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Top Ten 2011

Top Ten Games of 2011

  1. Skyrim – What can I say, Bethesda took everything I loved about Oblivion and made it better and gave us dragons! No matter if I am making armor, slaying dragons or simply exploring… I feel like I am at home.
  2. Star Wars: The Old Republic – I wasn't going to put this on this year's list, simply because it is a MMO and they take a lot of time to play and get a feel for, but this game has me hooked already.
  3. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception – Uncharted 3 gives you so much action and adventure and more importantly, it gives you some of the greatest characters in video game history.
  4. Resistance 3 – Insomniac gave us an almost perfect package. They took what was great from the last game and added it with what we all loved from the first and gave us Resistance 3. They also dragged us through the mud and showed us how strong the human spirit really is.
  5. Portal 2 – I never finished the first game, but what I did play I liked a lot. Valve took what was special from Portal and expanded on it with old characters and new ones a like and the puzzle solving was still a blast.
  6. Dead Space 2 – All I really wanted was more Dead Space and I got it, but I also got a main character that became human and that I really cared about. Dead Space 2 is also creepy and intense from start to finish; I was on edge the whole time.
  7. Batman: Arkham City – Arkham Asylum was a huge surprise and some felt like it couldn't be done twice. Rocksteady proved those people wrong. Although the open worldness isn't what I expected and some of the story was bland. This is an all around good game.
  8. Saint's Row: The Third – Crazy and insane hardly do this game justice. Everything is out of control and although I love that, something is missing that I can't place. No matter what, it was one hell of a ride.
  9. Red Faction: Armageddon – At first I was not finding this game that great, but once I shut my brain off and paid little attention to the story, I found myself loving all the destruction and killing of aliens.
  10. L.A. Noire – Team Boni, say what you will about them, they created something good here. L.A. Noire reminds me of the first Assassin's Creed, it is very refreshing and new, but so repetitive that playing it became a chore. With that said, in the long run was fun for the most part playing detective.

Honorable mention (By Release Date)

  • DCUO Release Date: Jan 11, 2011 – I started to feel how repetitive this game really was and it needs a lot of work, but being a superhero or villain is a lot of fun. This game took many of my hours.
  • Mass Effect 2 Release Date: Jan 18, 2011 – I had to add this game, it may not have officially came out in 2011, but it did on PS3 and I still loved playing it.
  • Socom 4 Release Date: Apr 19, 2011 – Socom fans for the most part don't like the new changes Zipper made, but I do and I understand why they did it. Maybe it is not perfect, but it showed me Zipper does care. The main story was also not great, but had some depth that the series never had before.
  • Outland Release Date: Jun 14, 2011 – I have yet to finish this game, and that really is too made. It is an amazing sidescroller and it looks absolutely beautiful. I have heard it called a tribal version of Tron and I have to agree.
  • Apples to Apples Release Date: Dec 20, 2011 – I added this simply because it came out late at the end of the year and didn't seem to get much attention. Apples to Apples is a fun table top game and now it is a great video game. The single player is useless, but the online is so much fun. This is a game to get the family together for.

Donate to my Extra Life page!

As you may know, I love video games. I'm even more passionate about helping my local Children's Miracle Network Hospital raise money for kids.

On Oct. 15, 2011, I'm combining my two interests as I attempt to play video games for 24 hours straight. I'm participating in the annual 24-hour video game marathon Extra Life and I would really appreciate your sponsorship.

Would you be willing to donate $1 for each hour of the marathon I play (that's just $24) to help me raise money for my local Children's Miracle Network Hospital?

You can find my page to donate to at All donations are collected securely by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Thank you for considering this request for your support.


Shawn Bird

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Remake Final Fantasy VII or Shut up!

I have played many of the Final Fantasy games out there and I am far from being a fan of the series. There is only one Final Fantasy that I have played and loved, loved enough to buy twice on the original PlayStation and once on the PlayStation Network store. That is of course Final Fantasy VII.

While watching the Final Fantasy VII tech demo at E3 2005, I too was excited at the idea of a remake of the game on the PS3. It was not long afterward that fans of the series and the game were clammering for answers. What this a teaser of a future remake? What is just a tech demo? We all wanted answers and we never really did get a for sure answer on the topic of FFVII being remade. However, fans never gave up hope and for the longest time either did I. I wanted a remake just as bad as the next guy.

Over the last few years I have given up any hope of a remake. Sure I would be excited again at an announcment of a remake, but anything outside of confermation is useless to me now. I am for one now sick to death of hearing about it on every gaming site I go to. It is starting to feel like SquareEnix is miling this for all they can. Especially now with the launch of Final Fantasy XIII, which I have heard is a horrible game, maybe the worst so far. So it does not sureprise me to have Square hyping of the Final Fantasy series all they can right now, maybe hoping it will help sales on the newest game in the series. This of course is not even my opinion, just an idea of what they maybe doing.

When it comes down to it, remake talk for FFVII is tiresume and old. Every other article on gaming websites talking about directors, producers and developers thinking about the idea of this remake. It is enough to make someone puke. Either make the remake, let us know with confirmation or shut up, let the rumors die and leave it alone.

All of these articles are in the last couple months, mostly from just two different websites, so that is not including all the other websites that are digging their teeth into this.

SOCOM Confrontation bigger online than Killzone 2, Sony producer says

What's the biggest online game on the PS3? No, it's not Killzone 2. No, it's not even Resistance 2. According to SCEA senior producer Mark Rogers, SOCOM Confrontation stands above both of Sony's high-profile first-party FPS offerings by having the most simultaneous online connections on the PlayStation Network. He attributes Confrontation's success to the community's commitment to the franchise. Whereas other gamers may play an online game for a few weeks and move on, SOCOM fans have proven to be far more dedicated (despite the game's ... troubled launch).

The devotion of the SOCOM community will be rewarded by an upcoming patch, Rogers promises. While the Slant Six team has been largely quiet about progress on the patch, he says the massive scale and scope of the patch has led to an extended testing cycle. With the promise of DLC in the future, it's clear that SOCOM addicts will find even more reason to avoid playing other games for a long time.

Socom Maps: Small Maps Versus Big Maps

I don't think any hardcore Socom fan out there would argue if I were to say that the maps for Socom and Socom II were some of the greatest maps ever to come out of an online shooter. They were set up with so much thought, not too open and not too enclosed, and the size was just right with what you were going to be doing.

When Zipper Inc. announced Socom 3 and that they were going to introduce bigger maps that would hold 32 people to a room, everyone was excited about it. Even myself jumped aboard that bandwagon. Big maps have continued in the Socom franchise on to Socom: Confrontation. There really has not been much change in how these big maps work. With patches some of the problems, such as lag has been helped in some aspects. Though it is still there and more noticeable in large maps compared to the smaller maps and that is how it has always been with Socom sense they gave us the choice of big or small maps. Another issue I have found with big maps is there is a lot more open space and harder to get around while being able to be mostly unnoticed while moving from one place to another throughout the map. They have gotten better about this from Socom 3 to Socom: Confrontation, but there is still a lot of open space in most big maps that seem like Slant Six just had no idea what they could possibly put in there. Sometimes (mostly Socom 3) you could literally get sniped out of your spawn within seconds of starting a round. I ask you this, what fun is that? Which leads me to the weapons, because the maps are bigger, the weapons have to have a larger draw distance, which means bullets fly further to hit targets. That is completely understandable, there is nothing wrong with that, but when you use those same weapons on a smaller map, the draw distance is still the same. Then there is the camping situation; people and camping on Socom go hand and hand, which in a lot of situations is what you have to do. I have no big problem with camping, but in larger maps and there is one guy against, say three or four guys. It should not take forever for these guys to run around to find that one lone camper.

On smaller maps, there is less people and the lag issue is not has high. The game play runs a little bit smoother. People don't complain as much and I am sure there is a lot less controllers being thrown across the room. There is lag and it does get frustrating, but not as much and not as often. Socom 2 had its fair share of lag and those were all small maps, but a lot has been changed with gaming in different areas. For example, on the PlayStation 2 all the servers you used to play games like Socom on, the developers of the games put up and that was all. Were as now with the PlayStation 3, Sony also has servers up to be used and in some cases is what is used for games without developers putting up servers. This has been an extreme help for online play from one generation of gaming to another. I would even go as far to say that there would have been a lot less lag in Socom II, if Sony had put more into the online gaming of PlayStation 2. The areas on small maps are a lot more condensed and filled up with more stuff, making it easier to get around without being spotted. There are still open areas, but they are not as open and not as far between things to hide behind as you make your way through the map. You still get people that camp, but it is not a statewide manhunt to find the person and does not take nearly as long to do so. Take Crossroads small for example; there are maybe four or five notorious hiding spots that people use to camp out a match (the Bell Tour). Where larger maps there is a ton more places the person could be. Taking that much longer to find the person. The draw distance on weapons was perfect for the map, as they are for big maps. But if you are going to change the draw distance for guns to fit for big maps, then you should change the draw distance for guns back for small maps, not leave them the same. It wouldn't make sense to try shooting someone on a large map with a gun that is made for a small map and it doesn't make sense to be able to use a gun made for big maps on a small map.

The fun value is so different also, you wait so much longer in rooms of big maps when you die and the rounds take so much loner. With small maps you don't wait as long, usually. You don't have to sit and watch others play the game for long periods of time compared to when playing big maps. The objectives on small maps are perfect for the size, you do what you have to and are done, or fail and then other team wins. On large maps there is times that just doing the objectives that are set up for the map take forever. If someone gets almost to the point of where they plant the bomb and die, your team then has to try to take the bomb all the way back to the other side of the map. In small maps that is quick and fast, big maps you have a lot more running to do and can be more painful for those dead and can only watch. Also with big maps there is a lot more people, which means a lot more stuff going on. It can get so chaotic that you don't know what is going on or who is shooting whom. Small maps have just about the right amount of people that the game is not too chaotic, yet still has plenty of action going on to keep you more than entertained, and also makes calling things out a lot easier.

I remember the old days of playing Socom, before large maps even existed. Now there is too much being added and people keep wanting more and more. Keep it simple, keep it easy and keep it small.