I went into 2011 with some very high expectations. I knew Portal 2 was coming out, as was Gears of War 3, and Uncharted 3, and Mass Effect 3 and, and Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim. Oh I could go on. It was the most excited I had been, as a gamer, since 2007. Now, with two weeks left in 2011, I have to say that it was a phenomenal year for video games; however, I can’t help but feel fatigued. 2011 was a strange year. It absolutely had the highest number of quality, critically praised games, and genuinely great games, but my problem with this year is that virtually every game released was a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, sequels are fantastic. Sequels are what the industry thrives on. Sequels have provided some of the very best games of all time, but now, thanks mainly to the aging consoles; the sequels were dramatically less exciting. I think the biggest problem with this year was that basically every sequel that was released was the third in the series. This meant that almost every game I played this year, I had essentially played before at least once, but most likely twice. This year showed me, in plain language, that it is time for the next generation. Developers have gotten stuck in a cycle of doing what makes them money because genuine innovation is extraordinarily difficult now with such old technology. The first person shooter took hold of this generation long ago and has not let up. While almost ever sequel this year ranged from good to great, few of them felt as exciting as their predecessors.
That being said, there were some genuinely amazing games. Games that, I think, will stand out for years to come as some of the best around. Most of the surprises this year came from games that thought far outside the box or reinvented an aging franchise in ways that would have sounded crazy two years ago. I still stand by 2007 as the best year in gaming, with the launch of so many new IP’s including Mass Effect, and Bioshock, along with some of the most important and innovative sequels of all time, with Halo 3, CoD 4, and The Orange Box, 2007 will probably remain untouched, but I think 2011 stands out as the second best year in games to date, despite some feelings of fatigue.