Best of 2011

My GOTY awards for 2011. I will technically play Xenoblade before the end of the year, so this list could change. Runner-ups include Portal 2, and Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax.

List items

  • This was probably the only game that I was eagerly anticipating in 2011 that didn't disappoint me. In fact, it blew up those expectations. While the open-world aspect is a little constricting (due to it being limited to specific sections of the game, and the lack of a third city), it did its job in painting a nice picture of the cyberpunk, nanotech-infused future we can all look forward to. The voice acting and character development fits well enough, and while the moral choices aren't mass effect level of head-scratching, they are morally grey in that there is no good or evil decision. It's more of a "choose what ever you feel you would choose in real life" kind of thing. The story itself covers that dirty, experimental human modification period that the world of Deus Ex had to go through to reach the sleek mods you see in Invisible War (or don't see, since the mods are that advanced at that point). This game is a stealth game, and if you play it as such you will not be disappointed. The level design is impeccable, allowing for 6 or 7 approaches to a situation in a mission at any given moment. They seem to be playgrounds for you to mess with the AI, which is just dumb enough to make the experience "game-able" and accompany your playstyle of choice. The modifications are great and you are given no shortage of upgrade points to outfit your Adam Jensen (a.k.a. future Shawn Michaels) to your liking. While the enjoyment of this game is a "sum of its parts" kind of thing, there is one part that is phenomenally impressive...that being the soundtrack. It helps establish the passive dread of the game world, by cuing in somber ambient tones with slow build-up and that future/electronic twist. Definitely GOTY, and soundtrack of the year.

  • Skyrim is such a beautiful game. I managed to get a 100 hour game-complete save on the PS3 version, for god's sake. Then I bought it again and did it all over on Xbox 360. That should tell you something. The combat is the best it's ever been, though I was a pure warrior with all my characters. The melee was great, striking a good balance between normal and power attacks. The latter actually carries your character in the direction of the power swing, making it have a slight risk/reward factor. The world and exploration is the reason to play this game, though all the quest lines are stellar and the people interaction is leagues above Bethesda's previous efforts. There never was quite the high point of Oblivion's better quests, but the overall bar was raised on quality in all areas. My OCD was satiated playing this game...at least for a little while.