GAMES FROM 2011 YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: PART I

You have to admit, the year 2011 has been like no other when it comes to gaming.  There have been great games in every genre that has revolutionized how we think of gaming.  Further, a new genre of (ahem) casual gaming has been defined by multiple motion gaming releases, games the true core gamer would not have considered otherwise but is now willing to throw caution to the winds and play a bit of bowling over beer with friends!  We compiled this list of games that we were glad to have played this year.  This is, by no means, an exhaustive list, and is also the first of our multi-part series of articles.

Third-Person Shooter:  Gears of War 3

Join Marcus Fenix in his search to rescue his father

Now what gamer is not a fan of the ultra-adrenaline junkie that is Marcus Fenix, with arms the size of Bollywood damsels in distress!  In Gears of War 2, Marcus and his faithful friend Dom battle hordes and hordes of Locusts to save the last city of Jacinto.  Gears 3 is very similar to the legend of Gears 2, with a lot more style and polish.  Every movement appears more distinct, more pronounced, every shade of color a bit easier to look at.  The storyline still attempts a good bit of emotional ups and downs, but only as much as a Rambo-like character can pull off.  Gears 3 starts with a surprising twist to the story: Marcus’ dad is still alive! In this season though, audience favorite Dom takes a plunge at the invaders with a truck load of explosives and lays down his life for his squad.   Four-player cooperative campaigns and new multiplayer modes also makes Gears 3 a sweet game to play online against teenagers high on coke (the cola variety, of course!).

First-Person Shooter:  Battlefield 3

Take a moment to admire the power of Frostbite 2

Ok, I will go ahead and say it.  I am a Battlefield fan and no, I don’t think Modern Warfare 3 sucks.  Both are great games, but I am going to write about BF3 because I am the one with the laptop right now.  EA’s Frostbite 2 engine’s capabilities really shine through in this edition of Battlefield.  The level of detail that this engine manages to add to the campaign is immaculate.  A scene where you turn around from crossfire to notice a helicopter flipping in mid-air, only to have a 80 storey building come crashing on it, provides you with a sense of awe.  The enormity and mammoth-scale of it all makes you sit up and notice.  The storyline itself is much more predictable than BF2: Bad Company and follows the usual formulaic components of Russians, nuclear weapons, and middle eastern rogue regimes. But that isn’t what puts BF3 on our map, it is the multiplayer action that this game brings to us.  The MP action is almost like a different game and allows you to do a lot of different things you wished the campaign would (e.g., not making you wait for that exact moment so you can hit X to score that perfect punch on the enemy’s face!).

Sports:  FIFA12

Enter a whole new world of tactical defending

It is difficult to be a core gamer and not like the FIFA franchise.  The biggest change EA delivered on its franchise is augmented defensive plays.  Tactical defending provides a lot more realistic feel to the game, allowing you to contain, marshall, and jockey your opponents.  On the other hand, precision dribbling now allows you to keep the ball with you longer…once you have figured it out!  The last thing that makes the FIFA12 experience stand out is the Player Impact Engine, which — like the name suggests — makes for better collisions.  Each player’s “mass” and angle of impact (among other things) are taken into account to simulate collisions that are as close to the real thing as current technology can get.  So this legend is another game that you must possess.

These are only three games to feature on the first of our series.  Within the genre’s above, what other games do you think should make the cut?  Crysis 2? Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Uncharted 3?  Post your comments below to let us know!

FIVE INDIA-THEMED GAMES WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE

Not many will dispute that India is a unique country.  India is famous for its rich history and culture, for its role in ancient society, as well as an emerging powerhouse.  At the same time, India is recognized for its jugaad, or as the more politically correct would say:  “solutions-orientation”.  And yet, in spite of local innovation and a rich history, we never see such a hotbed of ideas being used effectively enough (or at all) in gaming.  And when we let Westerners create movies about India, we get a kid jumping into a pool of s*** to watch Amitabh Bachchan.  Imagine giving them free reign over gaming! So we put together this short list of Indian ideas we would like to see in games.

Crazy Dilli Auto (Racing)

Work your way up the career ladder, starting with the auto rickshaw

You aspire to be India’s next Narain Karthikeyan and take on Sebastian Vettel in the 2012 New Delhi Grand Prix.  But before you can achieve that goal, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.  Yes, you start as a crazy autowallah careening through Chandi Chowk and Daryaganj.  Your only aim is to get your passengers to their destinations within a specified time — and you get bonus points for getting them to their destination in one piece.  You mix driving with strategy by shifting employers and upgrading autos.  Slowly, you graduate to driving the black and yellow ambassador taxis, and then to air conditioned DizzyTaxis.  Finally, you start driving a BMW for for the Tag Hotels — whose owner, incidentally, is the sponsor for the 2012 Grand Prix.   Your final challenge is to face Sebastian Vettel in your own Force 1 car.

Battle for Axom (Strategy)

Lead your brave Ahom warriors into battle against the mighty Mughals

You act as Lachit Borphukan, as he works his way up through the Ahom army and finally meets his destiny in the Battle of Saraighat as he uses military tactics way ahead of his time to crush the Mughal Army’s attempt to enter North East India.  You start your career in the army of Chakradhwaj Singha, who is tasked with avenging his predecessor Jayadhwaj Singha’s defeat by the Mughals.  You work your way up in Chakradhwaj Singha’s army and build your career as a great lieutenant and master strategist.  Your final test is facing Raja Ram Singh’s 50,000-men army at the Battle of Saraighat.

 

The Encounter Squad (First Person Shooter)

Clean Up The Streets Of Mumbai - The Encounter Squad

The year is 1983, Mumbai is a haven for criminal gangs who have free rein on racketeering, dealing drugs and contraband, and generally taking each other out.  You play Bhaya  Nayak, a recent graduate from the renowned 1983 police batch tasked with restoring order to Mumbai. Partnering with bad a** cops such as Pradeep Sharma and Vijay Salaskar, you start on the streets of Mumbai investigating petty thefts and racketeering.  As your career grows, you become part of the mysterious Encounter Squad, taking on the infamous Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, and Arun Gawli gangs.  Missions range from detective work, exposing corrupt politicians (okay, this one might be a bit of strecth), to “encounters” with gangs.  You rise through the force by taking out gang members and completing missions.  The sophisticated AI enables you to chose if you are a bent cop or a clean cop through interactions with Mumbaikars.  The path you choose will influence the missions, how colleagues react to you, and even the ending of the game.  Will you die a hero stopping the 2008 Mumbai attacks or will you be gunned down with your own gun by a corrupt property developer? The choice is yours…

Rise To Power: An Indian Story  (Strategy Game)

You are the ambitious  mayor of a small town (you get to pick your state and town) hungry for more power and money.  You start off facing a challenging re-election where your opponent is whiter than white, through bribery, blackmailing, and clever use of the news you must guarantee your relection.  Then you move towards building the finances necessary for getting a shot at state elections by getting cuts on all infrastructure investments and taking out your rivals through all forms of skulduggery.  Use the media, local gangs, bribe the police and voters, leverage your political clout to increase your bank balance and political capital.  But beware, as you grow in power and fame, your rivals become more and more cunning.  And never forget the ultimate goal – becoming Prime Minister of India.

Ramayan (Action-Adventure)

Play Lord Rama and live up to his heroic status

Play the legendary Rama and rescue the beautiful Sita from the clutches of the evil Ravana.   You are accompanied by your faithful brother, Laxman who helps direct your strategy and covers your six.  You fight the asuras of Ravana, bring down the evil Surpanakha, collaborate with Hanuman to design your exit strategy in and out of Lanka.  The story culminates in an epic battle between you and Ravana, an old-world style showdown to rescue the beloved Sita.   From what we were able to find, the Ramayana 3392 A.D. project aimed to get there but was probably trashed at some point (or was built into a game that faded quickly into obscurity).

 

 

 

 

And Finally The One Game We Don’t Want To See…

Slumdog Millionaire:  A Real Indian Story (No Type)

You play Jamal Malik, a street child from the Mumbai slums with a perfect English accent.  Your aim throughout the game is to carry out every stereotype foreigners have of India.  Every time you do something normal, you are deducted points for not conforming to the view Westerns have of India.  But for every conforming action, you get Western Stereotype Points.   The aim is to get as many Western Stereotype Points by  jumping in shit, repairing computers, putting in shifts in call centers, ripping off hippie backpackers.  The ultimate aim – getting up the caste system so you can marry your loved one! Well,  actually the ultimate aim is to reassure foreigners on “what it’s really like growing up in India”.

This is, by no means, a most exhaustive list.  What else would you like to see on this list?  Is there a story or a movie you love that you would like to see in a video game?  Comment below and let us know!