2011 Video Game Leftovers: DC Universe Online, Killzone 3, The Witcher 2, and more
by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, Nov 25, 2011 7:00AM PST
If your expanded belt notch wasn’t indication enough, we live in a land of plenty, and Thanksgiving is a celebration of that. The day after Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a celebration of finishing up that cold turkey and stuffing before it develops a growth. Just like we need to clear out the fridge today, the long weekend makes a good time to clear out our gaming back-log.
We’re in the midst of a bountiful game harvest, and everyone wants to play the latest and greatest to be part of the zeitgeist. But don’t forget, the calendar year has twelve full months, and finishing a game is gratifying in a way few activities are.
We’ve compiled a list of games that might have been overlooked, passed by, or left unfinished this year.
This game came and went like the Flash, seemingly unable to maintain a wide audience despite its fairly positive buzz. It wasn’t an MMO game-changer, but players with an affinity for superheroes could have a fine time battling endless mobs alongside famous characters like Superman and the Joker. Sony Online Entertainment kept pushing out new content and patches, making the game now a smoother ride than ever. Best yet, it’s become free-to-play, so you don’t even have to put down a red cent to start creating heroes or villains and exploring the world.
You Don’t Know Jack
A budget title even at launch, You Don't Know Jack immediately grabbed trivia fans who remembered its irreverent style from back in the day. The 2011 iteration had all the charm and wit of its predecessors, with a few smart tweaks. Instead of shuffling questions, it came pre-packaged with more than 70 scripted episodes. The revised format gave players a way to even the playing field by eliminating repeated questions, and let the writers get away with running gags. Even if you have the game, you probably didn’t finish every drop of trivia, and a family visit seems like the ideal time to challenge everyone to a battle of wits. Assuming your aunt won’t be too offended by its sometimes raw sense of humor.
The third game in Sony’s marquee shooter franchise, Killzone 3 came out in the slower months to moderate critical and commercial success. Its dark tone may have been overshadowed a bit by the more bombastic multi-platform shooter Bulletstorm, which launched at the same time. On the whole, Killzone 3 was mechanically solid, and technically superior to Killzone 2. While it probably can’t claim to be the best-looking shooter on the market anymore, it is one of the prettier PlayStation 3 games, and brings a long-running franchise to a close to boot. If you’ve already wrapped up the Battlefield and Modern Warfare campaigns, why not go back and finish up the war against future fascists?
Speaking of shooters, SOCOM 4 has to be one of this year’s biggest tragedies -- through no fault of its own. The series has enjoyed a vibrant online community that served as the backbone throughout its history, and this installment of the PS3-exclusive happened to launch in the midst of the extended PlayStation Network outage. In fact, the announcement that the network had been hacked came mere days after SOCOM hit store shelves. Players could take on the single-player campaign, but that wasn’t the draw of the series. Now that the network is running smoothly (and has been for several months), it might be a good time to round up some buddies and play together.
Arguably overshadowed by its own sex-sells marketing campaign, Catherine was a quirky puzzle game that attempted to tell a more adult story about guilt and infidelity; think Q-Bert meets Zelda block-pushing puzzles meets Fatal Attraction. The result was a strange mixture that critics agreed didn’t always work, but its unique art style and grown-up hook is enough to attract some gamers looking for a mature experience--and we don’t mean "mature" as a euphemism for gore. Just be careful how you answer those morality questions. The game can, and will, judge you.
We wanted to finish the Witcher 2 too, and then Skyrim came out and took over everyone's lives. But there’s still plenty of witching to do, and the dragons will be waiting for you when you get back. The Witcher 2 offers a unique fantasy escapist setting, and variety is the spice of life. Now that a console version is on the way, the PC version can be found for relatively cheap. Better yet, recent updates have added DLC, a tutorial system, an Arena mode, and a harder difficulty setting.