The Twelve Games of Christmas 2011 – Day Eleven: November

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Electronic Theatre ImageWith only a few weeks worth of retail sales left to earn prior to Christmas, November typically sees the floodgates open. 2011 was no different, with dozens of high-profile, high quality videogame releases being made available for all modern formats. Picking the best of the bunch was no easy task, but that’s exactly what Electronic Theatre’s annual The Twelve Games of Christmas article series is here for.

Of course, alongside the genuinely groundbreaking videogame experiences came a number if disappointments. While Sonic Generations provided what was arguably the best Sonic the Hedgehog outing since the first Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS, Need for Speed: The Run proved that recent success doesn’t guarantee continued quality. Goldeneye 007 Reloaded was a shock to the system, proving to be better than the Call of Duty in sheep’s clothing we’d all expected. Rayman Origins took a thirty year old formula and sprinkled current-generation pixie dust all over it, whereas by attempting to do the same Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary simple highlighted all the cracks that the original had developed.

November was certainly a melting pot of genre, experiences and stories of great success or heartfelt disappointment. Above all else however, two of the biggest videogame franchises proved their worth, but for two very different reasons.




Honourable Mentions:



Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


Dodonpachi Resurrection Deluxe Edition


Saints Row: The Third



Runner Up:



The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


Yes it arrived ridiculously late, but hasn’t every The Legend of Zelda title? Yes it was fairly formulaic in places, but isn’t that the beauty of The Legend of Zelda titles? Yes it simply can’t compete visually against the software on high-definition systems, but The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword doesn’t need to. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a videogame that operates on a different level to the average release; that’s not to say that Electronic Theatre would have praised the videogame regardless, but that expectations were even higher than normal. The fact that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword managed to surpass them all is the most miraculous piece of the puzzle, culminating in what will surely go down in history as the last great videogame experience on Wii.



Best of November 2011:



The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


The second edition of Bethesda Softworks’ The Elder Scrolls series on current-generation systems didn’t revolutionise the formula. The same open world setting played host to the same mission establishment scenarios, and the same dungeon crawling quests. So what was it that has lead to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim receiving such great praise compared to its predecessor, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? Everything.

Everything about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one step ahead of its predecessor. The world may be smaller but it’s far more densely detailed, the characters may be just as limited in the variety of their appearance but they’re far more believable in their unique characters; the mission structure offers more choice, the level system is refined to allow a more concentrated personalisation and the graphics are just that little bit sharper, just that little bit more detailed to make the entire experience feel fresh. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim pushes forward in all the right areas, and despite its bug-ridden retail package, it’s still easy to lose over a hundred hours in the land of Skyrim without blinking an eye.


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