GOTY 2011

List items

  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was my first deep jump into a western RPG, previously they had consisted of young beautiful people with spiky hair, saving the world from pretty evil men with long swords. Oblivion changed all that and was such a great experience, I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours running around the huge open world creating my own adventure so when Skyrim came out I had high expectations, expectations that were not only met, they were beaten.

    Of course as I played this game on the PS3 I have run into a lot of the problems that have become associated with Bethesda games on that platform, and while they are annoying and do ruin the experience in someway, it simply shows how wonderful this game is that it still takes my number one spot by such a large margin. Even after a good 60+ hours with the game I still feel there is so much left to see and I can't wait to find it all.

  • The original Saints Row was a pretty decent GTA clone, aiming to copy the slightly over the top gameplay that San Andreas had created. Saints Row 2 seemed like a response to those who didn't like the more serious that GTA 4 took on and finally Saints Row the third, began to feel like it's own beast. It took all the craziness that had began to really emerge in Saints Row 2 and made it it's main focus. From beginning to end this game is 100% brainless dumb fun, and that's ok, after adventuring all day in Skyrim or slowly picking off bad guys as batman, it can be refreshing to have such random mayhem.

  • Being the sequel to Portal is a lot to live up to, it's original fresh gameplay and story telling devices made it something very special, but somehow Portal 2 didn't disappoint. It added a lot of new mechanics to make the puzzles both more complex and interesting, as well as some incredible new characters that have more personality and charm in their secondary roles than most lead characters ever do.

    It also has the single best local co-op mode of the year, if you thought some of the puzzles with two portals got hectic, try it with four.

  • A game I think is going to be missed off a lot of lists unfairly, due to it being released so early in the year, LBP2 takes the premise that the original LBP created and expands on it in such an incredible way that it is now possible to not only create fun little side scrolling platformer levels but entirely new game types, Some of the best fun I had with this game involved finding some of the crazy levels people had made online, from street fighter clones to dual joystick shooters LBP2 was something really special and the fact that all your DLC purchases and levels were carried over meant it came out of the gate with a huge amount of content.

  • The original Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of 2009's great surprises so I was expecting a lot from Arkham City and for the most part it delivered, however it suffers slightly from the same problems as Uncharted 3 of just feeling a bit samey, it doesn't stray very far from the original formula laid out for it by Arkham Asylum and while that alone isn't enough to make it worse than the original, the slow start to the story meant that the first 3rd of the game feels a little dull and empty, especially compared to the incredible way that the game ends.

  • An important lesson can be learnt from Uncharted 3, and it's that first impressions really count.

    While Uncharted 2 was an incredible adventure and easily made my 2009 GOTY #1 slot, Uncharted 3 feels like a step back in someways, the enemies have returned to being bullet sponges, taking more damage than humanly possible, with some of the heavily armored enemies being almost impossible to kill, the higher emphasis on hand to hand combat, while flashy, was wasted on higher difficulties as it was guaranteed to get you killed by others while you were fighting. Add in a new aiming system that felt broken at launch and was only addressed when literally thousands of fans had to complain (and even then they had the nerve to name it the 'alternative aiming system') my first impression of this game was more indifferent than I could ever of wanted. No one wanted this game to be more amazing than me, which made it such a disappointment when it wasn't.

  • Dark Souls hates me, Dark Souls hates you! In fact Dark Souls enjoys watching us suffer, it's incredibly difficult to explain why Dark Souls in on this list, it's the only game I've not finished, not by a long way but for a good two week period it was all that occupied my mind and the subject of all conversations at work, with information being traded from player to player, each piece as valuable as gold if only because it would help you from losing all your souls just one less time.

    One day I will jump back into this nightmare of a game and I will emerge victorious.... or maybe I'll lose and come out a nerve shattered broken mess of a man, who knows.

  • I love Street Fighter, but Street Fighter doesn't love me, I'm not great at it and have come to terms with the fact that I never will be, however 3rd Strike was a revelation for me, heralded as one of the most hardcore games in the franchise I went in very skeptical as to if I would like it, but its a more aggressive game that really plays well with my style than Street Fighter IV and with the added parry system it can create some truly magical moments.

  • A short experience, yet still one that stuck with me throughout the year, Stacking is a great unique concept and as much fun to play as it is to simply watch, each character has so much personality, which in itself is no small feat when no one speaks and they all essentially have the same character model. The puzzles felt clever and rewarding and the unique character moves made me excited to jump into a new character and give them a play.

  • I love Assassins Creed, After feeling like the only person alive who enjoyed the first one I was so happy to see Assassins Creed 2 turn peoples opinions of the series on its head. It was something that only got better with Brotherhood, which added a lot of depth to the series. Revelations on the other hand is a step backwards, not only is it almost identical to Brotherhood, with only a few new weapons to keep us interested, it also spends as much time as possible trying to keep the player down. What do I mean by this? Well for example every action in the game causes Templar Awareness, buying a shop, finishing a mission, bumping into a pedestrian, all of it and when that bar fills you are essentially forced to play a dreadful tower defense minigame that comes down to a tactic of 'do I have enough cannonballs saved up to kill the tank?' and when your new gameplay mechanics are only implemented as a punishment for the players actions, things need to be rethought out.

    It's obvious why this happened, they are hard at work on Assassins Creed 3 and wanted to keep us interested/make some quick money in the mean time. The revelations don't come thick or fast enough for this to be worth most peoples time.

  • Something of a shock for me, Driver San Francisco took some big risks for the genre it portrays and for the most part they pay off, the ability to shift from car to car made the game feel exciting and risk free, you were rewarded for experimenting in a race because if things went wrong you could always shift into another car.