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2011: A Year In Review - Reviews

The Escapist Staff | 29 Dec 2011 15:00
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This past week we've shown you the most popular features, comics and columns and news posts of the past year. We know that you've already read these reviews but just to help you meander down memory lane once more we present you with the top ten most read reviews from 2011.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Reviewing a game like Skyrim is a bit like reviewing an entire grocery store on the strength of a single orange. The whole game is so vast and so detailed that the context for your experience could be drastically different from mine. The best you can do is extrapolate from an admittedly limited perspective, reasoning that, if the oranges are good, then the carrots and Cokes and canned soups must be good too. Having spent the last two weeks slaying dragons, sabotaging political factions, and stirring potions in the snowy land of Skyrim, I can definitely say two things. First, I love this game. Second, you will too. (Read More)



Dragon Age II

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Like many people, I moved to a new place after college. I didn't know a soul in New York City or how to get around, and just buying groceries was an impossible task. By the time I left ten years later, I knew that town like nobody's business. I wasn't anyone special, but if you dropped me anywhere in the five boroughs, I could tell you a memory, which corner to avoid, and where to get a slice - the kind of familiarity you only get after exploring a location until it feels like home. That's what Kirkwall will feel like after playing Dragon Age II. (Read More)



Duke Nukem Forever

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The good news is that Duke Nukem Forever's status as the joke of the game industry remains intact. The bad news is the joke's now on you. Duke Nukem Forever is a terrible game colored with flashes of mediocrity sparsely interlaced with rare filaments of greatness. One example of the latter is the sublime monster truck levels in which Duke alternately powers over obstacles and foes alike in the jubilantly bouncy vehicle, and must run and gun on foot through some of the game's best-designed levels in search of gas to feed the guzzling beast after it peters to a stop, its gas tank empty. (Read More)



Portal 2

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Portal was a child star. Precocious. Naïve. Too innocent to understand that gamers' love is often fatuous, that the attention would be dependent upon repeat performances and that the fame would be fleeting and could quickly turn to hate. Portal 2 is that child star grown up. It's bigger, more self-aware and a bit more polished. It is also still reaching for the innocent laughs although its innocence has long since fled. It is still tap-dancing in its pre-teen tutu, showing too much leg and reminding us simultaneously of how much we loved the innocent it used to be and the fact that it will never be that innocent again. (Read More)



The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

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I will begin by saying that I love this game. The Witcher 2 is that weird special gem that displays a fully functioning world with deliciously deep personalities that exist both within and beneath the plot. It is easy to get swept up in the breathtaking visuals and well-established characters, but that doesn't blind me to major flaws in the game design of The Witcher 2. (Read More)



Deus Ex: Human Revolution

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When he said the tram would take a few minutes to arrive, he didn't need to add that I should to get ready for a fight. Once I pushed that button to bring the tram up to my floor, every guard in the whole building would know right where I was and would come running. I had taken out a few already on my way in, but there were many more I'd passed by as I crawled through the air ducts and crawled behind desks. Having them all show up at once while I waited for the tram to make its way to my floor was not an encouraging prospect. (Read More)



Pokemon Black & White Versions

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Playing Pokémon Black & White is kind of like going back to visit an old house you used to live in: The structure might be the same, and the rooms haven't changed much, but there's new wallpaper and new furniture. "Huh," you say to yourself, "That's not how it was before." Since the days of Red & Blue, Pokémon has always been a very iterative series. The changes between successive versions are rarely world-shaking and when they are, it's generally only for the hardcore competitive crowd. (Read More)



The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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It's difficult to know exactly how to handle a new installment in a franchise that's been around as long as The Legend of Zelda. Stick to what made the series great, and you risk feeling stale, but break too far away from expectations and long-time fans may feel betrayed. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the perfect tribute to its impressive lineage, honoring its predecessors while maintaining its own identity. If you're a long-time fan of the franchise, you'll love it. If you're brand new to Link and Zelda, you'll love it. Even if you've felt like the series had become tired and stale, you'll love it. It will make you believe the Legend will continue for another 25 years. (Read More)



Saints Row: The Third

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Unlike the open worlds of L.A. Noire or even some GTA games, there is no lack of stuff to do in the third Saints Row. Just driving around the new city of Steelport can offer challenges, like trying to travel 100k feet in the oncoming lane or on two wheels. And yeah, there's over-the-top humor and a predilection for displaying enough sexual fetishes and cleavage to make Marcellus Wallace blush, but that's all part of the charm of being a gangbanger in the world of Saints Row: The Third. (Read More)



Dark Souls

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As I played Dark Souls, I couldn't help but reflect on the situation of roleplaying games as a whole. In years past, punishing difficulty, intricate stat systems and open world freedom were largely the norm for the genre, but now we're more likely to see tightly scripted linear adventures ushering you from one cutscene to the next. That's not to say that those are not enjoyable in their own right, but a large part of Dark Souls allure is this break from recent trends. If you're willing to meet the game halfway it is a refreshing departure from the typical modern RPG. (Read More)

And you thought that you had had enough, well through the rest of the week we have more to amaze you and your senses.

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