DoFuss’s Big Budget Games of 2011 (yes, I know its May).

Gaming is becoming an increasingly wonderful (and expensive) hobby. Last year I must have played and completed more games than in any previous year. That isn’t me bragging, it’s a sad statement of my year of part-time employment that has left me with a depressing amount of free time to indulge my hobby. Luckily gaming was accommodating, with a flood of polished and interesting releases throughout the year.

In a year so filled with titles any list I can offer is far from exhaustive, but I can say with certainty that if you see a game the coming few posts that you haven’t tried, then you should probably consider it.

This is a list of the biggies. Games with the advertising muscle to make an impact, with or without the medias’ approval. Don’t hold that against them though, seek them out if they passed you by.

Dead Space 2 – A real treat to start the year for a horror game fan. Managing to blend horrific monsters, creepy plot and tight shooting action, its success was well deserved. While I still maintain the original Dead Space offers a scarier and more terrifying experience, Dead Space 2 to builds on the unnerving interplay between church, state and unknown alien force that was only hinted at in the original.

Dead Space 2's setting, the silent and isolated Sprawl.

Portal 2 – My expectations were mixed for Portal 2. With the original an unexpected bonus in the Orange Box, much of its appeal was a snappy sense of humour and the fact it was basically perceived as free. But keeping the same sense of discovery and comedy was going to be a challenge. Valve should never be doubted however and the results were impressive, maybe lacking some of the wonder of the original, but managing to defy (my) doubt filled expectations.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – No real surprise here, this vast game can accurately be described as epic with little hyperbole. Advances on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s combat system and graphics were to be expected but it was the Radiant AI that dynamically introduces quests that really elevated Skyrim.

Skyrim finally made hairy overly large men the stars, so I felt right at home.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Another globe trotting adventure for Nathan Drake, Uncharted 3 was incredible, with ship, airplane and desert sequences that were as good if not better than any single set piece of Uncharted 2. It may have ultimately been a less cohesive and rounded story than the second game, but it remains a fantastic and moving adventure.

Super Mario 3D Land – It is hard not to love Nintendo when they are on their game. The effort and craft they but into each of their flag ship titles is undeniable, and Super Mario 3D Land is a prime example. An instantly familiar feel despite entirely new angles of play, in conjunction with the best use of 3D on the handheld, made this not only one of the best games on the system but also of the year.

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