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Monday, April 25, 2011

Q1 2011 gaming report – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii

Three months of gaming in the books, how is 2011 shaping up for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii?

With three months gone and done since the holiday season it’s time to take count of the good in gaming for the first quarter of 2011. January, February and March were provided with some outstanding games in 2011 on home consoles but not much in the way of game exclusives. As cost remain high, publishers and developers look to produce titles for every system leading to fewer system exclusive titles. Even the motion controls of the Wii are no longer a selling point alone with both PlayStation Move and Kinect in the fold. Multi-platform rule the day with exclusive download content, a new trend, yes, and one which will be with gamers for quite a while. So what did each console offer up this quarter, let’s take a look.
Multi-platform – Make the same game with unique content to each system = more money than developing on just one system. Makes sense, right? From the amount of titles going multi-platform gamers have to guess yes.
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Refined is the best way to describe LSWIII. Every aspect seems polished and delivers on the gameplay that made this a new gaming genre, that of LEGO that is. 
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters – All kinds of control schemes and great golf action but how long does Tiger stay on the cover? 
  • Dead Space 2 – To truly enjoy the tale of Dead Space don’t just play the solid fright fest but also pick up the books, anime, comics to really get into a well crafted world. 
  • Dragon Age II – Well crafted world applies to Dragon Age II with tons of background and other media to explore. A different route, narrative, and gameplay tweaks will satisfy fans with complaints from the first go around. 
  • Bulletstorm – Killing with skill, a very game show, and arcade feel to a graphically sweet beast of a frantic shooter. 
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – Years in the making and longer in anticipation and it still lives up to all the hype. Capcom, Marvel and fighting game fans need look no further for their next purchase. 
  • Shift 2: Unleashed – Next-gen racing gets some gameplay tweaks but retains the overall excellent the first Shift laid out for games. Not much in the way of racing titles so give Shift 2 a drive. 
  • Crysis 2 – Why do aliens always got to New York? Crysis 2 looks great, plays great, it’s just great. 
  • Homefront – Good but with Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm above as well as Killzone 3 below, it’s a tough purchase for those gamers looking for 1-2 titles to invest in. A great rental, but … 
  • de Blob 2 – de Blob was Wii only the first time around but now, with all the motion controls mentioned, it’s hitting everywhere with addictive gameplay that’s fun and easy to get into. A family friendly title in a quarter filled with the mature.
PlayStation 3 – Sony did have a few third party exclusives but the bulk of their top titles are first party and support the still new PlayStation Move. Solid offering with games worthy of a holiday release.
  • Yakuza 4 – Sega keeps the mafia action going and with engaging gameplay and solid graphics it’s still flying under many gamers radar. A niche title … possibly and most definitely a cult title as Shenmu is. 
  • MLB 11: The Show – Improved controls and deep gameplay make every baseball fan happy. Now if only those zombie eyes could be touched up a bit. 
  • Killzone 3 – Rock solid and a game ever PS3 owner, of age, should own. Still not a Halo killer but by far this is no Go-Bot to Halo’s Transformers. 
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 – Amazing is all there is to say. The whole package is amazing. A game that allows gamers to create more games or just play games and the personality!
  •  DC Universe Online – Become a super hero or villain in an MMO that works well on console.
Xbox 360 – Paging 360, Mr. Xbox 360. We seem to have a lost exclusive looking for a Mr. or Mrs. Xbox 360. Really, what’s the deal here?

Nintendo Wii – Third parties struggle on Wii so the lack of a first party offering means a lackluster trio of months for the system.
  • Trackmania: Build to Race – Think old excite bike but more complex. 
  • Lost in Shadow – It seems that third parties hit on the Wii with unique gameplay that’s not focused on graphics and Lost in Shadow continues this trend. Simplistic at times in look the overall gameplay and presentation is can’t miss for Wii owners.
Overall all three systems have to be pleased with a solid multi-platform lineup but based on just their exclusive game offerings this is just a sad quarter for Xbox 360 and Wii. Xbox 360 clocks in with a C+ due to the availability of downloadable content for many of their games but the lack of a solid, well crafted exclusive ‘buy-me-in-store’ game is sad. Wii does not have the great online experience the next-gen’s have and its offering is really sad. A D is needed and Nintendo can only hope some summer school time will help the Wii (Conduit 2 anyone?). PlayStation 3 gets an A thanks to its first party offering that not only shine as great games but incorporate their new PlayStation Move control scheme which still needs more third party love (is this the same issue Wii has …. Hmmmm). Next up a look at handhelds.

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