Carrie Gouskos has been following Giant Bomb for nearly 23 years. When she's not disagreeing with Jeff's opinion on just about everything, she's working as a producer at BioWare Mythic on the upcoming free-to-play title Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes. She's also recently taken up crocheting during video game cutscenes, and has made to date, one very uneven scarf.
As a game developer, looking after live games in particular, it sometimes takes more than a year to get to the games I want to play. So it's usually about halfway through the next year, I find myself regretting not to have added one title or another to my previous year's Top 10 list. Which is why I want to give an honorable mention to VVVVVV, which would have made my list if I'd actually played it in 2010.
Another Honorable Mention goes to Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I can't in good conscience slot in my Top 10, given that it's made by a number of extremely talented people at my employer. That being said, I can't neglect to mention what a tremendous achievement it is and how proud I am of the team that made it.
10. Gears of War 3
Gears 3 doesn't take any huge steps forward--but in a year jam-packed full of sequels to games that did (and then failed to live up to those standards), Gears is a great example of how not to break a winning formula.
It's the best thing about Burnout plus the best thing about a slot machine... plus 10-second clips of the world's catchiest '80s and '90s jingles. There were plenty of other games coming out around the same time... but I just couldn't stop playing Burnout Crash. Doc-doc-doc-doc-doctor beat!
8. To The Moon
Gameplay is not the reason to play To the Moon. In fact, it often feels like a barebones device to push you through the story. But oh man what a story...
Is it me or is it a little misty in here?
I'm sort of horrified to have Battlefield on this list and not Call of Duty. I have long been a CoD player and never gotten into any of the Battlefield games. But this year's Battlefield is a tour de force--not only does it have all the elements that make it uniquely Battlefield (vehicles, destructible environments, giant maps), but it may have just one-upped The Duty as the game in which I like to be called a newb by 15-year-old boys the most.
6. Dungeon Raid
The only reason Dungeon Raid is not in the top three is that I believe it technically came out around the end of2010. But Dungeon Raid feels like a 2011 game, as suddenly, after some critical patches in the beginning of this year that added classes and other options to the core game, everybody was playing it. And not only is it one of the best games of 2011 (or 2010), but it's probably one of the best games ever released on iOS. Never has there been so much legitimate gameplay in a Match 3 puzzle game before.
Despite having a particular affinity for the crew at Supergiant Games, I don't feel there's any display of bias by including Bastion on this list. It has wonderful story, art, music, and gameplay. And where many indie games get "forgiven" if they fall short in one or more of those departments, Bastion raises the bar in all of them. Not only do the "little guys" have a new standard, but the big guys do, too.
One of the best things about Atlus' games is how daring they are. Catherine may not be the best testament to healthy relationships, but it certainly is the most interesting combination of story-driven morality choices, puzzle solving, and sheep nightmares. This is not a game you've ever played before, or ever will again. And while that might feel like a shame, it's a big part of what makes it so wonderful.
Arkham Asylum was nearly perfect, so it was hard to imagine how Arkham City was going to meet those expectations, let alone exceed them. In order to do it, however, the developers at Rocksteady gave us what we didn't realize we wanted--the ability to freely roam through Gotham City. Sure, there are more Batman villains and more Waynetech upgrades, but most of all? You're able to glide as Batman all over Gotham City. It's video game fantasy wish fulfillment at its finest.
No game this year had a higher bar to meet than Uncharted 3. And while there were times where it felt like it was meeting that bar in spite of itself (the combat felt particularly frustrating this time around), you still find yourself on this incredible and epic journey that is unmistakenly Uncharted. From the moments of riveting, breath-catching wonder to the beautiful character interaction and storytelling, Uncharted 3 is wonderful as both a game and an experience.
1. Portal 2
It's hard to imagine a game adding to and then improving upon the original Portal, but Portal 2 does it. In particular, it shines in the co-operative gameplay mode, which is as nuanced as the single-player in its humor and charm and one of the finest co-operative gameplay experiences around. Partners in science!