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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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

A look back at PS3, Wii and 360 for the months of April, May and June 2011

As E3 floats by and events such as Comic-Con are upon gamers it’s time to take another look back at what was the second quarter of 2011 for the PS3, Wii and 360. Each system is fighting for gamer’s dollars and with no major holiday in sight, the months of April, May and June are truly the beginning of the dogs days of summer … or are they? It’s been said many times over the past few years that the trend of no top notch titles in summer is gone, headed the way of the dodo. Good games do indeed come out in spring and summer and this year is no exception. Now the realm of exclusives has shrunk but overall gamers must be pleased with the offerings below as well as solid downloadable titles such as Beyond Good & Evil HD, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls and Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury. So let’s take a look at those sweet games that hit in Q2 of 2011.

Multi-platform – Another solid quarter for those cross-platform games and the differences are really minimal with download content being the exclusive flavor-of-the-month. A truly nice mixture of new titles and return appearances. 
  • Dungeon Siege III – A very classic feel to the DS franchise where gamers pick a class and get unique adventures to share with buddies or solo. There are times this feels like the great grandchild of Gauntlet. Overall fun and solid, not a game of the year title, but a solid rental and/or purchase. 
  • Red Faction: Armageddon – The first-person struggle continues on Mars but this time the big bad aliens make an appearance. Solid entry, again not spectacular but does most everything right. 
  • Alice: Madness Returns – Alice is the star in a twisted tale of Alice in Wonderland. She’s older and still not all there but with as great as Alice is, in looks and controls, her overall setting could have used a bit more work. 
  • Shadows of the Damned – A mature game for the gamer looking for an immature experience that’s fun, funny and just plain out there. Junk references are everywhere and it’s hard to surprise with demon and underworld settings given recent games in this broad genre but Shadows still pulls out a few ‘did they just say/do that’ moments. 
  • F.E.A.R. 3 – Alma is one creepy little girl who worked her way into gamers dreams with the first F.E.A.R. and by part 3 she will be haunting their waking moments. Twisted and sporting a true story, no some contrived fluff, part 3 is a rock solid horror, psychological first-person romp in a time of somewhat stale military only FPS’s. 
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 – Another one? Yup and it plays like those before and like all the Dynasty Warriors before and … well it’s just a guilty pleasure at this point. A good game; read my lips, guilty pleasure here! 
  • L.A. Noire – It’s not a GTA clone or a CSI wanna-be but rather a truly unique crime thriller that works and works well. Not many games, if any, out there that doe what L.A. Noire does and its mixture of action and puzzle solving is awesome. A different gaming experience. 
  • DiRT 3 – Off-road racing in HD that rocks online. 
  • Portal 2 – First Portal surprised and set very high standards to which part 2 delivers. A game where brain power really counts, awesome! 
  • Mortal Kombat – Another re-boot for the franchise that rocks and hell, it has Freddy in it … Freddy! 
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition – Oh my goodness gamers, it’s the arcade edition of an awesome game, I mean what’s not to love, like, want? 
  • Duke Nukem Forever – Kidding, this game is poo.
PlayStation 3 – Most third-party titles are multi-platform now so it’s up to first part and first party owned companies to deliver the console exclusives and this quarter Sony kicked out three gems of different genre. 
  • inFamous 2 – Assume the role of jacked-up Cole yet again in an adventure that builds on all that was awesome from the first inFamous. 
  • SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs – A move towards a more fictional setting does not detract from a solid third-person shooter. It’s a very accessible game for those new to the franchise and really pulls off some solid displays of graphical beauty. 
  • MotorStorm: Apocalypse – Right up there with DiRT 3, Apocalypse is an amazing racer with wide variety of vehicles to control. Throw in some weapons and the feeling of Twisted Metal comes to mind.
Xbox 360 – Man it seems if there’s no new Halo or Fable that the exclusive stable is try for 360 but thanks to the Kinect gamers get one awesome if not short gaming experience and, well that’s really it. 
  • Child of Eden – The movements, music and gameplay all collide for an engaging experience that engages almost every sense (sorry, no smell-o- vision). A game that must be experience by Kinect owners.
Nintendo Wii – Same as with 360, if there ain’t no Mario, Zelda or Samus, first party games, then the Wii struggles. Sega works hard for Wii and it shows with their one noteworthy mention. 
  • Conduit 2 – A true Wii developed first-person shooter that feels similar to the first but makes enough updates and upgrades to warrant another purchase.
Overall, a trend becomes the norm when it just won’t’ go away, keeps happening and gamers are seeing this with fewer exclusive titles and great multi-platform releases. The PS3 clocks in with a solid B by offering up three good tiles while both Wii and 360 go the C+ route for lack of exclusive. All three systems can be bumped up by ½ a grade to B+ and B’s thanks to the solid multiple offerings so a good quarter overall on the console front with a few game of the year candidates emerging (Portal 2 and L.A. Noire).

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