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Game Dork

The best games of 2011 so far

By Doug Elfman

Little Big Planet 2

Now that we’re halfway through 2011, let’s look at the 10 best games so far.

1. “Homefront” (THQ) is my favorite 2011 game, but not for its solo campaign, which is a decent war-shooter in which you save America from invading Korean soldiers.

The reason I love “Homefront” is its online multiplayer, the best since 2008′s “Frontlines: Fuel of War.”

Online battles are more realistic than “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” The physics – guns, bullets, helicopters and maps – are amazing. This thing is ridiculously addicting. It’s rated “M” for for PS 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

2. “L.A. Noire” (Rockstar Games) is like a playable detective TV series in which you solve crimes.

You scrutinize corpses and crime scenes for evidence, then try to ask pertinent questions during interviews with witnesses. Your brain must work hard to arrest the right suspects. It’s rated “M” for Xbox 360 and PS 3.

3. In “Infamous 2″ (Sony), you portray a superhero with the power to take out baddies by hitting them with bursts of electricity, ice and other elemental ammo, in a New Orleans-inspired city ravaged by a hurricane, militia, thugs and radiated swamp monsters. It’s quite fun. It’s rated “T” for PS 3.

4. “MLB 11: The Show” (Sony) is nearly a perfect baseball game. The look and movement of hitters, pitchers and fielders is incredible. Batting and pitching feels realistic, which is to say it’s very hard to win. It’s rated “E.”

5. In “Killzone 3″ (Sony) you portray an interplanetary super soldier saving humans from evil. It’s a first-person shooter with a duck-and-cover system. Battles (offline and online) are smooth but gritty. Guns are fantastic. It’s rated “M” for PS 3.

6. The fun of “Top Spin 4″ (2K Sports) is creating a tennis player from scratch and slowly improving his or her talents in realistic, addicting matches. Downer: There’s no voice-over commentary, making the narrative feel hollow. It’s rated “E.”

7. “LittleBigPlanet 2” (Sony) is a beautiful sidescrolling platform game, with images reminiscent of “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Coraline.” It’s delightful, but I didn’t want to play it again after finishing, so replay value may be low. It’s rated “E” for PS 3.

8. There’s no deep storyline in “Brink” (Bethesda). You merely shoot through online-cooperative-esque missions, such as setting and defusing a bomb in the middle of a battlefield. It’s a genius shooter, but offers too few battlefields. It’s rated “T” for Xbox 360, PS 3 and PC.

9. “Dead Space 2″ (EA) is a horror-survival shooting game set in a space city in 2511. It tries to startle you with aliens who pop up in the dark suddenly. You kill them a lot. It’s rated “M” for Xbox 360, PS 3 and PC.

10. “BulletStorm” (EA) is a funny “bromance.” You and a soldier buddy shoot monstrous villains on an Earthlike planet. Dialogue is humorous, while you blast aliens in the behind and stuff. It’s rated “M” for PS 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

(“Homefront” by THQ retails for $60 PS 3 and Xbox 360; $50 for PC – The offline campaign plays fun enough, but it’s the online shooter that makes it awesome. Looks very good. Rated “M” for blood, strong language and violence. Four stars out of four.)

Doug Elfman is an entertainment columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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