Naughty or nice: a video game guide



I’ve got a list, and I am checking it twice. With it you will know which games this year were naughty or nice.




Playstation 3

Santa’s pick: “Uncharted 3”

2011 was the year of the three-quel. You had “Modern Warfare 3,” “Gears of War 3” and “Killzone 3.” Of the three, the nicests came from developer Naughty Dog in the form of “Uncharted 3.” Proving the third time’s the charm, U3 leads the three-quel herd with finesse by setting a new standard for game presentation.


Elves’ picks:  “inFAMOUS 2,” “No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise” and “God of War: Origins Collection”


XBOX 360

Santa’s pick: “Gears of War 3”

While “Gears of War 3” is an amazing game, it wins almost by default. With Microsoft’s exclusive lineup being so thin, GOW 3 does what it must to bulk up the slim pickings. Even though it follows a strict “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, it still has enough variety in the narrative to motivate players to reach the closure-centric ending.


Elves’ picks: “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” “Dance Central 2” and “The Gunstringer”



Santa’s pick: “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”

No surprise here. The Wii has had a tough year, with declining console and game sales. Link saves the system from complete destruction.


Elves’ pick: Buying another copy of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”



Santa’s pick: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”

Selling about half of what the newest “Call of Duty” did, “Skyrim” shows the world that nerdism is not dead and stats matter. Fixing most of the problems “Oblivion” had, “Skyrim” shows how well an open-ended RPG can work and should keep you entertained until the apocalypse of 2012.


Elves’ picks: “CathErine,” “Portal 2,” “Saints Row: The Third,” “Dead Space 2” and “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”






Pick for the fireplace: “DC Universe Online”

This year was probably Sony’s strongest yet, but there’s always one brat who ruins it for everyone. That little imp is “DC Universe Online.” Launching with horrible gameplay glitches and weak mechanics, DCUO had no chance of surviving in the current market of MMOs. The game is still on life support and has become so desperate for players that you can now download the full game for free.


Other disappointments: “Killzone 3” and “Tekken Hybrid”


XBOX 360

Pick for the fireplace: “Fruit Ninja Kinect”

For a game that is free on Android and a dollar on iPhone, I can’t justify the $10 price tag on this port. “Fruit Ninja Kinect” is the prime example of why digitally distributed games are not ready to become the new standard format for consoles, thanks to ridiculous prices. Also, the Kinect controls don’t hold a candle to its phone-friendly counterparts.


Other disappointments: “Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do” and “Rise of Nightmares”



Pick for the fireplace: “101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix”

Publisher Atlus must have really needed a paycheck. I can’t find one reason why anyone should be subjected to this shovelware unless they have committed crimes against humanity. A warning to all you mothers out there: Seeing this game in the bargain bin does not make it a good deal. Spend the extra five bucks and buy your loved ones a giant Hershey bar.


Other disappointments: “Just Dance 3,” “Conduit 2” and “Mario Sports Mix.”



Pick for the fireplace: “Call of Juarez: The Cartel”

If someone translated one of those low-budget Mexican-made action films, they would create something very similar to “Call of Juarez: the Cartel.” Not only is this probably the worse shooter of the year, this might be one of the worst products ever released to the public for $60.


Other disappointments: “Dragon Age II,” “Rage,” “Brink” and “Homefront”


Photo illustration by Miki Jennings

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