Obligatory GOTY 2011 blog post

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apathylad

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Edited By apathylad

Hello, gang! I figured it would be easier to read to give my explanations for my choices on here. There are still some games I never got a chance to play or finish, which is disappointing. Just a heads up before any of you say that the list needs more Batman! Let's get this over with:

10. The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

No Caption Provided

Vampire Smile made several improvements over the first game – two playable characters, better bosses, and a more forgiving checkpoint system made for a better experience. It still had the twisted graphic novel art style, and the combat was still fast and intense. Despite the game being produced with a very small team, there were plenty of challenges to test your reflexes, and the downloadable game I enjoyed the most this year.

9. L.A. Noire

No Caption Provided

While certain segments in L.A. Noire did drag, the game as a whole was a great accomplishment. 1940's Los Angeles was an interesting world to interact with, and the facial animation was impressive. The shooting could get monotonous, and there was clearly a “right” way to view the story, which would otherwise make Cole Phelps' interoggations seem like he's turning into The Incredible Hulk. However, traditional point-and-click adventure games are not as common these days, and L.A. Noire does take that genre in a interesting direction.

8. You Don't Know Jack

No Caption Provided

2011 was a year where a lot of popular 90's franchises made some sort of return, with varying degrees of sucess (I'm looking at you, Duke Nukem: Forever). You Don't Know Jack manages to capture that same sense of humor I remember from the older games, and thankfully had a more reasonable price in comparison to most new releases. It's a great party game, and it's indirect way of asking it's trivia questions is much more entertaining than what you'd see in your typical game show.

7. Ghost Trick

No Caption Provided

Being a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series, I was intrigued by Shu Takumi's latest project when it was announced, and I was definitely not disappointed. Just like in the Phoenix Wright games, you have over-the-top, colorful cast of characters, an energetic soundtrack that kicks in all the right moments, and plot twists that will keep you guessing to the very end. Ghost Trick's unique logical puzzles and premise are worth seeing, and really shows how the DS can still provide quality experiences, even if 2011 was the year it's successor was released. Now if only Capcom would localize Ace Attorney Investigations 2...

6. Pokémon Black/White

No Caption Provided

The fifth generation of Pokémon games streamlined some mechanics, and gave the visuals a much-needed upgrade. Having a new batch of Pokémon along with being able to explore modern-looking cities differentiated Black and White from older Pokémon titles, but it still stuck to its familiar roots. Some would say that the lack of evolution in the Pokémon formula is a problem, but there aren’t many video game titles that capture what makes Pokémon so appealing. You are still able to train a unique party of Pokémon , and interact with other players over the internet. I traded with an acquaintance on Twitter earlier, and we were both pretty shocked that the DS microphone was picking up our voices (Not a new feature, but it was my first encounter with it. It’s a good thing I didn’t say anything embarrassing!). It was also a surprise to see Pokémon Black and White bring up themes such as the ethics of raising Pokémon, and Bianca’s subplot about growing up and finding independence from her family. Recently, many analysts were predicting a fall in the handheld market because of the increasing popularity of smart phones, but as long as Nintendo keeps developing quality Pokémon games, I’m convinced there will always be a place for handheld gaming systems.

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked

No Caption Provided

I never got a chance to play through the original Devil Survivor when it was released in 2009, so the arrival of Overclocked was a new experience for me. Customizing your party with a variety of demons was engaging, and it was always satisfying to fuse demons to create even stronger minions with more powerful attacks and abilities. I was frustrated with how difficult the later levels were getting for me, which made me wish I chose an easier difficulty setting earlier on, but I was able to play through Atsuro’s path, one of the game’s multiple endings. The game’s mechanics were solid, but it’s the story that kept my interest and had me grinding to beat more high-leveled enemies. The characters are distinct, and we are revealed what each characters motivations and intentions are now that they have access to these powerful demons (a theme I wrote about in this blog post). These are teenagers who had trouble fitting in, and in response they saw comfort in internet friendships. It’s a topic I found fascinating, and I would like to see other works of fiction explore that kind of human interaction. Of all the 3DS games I’ve played, Devil Survivor Overclocked is the title that I will remember for years to come.

4. Portal 2

No Caption Provided

Portal 2 still has the great sense of humor you encountered in the first game, while also expanding of the background of Aperture Science. The puzzles are what you'd expect from a Portal sequel, which isn't a bad thing when you consider how impressive the first game was. The inclusion of co-op also changed the dynamic in puzzle-solving, and it's always great hear GlaDOS teasing you after completing each room.

3. Mortal Kombat

No Caption Provided

Now here's how you do a reboot! Mortal Kombat brought back all the familiar characters you'd want, and provided enough content to satisfy both competitive and solo players. The story mode was a clever way of integrating a narrative while also forcing players to learn most of the game's characters, and while the ending felt rushed, it's still an idea with a lot of potential. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had a similar mode, but 2011's Mortal Kombat was a superior experience overall, with smoother fighting and plenty of extra content to unlock. Whether you're new to the series or a veteran, there's a lot to admire in Mortal Kombat.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

No Caption Provided

Although it wasn’t mandatory, playing Human Revolution as a stealth game was the more enjoyable option for me. Having just finished a couple third-person shooters prior to Deus Ex, it was nice change of pace to try something more methodical. The abilities were fun to use, opening new possibilities on how to solve the obstacles that I encountered as I leveled up Adam Jensen. Layered between these stealth segments was a fascinating story about the conflict between humanity and technology, and whether human augmentation causes us all to lose what makes us human, reminding me of the Locke’s Socks paradox that I learned about in last year’s Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (GAMES ARE EDUMECATIONAL!). The game isn’t black and white in portraying this conflict, and without getting spoilers, you do see explanations on both sides on how augmentation can be both beneficial, and harmful. This ambiguity does leave room to continue expanding on the game’s universe, and I hope a sequel won't have awful boss fights! Even with these problems, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is worthy of being in my top 10.

1. Dark Souls

No Caption Provided

Dark Souls can be a very polarizing game. No other title has instilled the wide variety of emotions in me while exploring and trying to survive the game’s obstacles. There were times when Dark Souls infuriated me to the point I set it aside and had to return to it at a later time, but even then, I would feel accomplished and relieved when I finally did manage to finish off a tough boss, or locate a new bonfire (Dark Souls’ checkpoints). It requires a lot of dedication and focus; otherwise the game will penalize you. When I wasn’t playing the game, I still found myself talking to others about their experiences, secrets we may have uncovered, and strategies we have used on certain bosses. It’s a game that follows a “show, not tell” philosophy. So many recent games have ridiculously long tutorials, but Dark Souls makes you learn by participating. While I died many times in Dark Souls, by learning from those mistakes I was finally able to overcome every challenge I faced.

Biggest Disappointment - Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

No Caption Provided

It’s no secret that Capcom got a lot of bad PR this year: they published a ‘Splosion Man rip-off, when Twisted Pixel had pitched the game earlier to them; they cancelled two Mega Man games, one of which had the gaming community involved throughout the development process via forums and polls; They won't localize Ace Attorney Investigations 2, and they still continue re-releasing versions of the same game, making Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds obsolete in less than a year.

Even if Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was never released, Fate of Two Worlds still felt like an unfinished product. The game didn’t allow for spectators in multiplayer, a feature that earlier fighting game titles did have, and when you consider how Mortal Kombat had a lot more content and was released in the same year, I couldn’t help but wish for something more. I don’t usually care for stories in fighting games, but early interviews promised that it would have a strong narrative

The final game wasn’t like that, and once again, Mortal Kombat had a story, and implemented it well. I’m not as good at fighting games as the people who play them competitively, but it’s a shame how a recent product no longer allows me to play with the more active community. G4TV gave the Best Fighting Game award to Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of the Worlds, and I'm here scratching my head how they can overlook all of the game's problems, and give the nod to such an unfinished product. I was hoping there would be more backlash over Capcom's actions, but many seem to have forgotten about these events.

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apathylad

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#1  Edited By apathylad

Hello, gang! I figured it would be easier to read to give my explanations for my choices on here. There are still some games I never got a chance to play or finish, which is disappointing. Just a heads up before any of you say that the list needs more Batman! Let's get this over with:

10. The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

No Caption Provided

Vampire Smile made several improvements over the first game – two playable characters, better bosses, and a more forgiving checkpoint system made for a better experience. It still had the twisted graphic novel art style, and the combat was still fast and intense. Despite the game being produced with a very small team, there were plenty of challenges to test your reflexes, and the downloadable game I enjoyed the most this year.

9. L.A. Noire

No Caption Provided

While certain segments in L.A. Noire did drag, the game as a whole was a great accomplishment. 1940's Los Angeles was an interesting world to interact with, and the facial animation was impressive. The shooting could get monotonous, and there was clearly a “right” way to view the story, which would otherwise make Cole Phelps' interoggations seem like he's turning into The Incredible Hulk. However, traditional point-and-click adventure games are not as common these days, and L.A. Noire does take that genre in a interesting direction.

8. You Don't Know Jack

No Caption Provided

2011 was a year where a lot of popular 90's franchises made some sort of return, with varying degrees of sucess (I'm looking at you, Duke Nukem: Forever). You Don't Know Jack manages to capture that same sense of humor I remember from the older games, and thankfully had a more reasonable price in comparison to most new releases. It's a great party game, and it's indirect way of asking it's trivia questions is much more entertaining than what you'd see in your typical game show.

7. Ghost Trick

No Caption Provided

Being a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series, I was intrigued by Shu Takumi's latest project when it was announced, and I was definitely not disappointed. Just like in the Phoenix Wright games, you have over-the-top, colorful cast of characters, an energetic soundtrack that kicks in all the right moments, and plot twists that will keep you guessing to the very end. Ghost Trick's unique logical puzzles and premise are worth seeing, and really shows how the DS can still provide quality experiences, even if 2011 was the year it's successor was released. Now if only Capcom would localize Ace Attorney Investigations 2...

6. Pokémon Black/White

No Caption Provided

The fifth generation of Pokémon games streamlined some mechanics, and gave the visuals a much-needed upgrade. Having a new batch of Pokémon along with being able to explore modern-looking cities differentiated Black and White from older Pokémon titles, but it still stuck to its familiar roots. Some would say that the lack of evolution in the Pokémon formula is a problem, but there aren’t many video game titles that capture what makes Pokémon so appealing. You are still able to train a unique party of Pokémon , and interact with other players over the internet. I traded with an acquaintance on Twitter earlier, and we were both pretty shocked that the DS microphone was picking up our voices (Not a new feature, but it was my first encounter with it. It’s a good thing I didn’t say anything embarrassing!). It was also a surprise to see Pokémon Black and White bring up themes such as the ethics of raising Pokémon, and Bianca’s subplot about growing up and finding independence from her family. Recently, many analysts were predicting a fall in the handheld market because of the increasing popularity of smart phones, but as long as Nintendo keeps developing quality Pokémon games, I’m convinced there will always be a place for handheld gaming systems.

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked

No Caption Provided

I never got a chance to play through the original Devil Survivor when it was released in 2009, so the arrival of Overclocked was a new experience for me. Customizing your party with a variety of demons was engaging, and it was always satisfying to fuse demons to create even stronger minions with more powerful attacks and abilities. I was frustrated with how difficult the later levels were getting for me, which made me wish I chose an easier difficulty setting earlier on, but I was able to play through Atsuro’s path, one of the game’s multiple endings. The game’s mechanics were solid, but it’s the story that kept my interest and had me grinding to beat more high-leveled enemies. The characters are distinct, and we are revealed what each characters motivations and intentions are now that they have access to these powerful demons (a theme I wrote about in this blog post). These are teenagers who had trouble fitting in, and in response they saw comfort in internet friendships. It’s a topic I found fascinating, and I would like to see other works of fiction explore that kind of human interaction. Of all the 3DS games I’ve played, Devil Survivor Overclocked is the title that I will remember for years to come.

4. Portal 2

No Caption Provided

Portal 2 still has the great sense of humor you encountered in the first game, while also expanding of the background of Aperture Science. The puzzles are what you'd expect from a Portal sequel, which isn't a bad thing when you consider how impressive the first game was. The inclusion of co-op also changed the dynamic in puzzle-solving, and it's always great hear GlaDOS teasing you after completing each room.

3. Mortal Kombat

No Caption Provided

Now here's how you do a reboot! Mortal Kombat brought back all the familiar characters you'd want, and provided enough content to satisfy both competitive and solo players. The story mode was a clever way of integrating a narrative while also forcing players to learn most of the game's characters, and while the ending felt rushed, it's still an idea with a lot of potential. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had a similar mode, but 2011's Mortal Kombat was a superior experience overall, with smoother fighting and plenty of extra content to unlock. Whether you're new to the series or a veteran, there's a lot to admire in Mortal Kombat.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

No Caption Provided

Although it wasn’t mandatory, playing Human Revolution as a stealth game was the more enjoyable option for me. Having just finished a couple third-person shooters prior to Deus Ex, it was nice change of pace to try something more methodical. The abilities were fun to use, opening new possibilities on how to solve the obstacles that I encountered as I leveled up Adam Jensen. Layered between these stealth segments was a fascinating story about the conflict between humanity and technology, and whether human augmentation causes us all to lose what makes us human, reminding me of the Locke’s Socks paradox that I learned about in last year’s Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (GAMES ARE EDUMECATIONAL!). The game isn’t black and white in portraying this conflict, and without getting spoilers, you do see explanations on both sides on how augmentation can be both beneficial, and harmful. This ambiguity does leave room to continue expanding on the game’s universe, and I hope a sequel won't have awful boss fights! Even with these problems, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is worthy of being in my top 10.

1. Dark Souls

No Caption Provided

Dark Souls can be a very polarizing game. No other title has instilled the wide variety of emotions in me while exploring and trying to survive the game’s obstacles. There were times when Dark Souls infuriated me to the point I set it aside and had to return to it at a later time, but even then, I would feel accomplished and relieved when I finally did manage to finish off a tough boss, or locate a new bonfire (Dark Souls’ checkpoints). It requires a lot of dedication and focus; otherwise the game will penalize you. When I wasn’t playing the game, I still found myself talking to others about their experiences, secrets we may have uncovered, and strategies we have used on certain bosses. It’s a game that follows a “show, not tell” philosophy. So many recent games have ridiculously long tutorials, but Dark Souls makes you learn by participating. While I died many times in Dark Souls, by learning from those mistakes I was finally able to overcome every challenge I faced.

Biggest Disappointment - Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

No Caption Provided

It’s no secret that Capcom got a lot of bad PR this year: they published a ‘Splosion Man rip-off, when Twisted Pixel had pitched the game earlier to them; they cancelled two Mega Man games, one of which had the gaming community involved throughout the development process via forums and polls; They won't localize Ace Attorney Investigations 2, and they still continue re-releasing versions of the same game, making Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds obsolete in less than a year.

Even if Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was never released, Fate of Two Worlds still felt like an unfinished product. The game didn’t allow for spectators in multiplayer, a feature that earlier fighting game titles did have, and when you consider how Mortal Kombat had a lot more content and was released in the same year, I couldn’t help but wish for something more. I don’t usually care for stories in fighting games, but early interviews promised that it would have a strong narrative

The final game wasn’t like that, and once again, Mortal Kombat had a story, and implemented it well. I’m not as good at fighting games as the people who play them competitively, but it’s a shame how a recent product no longer allows me to play with the more active community. G4TV gave the Best Fighting Game award to Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of the Worlds, and I'm here scratching my head how they can overlook all of the game's problems, and give the nod to such an unfinished product. I was hoping there would be more backlash over Capcom's actions, but many seem to have forgotten about these events.

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#2  Edited By tekmojo

A very bold move to put Dark Souls at your 1 spot, I like it.

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#3  Edited By ImmortalSaiyan

I like your list. I'm glad i'm not the only one who put Vampire Smile and Pokemon White/Black on their list.

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#4  Edited By PixelPrinny

Wait, Pokemon is only 6th?? Augh, my whole world has been turned upside down!

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#5  Edited By zeforgotten
@PixelPrinny said:

Wait, Pokemon is only 6th?? Augh, my whole world has been turned upside down!

Don't worry, I'll let you take a minute while I sit right here while you tell me how you became the prince of Bel-Air
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#6  Edited By Hot_Karl

I've only played like 4 of these games. But they're good ones! Fun ones!