Tag Archives: Action

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Beautiful Desperation – A Review From Scroo

A long time ago, years now in fact I played Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and I found it pretty engaging and also quite beautiful. Ninja Theory, the company behind Enslaved and other games like Devil May Cry and Heavenly Sword have produced Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. I recently finished Hellblade and it made quite an…
Read more You Sheep!

The Surge: Itch Scratching For Souls players – A Review From Scroo

So back in May this year I started paying attention to a pretty intriguing new title that was commonly billed as a Cyberpunk Dark Souls. I looked at web sites, I watched trailers and kept an eye on forums and soon beyond a shadow of a doubt I knew that The Surge was for me.…
Read more You Sheep!

NieR: Automata – Holy S**T This is Awesome – A Review From Scroo

Well the headline says it, I love this game. "But why Scroo? We need to know." I hear none of you asking but I'm going to tell you anyway. Below is my review for yet another game I played and praise a lot. (more…)
Read more You Sheep!

Nier: Automata – Early Impressions

So I picked up Nier: Automata on release day without any prior experience with the Drakengard series or Nier. I had paid it mild attention when I started seeing early footage and then it went largely forgotten, lost behind my growing backlog of games yet to be played. When I started seeing footage of pre-release…
Read more You Sheep!

I Finally Played Darksiders: Warmastered Edition – A Review From Scroo

Way back in 2010 Vigil released Darksiders, a game that followed a Metroidvania style of play. I remember very clearly being totally enthralled by the atmosphere then and guys, it's still awesome. Stay with me and I'll tell you what I thought about this newest remaster from developers, Vigil Games and Kaiko and publisher, THQNordic.…
Read more You Sheep!

2016 Game Awards of the Year of 2011

Yes you are reading that title correctly and no this is not an awards show for the games that came out during 2016. Instead this is a look back at the year of 2011 in games. I will be awarding games as if I had never played them until this year! 
Saints-Row-The-Third
(Some games like Orcs Must Die and Saints Row The Third I actually never played that year )
header
Why am I doing this? Well a while back I had wrote an article about how to better improve gaming awards shows, and one of my suggestions was waiting five or maybe even ten years before we give out awards. Because when you actually sit down and play games from that long ago you may be surprised by both how you yourself have changed, as well as the industry at large. One example of this from said article was the year 2003, a year when Knights of the Old Republic, Beyond Good and Evil, and Prince of Persia came out. But what did tons of publications give game of the year? Madden 2004.
This wasn’t the only year like this and so this year instead of picking my favorite games of 2016 I decided to give my delayed awards show a fair shot and see what truly stood apart in 2011. In doing so I was shocked, not just by how well some games stood the test of time, but how others did not. And how games I didn’t care much for from that year such as L.A. Noire or The Witcher 2, held up far better in many categories than games I loved five years ago like Human Revolution and Skyrim.
Speaking of categories, I have never cared for the ambiguous awards given out such as “Best Action game” and the like. Judging from my reviews, one could easily tell I really like to focus on aspects that individual departments of a development studio worked on. So it would be only natural of me to do the same for an awards show. (Hey i'm already making an award system that is purposefully five years too late, I may as well continue going out of the norm.) So without further ado here are the categories that I decided to go with for the 2016 Game Awards for the year of 2011!
2011-09-06-deus ex-DXHR_screenshot_Adamstealthcover
Unbound
Now for the list of games that will be qualifying for these awards. Please understand that I am only one person on this silly quest and I don’t have all the money or time in the world to have played every single game from five years ago. For example I don't own a single Nintendo system :( So unfortunately their games are completely absent from this list. Maybe they should actually let other platforms sell their games.... Just a thought. Regardless, here are all the games I was able to get some time with. Please be aware though not every game listed here received a nomination  in the forthcoming categories.

40k Space Marine

Batman: Arkham City

Bastion

BulletStorm

Dark Souls

Dead Island

Dragon age 2

Dues Ex: Human Revelution

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Hard Reset

L.A. Noire

Mortal Kombat 9

Orcs Must Die

Portal 2

Rage

Saints Row: The Third

Uncharted 3

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

2011_Mashup
Well we know the games so let's waste no more time and start the show! Starting us off it's a category near and dear to my heart. Let’s take a look at what the best Animations where in gaming five years back.

Best Animation

What can I say? I love animation. It's what I focused on the most while learning how to make games in school, and its nominees all received high praise from me for their great use of it. The Nominees are:
Batman: Arkham City
Dark Souls
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Mortal Kombat 9
And the winner by a very narrow margin is....
Batman: Arkham City
I'll be honest I was really leaning into this or Dark Souls. Dark Souls for its amazing work on so many different character rigs for the wacky enemies you fight in that game. But the precise and fluid motions combined with key frame poses that look like they where hand drawn first, it's hard not to give the animators over at Rocksteady the credit they deserve.
Having recently played Alien Isolation for GameClub I can attest to just how important this next category is to both atmosphere as well as player feedback. Let's have a listen to the best sounds 2011 had on offer.

Best Sound Design 

These cats do hard work that never gets appreciated and is half the feedback from any game you play. Go ahead and play the new 2016 DOOM on mute, it looses its balls. These nominees deserve a lot more than an award from an obscure gaming website five years too late. The Nominees are:
Batman: Arkham City
Portal 2
Bastion
Mortal Kombat 9
And the winner is brutally....
Mortal Kombat 9
Every combination of Slashing, Crunching, Screaming, Ripping, and Tearing are impeccable examples of great foley work. At times the audio can upset you at a core level, even without the visuals. I don't think I've ever played a game where I could hear the sound of meat and muscle being violently pressed against an opponents bones as accurately the audio team has managed here. These extremely well crafted sounds had some careful attention to detail. They are sounds you wouldn't tend to notice in a fighting game that make the environment feel lived in. I just can't give this award to anyone else. 

Best Environmental Modeling

Speaking of Environment. Games are rarely fun to play if the space you're in is not fun or compelling to be in.  Not too be confused with a later category, Environmental Modeling takes a peculiar attention to detail and a LOT of tedious texture work.  The Nominees are:
Batman: Arkham City
Batman_Model
Dark Souls
Souls Envoirnment
L.A. Noire
LaModel
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Uncharted Modeling
Man I really hated trying pick a winner in this one. But i had to go with the one that did the best job at creating a world that would be extremely difficult to replicate...
L.A. Noire
LA_Win
Say what you will about Rockstar's games. One thing very few developers can do as well as them is environmental modeling. Yes the texture sizes aren't as large as other games due to the size of their worlds, but making textures as detailed as these in a 512x512 square is way harder. Put aside that incredible work and it would still get the win for somehow managing to perfectly replicate the city of L.A. in the 1940's. Not just replicate it's many roads and monuments that are long gone, but make it feel alive and tangible. 

Best Lighting

While a lot of the shadow mapping and technical effects don’t always hold up too great over the years, good Lighting is still something that is more than worth celebrating. It is an essential part of any visual medium and one of the hardest to master. Lighting teams hardly get any credit in any visual medium. Animation and gaming both make the job at least twice as hard. This is due to the need to create digital lighting effects that trick the eye in the first place. They don't have light sources they can just place around a room. They need to finely tweak and re-value every little aspect of any light that is created for a room or scene. Seriously, these games deserve some credit. And the four best lighting teams where those who worked on...
Dues Ex: Human Revolution
Dues Ex lighting
Batman: Arkham City
Batman_Lighting
Dark Souls
Dark Souls Lighting
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
uncharted_li1ghting
And the winner is..
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Unchated3_light
While there may not be as many fill lights or varied shadow types like in Human Revolution, Uncharted 3's uncanny ability to capture the lighting of so many different types of locations. From the harsh light of the desert to the looming shadows and warmth of torch lights of its many caverns, no other game from 2011 was really able to light so many drastically different locations as well as Naughty Dog. 

Best Voice Acting

There's a reason why a voice acting strike is a huge deal to the industry. Without these talented actors and actresses all our games would sound like Two Worlds. Rather than choose individual voice performances though I wanted to celebrate the game that was able to let all their voice actors shine brightest. The nominees are:  
Batman: Arkham City
L.A. Noire
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Portal 2
And the winner is... 
Batman: Arkham City
Honestly this category was a lot closer than you would think. But yeah it's hard not to say that this game came into this category with a bit of an unfair advantage. Because while L.A. Noire had many great film and Television actors, they weren't all quite as good at voice acting as they are on screen. But between Kevin Conroy, Nolan North, Tara Strong, Troy Baker, and of course Mark Hamill, the cast here has well over 50 years of combined voice acting experience. And all of them deserve the praise they've received over the years for their performances. Every one of them has held up incredibly well. 

Best Level Design

You can have the most well modeled environments in the universe. But it won't mean jack shit if the level design falls flat. The look of a world will invite you in, but great level design will keep you there forever.   Here’s the best level design from 2011:    
Dark Souls
Dark Souls Level Design
Portal 2
Portal 2 Level Design
Dues Ex: Human Revolution
Dues Ex Level
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Uncharted 3 Level Design
And the Winner is...
Portal 2
Portal Level Design 2
One hell of a showing for a three to four hour game. But honestly, this level design team deserves it. All of the games in this category deserve some serious recognition. But Portal 2 is the only game that relies solely on the strength of the play spaces for us gamers. If the single player levels don't impress you, there's a full co-op campaign that will seriously require more reciprocity than most games that offer such a mode.  

Best Original Score

This does not include soundtrack.... It always bugs me when jukebox musicals win awards over original compositions and scores. Well, Not on my watch! The music of a game undergoes two hard tasks. One is to be the perfect fit within a game’s context both for the player and the world at large. The second task is when gamers take that sound track home and listen to it without fighting dragons or solving crimes. When music from a game can truly be appreciated and loved anywhere, you know you have a gem on your hands.     Let’s listen to some of those now:

Bastion 

Spike in a Rail by Darren Korb

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Dragonborn by Jeremy Soul

L.A. Noire

Minor 9th by Andrew and Simon Hale

Rage

Wasteland Races by Rob Abernethy
It's categories like this that make me hate I have to pick a winner, but without further ado the winner is...
L.A. Noire
Below Track is  titled: J.J. Bop
Music, like all art, is highly subject. (So is this awards article you've been reading.) And to me, nothing sang quite as loud as the dulcet tones and snappy jazz that Andrew and Simon Hale put together.

Best Character Modeling

No, I couldn't just have one category too encompass all modeling. It would be just as insulting as putting all the art assets under 'Best Graphics' What the hell does that even mean? Plus, characters are what stick with you long after the game is over.  Characters are the most important thing to me when it comes to a game’s narrative. It’s the characters that really stick with us over time. Both from how they are written, but also how they look. The later is what this category celebrates. Not just the great telemetry and efficiency of polygons, but creative design and flawless execution.   Here’s the best Character Modeling from 2011:    
Batman: Arkham City
Batman_Character
Dues Ex: Human Revelution
 
Dues Ex_ Character model
Mortal Kombat 9
mk_CM
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
uncharted3-characters
And the Winner is...
Batman: Arkham City
daniel-moreno-diaz-batman-body-f
Now I'll be honest I really wanted to dock this game some serious points in this category because it really didn't have to create any original ideas for characters. And the ones they recreated in the game have had 70+ years of refinement to help cradle the modelers into a good direction. But when I played through everything else the year of 2011 had to offer, there really wasn't another game where I could distinctly remember as many characters as I do here. Mortal Kombat came damn close in this one too for that same reason. But clearly the technical edge goes to Rocksteady here. Their impeccable topology combined with some really subtle texture details puts their models miles above the rest. And while I know the history of many of the main characters certainly helped, everything seems appropriately exaggerated to push the characters just shy of being over stylized versions of themselves. This is even true for the many varied types of gang members and Batarang fodder you'll encounter in the game. You never feel you are punching the same guys over and over again because their body masses are so well modeled and stylized. This really was one of the hardest to widdle down to four choices, let alone pick one out of the mix. But for my money, Arkham City's character models are the best on offer from 2011. 

2011's Game of The Year

 Well you can't have an awards show without this one right? While all other categories have only had 4 nominees each, it was hard enough to narrow this down to 5. There are so many amazing games from this year and I can wholeheartedly recommend every game that was nominated for any category. But alas, they won’t let me call it a game awards show without the granddaddy of game awards.

So let's look at the nominees for the 2016 Game of the Year from 2011.

 

Batman: Arkham City
batman-on-rooftop-batman-arkham-city-wallpaper-1238
Portal 2
portal_2_wallpaper32
Dark Souls
998-0-1444522750
Mortal Kombat 9
Mortal_Kombat_9_main_menu
L.A. Noire
LA-Noire_1920x1080
Read more You Sheep!