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Trailer Made: A Look at 2011's Blockbuster Games
by Greg Mengel

Games, games, games. Sexy, flashy games. Sexy, flashy games, with robots. And snowboards. But never snowboarding robots.

2011 is going to be another big year for gaming. A huge year. To sate our ever-present need as gamers to absorb information on new game releases like an internet sponge, has released a list of world premiere trailers to wet your digital appetite. It's long. It's varied. And it has at least one major title you've been anticipating for years.

Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Resistance 3, Thor, Forza, Portal 2, Deadliest Warrior, Mortal Kombat, Mass Effect 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Insane, SSX, and Prototype 2. They're all there. For the sake of convenience, I'm taking all the trailers from that there list, embedding them here in this article, and including my own personal take on each. Why? Because I'm oh-just-so filled with that good, olde-timey Christmas spirit, gosh darn it! It's time to share.

Thirteen trailers, one webpage, and five minutes of sweet, distracted bliss, free from the responsibilities of family, last-minute capitalist blitzkrieg shopping, and work. Sit back, grab a cup of eggnog, nestle into your favorite easy chair, and relax: here we go.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Another chapter for the adventurer in Wranglers.

This looks good.
Déja vu, anyone? Replace sand with snow, and you've got the trailer for Among Thieves. A barren landscape, followed by a cryptic monologue, interrupted by a supporting character, and topped off rapid-fire clips of piping hot gameplay. This is the recipe for Uncharted, and it always goes down strong. The trailer for Drake's Deception makes me want to play it. Mission accomplished.

Sweet Thor at the Ragnarok, why?!
After reading Mr. Hawke's take on Nathan Drake and his cavalier, devil-may-care tendency to accidentally commit horrible acts of genocide, I'm afraid I'm going to overthink every Uncharted ever made from now until oblivion, forever ruining its magic. Thanks, Chris. Thanks for killing the joy.

Batman: Arkham City

This man is every psychologist's dream.

This looks good.
Dear God, our next villain is Hugo Strange. This guy is twisted in ways that would make even the Joker raise an eyebrow. The man is known for taking ordinary thugs and killers, injecting them with everything but the kitchen sink, and watching them mutate into giant, tumored monstrosities before setting them loose in the city to murder a sleeping populace in the dark. He's basically Dr. Josef Mengele, unchained and given free reign to haunt the DC Universe. With Rocksteady Studios' wonderful portrayals of Batman, Joker and Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum, it's a safe bet that they're gonna do Strange right. Awesome.

Zeus's furious lightningbolt, why?!
There's not much about this video that concerns me. Maybe Batman's voice. Call me crazy, but I actually like Christian Bale's 'last stage of emphysema' Batman. It works.

Resistance 3

Hey look, the past has monsters and stuff.

This looks good.
Meh. Skip to the paragraph below.

Aprhodite's vanishing chastity, why?!
It just seems like they're trying too hard. Cliché soldier-looks-at-picture-of-loved-one-before-being-tugged-into-battle at the beginning... bitter American folk ballad symbolising hard times at the end... a goddamned 'scary monster face' (arms up in the air, head pulled forward in a 'hideous' roar) somewhere in the middle. It all seems generic. Nothing about this trailer tells me that Resistance 3 will be different than any other monstered FPS on the market.

Thor: God of Thunder

...I just know you're going to mess this up.

This looks good.

Shiva's six-pronged handshake, why?!
Movie adaptations into games, like American soccer teams, never end up being very good. Some have promise. Thor: God of Thunder doesn't. Quickly summed up, this video featured bad facial graphics, detached voice acting, an awkward script ("...his enemies know him as the god of thunder..." Everybody knows him as the god of thunder! That's what he is!), and an overall feeling of disappointment. Hey, at least the movie could still be good.

Forza Motorsport 4

People play video games to experience situations that we could never witness in real life. Like watching cars driving.

This looks good.
Without understanding why people enjoy cars or would buy a video game about them in the first place, I will say that this trailer had strikingly beautiful cinematography. Without saying a word, it almost made me feel the same sort of exhilaration most red-blooded males supposedly feel when looking at a Lamborghini made out of pure sex.

Fleet-footed Hermes' sandals, why?!
No trailer will convince me to buy a racing game that doesn't involve tortoise shells, an Italian plumber, and a monkey.

Portal 2

We can settle our differences. For science.

This looks good.
OMG, CUTE ROBOTS WITH PERSONALITIES! This video is going to be an instant hit in Japan.

Fancy mechanical Moses, why?!
We've seen adorable droid antics made before, Valve, and not by you either. Be cautious, or you may follow his route to the dark side. Otherwise, release whatever trailer you want. We know it'll be stellar.

Deadliest Warrior

History meets history. Finally we can learn what would go down in a three way brawl between a Roman centurion, a Shaolin monk, and a jet-packed Jesus (collector's edition only).

This looks good.
Fundamentally, this trailer tells us one thing - that we can settle our "[historical fighter A] would completely thrash [historical fighter B]!" arguments using the power of our thumbs.

Dick Cheney's metallic heart, why?!
As trailers go, this is short and sweet. For the most part, I like that. Still... only twenty-eight seconds? Personally, I would have gone for a little more info.

Mortal Kombat

"You have a new challenger!" I'll give you a hint: it's not Ghandi.

This looks good.
The classic feel of Mortal Kombat seems to have remained intact. That classic feel is, of course, mindless, uncaring violence, but hey, it brings you back. Kratos will feel right at home in this world.

Tapdancing Franklin Roosevelt, why?!
Like all fighter games, Mortal Kombat could end up as little more than a fad with a religiously-dedicated cult fanbase in mere months. I doubt it'll happen, but it could.

Mass Effect 3

More universe to save, more blue crewfolk to tear the armor off of with your space teeth.

This looks good.
Earth?! They're bringing the story back to Earth?! Terrific. Also, the graphics and voice acting in the trailer were superb. Watching it left me thinking of a futuristic War of the Worlds in which the humans had the technology to fight back (common cold excluded).

Hornswagglin' hootenany city-folk, why?!
Nothing. Nothing about this trailer looks bad to me. Maybe it's too short. I dunno.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Drums. Drums in the deep...

This looks good.
The perfect portrayal of a prophecy, and perhaps the best fantasy teaser (not full trailer, mind you) that I've seen in a decade, and I don't even like the Elder Scrolls series. Take notes, fantasy game makers. This is how it's done.

Caesar's befouled toga, why?!
Not much bad to be found in this trailer. It's short, it's sweet, and it makes me look forward for the next installment in a franchise I usually don't care for. All in all, a fine piece of cinematographic work.


Not only in the membrane, but also in the brain.

This looks good.
The fact that Insane is being guided by film director Guillermo del Toro, the man behind the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit, both gives me hope that the game will be solid, and worries that his portrayal of Bilbo Baggins will be the stuff of nightmares.

You damned, dirty apes, why?!
This trailer really doesn't say much, other than "Guillermo del Toro is working on this," and "he owns his own copy of that video from The Ring."


Snowboarding... TO THE EXTREME!!!

This looks good.
Stupid though the concept is, the idea of snowboarding down Mount Everest is mildly amusing, in that it could keep me entertained for at least five minutes.

Spock's logic, why?!
This game already feels like junk food. Once those five minutes of initial enthrallment are over, I imagine this game will lose its taste, leaving me feeling bloated, ashamed for playing, and utterly alone in the world. I mean, what's deep about snowboarding down a hellishly dangerous peak for absolutely no reason? Not much.

Prototype 2

Let the genocide haikus resume, 2012.

This looks good.
Does your life suck at the moment? Things tough at work? This will be the game to let off steam with after a hard day. Nothing cures depression like destruction at the level of the gods. Forget the story. The sooner you let it go, the better. With Prototype, the gameplay is all the fun.

Bloodied gladius of Mars, why?!
As expected, the narrative in this trailer looks pointless. People aren't playing this game to experience the human story. They want to throw a tank at a helicopter and fly into the sunset. So why highlight story in your trailer? Show us your moves, Radical Entertainment, and nothing more.

With these titles, and a troupe of non-trailered releases led by The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, 2011 is looking to be a solid year. I'm already making sure that, on the release dates of these games, my 'I'm so ill' lies are prepped.

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- Greg Mengel

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