Year In Review - The Best Games And Biggest Disappointments Of 2011
2011 was kind of the best and one of the worse year in gaming lately. Titles that I really looked forward to went totally downhill and ended up on my biggest disappointment list. To be honest, the "Biggest Disappointment" prize is the hardest to give away this year. But anyhow, it was a great year with great surprises. So, lets begin my 15th Annual Year In Review.
2011's 2010 Game Of The Year
Weird choice? Well, just think again. There are two reasons why this game, together with Mass Effect 2 is 2011's 2010 Game Of The Year. One being that the developers kept it fresh after the release, but also that these are two singelplayer games that I come back to every now and then. Now, the reason why Red Dead Redemption takes this price is because this is the reason why I can't play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A huge, detailed and open world with no loading screens and really incredible characters is pretty much what makes this game. To ride into town without a loading screen is a feeling that really changed the open world for me. That, and the fact that Undead Nightmare is probably the greatest add-on ever makes this 2011's 2010 Game Of The Year.
Best Soundtrack / Best Download-Only Game
Best Debut / Best Story
The story about the making of this game is sad and a shame. This game got me from the first minute until its last and the notion of never seeing another game from L.A. Noire is really sad. I really enjoyed the gameplay, I loved the animation technology and the story was great. This game succeeds with one of the hardest things in gaming - making you love to hate a character. There are a lot of people at the station who deserve a bullet to the head but man I wanted to see what those guys were up to throughout the stories. L.A. Noire is an amazing game.
Remember what I wrote about Red Dead Redemption? That it made me don't want to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ever again? Now, let me tell you why. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great game, don't get me wrong. My problem is that Bethesda said over and over and over and over and over again that this game has new engine. I'm not a person who want huge steps from a sequel, but if you are explicitly saying that you created a new engine for this new game in a franchise known for bugs and crashes to avoid bugs and glitches - then you are setting a bar. You are also setting yourself up for improvement. Sure, the animations are better, the conversations aren't all that awkward and the world is huge. But for me personally, a game where inns look the same, where where sunlight shines in through the window middle of the night, where characters are incredibly flat and straight up boring, where your characters story is not very personal and first and foremost a game where you spend way to much time in a loading screen can't be other then the biggest disappointment.
One of the most incredible things in Red Dead Redemption is when you ride up to your house in the middle of the city without a single loading screen. While you might argue with the technical differences, in my world - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim shouldn't have loading screens while inside the city. Also, It's a small thing, but the fact that you can't buy more then five houses is also a damn shame.
Game Of The Year Nominees
Is it even a game? Yes, and it's amazing. Minecraft came very close to Harvest Moon and that alone is a reason for this game to be on this list. It's a sandbox game where you'll never feel that you're done with whatever you are doing. While I think that it depends a lot on the people you are playing with, I don't think that it's hard to find a group of people whom you'll have a lot of fun with. Build a town, populate it, build a new town, build railway to that new town, connect your town with your friends town. Then build a mine, build a farm, build a full size Starship Enterprise, build whatever you want - you'll have fun regardless.
It's almost a shame that the technology is the thing people are talking about when it comes to L.A. Noire. For me, this game is a work of art like no other game this year. It might be that Cole Phelps was pretty much the character I want to be in every game, personality wise. I think that his attitude towards other cops and people overall in the game makes the game really interesting. On the other hand, if you don't like that character, you'll probably not going to like this game.
Oh Bastion... This game could've been four hours longer and it would still be a great game. But it's not, it's quality through out and I cannot name one thing that I would change or do better in this game. I don't want to say that this game is perfect for what it is, but that is kind of the case. If you are going to buy one arcade game this generation, then buy Bastion. And that music... incredible.
Video-games. Saints Row: The Third is probably the most video-game that ever came out this generation. It's a sandbox game even through out its story. There are so many weird and fun moments in this game and this is probably the only game where I really wanted to be a total jerk. I'm the kind of person who always drives legal in the Grand Theft Auto-series and I want to use my gun as little as I can. Now, if there was a "Time Spent Pavement Drifting/Killing", the clock would've flip out because murdering people while drifting is fun. Saints Row: The Third is a fun game with a story that I wish everyone plays through.
FIFA is on this list because it's the game I play every week for a year, then I go over to the new one and play that for a year and so on. This is a sport RPG. When you reach a level where your traits are valuable to a team then this game will turn into magic. Playing for a small team and then get an offer from your favourite team and then lift the trophy in that shirt is still an amazing feeling. The new Career Mode is great and all the online features now actually working makes this a clear nominee for Game Of The Year.
Game Of The Year 2011
I don't know where to start. It might be a story with a couple clichés but my god this game is amazing. There's a layer of darkness and sadness to this game that makes you, as the player, frustrated to be part of the stuff that is going on. Memorable cases mixed with great music, great setting and first and foremost great characters. That is what makes this game what it is. The reason why this game is my game of the year is simple - it's a great combination of fun and heavily story based actions, I always felt part of the world and the story around the love affair in this game is simple but beautiful, much like everything else in this game.
Runner ups: Saints Row: The Third, Bastion