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Intelligent Systems is one of the most underrated developers in existence. Nobody ever talks about them, they just go about their business making titles like: Super Metroid, every Paper Mario game, the WarioWare series, all Advanced Wars titles, and also the entire Fire Emblem franchise. After developing the Fire Emblem series from its beginnings on the Famicom, Intelligent Systems seems to have perfected their craft in Awakening. I don’t mean this lightly: Fire Emblem: Awakening is the best handheld game I have ever played. Let that sink in for a second.
Once in a great while, a game comes along that changes how you feel about a genre. Metro 2033 is one such game. For me, the game revived my faith in the FPS genre as a means of successful storytelling, as opposed to the twitch and pop gameplay of the traditional juggernauts of Call of Duty and Halo. Metro 2033 was released in early 2010 Metro 2033 is also unique in that it is a licensed property based off of an award winning book written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The rare combination of strong source material and excellent production on the part of 4A Games (which is based in the Ukraine) created the much overlooked Metro 2033.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is undoubtedly one of the best games to come out in 2011. As one of the premier PS3 exclusives, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Uncharted 3 is a great big bag of thrilling excitement. Since his 2007 debut in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, titular character Nathan Drake has been the Playstation 3’s golden boy. In essence, Drake represents the console version of Indiana Jones. And people really like Indiana Jones. Nathan runs and guns, survives by some quick thinking and a heap of luck, and some physical strength. Most importantly, Nathan sells.
Limbo is the adventure of a young boy who… probably wants to escape from the hellish world he awakens to find himself trapped inside. There is not much to the story of Limbo, and there really does not need to be one. The small visual cues tell the player everything that needs to be said. While there is solid gameplay and clever puzzles throughout the short game that is Limbo, the real triumph is the mysterious atmosphere of the indie hit.
If I asked, “What do the Bible, The Legend of Zelda, abnormal psychology, and cute animation have in common?” the answer would be The Binding of Isaac. This game has a lot of things going for it right out of the gate: it was made by half of the Super Meat Boy team, Edmund McMillen; it is heavily influenced by the top-down style Legend of Zelda games; and has a rather macabre, yet endearing art style that is invitingly dark. In the game you control Isaac who has escaped into the basement of his house in an attempt to escape his deranged mother who wants to kill him.