Top 10 Games of Winter 2011

We take an irreverent look at what you’ll be playing between now and the end of the year

Hey you! Yes you, person that calls yourself ‘gamer’! If you’re reading this, it seems likely that you enjoy playing videogames, in which case we have to suggest that you cancel your social life, dump that significant other that you were getting bored of and abandon school/university/your job, because there is no time for anything else in the next four months besides GAMES. Seriously, it’s like every developer suddenly decided that now is the time to release their game. Y’know, now August is over and we’re not all out playing football in the park and sunbathing in our gorgeous British summer. [Disclaimer: The Digital Fix takes no responsibility for you being unable to afford any of these ten games because you quit your job or had your student loan taken away.]ICO & Shadow Of The Colossus HD Collection30 September 2011Two phenomenal games, both overlooked on their initial PS2 release, and back to give everyone a chance to see what they missed. Shadow of the Colossus, particularly, should benefit from the increased horsepower of the PS3, as it was clearly a game that was pushing the PS2 well beyond what it was rightly capable of. It looked fantastic, but juddered all over the place and was full of jagged edges. From the preview videos, one can’t help but think this is how it was meant to played.Oh if you’ve never heard of these games, in ICO you have to rescue a princess from a fortress. In Shadow of the Colossus you have to climb and kill a bunch of gigantic stone monsters. On paper this is weirdest pairing of two games in one box since someone figured out you could use a pack of cards to play both solitaire AND strip poker. But being from the same developer, they do feel similar, oddly enough. Rage7 October 2011iD Software haven’t released a proper new game since Doom 3 in 2004, this alone makes Rage exciting. They were masters of the FPS genre and like the prodigal son they’re returning, in the hopes that Mommy and Daddy gamer will start giving them some of the pocket money they’ve been giving to little Call of Duty all these years.On the other hand, iD’s last proper game was Doom 3 and it was, well, average.Any other time of year this game would be a guaranteed hit, but there’s nine other games on this all after the same audience. The Digital Fix yearbook committee have voted this one “one most likely to be a pleasant surprise to people picking it up in the sales next February”.Dark Souls7 October 2011Remember those adverts for the army? [Shots of troops climbing a wall] “Would you give up here?” [Shots of troops scrambling through a river] “Would you give up here?” [Shots of troops fleeing under fire] “Would you give up here? No? Join the army.”Like most stereotypical gamers, I went with “yes” for the first question, and frankly the follow-ups weren’t making it any easier. The marketing for Dark Souls reminds me somewhat of this. This game will be hard, they tell us. This game will ruin us. This game will only be beaten by the very best of players and if you want 1000 achievement points on it then you better be the greatest gamer in the world. They’ve only just stopped short of offering a Gamesmaster Golden Joystick to anyone beating it on the hardest difficulty. But for those that relish a challenge and aren’t put off by the gaming equivalent of eight rounds with Mike Tyson, it should be a hell of a ride. And when I say hell I almost mean it literally.Batman: Arkham City21 October 2011And now for a song:”Oh golden boy, you can do no wrong,We thought the first game would probably suck,Because all movie licenses do.But you showed us all the light,Now the future looks bright,And our unrealistically high expectations of that ‘difficult second game’ means you’re doomed to 8/10 scores across the board.”Coming in as the underdog meant Arkham Asylum was a pleasant surprise, but this game needs to build on that and somehow be even better. It’s a tough position to be in, but perhaps developers Rocksteady will surprise us again and we’ll be singing its praises come October. Uncharted 32 November 2011The Uncharted series remains one of the few reasons any self-respecting gamer needs a PS3. While the third in the series doesn’t promise any major gameplay innovations, we’re still getting another installment of pretty much the only series that manages to tell a story in a truly compelling fashion.I’m not sure why, but Uncharted’s cut-scenes and conversations, while not the core of the game, are actually interesting and captivating. While somehow Bioware games, which truly place their focus there, can’t seem to pull that off to the same degree.Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 38 November 2011Shoot him! Shoot him until he is dead in the face and then shoot him some more. Repeat for six hours then play the online if that’s your thing. There’s no denying the pull of Call of Duty, and if nothing else it’s confused fishmongers the world round as school kids talk about how awesome cod is all the time.Yet it’s hard to get excited at the seventh game in a series, though it’ll be interesting to see how Infinity Ward do with this after losing so many of their staff last year. Will this be another unopposed victory for the Call of Duty series or will gamers finally get bored of the yearly updates? Only time and sales figures will tell.Skyrim11 November 2011It’s remarkably rude of Bethesda to insist on releasing one of their games with about 100 hours of content in it in the middle of all this. I mean really? How are we meant to fit this in? Does the CE come with a time machine? Still, the whole thing looks amazing, another world that you can just lose yourself in for months. If you’re short on cash, this the game to get as it’s bound to keep you busy until all the other games in this list get reduced in the January sales.On the other hand, dedicated PC gamers will likely be hanging on for the Game of the Year edition with all the DLC and the chance to install a ton of amazing mods.But that doesn’t change anything, because those same people are trying to work out how to fit in Fallout: New Vegas instead right now.Metal Gear Solid HD Collection11 November 2011Three MGS games in one box means a great chance to overdose on some tactical stealth action. If you lost track of the series somewhere around the first and second games, and never owned a PSP, this is a great chance to catch up. With a (not remastered) version of the first game available on PSN, in now means that for the first time you can play through the entire series on a single console. If you play through all four of the main games in a row, you may even be able to comprehend the plot.I wouldn’t count on it though.Assassin’s Creed: Revelations15 November 2011The third game in the second part of the trilogy. Or is that the last part of the middle trilogy? I’m not entirely sure. Nevertheless, this promises to be the final outing for Ezio Auditore but far from the last game in the series. Still, it should bring some closure and most importantly, lots of running over rooftops and stabbing people. It’s more of the same, but Assassin’s Creed is one of the few series where I don’t really mind that. Still, one can’t help but feel we’re treading water a little ahead of next year’s inevitable proper sequel with a whole new protagonist. Anyone offering odds on how many games there will be in the final part of the trilogy?The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword18 November 2011More Zelda! The gimmick this time is that the Wii Remote will accurately map to your sword swinging in game. This is slightly worrying, as the one time I actually tried fencing in real life I kept hitting myself. That stuff is hard. Still, assuming the game doesn’t actually require you to become an Olympic-level fencer to beat the final boss, this should be pretty awesome. It’s Zelda with a talking sword. What’s not to like?(And anyone that said ‘cutesy graphics and childish gameplay’ can go sit at the back of the class).Expect to see a surge in Wii sales the week this comes out, and a surge in pre-owned Wiis in GAME stores the week after.Disagree? Disapprove? Think Battlefield 3 should have been included over Modern Warfare 3? Think Gears of War 3 was cruelly overlooked? Are you a huge MMO fan that still deludedy thinks The Old Republic will launch this year? Should we have included Super Mario 3DS Land just to have a 3DS game on the list? Do you actually care about Sonic Generations and Lord of the Rings:War in the North? Let us know in the comments.

Dean Love

Updated: Sep 09, 2011

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Top 10 Games of Winter 2011 | The Digital Fix