2011 was one of the busiest years in gaming history. From January to December, huge titles were being dropped in retail stores and as downloadable releases. With so many games, and a lot of them great, it’s hard to pick just ONE as our game of the year. So we here at GamerXChange are mixing things up a bit. While most sites will give you just one game as their overall pick for “Game of the Year,” we know that everyone has different tastes and different opinions. With that said, we’re not giving you just one game of the year, but several “Games of the Year!” After all, it’s not like we are actually giving out awards. A few of the authors here on GXC have come together to tell you their personal favorites, some were the same, others on the other side of the playing field of genres. 2011 was an exceptional year with many GOTY contenders, here’s what we thought!
Game of the Year: Batman Arkham City
Author: Sean Comer
This was indeed the Year of the Blockbuster Sequel. Between Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, inFamous 2 and numerous others, big follow-ups made the biggest splashes. Many equaled their predecessors’ achievements. Few surpassed them. None surpassed its expectations or its precursor’s legacy quite like Batman: Arkham City. As recently as a few days ago, I went back and replayed Batman: Arkham Asylum from beginning to end, just for nostalgia’s sake. There is no comparison. Asylum truly is a landmark title for being that rare superhero game that captures not just the titular here’s mystique but also his history as perfectly as could possibly be asked. Only the very best games featuring Spider-Man could make the same claim. As phenomenal an achievement as that was in 2009, Arkham City expanded the scope of not just the story, but the concept of making the game Batman’s playground. Everything that critics and fans loved about Asylum - the striking character designs, the intuitive fluidity of free-flow combat, the superb story and voice acting – is given its own personal shot of TITAN. Everything is bigger, bolder, and more awe-inspiring. Atop it all, it may be my favorite ending to a game this year, with a fitting send-off to one performer who has been as much an icon to the “Batman” brand as names like Heather Ledger, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Adam West or the many, many writers and artists who have penned the Dark Knight’s comic legacy. It’s a classic that announced that Rocksteady is absolutely here to stay as quite possibly the next great developer, and that the “Arkham” series remains a benchmark for doing a superhero game right.
Game of the Year: Dead Space 2
The first Dead Space is considered by many to be one of the best games of this console generation, and definitely a landmark game in the survival horror genre. The sequel kicks things up a notch by giving you a more diverse (and creepy) setting and fleshed out story for the unfortunate protagonist Isaac Clark. While the first game took place on a deserted spaceship, the sequel gives you an entire space station to navigate, offering some genuinely inventive and creepy locales. However, the limb-severing Necromorph genocide you commit is still king. Dead Space 2 is everything a sequel should be, and even the addition of a superfluous and totally forgettable multiplayer doesn’t bringing it down.
Game Of The Year: Portal 2
Author: Crystal Rodriguez
Portal 2 is definitely on the top of my list for Game of the Year. Who doesn’t miss GlaDOS? I sure didn’t, but she’s back anyway to torture you through her experiments. The puzzles are harder and you can play co-op with someone on PS3 or Steam. I must admit that I am beyond dumb for the co-op as I tried to complete a few levels but I kept failing. However, I loved that it was challenging and fun at the same time, even though I would randomly commit robot suicide in the co-op due to frustration. It definitely continues with the fun of the first game and does not leave you disappointed.
Author: Simply G
Portal 2 is simply a masterpiece, well crafted from start to finish. It’s not too often that you can combine a puzzler, FPS, and an engaging story all in one. Valve did all of that and so much more with Portal 2. The sequel to the hit Portal game combines challenging puzzles, a brilliant story with fitting dialogue (which is quite humorous throughout), great music, beautiful level designs and graphics, along with just the right amount of action to give the player a complete package. An added bonus is the co-op which surprised me with the amount of fun you can get out of it. Portal 2 was my personal game of the year choice and a game I don’t think any gamer should miss out on.
Game of the Year: Skyrim
Author: The Crapgamer
I find that The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim gives gamer’s the most bang for their buck. Skyrim gives you 100′s of hours of entertainment and no two play through’s are exactly alike. The open world aspects are wonderfully rendered and for a game so large, the graphics are actually a very strong point for the game. Skyrim also supports one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. If you are into RPG’s, you definitely need to play as the Dragonborn in Skyrim, the only problem is that once you’ve started playing, you might find it difficult to stop.
Some of us had a hard time picking just one game.
Not being a fan of Bethesda’s earlier offerings, I didn’t approach Skyrim with the highest of expectations, however it completely blew away all of my preconceptions. Skyrim is a wonderfully realized world filled with an engaging story, interesting characters, challenging enemy battles, plentiful missions and gorgeous scenery. It would be hyperbole to say that it’s the best RPG of all time, but it can be said that this is one of the best RPGs of this console generation and easily [one of] my favorite game(s) of 2011.
So there you have them! GamerXChange’s choices for the best games of 2011. There were many other contenders, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, just to name a few. Despite our choices, one thing is for sure, it was all of us – the gamers, who really won last year. Such a variety in games and loads of great titles that were released put 2011 on the map for one of the best gaming years ever. If you haven’t had a chance to play any of the games on our list, get to it! For easy access, all of these titles are available in our store and are truly must-have staples in this generation of gaming. Congrats to all of our winners (they already got their prize – Our Money)!
2012 has a lot of great games to look out for too. Make sure to come back to GamerXChange as we list some of our most anticipated games of 2012.
Sound off in the comments below! What were your favorite games of 2011?