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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Year of Gaming: 2011 Preview Edition!

I was going to list off some of the other games that I've considered buying next year. In the past few days, my plans for next year have more or less gone up in flames. I recently picked up a game on XBLA that has likely changed the landscape of my 2011 year in gaming. Gone is the hunt for bargain prices on game titles that I missed in 2009 and 2010. Instead, I'll be focusing on new premium games, the bargain games that I already own, and a whole lot of pinball!

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Despite a slow start to gaming in 2010, I really picked up the pace in recent months. At last check, I finished 40 games this past year and continue to work on Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Of course, even Web of Shadows has taken a backseat to my latest addiction: Pinball FX 2!

I used to love playing pinball on my PC back in the late 90s. There was one game in particular, Balls of Steel, that sucked away a good portion of my life. I must have spent well over 300 hours playing that game. I loved the challenge of beating my own high scores but really got a kick out of competing with my university housemates for the title of Pinball King!

Pinball FX 2 has re-ignited my love of software pinball. I've never been a fan of arcade pinball save for one summer where I spent countless hours playing a poker-themed pinball machine at a resort. I remember that another resort visitor and I had a bit of a grudge match going on that week. Neither one of us was willing to concede the title of Pinball Champion so we spent hours and hours trying to best each other. I ended up taking the prize because I had all the time in the world to put my all into this pinball machine while my opponent had to spend a little time with his wife.

I'm now looking at 2011 in a different light. I can see myself spending a lot of time playing Pinball FX 2. But there are still other game titles that I'd really like to play. Here is my preliminary list of games that I'll play in 2011:

Pinball FX 2
Is there anything more addictive than pinball? How about pinball with an online component that allows you to compete against the high scores and super scores of everyone on your friends list? Honestly - Zen Studios has created an excellent product here and I encourage everyone to get out there and pick up some tables! They're only 200 points each and well worth the price! And if you do happen to pick up Pinball FX 2, feel free to send me a friend request on Xbox Live (Klopzi360) and we'll see who's got the better pinball chops.

I'll never be done with Borderlands. I still haven't finished Claptrap's Revolution nor have I truly completed the General Knoxx DLC due to a glitch in the game. I plan on picking up all remaining achievements in Borderlands in 2011. It's gonna be tough but I think I can handle it.

Trials HD
Another game that I'll be playing on the side. I've really enjoyed my time with Trials HD so far. No reason that I can't enjoy it all throughout the New Year. It's like Excite Bike but much harder and super frustrating. Oh - and it's also totally awesome and very rewarding!

Portal: Still Alive
I need to get ready for Portal 2...

Portal 2
This is gonna be a great game! I hear that a lot of work's been done with the story. And I'm looking forward to the new mechanics that they've thrown into the game (e.g. orange goo, blue goo, etc.). Can't wait to try the online co-op as well.

Mass Effect 2
I've got to pick up the remaining achievements in Mass Effect 2. I've got the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC downloaded and ready. Can I hack ME2 on Insane difficulty? I really hope so. The end of the game should be interesting if I choose to stick with the Adept class.

Mass Effect 3

ME3 is my most-anticipated title of 2011. I've loved the Mass Effect series. The trailer points towards Earth getting invaded. I'm not sure where the story will take Shepard and crew but I know that the story will be incredible! I honestly don't think that Bioware knows how to make a bad game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
I played Arkham Asylum on my PS3. I'd like to play through it again on my 360. This game was the best superhero game that I've ever played. I'm looking forward to reliving the magic in 2011.

Batman: Arkham City
The trailer for Arkham City should be enough to push a lot of people into buying this game. And who can blame them? Arkahm City will probably take the crown of best superhero game of all time unless Rocksteady really messes up. But I think they'll manage just fine. Arkham City is going to be a must-play for most gamers and I'm no exception.

Call of Duty: World at War
I happened to pick up a copy of CoD: WaW for $15 on eBay. I'm just looking to play through the single-player story and perhaps a bit of the zombie mode. I've heard that WaW is the beginning of a story line that carries through to Black Ops. I guess we'll see if that's the case or if I wasted $15 on a Call of Duty title not made by Infinity Ward.

Call of Duty: Black Ops
I've played each Call of Duty game except CoD 2 and CoD: WaW. I'll continue that trend in 2011 by giving Black Ops a shot. I'll likely focus solely on the single player though I may jump into the online scene for a week or two to give it a try. I don't think that there's much there that I'll like but I'll give it a shot nonetheless.

Dead Rising: Case Zero

Do I really feel the need to kill a bunch of zombies with an arsenal of improvised weapons while on the hunt for a wonder drug that will stave off the zombification of a little girl?


Dead Rising 2
Do I really feel the need to kill a bunch of zombies with an arsenal of improvised weapons while on the hunt for a wonder drug that will stave off the zombification of a little girl...and solve the mystery of the zombie outbreak...in Vegas Fortune City?


Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Although Web of Shadows' gameplay has grown a little stale, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? I'm about halfway through the game and I need to finish this puppy up sometime. I hear that the game is about to get a whole lot more interesting based on comments from a friend. I hope so. Jumping around New York looking for collectibles and bad guys to beat up just doesn't offer up the same excitement as Pinball FX 2...

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I've been looking forward to playing this Wolverine game for a long while. Playing the Wolverine table in Pinball FX 2's Marvel Pack has definitely got me psyched to give this game a shot.

Despite poor sales, I've heard a lot of great things about this game. And given that I've never played any of the God of War games, I'm interested in seeing a game focus on that type of source material (gods, demons, Heaven, Hell, apocalypse, etc.).

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Just in case Dead Rising 2 doesn't sate my appetite for zombie killing, John Marsten's battle with the undead should do me until 2012. Reviewers have said a number of great things about this particular piece of DLC. I'd like to wait for another sale on Undead Nightmare before I grab it off XBLA (since I missed the sale on Dec. 21). Of course, I don't mind spending the full 800 points if push comes to shove.

On the portable gaming side (PSP), I think I'll be spending most of my time playing a couple of games:

Pinball Heroes
Pinball on my commute to and from work? Yep! And it's great! I've got all eight tables (Uncharted, MotorStorm, ModNation, Fat Princess, etc.) and they're pretty good. Pinball FX 2 is much, much better but my Xbox 360 is a little cumbersome to drag to and from work...as is the 40" LCD TV...

Persona 3 Portable
I'm really enjoying Persona 3. It offers up exactly what you want from a J-RPG: gender neutral male protagonist, crazy enemies, nonsensical story lines, and epic boss fights. And once I finish Persona 3, I can play it again from the beginning with a female protagonist. This game is well worth the $20 I paid for it...

As much as I'd like to add more titles to the lists above (inFamous 2, Uncharted 3, Elder Scrolls V, etc.), I'm trying to be realistic. Many of the titles I plan on playing will have me making multiple playthroughs for fun or achievements. Despite complaints about games getting shorter and more expensive, I think many of the games I'll be playing buck that trend. Mass Effect 2 and 3 alone will keep me busy for a couple of months at the very least.

I can't wait!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'm off to enjoy a well-deserved vacation with my family...and my Xbox 360! See you in 2011!