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Best of 2011

List items

  • Dragon Age II polarised its audience: across the internet, fury arose around the changes Bioware made to the formula found in Origins, and decried DAII as an unworthy successor to its original. By putting DAII at the top of my list, I'm not saying it's perfect, because it certainly isn't. But for the game I've had the most fun with, the game I've spent the most time on (140+ so far!), the characters I've loved the most, Dragon Age II is my Game of the Year for 2011.

  • Dissidia Final Fantasy was already a great - if fanservicey - release, but Duodecim upped the game with more fan favourite characters and a great tinkering of the already brilliant battle system. With some of the best presentation S-E have brought to the PSP on the table too, this was definitely a fitting farewell to Sony's handheld.

  • I have to admit, I didn't like the Gears games. Gears of War was grey and too 'bro-y' for me, and whilst I played Gears 2, I didn't think much of it. However, the end of the Gears trilogy has been one of my favourite games this year: the art design has been much improved, the gameplay is still fun, and the multiplayer is one of the best online experiences this year.

  • Compared to the Number 1 spot Uncharted 2 held in 2009 for me, a tumble to 4th might look a little drastic for Nate's third outing, but that doesn't mean Uncharted 3 was anything less than a fantastic game. Gorgeous visuals, stunning setpieces and a great action romp of a story meant that Messere Drake and his friends were in for a treat of a game.

    Fuck spiders though. Fuck them forever.

  • It's a running theme that the games on my list delivered more of the great things their successors did, and in all of those cases none did this to more extremes than Batman: Arkham City. Everything fantastic from Asylum returned, with a bigger world, more members of the Rogues Gallery and just more things to do.

  • Valve's breakout IP from the Orange box returned this year, with more of everything: More great puzzles, more excellent story telling, and standout performances from Ellen Mclain and Stephen Merchant. Co-op managed to be frustratingly excellent too!

  • 2011 was a resurgence in my personal Interest in fighting games, one which had waned pretty quickly after Tekken 3 and only spiked for the Smash Bros. games. Not wholly familiar with Mortal Kombat's tumultuous past, the reboot seemed like a perfect point to jump on - an intriguing story mode packed with content and a robust and bloody fighting system hooked me, and I eagerly look forward to future MK releases.

  • Although I feel slightly jipped having bought MvC3 earlier this year, I would still sell my soul to Capcom for a game as crazy and as fun as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The new characters are a blast to play, and it's a great retuning of MVC3's flashy and offbeat fighting style. Ace Attorney has to make a showing in my list at some point, and considering we were denied Investigation 2's release this year, Phoenix Wright's appearance here will have to make do!

  • It may only be 5 days old at this point, but The Old Republic has wormed its way into my Star Wars loving heart and won't let go. It's not the super ground breaking game changer MMO that EA and Bioware billed it as, but it's a fantastic take on the traditional MMO gameplay, with a story mechanic that has kept me more involved with my characters than any other MMO, and even some normal RPGs!

  • Burned by Modern Warfare 2's overhyped shitfest, I went into MW3 with a more measured expectation of just dumb fun and explosions, which it delivered in spades. The campaign's story is still as stupid, but there a ton of fun moments and set pieces to keep it lively - and whilst it is long in the tooth at this point, the multiplayer is still fast and frenetic fun.