just Bill com­ing home from work, real­ly), and did­n’t even spend time on the “side-quests” or other tasks that occa­sion­al­ly cropped up on my mini-map. Frankly, I was con­fi­dent that they had no role in the nar­ra­tive I was expe­ri­enc­ing… they were never more impor­tant than solv­ing the crime I was on, and the game never pres­sured me to pur­sue. The sec­ond I real­ized that I bare­ly even had to drive, but could just let my part­ner take the wheel, chat a few lines at me, and then tele­port the rest of the way to my des­ti­na­tion, I cheered and never drove a car (when I was­n’t pur­su­ing a crim­i­nal) the rest of the game. I enjoyed the game immense­ly at first; I still think it’s worth not­ing that they def­i­nite­ly includ­ed some amaz­ing cases in the game. The port­ing of a police pro­ce­dur­al show into a game is worth cel­e­brat­ing. Beyond that, the part­ner char­ac­ters were inter­est­ing beyond their role in the plot (which was some­times min­i­mal), and the pro­tag­o­nist was fresh in that he was a com­plex, occa­sion­al­ly incon­sis­tent char­ac­ter. But then it was like they pressed a fast-forward but­ton on the story of Phelps, because there were sud­den advance­ments that had no real lead-up. I became con­fused as to which story they were telling here… the cases? Phelps’ story? Sheldon’s? It failed to come togeth­er with strength, and I came away feel­ing like I had the broad out­line of an inter­est­ing story, but many crit­i­cal details and scenes were miss­ing. L.A. Noire was almost great, but there were baf­fling amounts of what should have been the final prod­uct miss­ing.

Should You Play It: Perhaps. It’s worth play­ing through a case or two at the Homicide desk, at least; they’re immense­ly enjoy­able. Just don’t fin­ish it, and try not to fire a gun in the mean-time. 

From Dust: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sound Of Screams

I’m still not sure how I feel about this game. It is, at the very least, a fas­ci­nat­ing vision of a world where forces con­sis­tent­ly col­lide and shape land-masses and nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. The lore of the game seems a lit­tle thin, but that’s okay because the style that it builds is ulti­mate­ly enjoy­able. However, while play­ing the game, I always felt a lit­tle bit like an inter­lop­er. The con­trols were a lit­tle hard to man­age, and per­form­ing the tasks the game expects of you cer­tain­ly isn’t a quick or ele­gant expe­ri­ence. There’s an odd sec­ondary objec­tive in all of the lev­els that exists most­ly just to length­en play-time. The game does­n’t feel beau­ti­ful, and that might just be to its cred­it; like the mate­ri­als you’re work­ing with, the inter­face and con­trols are rough and hap­haz­ard. Still, most of the time I just want­ed to sit back and watch things hap­pen. The best moments in my play-through was on the early lev­els, when I was cre­at­ing new deltas where they should­n’t have been, and less on later stages when a whole mess of sit­u­a­tions con­stant­ly threat­ened the trib­al vil­lage under my care.

Should You Play It: If you’re into sim­u­la­tion expe­ri­ences, go for it. It’s cer­tain­ly a fas­ci­nat­ing engine, and worth check­ing out for the price. There’s also one level where you cre­ate a mas­sive rock wall to keep out con­stant tidal waves that I can only describe as majes­tic. 

Catherine: A Tale Of Two Biddies

This game had a lot of poten­tial, prob­a­bly before the mak­ers of the game actu­al­ly start­ed to gen­er­ate mechan­ics and the writ­ers start­ed writ­ing dia­logue. Frankly, the game’s con­cept is much more inter­est­ing than its exe­cu­tion. I wish more games would tack­le this sub­ject mat­ter, and I also wish that Catherine did­n’t. At the begin­ning of the game it appears that it will be mature about the sub­ject and, more impor­tant­ly, offer the play­er inter­est­ing choic­es in a very emo­tion­al­ly charged sit­u­a­tion. Catherine fails utter­ly at this. The few times I was actu­al­ly given an option in Catherine, I played a very bad man, and the game failed to take notice, instead por­tray­ing Vincent as a man who felt quite guilty (which was okay) and who kept mak­ing moves to cut things off with Catherine and reunite with his estranged girl­friend Katherine in spite of his appar­ent behav­ior (which was not okay; a game should not offer you sig­nif­i­cant choice and then ignore your deci­sions). What’s more, the game quick­ly becomes off-kilter, ridicu­lous, and a waste of time, all wrapped around long puz­zle sequences that were decent, but not actu­al­ly that inter­est­ing. In the end, the game fails to make even a lit­tle bit of sense, and cross­es the fin­ish line with a long line of shat­tered dreams in its wake.

Should You Play It: If you’re a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment, or you’d like yet anoth­er exam­ple of how to make a less-than-unified game expe­ri­ence. 

Bulletstorm: The Only Thing My Guns Can’t Do Is Help Me Grow As A Person

I real­ly want­ed to hate Bulletstorm. Really, real­ly hard. It’s macho-man, bro cul­ture exte­ri­or repulsed me, as did the pop­u­lar story about how a cer­tain design­er demand­ed that the sin­gle female char­ac­ter’s breasts be empha­sized to a sick­en­ing degree, but luck­i­ly anoth­er (female) design­er urged that her small chest was more than fine, increas­ing her role as tough gal as it decreased her role as sex sym­bol. I went in ready to be dis­gust­ed, but curi­ous about the laud­ed skill-shot sys­tem and how it would play out in the cam­paign (since the “Echoes” mode held almost no inter­est to me; accru­ing points, even via cre­ative mur­der, tends to be about as inter­est­ing as watch­ing water bead on a win­dow. Less inter­est­ing, per­haps). I was very, very sur­prised when I found myself delight­ed by the inter­est­ing locales and pace of the revenge/redemption tale, and even more sur­prised when I found it even slight­ly emo­tion­al­ly com­pelling. Though the dia­logue is far from gold­en, and the char­ac­ters far from fas­ci­nat­ing, the main char­ac­ter’s regret is under­stand­able and inter­est­ing. It was bet­ter than I expect­ed when the gruff dude I was play­ing expressed sor­row over his boor­ish, sui­ci­dal behav­ior at the begin­ning of the tale, and even­tu­al­ly learned to care again. Timeless tale it was not, but it was, at the least, much bet­ter than any of the adver­tis­ing had led me to believe. Oh yeah, and the weapons are wild, hilar­i­ous, and fun.

Should You Play It: Only if you real­ly like FPS games, you don’t real­ly care about what hap­pens in a game so long as some­thing is blow­ing up and one-liners are being thrown about, or you real­ly want to be sur­prised by a game. 

Crysis 2: Crysis-core

On the bright side, Crysis 2 is gor­geous, fea­tures a pret­ty cool nano-suit with a smart upgrade sys­tem and dif­fer­ent modes (armor, stealth and mobil­i­ty) that real­ly changes the way a play­er approach­es and thinks about fire-fights, which is admirable, fun, and makes you feel like a one-man preda­tor (that preys on whole armies) in a way that’s quite unique. However, the game is slight­ly repet­i­tive, the bal­ance of action and pace always feels a bit off, and the plot, which should have been inter­est­ing, utter­ly fails to amuse. It even has aliens that, in a feat I can’t quite explain, are incred­i­bly bor­ing from their first intro­duc­tion, and even­tu­al­ly become so com­mon­place and annoy­ing that, mid-way through the game, you wish you could just fight human sol­diers to the exclu­sion of every­thing else. I could­n’t fin­ish it; I just lost inter­est.

Should You Play It: Some of the ideas it has are worth inves­ti­gat­ing. The options built into the nano-suit do change the way you approach sit­u­a­tions, so it’s a unique expe­ri­ence in that, and until it gets bor­ing it offers a simul­ta­ne­ous expe­ri­ence of immense power and fragili­ty. 

Gears of War 3: There Are Still Chainsaw Bayonets

It’s more Gears of War, but the plot and dia­logue isn’t offen­sive­ly bad. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and there are a few truly cool moments in the game that caught me off guard with their qual­i­ty. Horde remains fun, if you can find friends to play it with.

Should You Play It: It’s pret­ty much the best third-person shoot­er. If it appeals to you, then yes. 

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: Charted The Path To My Heart

I love the Uncharted series. Each iter­a­tion has great writ­ing, enjoy­able char­ac­ters, fun set-pieces and game play that alter­nates between solid shoot­ing mechan­ics that fit the genre and puz­zle solv­ing in tombs that is occa­sion­al­ly truly clever. Like a good date, Uncharted 3 always takes you to the nicest places and does­n’t linger too long at any of them, main­tain­ing a fan­tas­tic pace. Uncharted 3 tells its story with flair and grace, and offers the clos­est thing you’ll find to an Indiana Jones movie in game form. It does­n’t do any­thing all that new or stretch the bound­aries of how games can be art or offer new expe­ri­ences, but it does every­thing with pol­ish and charm. Uncharted 3 is refined, and every minute offers some­thing to laugh, smile, or gasp at. Best of all, the ter­ri­ble boss-fight at the end of Uncharted 2 is replaced by an awe­some knife-fight with a well-dressed vil­lain on a piece of rock col­laps­ing into a huge sink-hole. It’s exact­ly as awe­some as it should be.

Should You Play It: Absolutely. I can­not rec­om­mend Uncharted 3 enough. 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Viva La Revolucion 

Human Revolution is incred­i­ble, with two excep­tions: boss fights, and the end­ing. I’m in the mid­dle of an arti­cle about how Human Revolution inves­ti­gates trans-humanism through its pro­tag­o­nist, so I don’t want to go too much into it, but suf­fice to say that the game offers a fan­tas­tic and com­plex vision of the world of the future, and is a joy to play both for the joy of tack­ling diverse prob­lems with a mul­ti­tude of solu­tions and for the joy of being Adam Jensen. Lucky, then, that only three boss fights plague the game (Pro-Tip: All three have a weak­ness to frag mines), and you can start a new game right after mak­ing it through the multiple-choice end­ing.

Should You Play It: Please do. It’s worth your time. I fin­ished it four times over a two-week peri­od, and it never stopped being great fun. 

F.E.A.R. 3: Spookily Terrible

I had a few fun expe­ri­ences with F.E.A.R. and a dark room full of friends, so I thought that F.E.A.R. 3 would be a great deal of fun. It was­n’t. Instead, it was a poor shoot­er with an incom­pre­hen­si­ble plot, a sin­gle, unin­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter, and long seg­ments of zombie-style foes that were the oppo­site of fun. Every time the game toes toward becom­ing intrigu­ing, it steps away as though intrigu­ing were made out of fire. And it is never, every scary. Not once.

Should You Play It: Just don’t. 

Infamous 2: Change Of Heart Not Supported

Better than its pre­de­ces­sor, Infamous 2 still fails to offer a con­vinc­ing char­ac­ter that man­ages to encir­cle both paths the play­er might take, an under­stand­able dif­fi­cul­ty since the poles are self-sacrificing hero and irre­deemable, homi­ci­dal jerk. The game’s nar­ra­tive as expressed through the ubiq­ui­tous cut-scenes is strong between these two poles, and fails to be con­vinc­ing in either case. Worse, it reg­u­lar­ly fails to make your choic­es all that impor­tant except in one sig­nif­i­cant instance, where it lim­its the free­dom of the play­er. Let me explain: Infamous 2 com­mit­ted its worst sin in the end-game, when I was pre­sent­ed with a deci­sion that was actu­al­ly pret­ty com­plex and inter­est­ing. Should I acti­vate a device that will kill me and every poten­tial super-hero on the plan­et in the shaky hope of destroy­ing a plague rav­aging the “com­mon” folk, or should I destroy it, essen­tial­ly tak­ing the safe route by sav­ing the poten­tial­ly spe­cial indi­vid­u­als of the world, even if it means that most of the pop­u­la­tion dies? I decid­ed that my Cole would break form and save him­self, since it was also the route that guar­an­teed human sur­vival… but then the game would­n’t let me. I stared at my screen in con­fu­sion for about a minute before real­iz­ing that, to make that deci­sion, I would need to lower my karma, prob­a­bly by run­ning around town and mur­der­ing large swaths of inno­cent civil­ians in what was appar­ent­ly an attempt for Cole to devel­op the resolve to con­demn most of human­i­ty to a ter­ri­ble plague. Then I actu­al­ly yelled at my screen, inform­ing the game that it just ruined itself for me. The end­ing (that I did­n’t want to choose, but did) con­tin­ued in that vein, invok­ing the nor­mal tropes and boss-fight moments, but it was not at all com­pelling. It’s almost unfor­tu­nate, then, that Infamous 2 is so fun to play.

Should You Play It: It does a good job of mak­ing you feel like a super-hero or super-villain, but it fails to be emo­tion­al­ly con­vinc­ing or inter­est­ing. 

The Binding of Isaac: I’d Describe It As Delicious, But Ew

I had seen a num­ber of my friends play­ing Binding of Isaac via Steam, and inves­ti­gat­ed because of the name. I bought it because of the price. Binding is a strange, strange game that I enjoy, but can’t play for long. The play­er takes con­trol of Isaac, the son of a very reli­gious moth­er who receives a mes­sage from God that she must kill lit­tle Isaac, and Isaac escapes to the base­ment, a ter­ri­ble and mas­sive dun­geon filled with chil­dren who descend­ed and died before him. Isaac is naked, and his only weapon is his tears. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing set-up, and the foes and décor are com­pelling, to say the least. The mon­sters pop­u­lat­ing the base­ment are all par­tic­u­lar­ly fleshy, mis­shapen and wrong… there are heads with­out bod­ies, and bod­ies with­out heads, flies aplen­ty, and even­tu­al­ly walk­ing vagi­nae that spew blood at Isaac, caus­ing dam­age pre­sum­ably both phys­i­cal and men­tal, and the boss­es are hor­ri­bly mutat­ed crea­tures until, in the tale’s ter­mi­nus, Isaac must fight his moth­er, who man­i­fests as a huge, fat leg and other body parts pressed against doors so that only grotesque details appear to wreak havoc on poor lit­tle Isaac. Binding is unique, and is built around the sort of pun­ish­ing ethos com­mon to games of old. It’s inter­est­ing, and, I’m sure, unpalat­able to cer­tain tastes, but I look for­ward to com­ing back to it for fur­ther short peri­ods of play.

Should You Play It: It’s worth a look, if just to see every­thing that I describe above. It’s cheap, too. 

Skyrim: Thar Be Dragons

I haven’t got­ten too far into Skyrim yet, but I’m pleas­ant­ly sur­prised by it. I played a fair bit of Oblivion, but most­ly out of a curi­ous sense of duty. For a mul­ti­tude of rea­sons, Skyrim is much more palat­able to me. The indi­vid­u­als who pop­u­late the world feel just a lit­tle more authen­tic, and have bare­ly crossed the line into “vague­ly real” ter­ri­to­ry for me thanks to bet­ter ren­der­ing of faces and improved voice-acting and writ­ing. The skill pro­gres­sion sys­tem in Oblivion always seemed obtuse to me (to max­i­mize one’s level, one would actu­al­ly avoid lev­el­ing until one had jumped enough, or brewed enough potions, to squeeze just enough abil­i­ty progress into the expe­ri­ence with­out mak­ing the rest of the world tougher. This has the side effect of grow­ing trep­i­da­tion as the bar that sym­bol­ized your progress to the next level rose, cul­mi­nat­ing in, even­tu­al­ly, eschew­ing every­thing your char­ac­ter was tal­ent­ed at so that you did­n’t waste all that extra effort by acci­den­tal­ly fig­ur­ing out how to whack heads with maces with a teen­sy bit more finesse), but Skyrim’s lev­el­ing sys­tem is ele­gant and made me excit­ed about every new level, as any deci­sion I made on that level would cas­cade back onto a slew of pow­ers or actions I had been using, sud­den­ly fill­ing them with new life. I look for­ward to step­ping back into Skyrim when I have the time and money to pick it up for myself.

Should You Play It: Perhaps. It is a lit­tle addic­tive. 

Arkham City: Silent Knight, Wholly Knight

I haven’t had the time to fin­ish Arkham City yet, but I have played most of it, and it improves on the already great for­mu­la test­ed in Arkham Asylum. The boss fights are qual­i­ty expe­ri­ences (espe­cial­ly a bril­liant encounter with Mr. Freeze that essen­tial­ly rein­vig­o­rat­ed my belief in the boss fight; it still has life, if done prop­er­ly!), and soar­ing about the city is just as fun as it should be. Arkham City is noth­ing less than a Batman sim­u­la­tor, and the play­er is always invest­ed with a great many options regard­ing how to approach the chal­lenges pre­sent­ed. Batman still some­times runs out of inter­est­ing things to say, though.

Should You Play It: Do you want to be Batman? 

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Some Things Don’t Change

Unfortunately, I also haven’t had time to fin­ish Skyward Sword yet, either, but so far I am hav­ing a great deal of fun. The only thing I’m afraid of right now is that there will be too few dun­geons to sat­is­fy my need for more dun­geons. This is exact­ly what I want­ed when I first picked up a Wii con­troller; Skyward Sword deliv­ers on the poten­tial. I can­not stress how cool it is to swing Link’s sword about. Upon rais­ing my nunchuck to ready Link’s shield, I would occa­sion­al­ly find myself tak­ing a defen­sive pos­ture, my eyes pok­ing above its round­ed white top. Seriously. All my issues with the odd, effem­i­nate vil­lain dis­ap­pear the moment I swing that sword. Unsurprisingly, the dun­geons in Skyward Sword remain true to form, offer­ing new abil­i­ties and test­ing grounds for those new abil­i­ties and boss­es who require your new abil­i­ty to defeat. It’s like com­ing home.

Should You Play It: Do you want to look like an idiot as you sword-fight with your Wii-mote?

As always, I wel­come com­ments and con­ver­sa­tion! I hope you had as good or bet­ter gam­ing expe­ri­ences in 2011, and may your gam­ing in 2012 be sur­pris­ing and full of kick-ass quick-time events!

Matthew Schanuel

About Matthew Schanuel

Matthew Schanuel lives in Boston, Mass. He's a beer aficionado, a game player (and designer!), an academic-in-exile, a DM, and, most recently, an employee of a financial non-profit. He draws the comic Embers at night over at