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Controller Freak

Chad Sapieha leads you deep into the world of games, covering gaming trends

Entry archive:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a vast fantasy role-playing game with one of the most immersive virtual worlds ever created. We think it's the best game of 2011 (Bethesda Softworks)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a vast fantasy role-playing game with one of the most immersive virtual worlds ever created. We think it's the best game of 2011 (Bethesda Softworks)

The top 25 video games of 2011 Add to ...

This one has players using their hands to control pulses of energy that target and wipe out digital malignancies affecting the emergence of an artificial intelligence in the far future. Its about as bizarre as it sounds, but stellar kaleidoscopic visuals, an impossibly upbeat electronic score, and terrific motion controls combine to spawn one of the most immersive motion gaming experiences yet created. Just remember to play with the volume pumped and the lights turned off to maximize the effect. (Ubisoft; PS3, X360)

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Among the most visually sophisticated games ever made, the cities and forests in this Polish-made RPG are simply jaw dropping – assuming you play on a PC with enough rendering power to do them justice. Its complex, twisty, and decidedly mature story is just as impressive, and provides players an exceptional amount of control over the direction and outcome of certain plot threads. Just make sure you’re ready for a challenge; the sophisticated – but satisfying – combat system isn’t for rookies. (CD Projekt RED; PC)

Dead Space 2

Lots of games go for creepiness, but if you want good old-fashioned Aliens-style terror, look no further than the second entry in EA’s excellent sci-fi horror series. It piles on one shocking moment after another, turns up the disturbing factor with alien-possessed babies, then covers everything with a thick layer of psychological suspense that makes players question their every action. (Electronic Arts; PS3, X360, PC)

Professor Layton and the Last Specter

The fourth game in Level-5’s series of portable puzzlers pushes our professor back in time a few years to explore how he met his amiable assistant, Luke. Its conundrums are as varied and challenging as ever, and its perplexing story of a British town under attack by a strange creature keeps us guessing to the end. It's the best DS release of the year. (Level-5; Nintendo DS)

Forza Motorsport 4

An enormous garage of gorgeous cars, scores of authentic and fictional courses, and surprisingly effective Kinect integration helped lift the fourth entry in Turn-10’s Xbox-exclusive racing franchise to the top of the podium. It could have done with bolder innovation – it merely evolves rather than revolutionizes the genre – but there’s little denying what’s here is about as good as it gets in the world of console racing simulation. (Turn-10; X360)


The star of this game is its raconteur, a smooth-voiced narrator who provides informative and amusing play-by-play commentary on everything we see, from our hero’s handiwork in combat to his accidental plunges over ledges. It’s a novel and instantly engaging form of interactive storytelling that we can expect to see emulated in coming years. The flowing action, hand-painted settings, and award-winning acoustic score merely sweeten the deal. (Supergiant Games; X360, PC)

Star Wars: The Old Republic

The few brief days I’ve spent playing this brand new MMORPG set in a galaxy far, far away were enough to make it a last minute addition to this list. It carries us along a story that's more structured and engaging than we've come to expect of games in this genre. Its attractively simple design, meanwhile, should appeal not just to MMORPG fans, but also Star Wars acolytes in general. The Force is strong with this one. (BioWare; PC)

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