Was it a good year for the Xbox 360? Sure, why not? There might not have been many exclusive titles but there was plenty to play if you had the means and the money. I did not.
It’s the end of the year and that means it’s time for the requisite “Best Of” lists all over the place, and I’m not above pandering to readers nor search engines, so I’m going to run down some of biggest games for the Xbox 360 for 2011. However, rather than talk about how great these games are I’m to talk about why I didn’t play any of them.
You don’t need more than two hands to count all the big retail games on my shelf, and even then they’re all more than a year old. The one big reason I don’t typically go for new games is pretty simple…they’re expensive. At $60 a pop I find it hard to justify buying more than one or two new game purchases a year. My solution is to then buy the games once they go on sale, down to around $30, so when everyone else is playing the latest and greatest, I’m digging into last year’s popular title. Most games don’t get any worse the older they get, so I don’t see any reason to rush to play them.
I’ll admit that it can be hard to not give in to all the video game hype that comes and goes every year, but for the most part many of the those big name games just don’t interest me. Nonetheless, lets look at some of these games and find out why they didn’t warrant a purchase.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 is easily the biggest and most popular Xbox exclusive that came out this year, at least if I look at what my friends are playing. Every time I log on, somebody is playing Gears. To best honest, I haven’t even played Gears 1 or 2. It seems like a game that I could get behind…lots of guns, explosions and sci-fi action…but every time I see screen shots or gameplay of Gears, I just get the sense that it’s a game I’ve played before. Just more of the same. In many ways that’s unfair because very few of the games we play are new, but hey, that’s just what I see.
I’m a car guy and I love driving games. I have more driving games than I know what to do with, so what if they’re a couple years old? Driving is driving. I learned my lesson about driving games when Gran Turismo first came out. I was all about GT because if you wanted a driving game, that was the game to have. I was supposed to be playing Gran Turismo, so I did. But it didn’t take me long to realize that I absolutely hate simulation driving. When it comes to car games, I just want to get in and go. I’m not interested in tweaking brakes or adjust spoilers. I don’t want to worry about suspension or exhaust manifolds. Just driving in a straight line and making it around the track in time is challenge enough. Forza 4 is a great looking game (I did play the demo) and it certainly does all the cars in the game justice, but between Blur, Split Second and Dirt, I have enough racing to last me for years.
No game is more associated with the Xbox and Microsoft than Halo. I will acknowledge Halo‘s importance to first-person shooters on the console but at the same time, by the time Halo came around I had been shooting people for years on the PC…it was nothing new. And when it comes to shooting, I need a game that has a little more “reality” in it. Shooting laser guns and wielding purple crystal swords doesn’t really appeal to me. When I have the urge to shoot people, I’m more of a Call of Duty guy…and speaking of which, I haven’t played MW3 nor Battlefield 3 outside of demos. I feel they are better FPS games overall compared to Halo, but I got really burned out on MW2 and Black Ops, so I’m taking a shooter hiatus.
Dance Central 2
This one is going to be short and sweet. I don’t dance. Dance Central 2 could very well be the best dancing game every released. From the looks of things it is most certainly the next step up after the DDR games from several years back. Of course, I’m also on the side of the fence that isn’t impressed by the Kinect nor do I believe that it is the future of gaming or interaction, and thus I’ll never buy the Kinect.
Batman: Arkham City
I know Arkham City isn’t an exclusive Xbox title, nor are any of the titles from this point on, but it was a big release this year and just one more title I’ll be skipping. Don’t get me wrong, I like Batman…I mean, it’s Batman…but I was so unimpressed by Arkham Asylum last year that I have no desire to dig into the sequel. I was excited for Arkham Asylum but I didn’t even finish it because it got boring. It was a bit too repetitive and long for me and Arkham City doesn’t look any different. There was too much “go here to find that”, then “go there to save that person” followed by “go back to where you just were”. It doesn’t matter if it’s Batman, Superman, Star Wars or Care Bears…that cycle just gets old quick. This same curse also extends to the new Assassin’s Creed Revelations, which is pretty much just Batman in the 16th century.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you’re a RPG fan then from what I can tell, Skyrim is the ultimate game. The game looks great and it’s filled with all the creatures you would expect to find. The game seems endless…too bad I’m not an RPG gamer. Considering I thought Batman was too long and monotonous, you can imagine that Skyrim looks 1000 times longer to me. I get the excitement in exploring an open world while fighting dragons with my giant axe, but I just don’t have the time to invest in games that require a lot of brain power. Whenever I’ve gotten into these games in the past, I do so for a couple weekends and then I stop playing. The trouble is then when I come back to the game, I’ve forgotten everything and I feel like I have to start over…tis a vicious cycle. However, if I was to need a single RPG game to play and love, it looks like Skyrim would be it. And to all of those that can endure hours upon hours of open world gaming, I commend you (and maybe envy you).
Does this make me a bad gamer?
After complaining about a bunch of video games I haven’t even played, you’re probably questioning my gaming credibility, and I wouldn’t blame you. I’m sure you have all the games I talked about on your shelf right now and you’ve maybe even completed them and taken them back to GameStop already. I just enjoy the smaller arcade games a lot more. Not only do I think they’re more challenging but they fit nicely within my gaming ADD. I’m just not a big game player, and while that might not make me your typical gamer, I can tell you it keeps a little more money in my pocket.