Best of 2011
2011 was projected to be one of the finest years in gaming, but I can't help but feel like we've heard that before. Once we hit the tail end of every year, our eyes start to set on the year ahead with giddy excitement. We list off all of our most anticipated games of next year and eagerly await their arrivals. In the latter stages of 2010, that pattern continued. On paper, we had what seemed to be an overload of AAA-caliber releases on deck. It was equally as daunting as it was thrilling, but every gamer in every camp knew they'd have their hands full this year. As of today, the sentiments about 2011 are vastly different from our hype-induced projections. I wouldn't say that 2011 was a bad year in gaming, but for a while there, it felt like almost every big named release lacked a certain something. Some would argue that it was the buggy, glitch-ridden kinks that plagued a large number of games this year -- no game was safe. Skyrim suffered, Zelda suffered, NBA 2k12 suffered and the list goes on. In my opinion, it turned the 'instant gratification' aspect of gaming into a tiresome, drawn out waiting game. Frankly, there were numerous occasions when we'd buy a game and wait for it to get good. In some cases, people are still waiting to this day.
As criminal as that is, the real issue this year was redundancy. There are quite a few video games this year that succumbed to the safe route, which brought down the vibe for certain fans and communities. When someone asks you about a new game and the best way you can describe it is "well, it's a lot like the last game," something is wrong. There was a time when sequels had a sense of progression, but that time has come and passed. I know what you're thinking; and yes, this isn't a new problem, but that still doesn't take the salt out of my wounds. Spending all of last year and this year being psyched about certain games that didn't pan out as promised left a sour taste in my mouth and some obvious frustration. You'll notice that a handful of the more popular Game of the Year contenders are not on this list, but a few of them made it by the skin of their teeth. Some games weren't as up my alley as they were for you. Deal.
Perhaps I'm overstating the negatives. 2011 wasn't all gloom and doom. In fact, there's a select few games I played this year that I think are among the best in the generation. 2011 did just enough to give us a few good reasons to hearken back with mostly fond memories. It was a very telling year for gaming, for consoles and developers alike. 2011 was a year that may have represented everything that's wrong with gaming, but it had just enough shades of brilliance to be worth remembering. So without further ado, here are is my list for the top ten video games of 2011.