Best of 2011

Late list this year... But this has been one of the biggest years in gaming for me, so many games I played and loved didn't even make the list! I didn't even play everything this year.

List items

  • Dark Souls doesn't have a good story. It doesn't have great graphics. I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends. I probably hated this game more times than I loved it. So why does Dark Souls win my game of the year? This game is uncompromising, mean, tedious, and it doesn't care, and neither do it. I have never had such a rewarding experience with games ever. I read every wiki, article, and guide I could get my hands on. I practice every little action multiple times. I had spreadsheet made out to plan upgrades and equipment. I can say with confidence I know everything about this game. Dark Souls changed the way I play games. I used to hate challenge, I hated restarting even a 2 minute section. Now i revel in challenge. I seek it out. And after Dark Souls, I will never be satisfied again. That's why this game takes number 1, its so perfect in what it sets out to be, it changed me as a person.

  • The Witcher 2 feels like the future. This game is easily the greatest technical achievement in graphics since Crysis, but this time I can run it! More importantly, though, this game is a revelation to play. The world is more realized than anything I have ever seen, and the character within this world are so interesting and original. The most impressive thing this game does though it its choice. There is almost 2 games in here. The choice you make at the end of act 1 changes the entire course of the game and playing a second time is a very different experience. The combat is great too, feeling tight and challenging and rewards exploration. This game serves a lot of different masters with me. It gives me a fun action game, a great story, and even scratches my RPG itch pretty well. If you are looking for the definitive RPG experience play the Witcher 2,.

  • I've been waiting for Skyrim a long time. I remember fantasizing about the next elder scrolls game in 06, back when oblivion was still fresh. Skyrim doesn't disappointing. The world is bigger and better than ever. The quests are more fun, and the game-play is solid. This game shines in all ways it can. Even the frustrating bugs can't bring this game down. I have already played this game for over 200 hours and its only been out 2 months. Skyrim takes all of the greatest things from the previous Bethesda games and makes them ever better. Skyrim will easily be the game on this list I play for years to come.

  • Saints Row: the Third is a dumb game, its really dumb. But its the perfect kind of dumb. This game takes the idea of true open world freedom to the next level. You don't spend the first few hours with a crappy pistol and end the game with a tank. You get a tank early on, and by the end of the game, you have jets, airstrikes, infinite ammo rocket launchers and much more. Saints Row uses its leveling and upgrade system to ostensibly allow you to earn the cheat codes from most other open world games. By the time i finished this game, I had practical invincibility, infinite ammo ion all my weapons and I could do whatever I wanted. The best part about this game, though is that the stuff you do in the game is so much fun. The story is crazy and gets crazier and crazier and ends of one of the craziest notes of any game ever, the side missions are fun and there's a lot of them. Saints Row: The Third is the best open world game since San Andreas.

  • I don't think I have ever seen such a perfectly scoped and designed game like Bastion. bastion may not be at the very top of this list due to it being downloadable and smaller that the rest of this list, but Bastion was made to absolute perfection for what it needed to be. The narration is perfect, the art design is beautiful, and the gameplay feels solid from start to finish. But what really won me over was the storytelling. Having small doses of history being narrated while fighting monsters and in short story section was so inventive and exciting. I feel like I know the character and the world, and almost all of the story is told through narration. Fantastic.

  • I went down a pretty deep hole with Minecraft, I went down a deeper hole with Terraria. The idea behind these games is mindblowing, open-ended self direction exploration with self made goals is the thing right now, and Terraria does it best. Terraria takes the ideas of Minecraft and makes an actual game out it. While it is still very self motivated, there are thing to do, goals to reach. This game has rpg mechanics, crazy bosses, sweet armor sets. This game scratches my rpg itch so well but also lets me do it the way I want. Also, this game received a crazy amount of updates this year, its practically a new game compared to where it was at launch.

  • I like slow paced games. I like to be able to take my time and absorb content. That's what L.A. Noire is about. Playing detective for the 20 plus hours of this game was easily the most original experience of the year, possibly the last few years. I loved scouring crime scenes for clues and then using them to bust perps. I even really enjoy the over-arching story involving Phelps and Kelso. This game did a lot right, and very little wrong. Its too bad the process of making this game abnkrupted Team Bondi and we probably won't see another game like this for a long time.

  • Uncharted is just pure fun. Climbing around, solving crazy puzzles, the beautiful environments. Uncharted 3 is all of these things, but better. The set pieces are bigger, the world is better looking and the puzzles are even crazier. What really won me over though was the character moments. I played Uncharted 1 back in 07, I played 2 in 09, so I have a connection with these characters, and as a conclusion this game did a great job! I am satisfied with where the characters ended up and I don't need any more of the story. Uncharted 3 is my favorite of the series by far.

  • Portal 2 shouldn't exist. Portal was a short, fun pack-in for the orange box, and that was all it was ever intended for. So why is Portal 2 on this list then? Because it is one of the most original experiences I had all year. Portal was a big deal, and this game could have easily been a rehash of cake jokes and companion cubes, but its not. Besides the basic premise everything is changed. The characters are new (except Glados, but shes totally changed), there are more new ideas in the first hour than in the entire first Portal. But this game is on this list for the back half of it. Seeing the slow and dark changes of Aperture science being narrated by Cave Johnson is so much better than anything Glados did in the first game. Portal 2 shouldn't exist, but I'm ecstatic that it does.

  • I'll be honest, I have never played the original Deus Ex. I didn't even know it existed until a few years ago. So coming into this game, I had no idea what to expect. This probably worked in the game's favor since most people revere the original. Playing this game though, was magnificent. I am a huge fan of slow paced games, and also of the stealth genre. If you play Human Revolution this way, its a lengthy and rewarding experience. Other play styles may not be as fun, but that's not really a knock for me. If you want to sink a solid 50 hours in a game that allows you to take your time, read everything, and absorb its world, Deus Ex is that game.