Four Great Games of 2011 For Less than £11


Written by Chris Price
09 Monday 09th January 2012

Rage (Xbox 360/PS3) - £10

Id Software’s latest release (if you looked at the box, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d released nothing since 1995’s originalQuake). Even though it dropped off the RRP shelves into the bargain bucket quicker than a marauding Imp with a limp, the sumptuous Rage is worth every penny of its current £10 price tag. Don’t be fooled by its weighty 3-disc tumescence, it’s a straight up blaster with a whole clip load of clever ideas – sharpened boomerangs, unique gesticulating NPC’s, hidden easter eggs lurking throughout (check out the hidden Wolfenstein 3D room on the first level) luckily balancing out some brutally linear mission ideas and some hit and miss point-to-point driving. Still, it looks incredible and with some nigh-on perfect force feedback it’ll provide plenty of wholesome gunplay, even if you might polish it off in a few evenings. And pick up the Anarchy Edition for some extra comic book goodness and a making of DVD.  


Ace Combat : Assault Horizon (Xbox 360/PS3) - £10

Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat series has been brutally forced onto every console manageable, often many times and has travelled through a series of iterations from a sedentary simulation to retina twitching action. While 2011’s Ace Combat Assault Horizon might well mark a break with the series’ Eastern-tint, they’ve hit a sweet spot with the next generation graphical capabilities making the air-to-surface strafing as palpably enthusiastic as mid-air dogfights. The online deathmatch and ‘Capital Conquest’ modes will also lend to evenings of ‘bogeys on your 6’ and other such USAF-isms. Chasing, targeting and dispatch is given a split personality, as each element has its own strategy to absorb, but the reward is significant, and if you’ve always wanted to strap yourself into Mavericks cockpit Assault Horizon is one of the standout jetfighting games of the last few years.


Bulletstorm (Xbox 360 / PS3) - £8 / £10

Although Epic will be recognising 2011 as the wrap of the Gears of War trilogy, People Can Fly looked to take their skills along a salubrious detour with Bulletstorm – the first person shooter ragdoll physics was designed for. Essentially one elongated exercise in toilet humour, Grayson Hunt and his electronic whip land on an interplanetary paradise painted in the hue of Starburst,  and proceed to separate the inhabitants limbs from their bodies using the games’ chained ‘Skillshot’ attacks -bouncing bomb-balls, explosive bolas’ and remote controlled sniper rifle bullets. While not technically the most accomplished release against the likes of Rage and Modern Warfare 3, Bulletstorm’s real longevity lies in its score-attacking style – racking up multiple kills in slow motion, popping up like cosmic cash registers and endowing umpteen achievements. In a year of shooters, it might night be the sharpest tool in the box, but it’ll certainly be the most memorable.  With both Gun Sonata and Blood Symphony downloadable packs available, there’s plenty more aside when you’ve polished off the meagre single player campaign.


Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360 / PS3) - £11.86 / £10 (forgive us the 86p)

The latest in the sci-fi RPG series was always going to be a pretty adventurous. Positioned as the prequel to the original game that was released eons ago in 2000, Human Revolution saw a society coming to terms with the idea of Human Augmentation – the society that you’d spend the next game destroying. Although it saw many Blade Runner-isms being dusted off, gilded and then left out in the rain, it also brought some interesting philosophical ideas to world of console gaming and crucially realised them in two unique and memorable futuristic metroplexes. With both combat and stealth options available, the ability to approach the game from two angles gives you a split approach and the hacking and conversation mini-games – though familiar ideas, added a layer of depth which continued to every element of the game. Although navigationally flummoxing due to frankly rubbish mapping system, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a pretty essential at full price, and for a tenner, it’s a down-right bargain.


Bargain-at-twice-the-price Bonus:

Dark Souls (PS3/XBOX 360) - £20 (Ed: now £15, here)

2010 saw the advent of a new type of action RPG, a ‘bastard hard’ one that made even touching the control pad risk certain death – Demon’s Souls also saw a sleeper Japanese hit that garnered such attention that it propelled itself to our shores seemingly by will power alone. The sequel Dark Souls, although evening out the ruthless difficulty, provides a much wider experience, taking the game outside to a sprawling fantasy world and delivering some truly standout moments. A combat system akin to the Monster Hunter series also sees the return of the risk or reward element of an untimely death depositing your belongings where you fall, challenging you to return. And die you will, often (the game’s promotional site is but rarely unfairly. There will be no hand-holding in Dark Souls – no introductions or context – it’s purely you against a magnificent fantasy world, of grand beasts and even grander rewards.  It might well test your sanity to breaking point, but if you can commit concentration and time, Dark Souls might well be one of the most rewarding action adventure RPG’s you’ve ever played.

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