2011 was perhaps the best year in gaming since 2007. The quantity of quality games released this year is astonishing. While making my 2010 top ten list, I was left with a "Huh!" feeling; while this year, I was struggling to keep it under 10. This year we had massive, time sinking RPGs, the seemingly-endless-multiplayer-focused shooters, platformers that make the platforming genre relevant again and driving games for both the simulation-adoring crowd and the chill-nitro-burning-drifting crowd. One big thing that was lacking this year was originality. 7 of out the 10 games in my list are either sequels, or spiritual successors. While that isn't in any shape or form bad considering the quality of these games, I feel like after this year, I could give a "Take a Break" award to most of these games.
(Giantbomb's topic editor is a fucking mess, so I had to give up on using pictures, sorry guys!)
First, I would like to point out top ten games that I could not play to completion this year that would have probably made my list.
- Rayman Origins
- Saints Row: The Third
- Dead Island
- The Witcher 2 (Still waiting for the 360 port)
- Binding of Isaac
- Renegade Ops
- Trenched/Iron Brigade
- Dungeons of Dredmor
- Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
2011's 2010 Game of the Year: This category is a bit different for me, as it's not about what game was supported the best. It's simply the better games of 2010 that I played during 2011. And the winner is:
Vanquish: Vanquish is everything I want a futuristic sci-fi third-person shooter to be. It's fast paced, frantic and almost a bullet hell in a sense. And it never lets up. The shooting feels great, the movement is slick and fluid (Big ups to rocketing knees here), and the cover system works great. However, the big star here is the level design. In one level, you are fighting atop of a falling bridge, and you can literally see the bricks tearing apart and falling into the water behind you as you are rocketing your way to a safe-spot all the while shooting three robot monsters with chainsaws. That ... was fantastic.
Biggest/Best Surprise: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was poised to fail. After the big disappointment that was Alpha Protocol, I was ready to accept that Deus Ex won’t be anything special even when taking the disk out and putting it on the tray. And then bam, it instantly got me. Old ideas and gameplay mechanics seemed like fun again, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution did enough new and creative things to stand out in the crowded RPG market of 2011. Matter of fact, it did it so good that …
Best of 2011
|1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution|
Matter of fact, it did it so good that … it's my game of the year. What makes Deus Ex my game of the year however, is how amazingly well crafted the world is. I wanted to explore every inch of that world and absorb in as much as possible. it's a game that you can play three times, and each time it would feel like a whole new game. I played this game thrice, each time doing everything radically different. I look back at all the other games in my list, and the one that stuck with me the most was Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
|2. L.A. Noire|
L.A. Noire is exactly the type of adventure game that I want. It's that CSI game I've always been waiting for. Gritty dark detective work in a very believable world with some of the best video-game performances ever. The simple fact that a game like this even works is amazing.
|3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
Skyrim manages to improve the playability and gameplay mechanics of Oblivion, making it the most fun Elder Scrolls game to play. What holds it back for me though is that it's also a fairly smaller and less-denser game than Oblivion. All the faction stuff just seem too short compared to Oblivion, and I don't like the way that instead of ranking up in the faction, there is a 2 hour story line that somehow ends up with you being the master of the faction at the end of it. Still, it doesn't take much away from the game. It's a fantastic game that everyone should experience.
|4. Dark Souls|
Dark Souls’ most appealing aspect is its challenge. It’s brutal but so rewarding. Even after failing to beat the Gaping Dragon for the 15th time, everytime I met him it was still tense and exciting. Everytime that fucker jumped and tried to land on me, I was holding my breath while sweating profusely. And that makes it a big winner for me.
|5. Batman: Arkham City|
Batman: Arkham City improves on everything that made Arkham Asylum great, but on the other-hand overkills it with too many villains, and riddler stuff. The combat is still fantastic, the story and voice acting top notch and the city as small as it may make the game look, still looks great.
|6. Driver: San Francisco|
Driver: San Francisco was a game that I did not expect to be as great as it turned out to be. The driving is tight and fun, the city and cars look great, the shift mechanics work well, but some of the tower-defense-y missions are no fun. The story is goofy and over-the-top but it works surprisingly well.
|7. Gears of War 3|
I did not like Gears of War 2 all that much. It had its moments but overall I am just not much of a Gears player. But Gears of War 3 changed all that. The campaign is a thrill-ride from the start to finish, delivering the best story of the series to date while still keeping that “Bad-ass Space Marine” feeling with some of the best shooter set-pieces of the year. The Horde mode is still as addictive as ever, now with the added tower-defense mechanics, and the new mode, “Beast” is just so much fun. Beast is what this industry needs more of. Less Horde, more Beast please. But, and there is always a but with these games, since Epic moved on to dedicated servers in Gears 2, I am not able to join a single multiplayer match. Ever. And that fucking pisses me off. I have contacted Cliffy B endless times and everytime he says he’s gonna talk to his ‘guys’. Yeah, right.
|8. Battlefield 3|
I have a love and hate relationship with Battlefield 3. I love that it’s a Battlefield game, and the multiplayer –as weak as it is compared to the Bad Company games- is still awesome; but then the campaign is a shameful disaster that ends so abruptly and suddenly that makes you go: “Wait, that was it?” But the biggest deal-breaker for me was how broken the game was upon release. Even now, the Team-Deathmatch mode is unplayable for me. Which is a Goddamn shame. It's still a great game, but it's not better than Bad Company 2 OR Bad Company 1, and in the end, it's my biggest knock against it. (Note: I am playing on the 360) Battlefield 3 to me, is the buggiest game of the year. In the same year that I played a BETHESDA RPG! This game was rushed out the door while it needed at least 3 or 4 months of polishing.
|9. Dead Space 2|
Dead Space 2 is my first Dead Space experience, and what a pleasant one it was. The shooting and the action is top-notch, the set-pieces hold their own weight, and the scares, while infrequent, are definitely scary. What holds Dead Space 2 down from making it further up my list is that the first-half of the game takes place in one area but with different lighting. That takes away from the atmosphere of the game for me, as I know where all the monster closets are and where to go. The less said about that final boss-battle the better.
|10. WWE All Stars|
WWE All Stars makes wrestling games seem like fun again. Getting rid of all the clunky and awkward mechanics of the Smackdown vs Raw series and just taking everything over the top with crazy big jumps, juggling combos, and outrageous character design, WWE All-Stars was exactly the breath of fresh air that the wrestling games needed.