It’s end of the year: a time to look back at 2011 for its gaming prowess. I know there’s still a few more games still to be released this year, but nothing that threatens to take the place of any game in this list, I’m sure. So that means its time to list the best games of the year! Here’s a rundown of the Best Games of 2011.
10. Dead Space 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
While it may not have innovated much on top of what the original provided, Dead Space 2 successfully re-created the sheer horror of being left for dead in deep space. Terrifying, dreary, and dark, the game’s atmosphere is once again the star of the show.
9. L.A. Noire (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
While some critics wrote L.A. Noire off as an overall disappointment, I refuse to overlook the game’s jaw-dropping motion capture technology called MotionScan. It added an entirely new dimension to the game’s characters, dwarfing most other game performances in the process.
8. Shadows of the Damned (Xbox 360, PS3)
Say hello to the best game of the year that you most likely didn’t play. Shadows of the Damned was fresh, funny, and combined the talents of some of the heaviest hitters in gaming–but for some reason failed to garner any commercial success. Many are still shocked over its lack of success, but Shadows of the Damned is without a doubt the sleeper hit of 2011.
7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
I think Human Revolution is this year’s biggest pleasant surprise. Of course the Deus Ex brand has a mostly positive reputation, but Human Revolution really came together in almost every way possible. Mixing equal parts Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect and set in a “Blade Runner”-esque world, Human Revolution is a blast to play no matter which way you decide to approach it.
6. Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)
Gears of War 3 completely revitalized the franchise for the better, offering a complete package for gamers. A compelling campaign, addictive multiplayer modes, and Horde 2.0 made for the best Gears yet. Perhaps the biggest surprise in Gears 3 was the emotional storyline that humanized the characters more so than in games past.
5. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
Nathan Drake’s third adventure was also the most insane, with our hero narrowly escaping dicey situations within an inch of his life on a regular basis. Of course the game is totally worth a playthrough, but at some point the beauty fatigue starts to set in, making me wonder “how will they top this next time around?”
4. Crysis 2 (Xbox360, PS3, PC)
Crysis 2 ditched its predecessor’s island setting in favour of a more urban one with New York City. Granted the game was a lot smaller in size, but this change in direction allowed developer Crytek to craft one of the most beautiful game worlds, out there with kicking butt in an augmented Nano suit more fun.
3. Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
After all the trailers and the trash talk, DICE and EA finally managed to deliver a superior military shooter experience this year. Sure, the single player campaign didn’t felt natural, but you never really play a Battlefield game for its story; you play it for its addictive, persistent multiplayer that delivered the goods in spades. And it really helps that all this is neatly wrapped up in a very technically impressive package.
2. Portal 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac)
As funny as it is cerebral, Portal 2 gave gamers exactly what they wanted out of the follow-up to what developer Valve originally included as a bonus add-on to 2007’s The Orange Box. The cult-classic turned mainstream success story presented us with new mind-bending levels, great celebrity voice performances, and a fascinating storyline. All this combined with impressive an co-op mode and a healthy amount of DLC makes Portal 2 easily one of the year’s best.
1. Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Possibly one of the most hyped games in recent history, Batman: Arkham City had pretty big shoes to fill. Not even scoffing at the pressure, Rocksteady Studios made it look easy by delivering a bigger and badder Batman game with five times the amount of explorable space. Arkham City makes gamers feel like they are in fact the Dark Knight themselves, completely nailing the atmosphere, gadgets, top-of-the-line production values, and acting performances. On top of that, the game is an absolute shrine for Batman loyalists, creatively incorporating most of the Batman universe into the various modes of play. Finally, the replay value here is among the best you’ll find in gaming, providing tons of content for players to unlock and discover–and more DLC is still coming down the pike. It’s engaging, thrilling, totally satisfying, and without a doubt my pick for 2011’s video game of the year.
Didn’t see your pick for game of the year on my list? Be sure to yell at me in the comments section. But first, make sure you take a look at my list of very worthy honorable mentions:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360, PS3)
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Bulletstorm (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)