20/06/2011 - Half Year Review

by Mike Power

Chris Fox

Six months of 2011 have gone by. There's been no Call of Duty, Fifa or Move compatible version of Flower released. Video game revenue continues to drop year after year and EVERYBODY IS BEING HACKED. But let's look back at the shinier highlights, the grimier gutters and the big movers and shakers of the industry so far.

JANUARY was quite the sequel show-boater with Dead Space 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Mass Effect 2 (Ultra PS3 edition) which each amazed and disappointed in equal measures. The NGP was announced thus kicking off a new console war (all covered exquisitely by RGF.) Full on gaming goobers Mindjack and DC Universe Online were countered by the beautiful and bewildering Ilomilo on Xbox Live.

FEBRUARY brought the threequel bombast with Marvel v.s. Capcom 3, Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm not quite hitting the artistic highs of the gaming industry but providing thrills and spills a plenty. The 3DS launched in Japan to something less than bombast and the Game Developers Conference gave us our first look at Dead Island and Battlefield 3. Also a little game called Tiny Wings launched on the iPhone, yahoooo!

MARCH shook things up with the terrifying and tragic Tōhoku earthquake in Japan causing a huge blow to the Japanese gaming industry and the world at large. The West meanwhile carried on with its relentless and underwhelming sequelitis represented by Crysis 2 and Dragon Age 2, most notable as one time PC juggernauts being tamed by console development. The 3DS made its was across the proverbial pond leading to much street passing, much console shaking and not much sales.

APRIL delivered the first truly great game of 2011 with Portal 2 and an excellent rebirth of the Mortal Kombat franchise. SOCOM 4 broke the sequel/threequel epidemic but proved that beyond a first class launch event (delectably covered by RGF) the game wasn't going to bring much to the gaming year. Most notably the family owned business Sony Computer Entertainment was hacked by hackers. The start of something very annoying had begun. Also the upstart, fledgling podcast Ready • Game • Fire unleashed it's tenth episode onto the world.

MAY saw a mishmash of quality and not so quality games with L.A. Noire, The Witcher 2, Motorstorm Apocalypse & Brink (respectively). L.A. Noire proved to be one of the biggest sellers of the year and a critical darling that may already be the most overrated game of the year. Sudden panic set in that as Square Enix and Codemasters were hack attacked as well.

JUNE blew no-one away with an E3 of mostly rumour confirmations. The best announcements of the show came from great new games (Halo 4, Sly 4(oh dear)) and hardy hardware (great PSV price and WiiU.) Clearly June wasn't a good month to name a console. Infamous 2 and a brand new Zelda game 'The Ocarina in Time' bolstered the PS3 and 3DS respectively. Duke Nukem launched in America on the same day as the also much delayed musical 'Spiderman: Turn off the Dark', both Nukeming in their reviews. To wrap up the first half of the year, everybody else was hacked. The list so far also includes Minecraft, EVE Online, Nintendo, Sega, Bethesda and Epic.

And so here we are at the halfway point of what, after writing this, I now realise has been a pretty unremarkable year for gaming. As the console cycle starts to grind its gears new hardware and innovations are on the way and we all look excitedly for the second half of the year with Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3 and 3DS games a plenty. Tune in six months from now for the start of 'The Year of the Fours' and a time when this will have to be posted to you as Ready • Game • Fire, after months as the only website left, was finally hacked to pieces.