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#1 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

Obviously, Game of the Year discussion is beginning, even if people are all saying "Wait, wait, hold your horses, there's still another month of releases left and then we need a couple more weeks to play them!"

So, instead, I'll ask about last year's best games. Do you guys think that we can establish any of the best games of last year as some of the "best games ever made?" Obviously, the frontrunners in this conversation are games like Skyrim, Saints Row The Third, Portal 2, Dark Souls, Bastion, Batman: Arkham City, and The Witcher 2, which are probably the games that were primarily nominated for GOTY, right? I'm leaving off a few of my personal favorites and other crowd nominees for the sake of starting the conversation. But is it too soon? Or do you guys think we pretty quickly know about some of these games, Sgt. Pepper's or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy-style?

This is more about celebrating and thinking about how good modern games really still can be than it is about meticulously fighting each other on a question of rankings. Games are maybe one of the few medium where single-year comparison still makes a lot of sense, though we're definitely starting to see patterns emerging with the two-or-three year cycle most developers work under these days.

If there's some decent response to this thread, maybe I'll make a similar thread for other years. I think it's a bit more obvious what games we would probably choose to canonize in 2010, but other times it's harder.

#2 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

The only one on that list I would consider that good is Dark Souls. The others are good (Skyrim less so in my opinion), but I won't go back and play those in 5 or 10 years.

#3 Posted by Dtat (1623 posts) -

I think it might be a little too soon for 2011. Maybe go back to 2009 or even 2010? I think a couple year's distance would be prudent.

#4 Posted by Turambar (6738 posts) -

Out of all of them, Dark Souls is the only one I'd crown with any title.

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Dtat said:

I think it might be a little too soon for 2011. Maybe go back to 2009 or even 2010? I think a couple year's distance would be prudent.

Yea, probably, since I imagine some of us are still playing games from 2011.

#6 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Dark Souls and Witcher 2 are both top 5 in their respective genres; Witcher 2 might well be the best voiced RPG of all time. SR3 is probably the best GTA type game this generation, but still vastly inferior to San Andreas. Arkham City is too similar to Arkham Asylum I guess is the main rub, personally I've played it and enjoyed it but don't really have a drive to finish it at all and certainly very little interest in 100%ing it.

Bastion is a very good Indy game but suffers from all the logistic problems any other Indy game has; which tends to prohibit comparison to mainstream titles. Maybe its narrative structure is a bit revolutionary but it is not genre defining.

I do think Uncharted 3 is a top 5 to top 10 third person shooter all time and has the best co-op out of any FPS or 3PS; but it's still not as good as Uncharted 2 will always be the knock.

Skyrim is an Elder Scrolls game, it's ever so slightly better than Oblivion. It's a fun thing to play once every 4 or 5 years and that's about it; It's like Zelda more or less, play one every once in a while and its fun, play them yearly and they're dry and repetitive as hell.

#7 Posted by ch3burashka (5040 posts) -

Hm, can we martyr them rather than canonize? I'd like to get some blood on my hands in the process.

#8 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

You're insane in thinking that any of those games are one of the best of all time. Lets wait a couple of years and see if any of those games hold up. They're great games( I don't care about Dark Souls so sue me) for sure but I'm not comfortable with nominating any of those games as all time classics.

#9 Posted by BeachThunder (11834 posts) -

I would consider Ghost Trick and Binding of Isaac to be amongst my favourite games ever.

#10 Posted by StarvingGamer (8149 posts) -

I suppose it depends on how broadly you want to paint with your "best games of all time" brush. If we're talking about a list of 10-20 games, then none of the above. If it's a list of 100, then I can see a few of them ending up there. If we're talking about "most important games of all time" then Dark Souls makes the list and the others don't.

#11 Posted by Jackhole (370 posts) -

I think Bastion is the game from last year that really stands out. If you go back to 2010, Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption will probably both be top 5 from this generation, along with Bioshock, Portal, and Super Mario Galaxy.

#12 Posted by evilrazer (481 posts) -

I bought The Witcher 2 not so long ago and finished it, I will not give it a crown and put it straight into the hall of fame, since it has it's own flaws that I would love to change, but it's a solid game and I had ton of fun with it. I hope CD Project will continue the sorry of Gerald of Rivia, since he has many untold adventures.

#13 Posted by YI_Orange (1142 posts) -

I agree. Of all the games listed the only one I feel comfortable betting will be looked back on in the way we look back on some games now, is Dark Souls. Unless they make another better souls game that is. Maybe Portal 2 as well.

As much as I love The Witcher 2 I just don't know if it has that timeless quality.

Saints Row. That game is hilarious, but as far as actually playing it..the shooting is passable and the mission structure(especially side missions) is not great. That last music cue though..god dammit, so good.

Skyrim..I kinda feel like people are already starting to be like "oh yeah, that game, I remember that".

Bastion was my favorite game last year, and I actually think it's near flawless. So I hope it withstands the test of time.

#14 Posted by GunstarRed (5118 posts) -

Like others I think it's too soon, the only game that I played last year I think I could say was one of the best games ever made was The Binding of Isaac.

#15 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I agree that Dark Souls is the one game from last year i'd give such high praise too.

#16 Posted by Hizang (8532 posts) -

Portal 2 would be on IGN's top 100 games of all time list, I'd wager.

#17 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: What is your top 20? Here I'll make a thread about it: http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion/30/top-20-games-all-time/566925/

#18 Edited by Baal_Sagoth (1254 posts) -

At this point in time, out of that (very nice) list you proposed, I feel confident in casting my vote for Bastion. I say this because other than being just exceptionally good that game will also age really well. I can't think of any reasonable technical advancements or shifts in game design philosophy that would make another iteration of that game much better. The art is very varied and striking, the mixture of narrative elements and involved mechanics is great. The voice acting is outstanding and the music is quite unique for a game's OST and remarkably well implemented in the context of the game. The narrative and it's core ideas appear to be timneless as well due to the clever emotional and somewhat abstract grounding.

Saint's Row might actually be a strong contender as well but I can't really play the original version legally due to DRM and silly region locking so I don't know enough about it. The Witcher 2 is really good but only in ways that the first one already did triumphantly. The follow-up merely opened it up to the mainstream . Skyrim is also an excellent game but that particular 'genre' is so ambitious and profits so heavily from more computing power that there'll almost inevitably be a better iteration somewhere down the line. None of the others are close enough to my preferences that I'd personally consider them more than good and very well-made in their respective fields.

#19 Posted by Zekhariah (697 posts) -

Of those, I tend to credit Bastion as nobody else seems to be doing s good of a job with narration or music. And quality world fitting music seems like an items that others games do not necessarily aim for.

But I think the cannon best game ever type titles requires that those titles hold up for a few more years as the best in their genres at least. Like we need to see GTA V and VI (if the MS/Sony console refresh is included) before putting a 2011 open-world title as a best of anything.

#20 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

I'm still playing Dark Souls, a year later. It's a great one.

#21 Posted by StarvingGamer (8149 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave: Hmmm, that's actually going to take some seriously careful consideration. I'll get started on it now.

#22 Posted by Nightriff (4991 posts) -

@Hizang said:

Portal 2 would be on IGN's top 100 games of all time list, I'd wager.

What game isn't on a IGN's top something of something list?

#23 Posted by Raven10 (1765 posts) -

I think Bastion and Portal 2 were both incredible games but I wouldn't include them in a list of the Top 10 Games of All Time. Maybe top 100 though. For me the games I would canonize from this generation so far are Bioshock, Portal, Braid, and maybe Uncharted 2. Note that I don't own a Wii so I'm not including Super Mario Galaxy in that list.

#24 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: Turns out you were right more or less, Dark Souls and Witcher 2 are amongst the best games of this generation to be sure but not really easy to place in even a top 20 list and easily left off (though I don't think the same can be said for Uncharted 2 and Arkham Asylum).

#25 Posted by Fattony12000 (7298 posts) -

If by canonize, you mean 'to shoot out of big cannon'. Then I must humbly submit Saints: Row The Third, as the only game that seems like it'd love to be shot out of a big cannon.

#26 Edited by Baillie (4080 posts) -
  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  • Bastion
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield: Bad Company
  • Bioshock
  • Braid
  • Bully
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Dark Souls
  • Dead Space
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
  • Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy
  • Fallout 3
  • Far Cry 2
  • Gears of War
  • God of War
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Guitar Hero
  • Halo 3
  • inFamous
  • Killzone 2
  • Kingdom Hearts II
  • L.A. Noire
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Limbo
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • Minecraft
  • Okami
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Portal 2
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Rock Band
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2
  • Street Fighter IV
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Wii Sports
  • Witcher 2

A list I made of games from 2005-2011.

#27 Posted by Milkman (16661 posts) -

Skyrim and Portal 2 are going to remember for years to come. Dark Souls and Witcher 2 will probably be remembered as "cult classics."

#28 Edited by believer258 (11794 posts) -

Out of those, I'd categorize Skyrim and Portal 2 as some of the best games of all time. I haven't played Dark Souls or The Witcher 2 so I don't know about those yet, but I will play both at some point.

EDIT: Also, call me nuts but, while I liked Saints Row The Third, I don't think it belongs anywhere near any kind of "top 10" or "top 20" lists. Maybe a top 100 of 2011. It started off very fun, but by the ending it was just a game that I did not want to play again. Sorry, Jeff and the vast majority of people who liked it. You can only ride on crazy for so long before your game starts to show its flaws.

#29 Edited by peritus (993 posts) -

@Baillie said:

  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  • Bastion
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield: Bad Company
  • Bioshock
  • Braid
  • Bully
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Dark Souls
  • Dead Space
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
  • Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy
  • Fallout 3
  • Far Cry 2
  • Gears of War
  • God of War
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Guitar Hero
  • Halo 3
  • inFamous
  • Killzone 2
  • Kingdom Hearts II
  • L.A. Noire
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Limbo
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • Minecraft
  • Okami
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Portal 2
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Rock Band
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2
  • Street Fighter IV
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Wii Sports
  • Witcher 2

A list I made of games from 2005-2011.

But how many of these games will still be considered good 20 years from now? I could see maybe 5 or 6 of these titles becoming true classics. Maybe.

@Milkman: I dont think Skyrim so much as just The elder scrolls name staying relevant. Unless the elder scrolls online kills Bethesda/Zenimax : (

#30 Posted by Baillie (4080 posts) -

@peritus: It's not my personal list, I can not stand a few of them, out of them I think these will be still regarded as classics.

  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Battlefield 2
  • Bioshock
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Dead Space
  • Fahrenheit
  • Fallout 3
  • Gears of War
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Halo 3
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Portal 2
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Rock Band
  • Skyrim
  • Street Fighter IV
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
#31 Edited by Red (5994 posts) -

I think canonization implies necessary playing in order to truly understand how games work. I don't like Super Mario 64, but I'm glad that I tried it because it helped me see what 3D platformers have built off of. I don't think any games from 2011 qualify, although I think The Walking Dead from this year might, especially if the fifth episode is as amazing as scuttlebutt has said.

#32 Edited by EXTomar (4684 posts) -

Bleh. I have never liked the label "Game Of The Year" so trying to "canonize" it is such an odd idea. I consider some games special and noteworthy but the best is as meaningless as coming up with a list of "The Best Quick Looks of the Year".

Online
#33 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

@Red: I'm more describing it the way people describe the film canon, which is the handful of films representing "the highest quality" in the medium. No matter how useful "A Trip To The Moon" might be as a film in terms of education about the silent era, it's not part of the film canon because it doesn't represent the highest standard of the medium. Literature and music both use canon the way you do, though.

For the record, I'll say I probably wouldn't canonize any game from last year.

#34 Posted by Dethfish (3646 posts) -

Portal 2 is in my personal top 5 favorite games of all time. I think Skyrim is pretty great too.

#35 Edited by MikkaQ (10283 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

I suppose it depends on how broadly you want to paint with your "best games of all time" brush. If we're talking about a list of 10-20 games, then none of the above. If it's a list of 100, then I can see a few of them ending up there. If we're talking about "most important games of all time" then Dark Souls makes the list and the others don't.

But how would it be important? The game hasn't been out long enough to know whether it will influence other games or not, personally I'm guessing not, the game doesn't really do things that others don't already, it just does them in an incredibly specific way. By that I mean it's a "more than the sum of it's parts" kind of game. It's hard to draw specific influences from those without ripping off the formula whole-cloth.

#36 Posted by Demoskinos (14764 posts) -

No, because I think everyone is going to have a different take on that. I think you can however make a list of games that were important to the scene and what caught the most buzz.

#37 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@MikkaQ: A game's over arching influence doesn't really reflect on the quality of the game. Halo was influential, CoD 4 was influential; neither is particularly impressive when viewed through non rose colored glasses. Super Metroid did not have that much of a direct impact on the game industry, it might be having an impact on Indy games now but at the time and for years it was a largely unique game. Link to the Past is probably the best Zelda game but also has very few mainstream first party games that are akin to it.

#38 Posted by MikkaQ (10283 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@MikkaQ: A game's over arching influence doesn't really reflect on the quality of the game. Halo was influential, CoD 4 was influential; neither is particularly impressive when viewed through non rose colored glasses. Super Metroid did not have that much of a direct impact on the game industry, it might be having an impact on Indy games now but at the time and for years it was a largely unique game. Link to the Past is probably the best Zelda game but also has very few mainstream first party games that are akin to it.

Yeah but he was talking about the game's importance. When I think of important, impact on the industry is probably the biggest criteria, otherwise it wouldn't matter that much, making it unimportant The jury is still out on that for Dark Souls, but I feel like most developers wouldn't know what to take out of Dark Souls that would make their own games have that same appeal. At least not yet.

Also I would debate that Halo or CoD 4 stand up just fine today. Hell CoD 4 isn't even 10 years old yet, and Halo just crossed that point. They still play just fine, and the things that worked then still work now. That nuke scene is still effective because the rest of the game doesn't blow shit out of proportion like more recent CoD games, for example.

#39 Posted by avantegardener (1118 posts) -

@evilrazer said:

I bought The Witcher 2 not so long ago and finished it, I will not give it a crown and put it straight into the hall of fame, since it has it's own flaws that I would love to change, but it's a solid game and I had ton of fun with it. I hope CD Project will continue the sorry of Gerald of Rivia, since he has many untold adventures.

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the Witcher series, if there was a category I would like to see it accoladed for, it's mature story telling.

#40 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@MikkaQ: That specific scene works but the gameplay doesn't really work (I guess from a multiplayer perspective its debatable but it certainly doesn't work so well that every damn game should try to emulate it). Parts of Halo's combat still works, other parts of it don't (note it's still vastly superior to CoD's pseudo rail shooter experience); I think for a game to quality for a "best of all time" list it has to be close to perfect on the gameplay front and that gameplay has to hold up forever or at least for like a century (who knows if the game industry will exist in its present form in a century so that might be a moot point). The most influential game of all time has to be GTA 3 and while it was an incredible game at the time I still think San Andreas is superior in virtually every aspect.

#41 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3228 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Dtat said:

I think it might be a little too soon for 2011. Maybe go back to 2009 or even 2010? I think a couple year's distance would be prudent.

Yea, probably, since I imagine some of us are still playing games from 2011.

These statements combined are my thoughts exactly. Has this gen's first year even been "canonized"? Best to start at the beginning I guess.

#42 Posted by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

It depends on the criteria for ''best ever'' if influence on the genre/medium is a factor then it is too soon for sure. Arkham might be the best superhero game ever made and it's combat mechanics will likely influence the genre for a while.

#43 Posted by MikkaQ (10283 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@MikkaQ: That specific scene works but the gameplay doesn't really work (I guess from a multiplayer perspective its debatable but it certainly doesn't work so well that every damn game should try to emulate it). Parts of Halo's combat still works, other parts of it don't (note it's still vastly superior to CoD's pseudo rail shooter experience); I think for a game to quality for a "best of all time" list it has to be close to perfect on the gameplay front and that gameplay has to hold up forever or at least for like a century (who knows if the game industry will exist in its present form in a century so that might be a moot point). The most influential game of all time has to be GTA 3 and while it was an incredible game at the time I still think San Andreas is superior in virtually every aspect.

Well CoD 4 worked well enough to literally change the entire direction of every first person shooter after it, so there's no sense in debating it's importance. Whether you like it or not, it influenced how shooters have gone for the last five years, and that's a big deal. Halo did the same thing until CoD 4 rolled all over it, so for the same reasons that game is significant. I'm not taking about best of all time, once again, I was responding to Starving Gamer talking about the importance of certain games. Being important and being the best of all time are totally different concepts. For me, Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door is like the best JRPG ever made, but it's not a very important game and influenced exactly jack shit. It still rules.

#44 Posted by NoelVeiga (1093 posts) -

The Binding of Isaac is fantastic and Portal 2 is great, both hall of famers for me. I think most of the rest people have mentioned come with enough caveats that I'd avoid superlatives. Stuff like Dark Souls or Arkham City are worthy sequels, but they don't necessarily take things above and beyond their predecessors.

#45 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1767 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Dtat said:

I think it might be a little too soon for 2011. Maybe go back to 2009 or even 2010? I think a couple year's distance would be prudent.

Yea, probably, since I imagine some of us are still playing games from 2011.

These statements combined are my thoughts exactly. Has this gen's first year even been "canonized"? Best to start at the beginning I guess.

I think a lot of people forget that Oblivion is a 7th gen game. I would say that game has definitely been 'canonized.'

Otherwise, this is way too soon.

#46 Posted by Zuldim (288 posts) -

Personally, Portal 2 gets on there easily, best game of last year no contest, terrific writing, and just consistently great. Skyrim is still terrific a year later, so I'd probably say that counts (Still not as good as Fallout: New Vegas though). I thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution was absolutely fantastic as well. Batman: Akrham City was fantastic as well.

Of the other games on that list, I've played Saints Row, which I thought was good but not great, and Bastion which I thought was terrible, but I'm the odd man out on that one. Honestly I'm trying to think what else came out last year. inFamous 2 was as delightfully insane as the first one, perhaps even more so, and it played great, but I don't know I'd call it the best ever.

#47 Posted by Blackout62 (1338 posts) -

We can only canonize them if the Catholic Church recognizes them as being deceased and having committed two miracles.

#48 Edited by Atlas (2436 posts) -

I am entirely comfortable saying that Skyrim is tied with Oblivion as, subjectively, the best game I have ever played. It is as close to a perfect game as I have personally experienced.

There are still plenty of 2011 games I haven't played - I played about halfway through Bastion a couple of months ago, and for some insane reason I still haven't played through Witcher 2, despite playing through the first game last year and thinking it was an awesome game. And some of last year's critical darlings, I will probably never play, including Batman: Arkham City because ugh comic books.

And Dark Souls...man I think a lot of people are waaay too quick to overlook some of the stuff that is seriously wrong with that game. And people criticise Skyrim for being janky? *shakes head*

#49 Posted by StarvingGamer (8149 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

@StarvingGamer said:

I suppose it depends on how broadly you want to paint with your "best games of all time" brush. If we're talking about a list of 10-20 games, then none of the above. If it's a list of 100, then I can see a few of them ending up there. If we're talking about "most important games of all time" then Dark Souls makes the list and the others don't.

But how would it be important? The game hasn't been out long enough to know whether it will influence other games or not, personally I'm guessing not, the game doesn't really do things that others don't already, it just does them in an incredibly specific way. By that I mean it's a "more than the sum of it's parts" kind of game. It's hard to draw specific influences from those without ripping off the formula whole-cloth.

I don't think that Dark Souls is an important game from a mechanics perspective. What Dark Souls did was something much less tangible. It introduced an idea to younger players, and reminded a lot of older players of something they had forgotten, that punishing and unforgiving are not the same as broken an imbalanced. Since the release of Dark Souls, I have perceived an increasing number of gamers, be they games writers or simply forum posters, not only accepting games more challenging than most, but actually praising them for kicking them in the ass. The most recent example I can think of is XCOM.

Now whether or not Dark Souls has actually had an impact on the collective gaming conscious in the way I'm perceiving it is impossible to know, but I believe it has.

#50 Posted by Hunter5024 (5614 posts) -

After it had been a year since I played it I gladly added Bastion to my favorite games of all time list. I don't think that kind of thing can ever be objective, but on a personal level I know the games that belong in my favorites list based on how they stick with me even long after I've played them.