From top to bottom, Mario Kart 7 stands as the best entry in the series. The new mechanics are enjoyable rather than distracting, and the inclusion of competent, buttery-smooth online multiplayer gives the game a nearly unlimited amount of replayability. If you've been playing Mario Kart DS and wondering when the next great kart racer will arrive, then search no longer. This is it.
No one plays games like Battlefield for the single-player portion, and if that's the case, then this is a terrific multiplayer title that scratches the itch Call of Duty can never seem to reach. Battlefield 3 is a fine objective-based multiplayer shooter.
Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is worth picking up for 3DS owners. While I've enjoyed a couple of other 3DS titles since the system's release, Ocarina of Time is the first game that makes it feel like a must-have device. It does a great job of incorporating the system's unique features and provides enough of an upgrade to graphics and gameplay to make it worth checking out even if you've played this game in the past. Though the original was released 13 years ago, this excellent port is certainly one of highlights of 2011 and does great justice to a beloved game.
Patapon 3 builds upon the Patapon franchise by adding multiplayer and some other gameplay improvements. It's so charming and addictive that you'll find yourself drawn to it time and time again.
LittleBigPlanet 2 may be a single-player game, but the heart is in its creation features and the possibility of user-created levels. The single-player mode shows you the many possibilities and gives plenty of food for thought. The early created levels are already exceptional, and they're sure to grow as people master LBP 2's multitude of new features. It's a rare example of a sequel that completely eclipses the original. The addictive level creation tools and endless amount of developer- and player-created levels make the game well worth your money.
Minecraft lets you create a personalized gaming experience. Explore, experiment and shape the world to your liking. It's what you make of it, and that's what makes Minecraft so engaging.
Even if you're not a huge fan of the LEGO titles, it's hard to deny that Traveller's Tales has managed to refine the gameplay formula in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. Toss in the standard co-op mode, which is always a lot of fun, and you've got a great time-waster on your hands here. There's so much stuff to unlock (the character roster is incredible), and the gameplay keeps getting better every time a new game pops up.
Despite its flaws, Saints Row: The Third succeeds because of its mandate to focus on fun. The story may not be epic and the graphics may not be mind blowing, but when all is said and done, Saints Row: The Third probably has more "holy sh*t!" moments than any other game currently on the market. Combine this with a twisted sense of humor, and you have a recipe for success.
de Blob 2 is a great game that has the chance to be experienced by a wider audience because of its multiplatform status. The casual platformer is much easier this time around, but it's still an enjoyable experience. The addition of co-op makes it something younger kids could get into easily. The wonderful musical mechanic is still in place, with a soundtrack that's just as good as the original, and the brightly colored world garners favorable notice in a gaming landscape filled with drab and dark colors. Fans of more offbeat platformers will certainly enjoy painting the town red — or any color they want.
Forza Motorsport 4 feels like a proper sequel for the series instead of a glorified car roster update. The different activities make the package feel rounded and complement the other available activities. Everything from accessibility to car selection and the deep customization system make for a fun game that racing fans and non-racing fans alike can get lost in for hours on end.
Radiant Historia is an old-fashioned RPG, and it's a good one. The story is simple and enjoyable, and there's a likeable cast. The unusual time travel mechanic is engrossing despite being occasionally inconsistent. The high point of the game is certainly the combat system, which turns the backtracking into an enjoyable experience. Any fan of Japanese-style RPGs should find this to be a great experience. It's inevitable for Radiant Historia to be compared to fellow time-travel RPG Chrono Trigger, but if you can judge Radiant Historia on its own merits, you'll find one of the most exciting and enjoyable RPGs on the DS.
With Gears of War 3, Epic has delivered a worthy send-off for Marcus Fenix and the rest of Delta Squad. Player complaints from previous titles have been addressed, there is more multiplayer content than ever before and the story delivers a satisfying conclusion. In many respects, Gears of War 3 is everything you could want a Gears game to be. Don't hesitate on pulling the trigger.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings made me agonize over who to ally with, who to believe, and which side should benefit from a Witcher's skill. Every subtle choice suggestively pointed the way to further mischief and greater adventure. There's plenty to craft, imbibe, gamble and slay amid this twisting narrative.
Super Mario 3D Land is easy to recommend as a must-have game for any 3DS owner's library. The graphics are impressive for a handheld, especially when you use the system's built-in 3-D. The sound and gameplay mechanics are great. With the multitude of secrets in the game, along with the big twist near the end, Super Mario 3D Land can be rightfully called "deep," even if seems easy when you start out. There's hardly a bad thing to say about the title, so Super Mario 3D Land should be in your collection.
Once the ride hits full speed in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, it never disappointments. A few plot threads are unraveled and never sewn up again, but one of these, undoubtedly the most significant, has obviously been left out of the weave with intent, to be explained in greater detail somewhere down the line of Nathan Drake's continuing saga.