You know, this was originally going to be a top five, but when I sat down to think about it there were just too many great games to just include five. Keep in mind, these are only the games I've played, and I tend to swing in the Sony direction. So no, I haven't played Skyward Sword; I haven't played Gears Of War 3, and I'm never going to play the Halo remake (because I've never liked Halo), so there. Also, and this might turn some heads, I will point out once again, that I don't like first person shooters. So no, no Modern Warfare 3, and no Battlefield 3 on here either. Sorry fanboys.
2011 was an amazing year for games. As the industry grows developers seem to be smartening up to what works and what doesn't. Games have been refined to a point where It's no surprise that I'm ashamed to say that all the games on my list are sequels or remakes. It just seems like the only great new game that came out in 2011 is LA Noir, and I just haven't gotten around to playing it. But enough lollygagging, let's get to it:
10- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
9- Pokémon Black/White Version
While a seeming lack of support after release hindered it's impact this year, B&W is a solid installment. If only we got as many 'events' as we did for the previous games it would have been much bigger. This probably meas we're getting the inevitable Gray version, probably for the 3DS pretty soon.
8- Mortal Kombat
It also helps that it's been getting konstant support via downloadable kontent, even pleasing fans by letting us mutilate foes as Freddy Krueger.
On top of the regular Arkade version, you get tons and tons of gameplay modes that will keep you playing for months and months, and you also add the most komprehensive story mode in fighting game history. You actually get to play through the stories from the original MK all the way to MK3. They might have not intended to, but they also made the best Mortal Kombat movie that they could make.
7- inFamous 2
review, the only real thing that hinders this sequel is that whole morality system that keeps the main character kinda bland. But besides that, both sides of the story have good moments, and the side missions are enjoyable at best. It's difficult to make a sandbox game like this and keep it fresh throughout, and Sucker Punch improved everything that they needed to. Here's to hoping the eventual third installment keeps it rolling in the right direction.
6- Mass Effect 2
This game seamlessly blends a bunch of gameplay styles perfectly. I mean, there's a reason why it's one of the most acclaimed games two years straight. And the sequel might just be the most anticipated game of 2012.
From shooting segments, to RPG elements and even social interactions are dissected in a vibrant, interesting world which you get to explore at will.
5- Dead Space 2
In an industry where if it ain't broke don't fix it just doesn't cut it anymore, DS2 did very little to their formula; this is proof that a tweak of the mechanics, and a little spice to the story goes a hell of a long way. It also doesn't hurt that they abandoned the silent protagonist thing that so many people seem to love doing these days.
- I would like to point out that this is where this list got difficult. Out of the top four games, any one of them could have taken up the top spot.
4- Portal 2
And then you add such a simple yet amazing story. On top of that it's told by nothing more than three speaking characters, one of them speaking from the grave. Yes, they do use the whole silent protagonist thing, but in this case the game is so full of banter that it doesn't really matter. Before the original Portal the concept of a puzzle game with a storyline was just about unheard of. Much less one that makes you laugh out of fear this much.
On top of adding a second part to the story, Portal 2 adds a couple of things, but it makes them count. The simple addition of liquids to the gameplay changed everything. When something as simple as liquids have this big an impact on a game, you know someone is doing something right.
The other big addition was co-op. But this isn't a couple of co-op levels, that just wouldn't do; this is co-op done right. Getting it's own storyline, it consists of half of the game, if not more. It might not be the longest game in the world, but it's enjoyable no matter how many times you play it.
3- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Unfortunately, there are a couple of key areas where I find Among Thieves was more polished. The shooting in this third installment doesn't seem as precise or crisp this time around. This could be due to some changes in the mechanics of the game, and it's not much of an issue, it just takes some getting used to. On top of that, U2 had Zoran Lazarević, a well developed antagonist, and U3 didn't seem to have the same caliber bad guys for Drake to contend with.
Again, Drake's Deception is a spectacular game. Had it not been for my nitpicking and some stiff competition, this game could very well be game of the year as well. But I do believe that Uncharted 2 is the better game of the franchise, and that cost it.
2- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Around five hours into my Skyrim experience I openly stated that Bethesda had successfully created the quintessential RPG experience of our generation. I never thought I'd say that about a game, but there's no doubt in my mind.
I've always loved it when games bring a map along with the booklet, almost gloating that you 'might get lost' in their world. Well Skyrim does that because you will get lost multiple times. I've been playing it since launch, and there is no area inaccessible in this world, and there's so much to explore. It really can't be explained, you need to play it for yourself.
The other aspects of the game are also great. Everything is as polished as it's going to get with a game this big. Sure it has it's bugs, but that's to be expected; minor issues that should be fixed with patches before you know it.
Skyrim game is a landmark for the industry, I'm having a blast playing it and I don't plan on being done with it for a long time. But as much as I love it, as a fanboy nothing this year gave me more joy than...
Batman: Arkam City
Like I said in my review, Arkham City has changed what a superhero based game needs to be. It set the bar as high as Nolan did for superhero movies, and it might as well might have set it higher.
The story couldn't be more perfect either. From the banter you pick off of common street thugs, to the twist and surprise appearance of well known and the most obscure of villains. Without spoiling anything, any villain could and probably is in this game. The surprises are endless. And the tiny references will keep even the most hardcore of fans marking out.
Being The Dark Knight is fun. Hovering over Gotham is fun. And you get to do it all, and feel like a total badass doing it. It's a thing of beauty. They have upped the standard for all other games, and I look forward to other companies trying to meet this new standard. If they do try, it should be a great year for games.