GAF Games of the Year 2011 - Voting Thread - Voting's Over, Folks!

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Sep 28, 2009
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1) DARK SOULS; Made my palms sweat, beautiful lands and interesting monsters, exciting times being invaded and satisfying co-op with strangers.

2) SKYRIM; Big map, great musical score, I got to toss fire and ice and kill dragons. Eventually I wept bitter tears for playing on a console.

3) MAGIC the GATHERING 2012; Fun decks and with the ability to somewhat customize your cards. The last 4 decks released, specifically the Red/White lifegiving and Black zombie deck make for some great matches and rival the OPness of the Green/Blue deck. WARNING: Online is still borked and can be frustrating =(

4) WIZARDRY: LABYRINTH of LOST SOULS ; Pen and paper RPG with some fun loot, great dungeon crawling, and monsters that can wipe your group. Took me back and the story, while simple, was pretty, pre-tay good.

5) RAGE; Nice visuals, good gunplay. Did not appreciate the overworld that much. Did not finish the game fml. Hesitated to add the game but it deserves mentioning.

Games I have not played but am somewhat interested in and will probably play:

Catherine
Uncharted 3
Saint's Row the Third
 
Dec 21, 2009
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1. Saints Row the Third; What Volition, Inc. does with Saints Row: rather than dictate the type of fun we should have they give us toys and a playground and say go at it. It's not without some weird decisions in design, but they have also managed to write a fantastic story in which its characters have no moral qualms about what they do, which might contradict what the player has them do, so they do it. Do yourself a favor, though, and play this with a friend.

2. Catherine; The puzzles by themselves make for a hectic and thoughtful experience, but Catherine is a good example of integrating story and gameplay. Its characters make really stupid decisions no matter how much you try to influence them. I think what I liked is that in between the characters' idiocy and the creepy weeaboo stuff is that it struck up a conversation between my friends and me and in every question it asked it just made us think about relationships versus romance. The versus mode is where my friend and I had a blast, though. Got to love its use of classical pieces, too.

3. Super Mario 3D Land; This particular Mario game plays it relatively safe and doesn't radically change the formula. What I do love about it is its successful blend of New Super Mario Bros. with the Mario Galaxy games that manages to be rather meaty even for a portable title and even for a portable Mario title. Maybe I'm off my game but I also found Super Mario 3D Land a little challenging, even, thanks to obsessively hunting for Star Coins and yellow flags. It ranks so highly because its execution and overall package just feel right and near perfect. Mario knows how to make a debut even on a handheld device.

4. Batman: Arkham City; Rocksteady somehow managed to make you feel as if you are Batman even more than Arkham Asylum already did. For me though, this game takes high marks for that score. My god, that music. It's almost a sales pitch but it perfectly blends the mood of Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer to my ears. It might feature my favorite soundtrack for 2011 with Deus Ex: Human Revolution right behind it. The performances are top notch, to the point where you wouldn't believe me if I told you Arleen Sorkin was NOT Harley Quinn in it.

5. Rayman Origins; A damned fantastic effort here. Here's more praise for its wonderful art style and overall upbeat, friendly aesthetic. In its wonderfully cartoony yet not too cheesy soundtrack, I love that just about everything has its own leitmotif practically. Like Mario 3D Land, it challenges you without forcing the challenge upon you. I can't help but think this game is a better Donkey Kong Country than Donkey Kong Country Returns is.

6. Mario Kart 7; In sheer cosmic coincidence, my favorite Mario Kart games are ones that appear on a portable device. Mario Kart 7 is entertainment, bliss, and competition in a great handheld package. I ranked SM3DL higher but I think if 3DS owners came for Ocarina of Time, they will stay for Mario Kart.

7. Pokémon Black; I am not the biggest Pokémon fan yet I still buy them. I have yet to finish SoulSilver and Platinum. I knew this and I bought Black anyway. I can't even tell you what drew me into it. I've put in over 80 hours into it. The game has a liveliness to it compared to the previous games. Its towns didn't have one or two people in it. It was bustling. It felt like an adventure. A big adventure on a small handheld device and I've barely gone online with the damn thing. I also loved the music and how subtle it became in some places. "Team Oshowatt," or something. ;)

8. Portal 2; I credit Valve for developing a sequel to a game that didn't need one, and making it work without going the "just add more shit" route. Stephen Merchant as Wheatley is the gem of the game as well as the relationship between Chell, or rather you, and GLaDOS. Truthfully, I couldn't tell you if I had a favorite puzzle in the game but there was something about learning Aperture's history that was so depressing and nearly isolating.

X. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; Skyward Sword might have the best tale to tell in the entire Legend of Zelda franchise. I love that it made me care about the relationship between Zelda and Link. I loved interacting with its characters. It had a lot of genuinely hilarious, fun, dark and telling moments. The motion controls are not a burden, but they are far from perfect. Although when you finally do nail the swordplay, you'll want to go back to kick the shit out of every Lizalfos who might have given you a hard time earlier. Some of the dungeons are not particularly memorable but some leave a mark. A very good game, but it evolved where it didn't need to and what needed working on was stagnant. I am glad to have experienced it anyway.

X. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D; Brighter colors, new modeling, and it takes advantage of 3DS features that enhances this 1998 game that helps it to hold up incredibly well in 2011. The game itself is still perfectly paced and you're almost upset when the adventure ends pre-Master Quest.

X. Mortal Kombat; The rebirth of MK seemed like it had a lot invested into it and NetherRealm Studios pulled it off like gangbusters. No real gimmicks to speak of, an entertaining story that seems to cater to new and old fans, and online play. A nice, simple update with the right amount of tweaks. It is a fantastic effort.

X. Assassin's Creed: Revelations; This series has risen to become one of my favorite franchises of the last decade. Above all else, it was worth playing for Ezio and Sofia. The final chapter and ending are magnificent and rather emotional. The game tends to feel rather aimless at times, the playable Desmond segment is flat-out terrible that I didn't even bother going through the third of them, and the game may as well have been about Altair again since a lot of what Ezio does feels like filler. However fictionalized, I always enjoy the historical perspective of these games. Hopefully the story is now in a new direction.

LTTP 2010: Vanquish; I enjoy the frenzy-like atmosphere of Vanquish along with that… Japanese sci-fi feel ("It's like one of my Japanese animes!"). Some might understand what I mean. Vanquish is a good game that has the potential to be a great franchise.

I regret passing up a lot of downloadable titles in 2011 because I never get around to buying Xbox Live/PSN points cards (I'm kind of tinfoil hat-y about putting in credit card info). I've been recommended Bastion (which I eventually bought on XBL), Pushmo and Mighty Switch Force and want to try them out.

Seeing a lot of Skyrim and Deus Ex. I have those but haven't opened either of them. They'll have to wait until the new year.
 
Oct 5, 2009
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1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings; they managed to improve on everything in the past Witcher game as well as deliver the best graphics of the year. Dat clothing detail. Vernon Roche is a ballaballa and if you're not a fan of this game then your mother sucks dwarf cock.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution; I really didn't think this would be a good sequel/prequel, but I was blown away at how...undisappointing it was. Loved the music (particularly the opening credits, how stylish was that?!). And the endings felt like they were ripped straight from Deus Ex. Most importantly the gameplay remained intact for the most part.

3. Demon's Souls
4. Bulletstorm
5. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
6. Shadows of the Damned
7. Battlefield 3
8. Portal 2
9. inFamous 2
10. Batman: Arkham City; this should be top 5 but I think it lost some of it's fun for me on it's move to a more open world setting. I'm not feeling it as much.

x: Uncharted 3, Alice: Madness Returns
 
Jul 6, 2009
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Thanks to the Steam sale, I was able to get up to 10 2011 games I thought deserved to be on my list. So without further complications, I present McNum's Game of the Year list!

1. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Who would have thought that the best JRPG of this generation would be a Wii game? And who would have thought the little Wii to be able to pull off environments like that? The story is fun, the combat is fast and engaging, and it has a whole lot of small interface tricks to make everything run smooth. Add to that a likeable cast of characters, more plot twists than you can swing a Monado at, a competent to great voice cast, and an incredible soundtrack, and you have the Game of the Year for me.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; This is the game the Wii was meant to play. And in any other year, this would be my Game of the Year, as Zelda, as usual, is really good. The sword fighting with Wii Motion Plus is great, and the game feels like a good solid Zelda game. But this is the year of Xenoblade. It is really good to finally play "that game", though, as this, as far as I'm concerned, is probably the Wii Remote's greatest hit.

3. Portal 2 ; Portal 2 is fun, it's basically more Portal, with new puzzles, more weird characters, and a few genuinely impressive tricks. Plus a delightfully dry sense of humor. It has several of the best written characters seen in a game this year, and the ending is just so awesome. "Lunacy", as the achievment calls it, is a very accurate description. Still need to play the Co-op mode, though.

4. Batman: Arkham City ; What if Arkham Asylum was an open world game? Well, then it'd be Arkham City, of course. Add some awesome new toys for the Bat, and the ability to play as the Cat, and you have a very nice sequel to what was already a good game. Plus, gliding is fun, especially when you land on some poor thug... and then kick him across the street.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; It's Ocarina of Time! In 3D! Well, I can't see the 3D, but the inclusion of Master Quest was really nice. The game plays like good old Ocarina of Time, and that's a tried and true formula that's still good in the original flavor.

6. Total War: SHOGUN 2 ; Samurai, ninjas, and all out war in Japan. I loved the old Shogun: Total War, and its sequel is good fun, too. It has some interesting ideas for multiplayer, but I don't play Total War for the multiplayer.

7. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ; Oh, hey look. Marvel vs. Capcom is back. Twice, even. I'd have put MvC3 here, but Ultimate is all that, and more. So, yeah. UMvC3. More MvC3. See MvC3 in the honorable mentions for more.

8. Sonic Generations ; A Sonic game? Here? Yes. Sonic Generations is a fun game. And, for what it's worth, it shows that Sega, perhaps finally, has found a way to make Sonic work as Sonic in 3D. Good to see Classic Sonic back, too, but it's the refinement to Modern Sonic that impressed me the most.

9. Pokemon Black/White ; I need to play this some more. I abandoned it early, can't remember why. What I did play was a lot of fun, though. I think I just was Pokémon'd out after just finishing HeartGold when Black/White released.

10. Duke Nukem Forever ; Yeah, it's dumb. And unfinished. But it's still a fun dumb shooter, and that's okay with me. Sometimes dumb is fun.

Honorable mention to:
x. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds ; It's Mahvel! Crazy over the top three-on-three fighting with a lot of fun characters. I do miss Mega Man, though, but overall a fun game. Why only an honorable mention? Because of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. No doubles on the list.

Good game I missed from 2010:
2010. Bejeweled 3 ; Match gems, pretty explosions, nice soundtrack.

There we go, this is my list, and unless I get really surprised the next 24 hours, I'll be sticking to it. Yeah, it has Duke Nukem Forever on it, and I'm not ashamed of that. It also has Sonic Generations, which to me was the biggest positive surprise in games in 2011. Even more than Xenoblade not just being good, but being THAT good. There are some games that I'm sure are better than the ones I've listed, but I'm not an Uncharted or Elder Scrolls fan, so I'll leave those getting votes up to the rest of you. It's the strength and weakness of this kind of list, isn't it?

Also, as per the rules, Xenoblade Chronicles is NOT an import for me, I'm a PAL native.
 
Nov 15, 2010
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1. Portal 2
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
3. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
4. LittleBigPlanet 2
5. LA Noire
6. Yakuza 4
7. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
8. Trackmania 2: Canyon
9. Rock of Ages
10. Pokémon Black

Honorable mentions:
x. Mortal Kombat
x. Monster Tale

2010. Monster Hunter Tri
 
Sep 3, 2007
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1. Skyrim ; Skyrim makes me sad that the word awesome has been hijacked by overuse and irony, because it's a word that really deserves to be used in its older sense to describe Skyrim. Skyrim is awesome, awe-inspiring. It seems like every other moment there's something to be amazed by. Looking up at the jagged, misty mountains, coming to the edge of a forest of tall spruce and pine, wandering across a giant tending his mammoth, looking up at the night sky full of of stars and moons, getting caught in a snow storm. They all feel magical and yet real. Even without the actual game part of it, the world of Skyrim would be something to behold. It turns away from the dull, generic fantasy Oblivion presented and steps back to the mystery and foreignness of Morrowind. And even though the world is better than the actual game in Skyrim, the game still is the best Elder Scrolls Bethesda's made to date. There are still glitches, and the combat's far from the best in the industry, but it's all still a significant step forward from where it was before. The game manages to streamline a lot of its RPG aspects without ever feeling dumbed down, and the removal of level scaling returns a lot of the difficulty and tension that Oblivion lacked.

2. Bastion ; Bastion has the strongest synergistic relationship between its various components that I've seen since I played Okami. Visuals and music and gameplay and story all meld into a cohesive whole. At first the gameplay seems bland, but as you unlock more and more of the game's RPG aspects and begin to unlock the training grounds that force you to come to terms with the subtleties of each weapon in your arsenal, its depth becomes apparent. Likewise, the story seems like the kind of quaint, minimalist story telling we're used to in a lot of indie games when you first start, but by the end you realize it's something much more grandiose, lightly told. You're not aware how attached you've become to the world until the very end, when you're presented with a brief moment of freedom wherein you can impact the fate of that world. It's one of the most paralyzingly difficult choices I've faced in a game, despite the fact that it happens at the very end and doesn't impact the actual game at all, just it's ending. When forced to think about the fate of the world, you start to see that it's a world that you built yourself out of nothing but ash and chaos, that you built those buildings and collected to you the surviving men and monsters that inhabit your Bastion, and that somehow without ever really noticing it, that came to mean something to you.

3. Portal 2 ; Gaming was sadly lacking in comedy before Portal came along, and Portal 2 continues the tradition of livening up our usually violent and overly grim hobby. The characters are hilarious, the puzzles smart, and the ending is the best single moment in a game this year, bar none. It's just quality design and writing like no one but Valve can do.

4. Gears of War 3 ; I was never a huge fan of the Gears franchise. The first was fun enough, and obviously pretty influential. The second was a step up, but still nothing incredible. But in the third it all somehow clicks, and it clicks so strongly that I now actually think better of its two predecessors in light of it. Gears 3 actually presents a really solid story, and that's not something I'd ever thought I'd say. Furthermore, it does it well enough that you actually start to feel that the whole tale actually was planned out from the beginning, that the world was just so slowly dripped to you between ham-handedly delivered macho dialog that it took three games to notice it was there. Gears 2 tried to bring some emotion to the plot, but just ended up creating laughable melodrama. Dom's breakdown upon finding Maria became the stuff of jokes. But Gears 3 has tender moments that actually work, and finally makes its characters seem human, and not like the chunks of meat they seemed before. And of course as always the visuals, the shooting mechanics, and the weapon selection are all world class.

5. Batman: Arkham City ; Arkham City is not as good of a game as Arkham Asylum was. The open world detracts more from the experience than it adds. Adding an open world to a successful formula is about the laziest idea for "improvement" a developer can come up with. The tightness of the world of the first game and its Metroidvania overtones are lost to open streets of the City. But the game is still Batman. The melee combat is still the best around, and has only been improved from that of its predecessor. The gadgets and the brilliant bits of stealth are all still there. Arkham City is, moreover, also a better Batman story than Asylum ever was. All the important villains (and some of the less important...) make appearances, and the story has some good twists and turns.

6. Dead Space 2 ; Another game that fails to live up to a predecessor. Dead Space 1 looks like it's going to be the only solid horror experience we get on consoles this gen. Dead Space 2 mixes in enough Uncharted-style showmanship that it ceases to belong to the same genre as its predecessor, but it's still great at being what it is. The precision shooting needed to dismember enemies prevents it from ever becoming the torrent of bullets and sparks most shooters become, and the zero gravity segments are unique to the Dead Space franchise alone.

7. Uncharted 3 ; Nothing could ever live up to the expectations Uncharted 2 set, but at the things the Uncharted series does best, nothing outclasses Uncharted 3, save for its own predecessor. The game's set pieces are gaming's greatest thrill rides, and Naughty Dog seems to have realized that and offered more of them, at the expense of the game's shooting segments, which are, even more than they were before, the series' weakest link. In the past month or two, the zeitgeist seems to have turned somewhat against the guided experience that Uncharted offers, but if you accept that player freedom isn't the entirety of quality game design, abandon the solipsistic view that all that matters is how you interact with the game and accept that sometimes how the game steers you is just as important as how you steer the game, what Uncharted does is really impressive. The quality of a good set piece feels something like the feeling you get when watching a well done long take in a movie. Regardless of how you feel about the movie or game, you can't help but feel impressed. On top of all of that, the plot and characters are all charming, though perhaps not as masterful as some of the game's bigger fans make them out to be, and the visuals are as great as ever. We discount the important of visuals in games a lot, but what Uncharted does with how characters emote and animate, not just in cutscenes but in the middle of gameplay, really feels like its the future.

8. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Skyward Sword is great, in a really tragic sort of way. It is both the best motion controlled game and the best Zelda to date, and despite that it still feels outdated. When the motion control works, it's incredible. The sword fighting can really feel like something new and unique. But then there are the times it doesn't work, the flying and the swimming when you want to throw the damn thing through your TV and play it on an Xbox controller. As a Zelda game, it brings things forward, adding new complexity in the combat and introducing a crafting system. It maintains the general theme of the series, hero saves princess, while making it much more nuanced. For once, Link is questing after Zelda as a person, not as a symbol, and Zelda is actually a competent actor in the world, at times moreso than Link is. Both in how it advances the Zelda franchise and the Wii console, it feels like this is the game we should have gotten five years ago, instead of Twilight Princess. This would have felt fresh then, whereas Twilight Princess felt like an Ocarina of Time retread. But now, in light of five more years of advancement in game design, it feels almost as behind the times now as Twilight Princess did then. And in terms of motion controls, had this been our first taste of them, and had we had five years to build off of this instead of building off of Wii Sports, I don't think motion controls would be so disdained today. Instead, this is the first glimpse of success after five years of failed experimentation. The game in itself is still great, but in light of it's place in the story of its franchise and its console, that triumph is bittersweet.

9. The Witcher 2 ; The Witcher 2 succeeds in a lot of what Dragon Age 2 failed at. Dragon Age 2 was probably my most anticipated game coming into this year, so its failures hurt, but The Witcher fills some of the holes. It presents solid but realtively streamlined RPG mechanics, good action oriented combat, a complex world, and choices that really seem to affect that world. Granted, I don't like the world and characters as much as I like those that Bioware typically craft, it's all a bit too stark for my tastes, but it's what we have now, and it does what it sets out to do well, unlike some of its competitors.

10. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Deus Ex is a great flashback to a time gone by, both in its cyberpunk story and its gameplay. By the end, I started to feel as though cyberpunk was abandoned for a reason, that it's not really too culturally relevant these days, but the revival of old school game design is a breath of fresh air. The multiplicity of options that you have to solve any one problem are mind boggling by modern standards, and how you can progress your character to take advantage of those options you like best give you a good sense of ownership over your character and your experience. Of course, all that goes out the window when the awful boss fights happen, and you can find yourself completely mismatched to the task they present you, but if you can struggle your way through those, the rest of the game is something special.

xx. LA Noire
xx. Dragon Age 2 (disappointing game, but not the abomination people make it out to be.)
xx. Catherine
xx. Shadows of the Darned
xx. Dead Island
 
Aug 8, 2008
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This year I actually feel comfortable enough to vote rather than abstain like usual. I've made an effort to invest a significant amount of time into as many games as I possibly could. I can, in good conscience, rest easy providing my 2011 list knowing that my choices were picked from a pool of games including many I otherwise would've ignored. (I included the version I played in parentheses because it matters in some cases. I live in the USA and have labeled all imported games.)


1. ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 (PS3) ; I was simultaneously excited and worried about MvC3 when it was announced. Even if some of my fears came to fruition, the game still managed to be incredibly fun. UMvC3 polished away most of MvC3's more glaring flaws while also throwing in its share of tweaks and additional characters largely inspired by other modern fighters, becoming a much better game overall. It's still not perfect; some stuff remains stupid and fundamentally flawed. But this is a game that will grow, a game that will continue to be played for years to come. Sure, it'll be broken to hell and back (if it isn't already). That doesn't matter--it's Crack on a Disc™. It's one of those games so entertaining that you can have just as much fun watching others play as you would spending time with it yourself. It's immediate, approachable, and deceptively deep. I can't think of anything else to say. I believe it's one of the few Capcom fighting games genuinely worth its fanbase.

2. TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together (PSP) ; This was so close to being my 2011 GotY, and it's my fault that it's not. I played the game wrong--completely blind, without retreating, CHARIOT usage, or any character falling to 0 HP--in an effort to add challenge and strategy that only resulted in me becoming overly aware of mechanics and quirks. If I could go back, I'd play TO:LUCT normally, breezily, taking in the story, the music, and each facet of the game at my own pace, seeing how it rewarded creativity and tinkering without trying to break it right off the bat. I'm surprised, though, because it still held up wonderfully being played that way; it just wasn't the most graceful first impression. And, truly, not enough can be said about this game's narrative. It's politically charged with interesting characters and filled to the brim with ethical and moral quandaries that force you to stop and think as often as they set you on branching story paths. It also has a surplus of auxiliary content (why hello, endgame/postgame!) and achievement tracking that just begs players to dive in and ravage everything from all angles. Any of the game's shortcomings are minor--the most objective flaw I can think of is its archaic shop interface. Even though FFT probably remains my favorite SRPG, TO:LUCT is amazing and even better in quite a few ways. It's not a TRPG that lacks leveling, grinding, loot--it's an SRPG where all of those are embraced. As a result, it's not perfectly balanced, but it's flexible enough to play in ways that stretch the limits of its strong foundation. This is one of the finest, most complete efforts of its kind.

3. Arcana Heart 3 (PSN-PS3) ; Thoughtful system mechanics help make this fighting game strikingly dynamic, incredibly flexible, surprisingly balanced, and insanely fun. Say what you will about its various "animu" or "doujin" qualities: Arcana Heart 3 puts many fighting games to shame. Its Arcana system is akin to CvS2's Groove select but a bit more advanced. It's amazing--every arcana is a completely different supplement to each character's basic movesets, making mirror matches and matchups against the same character over and over again way more thrilling than they'd be in most other fighting games. AH3 refines AH2 (which had already hugely improved upon AH1) into something absolutely mindblowing. No hyperbole. Please do not ignore AH3. Please. If you like fighting games at all, you owe it to yourself to play this. What it lacks in production value is made up for with engaging mechanics that let player creativity and personality shine. AH3 will probably remain my favorite 1v1 fighter for a while.

4. Dark Souls (PS3) ; Dark Souls offers a sumptuously dark adventure unlike any other. It's a survival horror Monster Hunter Metroidvania. Surprisingly, the game is actually quite different from Demon's Souls. It isn't flawless. Technical problems are infrequent but noticeable when they occur (framerate dips/freezes, input buffering quirks, finicky camera/lock-on). The lack of explanation for many things sometimes backfires, with obtuse secrets practically requiring some kind of guide. A handful of areas, enemies, and mechanics are also rather questionably designed. These low spots barely tarnish the rest of the game, though, because Dark Souls is absolutely extraordinary when it's at its best. The patch also seems to have addressed many gripes I had with the game my first time through. There may be flaws and exploits, and the level design may not be as strong as it is in Demon's Souls, but Dark Souls is wonderful. It's impossible to choose between the two. My personal 2009 GotY was Demon's Souls, and Dark Souls is just as good, if not better.

5. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) ; A 3D Mario platformer by the Galaxy team that draws heavy inspiration from its 2D brethren. Fewer superfluous gimmicks, less filler. It's been a while, Mario. Seriously, am I dreaming? Like the best Mario games, 3D Land has nailed the "feel" of proper character movement necessary for an excellent platformer. Just the right amount weightiness and momentum combine to create an experience where joy is derived from the simple act of doing. Furthermore, 3D Land's perfectly paced levels are not hampered by arbitrary or confusing goals--finally, a straightforward, focused 3D Mario game without most of the unnecessary fluff that's plagued the series since Mario 64. I'm not arguing against the elegance of Mario 64's mechanics by any means (especially after Siglemic's recent flexing of them), but something about 3D Land hit me on all fronts. I forced myself to finish 64 on the DS. I deliberately avoided Sunshine. I didn't bother with Galaxy 2 after trudging through Galaxy 1. New Super Mario Bros. on the DS and the Wii both failed to impress me. They all just felt wrong. And, what's this? 3D Land feels right? I'm still dumbfounded. It doesn't matter that it's (mostly) easy--it's fun. I just want to play it. I can't praise it enough, even if there are still some things that I don't like about it. It's right under Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World for me. No joke.

6. Bulletstorm (360) ; I normally prefer third-person shooters, but this was some of the most fun I've had with an FPS since Half-Life 2. From the set pieces, to the creative language, to the "play with your food" skillshots, Bulletstorm is "color" in a box. It's an artist's shooter. It's digital dominoes, billiards, blocks and marbles. It's an empty beach with perfectly-made sandcastles it begs you to step on. I haven't played Painkiller, Serious Sam (3), Hard Reset, DNF, or whatever else, so make of this what you will. I suppose the game probably would've been better with less modern influences. A Bulletstorm 2 with bigger areas, health packs instead of fleeing to cover, sliding that doesn't repeatedly get stuck on the environment, skillshots that don't glitch as often, more enemy types, no forced sniping sections...yeah. I'd buy that.

7. Sonic Generations (PS3) ; Sonic Colors on the Wii blew me away. I ended up liking it far more than many other popular platforming games that I questioned my sanity and ended up going down a Sonic game education rabbit hole. Generations isn't as consistently good as Colors. It's better in some ways, but has some pretty low lows. To anyone who wants to know what the appeal of Colors and Generations is: imagine Burnout minus the car combat, mixed with Mirror's Edge time trials and a dash of the dexterity required for a Korean rhythm game, all riding on top of a psychedelic roller coaster. You'll get the most out of these games if you enjoy experimentation and memorization and the satisfaction that comes from perfectly executing skillful maneuvers in a frenzy of speed. These games demand you play them like classic Sonic game speedrunners. If you don't, you won't understand what makes them great.

8. Saints Row: The Third (PS3) ; I had such a good time with SR3 that I actually got depressed when the credits rolled. I was under the impression that I just didn't like the genre from what I've played in the past. Unfortunately, that's still true, but only to an extent since SR3 manages to make most of the things I hate a lot more exciting than they usually are. Truthfully, I found it hard to have fun in the city after the campaign was over. I think it's just me because SR3 seems to do everything in its power to offer a compelling sandbox. Does this mean that all those batshit bonkers story missions really are that good? Probably. On a side note, the sound design/voicework/music selection/audio in general really stood out to me.

9. Bastion (XBLA) ; Jesus, it's been forever since I played a great isometric action RPG. People will talk their heads off about this game, so I don't need to. I walked away content, unexpectedly surprised, and wanted to jump right back in after I finished. It does so much right with such seemingly effortless execution that many smart design choices will simply go completely unnoticed. All of this comes from someone who had originally condemned the game from its lackluster demo. I'm still sad the score attack mode isn't as good as I thought it'd be.

10. Portal 2 (PS3) ; Nitpicks aside, this is a smart and satisfying sequel that's both a bit better and a bit worse than the original in various ways. On one hand, it introduces many new mechanics, and the campaign is deeper and longer. On the other, these changes make the sequel feel rather formulaic and more drawn out than it otherwise should've been. This is still head and shoulders above many other releases this year, but I have to be honest and say that I left Portal 2 with the word "unnecessary" lingering in the back of my mind one too many times.


x. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360) ; The sense of world and place in Skyrim is so overwhelming that I just have to list it here. Sure, it's lacking compared to Morrowind (and even Oblivion), but I think a lot of the new stuff is a worthy tradeoff...even if that's not saying much. Combat is marginally improved yet still crappy, and the quality of the rest of the game is questionable. Some content is also rather repetitive or lackluster. Oh well! Skyrim's successes lie in the intangible whole, not in the sum of (often shoddy) parts. I'm already eagerly anticipating the next game. Just please create an engine that allows levitation again, a completely seamless world, proper Psi-Ops telekinesis, spell creation, unique spell effects (shouts were a great step in the right direction), more interesting loot preferably inspired by Diablo, and everything else that still makes people swear by earlier Elder Scrolls games so they will finally be appeased. And please don't treat your fans like shit by releasing a subpar, scam version of the game that eventually renders itself unplayable. Thanks.

x. Gears of War 3 (360) ; Gears is a dependably consistent franchise. It's clunky (GoW3, less so) but has solid mechanics and always provides shooting that "feels" satisfying. Out of the three games so far, I'm pretty sure I'd rank them 3>1=2. GoW3 is the most polished, confident incarnation of the series. I'm still not crazy about a few additions/changes, but, as far as 2011 goes, this is my TPS pick, even if it's probably sixth or seventh on my all-time favorite third-person shooters list (I just made this up; I don't have a list). I think I'm more surprised that people are ignoring this game than anything else.

x. Rayman Origins (PS3) ; This is a wonderful 2D platformer that juuust doesn't click all the way with me. It's gorgeous and has some great audio direction. The level design is consistently creative and varied. My main problem is a personal one stemming from how characters control. People have described this game as incredibly fluid, and I couldn't agree more. It's buttery-smooth. You'll gracefully glide through stages, careening off obstacles, walls, enemies. I just feel like I lack impact. In a platformer, I want the world to feel physical; I want to collide. I need friction. Beyond that, my gripes are few. I would've liked to see a couple mechanics tweaked ever so slightly, and I'm not too fond of games with this many collectibles. If you're okay with the character handling, you probably won't mind running all over the place to gather stuff. The demo turned me away, but I'm glad I bought this. It has quickly become one of my favorite 2D platformers on HD consoles, and you're in for quite the treat if you give it a chance. This is leagues ahead of something like LittleBigPlanet, and, in my opinion, much better than New Super Mario Bros. on the Wii. Now if it only were as snappy as Super Meat Boy...

x. DeathSmiles IIX 「デススマイルズII X」 (XbxGoD) ; I'm really happy this got released in the USA. I'm even happier that its mechanics often make it more fun than the original Deathsmiles (which I still adore to pieces). This isn't the prettiest looking or sounding game, but the people who tell you DSII>DS know what they're talking about even if I personally appreciate them both in different ways. I really would've loved to see more care put into this release--it's a far cry from the likes of Espgaluda II and the NA release of Deathsmiles, for example. The arrange mode still confuses me, and Tukaima Race is atrocious; DSII and DSIIX are obviously the main attractions. I'm not sure if MUCHIMUCHIPORK! & PinkSweets 「むちむちポーク!&ピンクスゥイーツ」 (360 JP Import) is allowed, otherwise that'd also be an honorable mention since I had more fun with it than DoDonPachi Resurrection (360 EU Import) which got more attention.

x. DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (PSN-PSP) ; The new tweaks and characters are welcome; the story still isn't. Dissidia is basically a "digital staring contest" arena fighting game, but it doesn't get enough credit. Characters aren't carbon copies of each other, so they're all fun to play. It's an incredibly dense release, having single-player content on par with (and arguably surpassing) this year's Mortal Kombat (PS3). Acually, that's the exact reason why I don't care too much about Duodecim's balance--I'm always playing it alone. Can you even play against other people...? Anyway, Phantom Dust + Psychic Force + Otogi = hell yes.

x. Pokémon White (NDS) ; It's the same old Pokémon but with a few smart refinements that slowly edge the series toward actualizing its potential. Battles are still strategic, Pokémon catching, rearing, and team creation are still addictive, and the story is still a missed opportunity. The formula is aging but its foundation remains strong. Though my fondest Pokémon memories are admittedly those of Blue and Gold, I feel like Black/White is the best gen yet.

x. The King of Fighters XIII (PS3) ; I don't think I need to say much about this. It's KoF, reborn. Though I have more fun with other fighters (including ASW's BB which isn't on this list because CS2 was a patch thing for consoles), I grew up with KoF so it's nice to see it back on its feet.

x. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3) ; DX:HR is a largely successful blend of many different components and boasts a focused campaign that's tightly designed with just the right amount of freedom. The game isn't flawless (some storytelling nitpicks, a few skill system issues, enemy AI isn't the best, boss gripes, etc.), but it does a solid job on so many things that its imperfections are easily forgiven. DX:HR even occasionally outshines the games it has clearly been inspired by... It may get a little boring playing a certain way for too long (especially when so many other games really let you cut loose), but I'm happy how it turned out and don't want this effort to be forgotten.


2010. Bayonetta (360) ; I played Bayonetta right when it came out, but I didn't vote at all last year. It was my 2010 GotY so I'd like to give it a point with the LTTP vote. This is a brilliant, fabulous character action game. What makes Bayonetta so much better than its peers is its readily accessible, free-form approach to combat. Meaningful flexibility dispels the feeling of linearity that may sometimes creep into the genre. Its core and auxiliary mechanics often deftly balance risk and reward. Smart design also affords access to many of Bayonetta's tricks at any given moment. It's more focused on offering players creative freedom during fights than it is about adventuring and interacting with the environment, something a few other action games actually do pretty well. If Bayonetta tackled that, too, there'd be little to add after removing a few of its obviously crappy sequences.


Most disappointing: A tie between Dragon Age II (PS3) and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3).

Worst overall: Probably a twenty-way tie between a bunch of games I played from the XBLA indies section. The 3rd Birthday (PSP) isn't very good, but it's a masterpiece compared to how bad some things truly are. It's probably the worst "high profile" game I played all year, though I'm sure there are plenty of other big name abominations I managed to avoid.

2011 games that I'll deal with in 2012: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (360) and Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii).


Note: Batman: Arkham City (360) and Saints Row: The Third (PS3) are the only games I must play more of before the deadline. I've played a decent amount both but not quite enough to pass judgment yet. DONE.
 
Jun 26, 2008
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Gonna finish this later...

  1. Bastion Bastion is a game where the only flaw I can find in it is that it ends. From music, to gameplay, to graphics, to the amazing narration, every aspect of the game is finely tuned with lots of love and fantastic design. Each weapon has it's own use and all are finely balanced; it's hard to find anything about the game that doesn't seem to have hours of thought behind it. It's a unique experience that needs at least 2 playthroughs to fully experience and can be found for only $15.
  2. Dungeons of Dredmor While this game isn't my favorite roguelike (it's hard to give a GotY award to a game that came out when I was 4!), it's definitely the best I've played this year and an excellent entry point into the genre. There are multiple difficulty levels and perma death can even be disabled for the faint of heart. There are dozens of different abilities and play styles, the game oozes humor and fun from every orifice and as soon as my dashing rogue falls to the ground defeated I only want to give the game one more go before doing something else, a rarity for me. This game wasn't going to place so highly on my list until a more recent addition: the ability to play a much faster game with smaller floors and lowered experience caps. Suddenly the game is fast paced making it even more addictive. If I wasn't in love with Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup and constantly comparing the two, this mode might have even pushed it over Bastion! It's only $5, give it a try!
  3. Star Wars: The Old Republic This is a game that I entered
  4. Mario Kart 7
  5. Pokemon Black/White
  6. Frozen Synapse
  7. Portal 2
  8. Star Fox 64 3D
  9. Super Mario 3D Land
  10. Trackmania 2

Honorable Mention: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (only played halfway through so I don't feel it's fair to put it on the list over other titles)

Dishonorable Mention: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword The worst controls in a game I've played since Sonic 06. Also, loads of padding less than 2 hours in. No, I do not want to find 5 <item> to get access to the dungeon. Be more creative or skip it and let me in.
 
Feb 27, 2011
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1. Xenoblade Chronicles; Pretty sure this is my favourite JRPG ever now. It's low on the anime melodrama, so I'll be able to replay no matter my tastes changing. It's super fun, I managed 100 hours without ever getting bored. The story was great, had some cliches but managed to surprise me quite a few times. And the music was outstanding. It's just insane how good it is.
2. Portal 2; Amazing game. Two games this year that make it into my top 10 games ever. Yay 2011! I just really enjoyed the gameplay (I liked the puzzles better than the ones in P1), loved the characters and the writing. Was giggling at the game way too much.
3. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; Maybe my second favourite Zelda game. Loved the art style and I really liked the "overworld" and regions and how it wasn't just open area to run through anymore. The story was great. Groose!
4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective; I really enjoyed this game a ton. The animation was great, the story was awesome, loved all the characters. Just a great game.
5. Professor Layton: Last Specter; Layton games are usually my favourite DS games every year! Aw, Layton... Also an awesome game, but didn't pack the emotional punch of the third, so it gets bumped down a little. However, it did set up NEW MYSTERIES and a new rival, so I'm so excited for more, haha.
6. Assassin's Creed: Revelations; I love AC games. They're so crazy and I have so much fun with them. I really loved the setting, as well as my new Bro, Yusuf. :D Some fun new mechanics, as well as some...less fun (tower defense...). Awesome farewell to Ezio (and Altair as well, I guess?) and I look forward to AC3 like crazy. Bring it on, 2012!
7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception; So good. I think I enjoyed this one about the same amount as 2, or maybe a little more? I really liked all the set pieces, the story and SULLY.
8. Catherine; Super fun. Really freaking weird, haha. But my friend and I had a lot of good times with swapping levels through the story, stupid as hell in jokes that went along with it (TORNADO TO VICTORY! TORNAD-NO!) and the Versus mode. It's just a really funny, enjoyable game.
9. Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns; I just love Harvest Moon. I really have nothing more to say, haha. I just love it and it loves me and we're happy together.
10. Dance Central 2; I love the Dance Central games. The choreography is super fun, it works really well with the Kinect and it's just great. This is nothing against the game, but I rank it lower right now because my XBox just broke and now I'm mad at everything Microsoft :(
 
Jun 26, 2008
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I wonder who on GAF voted for the least popular games?

EDIT: &#12487;&#12473;&#12473;&#12510;&#12452;&#12523;&#12474;II X and &#12416;&#12385;&#12416;&#12385;&#12509;&#12540;&#12463;&#65281;&#65286;&#12500;&#12531;&#12463;&#12473;&#12453;&#12452;&#12540;&#12484; are probably pretty good contenders!
 
Didn't play enough new games this year to produce a list of 10, but this is my top 7:

1. Skyrim ; I wasn't a big fan of Oblivion, and I was honestly very sceptical about Skyrim pre-release. But I'll be damned if it isn't amazing. The scope of this game is mindblowing, and almost everything I disliked in Oblivion was fixed or improved upon. I'm around 50-60 hours in, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I took a short break from it, but I'm pretty eager to jump back in.
2. Portal 2 ; Incredibly engrossing and fun game. I felt the first game had potential, but it never really amazed me. This game took that potential and built an incredibly polished campaign around it, with good story beats and humor, and a nice sense of exploration. The co-op was a lot of fun too. Also, dat ending.
3. Witcher 2 ; I feel like it takes a lot of steps forward from the first game, but also a few steps back. That being said, this is one of the best RPGs I've played in a long time. I'd even put it over Skyrim in a few categories such as storytelling. I love the world of the Witcher and I can't wait to go back to it with the next entry.
4. Battlefield 3 ; didn't play the singleplayer, but the multiplayer alone is so damn good that it has to be on my list. So much variety, amazing visuals, great shooting, massive maps. It has it all, and it does it like no other.
5. Trackmania 2 ; best multiplayer racing experience I've ever had. I'm honestly perplexed as to why this game doesn't have a bigger following. The controls are insanely tight, the visuals are good, and the replay value is basically limitless with the hundreds of quality custom tracks being made.
6. Minecraft ; this was more of a 2010 game for me, but it still deserves a spot on my list. When I was into this game, I was into it. This didn't last forever, but I still appreciate the game for what it is; a totally new experience that completely blew my mind.
7. The Binding of Isaac ; Super Meat Boy was my GOTY last year. After hearing that one of the minds behind that game made this game during his vacation, I tempered my expectations accordingly. What I got was an incredibly frustrating game, probably more so than SMB was for me, but also a game that is incredibly simple yet so ambitious. It is a game that plays differently every single time you play it; you see new things during each playthrough, and you never know what's behind each door. I feel like this game, had it been developed over a longer period of time with both members of Team Meat, could have been another masterpeice. There are a few things holding it back, such as the 4 direction shooting, lack of native controller support (my preferred way of playing), low frame rate at times (inexcusable for a game like this), and the fact that you pretty much need to get lucky by hitting good items. But the parts that stood out and set this game apart from anything else were good enough to put it on my list. I can't wait to see what Team Meat comes up with next.

Though I didn't necessarily play a lot of different games, the ones I did play I freaking loved. Couldn't ask for a more quality top 3.
 
Dec 25, 2006
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1. Radiant Historia -- I just find the characters and plot in this one to be excellent. I have a thing for time travel. I really liked that whole two time stream thing (even if it doesn't really make sense that one affects the other, but whatever.)

2. Ghost Trick -- I love Takumi. I want his babies. I usually hate puzzle games, but the puzzles in this on were interesting.

3. Skyrim -- I tried playing Morrowind and absolutely hated it (for the 20 or so minutes that I played.) I'm not sure why, but Skyrim is different. And of course, I'm playing it on my PC, so no framerate issues here! ^^

4. The Witcher 2 -- I actually played this and the first game this year. I like the first game better, actually. Hate the new inventory system. And the plot feels rushed. This feels somewhat more witcher-y, though, in terms of gameplay mechanics, though.

5. Yakuza 4 -- Like the Witcher series, I played through 3 and 4 almost right next to eachother. Wow, did 3 kinda suck. 4 was awesome though. I eventually got caught up in playing tons of mahjong and going to clubs. I liked the whole 4-hero thing. I wonder if they'll continue it for the next entry in the series.

6. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition -- I suck at this game, but I sure do love this. I bought TWO sticks for this. I must be crazy.

7. Trails in the Sky FC -- Solid RPG. Plot takes a while to get going. And it ends in a cliffhanger, which who knows if we'll ever see SC in English or not.

8. Disgaea 4 -- I haven't played a Disgaea game since the first. This series has really changed then... I think. I thought Disgaea was a decent SRPG with good humour (Phantom Brave was pretty much superior in everyway, except that it was actually pretty serious.) I got hooked on this game, though.

9. Pride of Nations -- I think I might be in love with the Victoria era. I suck at this game. I'm still trying to learn how to play, actually. I can already tell its a good game, though. Though, just as Three Moves Ahead says, it's like playing a game that Britain has already won XD. And of course, I always play as Prussia *salutes*

10. Football Manager 2012 -- I haven't played it this much, but it seems like a solid improvement to 2011 so that's that.

x. LA Noire -- I love adventure games and this seems to be a pretty modern one. Some of the interrogations are kinda sketchy, though. The options don't seem to always match what you would think they mean...

I also have Atelier Totori and Catherine in my backlog for this year, but I don't think I will get to them. I find myself not playing my PS3 much anymore. I find it way more convenient to play games on PC. Plus better experience on the PC. That, and Sony is kind of a jerk-ish company, anyway.
 
Oct 21, 2010
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1. Portal 2
Fantastic game design, well thought out and challenging puzzles, nice clean art style, brilliantly bizarre yet totally fitting musical score, a gripping story that held my interest throughout, A-grade voice work, and one of the few 'comedy' games that was genuinley funny throughout. The 2nd best game Valve has ever put out (after HL2) in my opinion.

2. Dead Space 2
Dead Space was one of my favourite games this gen as it merge my love of Sci-Fi with Horror - it felt like a combination of two of my favourite films of this subgenre - Alien and Event Horizon. DS2 improved upon the first one in almost every way I can imagine possible. More weapon and enemy variety, better A.I, more varied locations, more scares, big set pieces, longer game length and with a more engaging story to boot. One of the best survival horror games I've played.

3. Child of Eden
Why so high on the list? Well I'm a bit of a Genki Rockets fan, so I dug the remixes. I poured hour upon hour into the game trying to aquire all the trophies (which i've still yet to do) - finding the game a real pleasure to play even after playing through the same areas repeatedly. Rez was great and this feels like a natural evolution of that game. Brilliant graphics and effects that sync up with the music. A game that is very different to anything else out there this year - and I finally got to use the Move again!

4. Uncharted 3
While a step down from Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3 was still a massivley entertaining game. I always love the Uncharted games for perfectly recreating the feel of 'the big summer blockbuster' and this latest entry was no exception. Huge set pieces that eclipse anything that came before it, a fantastic score, brilliant vocal performances, a story that takes us back to Nathan Drake's roots and expores the characters backstory - all made for another worthy entry in one of the best series on PS3. The aiming system wasn't perfect and the pacing during the first 1/3 of the game was a little slow but regardless this is still one of the most enjoyable games I have played this year.

5. Rayman Origins
Simple pure old school fun, with a perfect difficulty curve and tons of post game content. Beautiful artstyle, smooth graphics and quirky catchy music. Unbelivable we got a true 2d platformer at retail in this day and age.

6. Batman: Arkham City
Will nodoubt be on many lists; with good reason. Boasted a large open world that was seething with the kind of atmosphere I'd always hoped to find in a Batman videogame, perfectly recreating the feel of Gotham gone bad. A ton of content to do post game and a lengthy story campaign which found a way to incorporate many of the DC characters left out of Rocksteady's original title.

7. Infamous 2
Improved over the already fantastic Infamous in all areas. A decent game length, plenty to explore in a massive open world setting, brilliant controls, and collecting shards is as addictive as ever.

8. Shadows of the Damned
Packed with horror movie references, obscene and very infantile humour, big boss battles, tons of gore and some of the most ridiculous weaponrey this side of a Serious Sam game - this was a fantastic game to play over the quiet summer months. Also worth a place on the list for the return of legendry composer Akira Yamaoka.

9. Catherine
Totally bizarre game. Who thought pushing blocks around could be so much fun, and so frustrating. Still a testement to the game itself is that I wanted 'just one more go' - everytime I was crushed, blown up, or fell to my death. The game boasts some fantastic animation, a weird as hell story full of quirky characters, multiple endings and difficulties that will change the way you approach the game. It's definatley worth a look, especially if you are a fan of puzzle games and anime.

10. Deus EX - Human Revolution
I had alot of fun with Deus Ex, mainly due to it's setting, upgrade system, soundtrack and stealth rewarding approach. It felt like a Metal Gear Solid set in the future and boss battles aside was very enjoyable. the story was also very well done and kept my interest from beginning to end.
 
Aug 20, 2005
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1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Trackmania 2
3. Portal 2
4. Saints Row The Third
5. Mario Kart 7
6. WWE All Stars
7. Terraria
8. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
9. Bit.Trip Saga
10. Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
x. WWE '12
x. Super Mario 3D Land
2010. StarCraft 2
2010 x. VVVVVV
 

Guagloves

Neo Member
Aug 28, 2009
31
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1. Portal 2
2. Batman Arkham City
3. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
4. Rayman Origins
5. Bastion
6. Stacking
7. DiRT 3
8. The King of Fighters XIII
9. Shadows of the Damned
10. You Don't Know Jack

Special mentions to El Shaddai, The Binding of Issac and Joe Danger SE.
 

mèx

Neo Member
Sep 28, 2010
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1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. Xenoblade
3. Portal 2
4. Super Mario 3DS Land
5. Total War: Shogun 2
6. Gemini Rue

Honorable Mentions:
E.Y.E
inMomentum
Hard Reset

I have bought The Witcher 2 day one and I haven't played it yet, sigh.
 

Inanna

Not pure anymore!
Jan 9, 2008
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1. Dark Souls - How could I not love the spiritual sequel to my personal game of the forever!
2. Uncharted 3 - Not as good as UC2 but I still enjoyed it a lot
3. Portal 2
4. Little Big Planet 2
5. Dead Space 2
6. Assassin's Creed Revelation
7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
 
Nov 23, 2007
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Helsinki, Finland
1. Dark Souls - Best combat all year set in a hauntingly beautiful dark fantasy world with amazing enemy and level design. On my third playthrough now with over a 100 hours played... It's just that good.

2. Portal 2 - Kept me glued to my seat the whole way through. Great puzzles, incredible characters, and the possibly the best ending this generation.

3. Deus Ex: Human revolution
4. Uncharted 3
5. Skyrim
 
Jan 9, 2005
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1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. Battlefield 3
3. Portal 2
4. Super Mario 3DS Land
5. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
6. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
7. Mario Kart 7
8. The King of Fighters XIII
 
Jan 31, 2011
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1. Xenoblade ; It's all been said. Fantastic gameplay design, customization, environments, music, story, etc.
2. Catherine ; Very original game, nice execution by Atlus. Can't wait for Persona 5
3. Dark Souls ; Dark but inviting world. Refined gameplay mechanics. Heart-pumping battles. Etc. etc.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Actually my first Zelda that I've played through and enjoyed so much. Magical world, nice "painted"-style visuals, great music, fantastic gameplay.
5. Tactics Ogre ; The perfect Tactical RPG. MATSUNO is all that needs to be said (and Sakimoto/Yoshida ^^)
6. El Shaddai ; Proves that out-of-this-world visuals and music can make or break a game. Art direction is incredible, gameplay is surprisingly good, story is intriguing. Underrated game of the year.
7. The 3rd Birthday ; Another underrated gem. I guess not many people got as much caught up in the game's universe/atmosphere. An eery, peculiar game that had much to offer in the art department, and had surprisingly good gameplay for PSP shooter.
8. Dissidia 012 Duodecim ; A slight improvement on an already great game!
9. Ico/SotC HD Collection ; That's how you remaster games. Two gems that can see their true beauty revealed in HD.
10. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Nice first effort by Eidos Montreal. Interesting world design, but mostly great gameplay.

2010. NIER ; just because it deserves one more vote
 
Feb 14, 2005
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1. Super Mario 3D Land
2. Mario Kart 7
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
4. Portal 2
5. Xenoblade
6. LittleBigPlanet 2
7. Pilotwings Resort
8. Catherine
9. Steel Diver
10. The Black Eyed Peas Experience
x. Back to the Future: The Game
x. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
x. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
 
May 4, 2005
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www.gaming-universe.de
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Fresh, extremely well designed, lots of new puzzles. Really a fantastic game worth the franchise.
2. Super Mario 3D Land ; This is how you do handheld games. Great game concept, imaginative and fun level design. Imo the best handheld game ever made - considering portability.
3. Sonic Generations ; Sonic is back! After a fantastic Sonic Colours in 2010, Sega pumps out another outstanding platformer in 2011. This game is fast, fun, addicting and has great level designs. Must buy for anyone who likes platformers and speed.
4. Rayman Origins: Ancel just is the best developer in Europe!
5. Mario Kart 7 ; A bit on the unfair side, but plays like a charm.
6. Portal 2 ; Fantastic multiplayer, great singleplayer, outside areas suck, though.
7. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Best RPG I've played in a long time.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; One of the best games of all time in 3D, nice near-launch-game.
9. Kirby Epic Yarn; fresh and fun, albeit a bit on the easy side.
10. Ghost Trick ; really great good-bye-game for the good old DS. Lots of fun!.
 

Stahsky

A passionate embrace, a beautiful memory lingers.
May 6, 2006
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1. Witcher 2

2. Skyrim

3. Dead Space 2

4. Portal 2

5. Deus EX HR

6. Batman AC

7. Bastion

8. Saints Row 3


Edit: Guess I can't add DoTA 2 and Tribes?
 
1) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Beautiful visuals, the familiar and likable cast of characters were in top form, an interesting, globetrotting story, and some genuinely ambitious game design that works.

2) Batman: Arkham City - Rocksteady took everything that made Arkham Asylum awesome, and made it bigger and better. A lot of easter eggs and extras to tickle hardcore Batman fans. Very cool, interesting story, and of course, the combat and gameplay was top notch.

3) Dark Souls - It's like a more polished and refined version of Demon's Souls, but with a cohesive, linked environment. Surprising amount of depth for a game that seems simple on the surface.

4) inFAMOUS 2 - A very improved sequel to an already awesome first installment. Graphics were polished, game play was more varied, as were the powers, and the narrative thread was handled well. The UGC feature works surprisingly well, and is being updated regularly with new tools, and the environment of New Marais is much more lively and unique than the first's Empire City. Getting around the city is as much of a joy as beating up the diverse group of enemies.

5) Deus Ex: Human Revolution - A great return to form for the Deus Ex series. It feels like a Deus Ex game; full of intriguing plotlines, useful augments, and an impressive amount of ways to tackle your various missions. It's not a sandbox game, but it feels lived in and believable.

6) LittleBigPlanet 2 - Take what was great about the first game, and expand it exponentially. Everything has been tweaked and added onto, and it's still fully backwards compatible with the millions of levels from the first game. Still as charming and endearing as the first time around.

7) Portal 2 - Simple game play mechanics/creatively complex game play. A great antagonist, genuinely funny writing, and a great sense of satisfaction when completing the more complex challenges and obstacles.

8) Terraria - Old school visuals, and addicting game play that's like a mix between Minecraft and Castlevania. Exploring worlds alone or with friends is exciting and fun (especially if you are the type of gamer that loves the feeling of finding new areas/paths/exploring in games), and it's just incredibly charming in it's presentation.

9) LA Noire - Screw the haters on this game. It was atmospheric, nailed it's police procedural theme, and had some ambitious game design that, understandably, turned off this explosions, tits, and ass focused generation. It's a shame that there probably won't be any more attempts to perfect game design like this, as LA Noire was a great springboard to build off of (like Heavy Rain).

10) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - I grudgingly put this title on the list, because I'm of two minds about it: On the one hand, the improvements from Oblivion are great (I didn't like Oblivion at all, and I tried really hard to, since it was my cup of tea). The visual presentation is impressive, and the overall game play is much more rewarding and exciting, not to mention the storyline seems less generic "Fantasy 101." Now, on the other hand, the game is a buggy mess, and that sort of thing, in this day and age, should not be excused.

Bethesda has been making Elder Scrolls games for over 10 years now. Their team should have this down to a science. There are other open world RPGs that are just as complex and not even half as buggy as Skyrim. Then there's the notion that, because it's Bethesda, they get a free pass from serious criticism, while Obsidian can make a better Fallout game (New Vegas is better than Fallout 3 in every way), and get taken to task for the bugs and glitches, when New Vegas is actually a less buggy, and better performing game.

But I digress, as this isn't about Fallout. Skyrim is a genuinely fun and immersive game; when it's working. And it's certainly worthy of some praise, and maybe even a GOTY nod, but my acceptance of Bethesda's broken game engine and sloppy polishing has run out. I will certainly give credit where credit is due, however, and they at least improved on the TES formula significantly in Skyrim, and I'm truly enjoying the game.

Another mention of a game I'll be getting soon: Resistance 3. I loved the first 2 (yeah, R2 was a lot of fun), and I hear 3 is excellent. I'm sure it would have ended up on my list had I been able to swing my budget it's way this year, and Gamefly didn't suck.
 
Mar 20, 2006
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1. Portal 2 - Really enjoyed this game, the puzzles were great and co op was a joy. I hope Valve releases Portal 1 on PSN for like 10 bucks, I would buy it.
2. Uncharted 3 - Great game that gets shit for not being as good as Uncharted 2.
3. LA Noire - Just sold the vanilla version for ~35 bucks and bought the complete version at Best Buy for 20 bucks. Haters be damned. Great game. Do a Chicago or NY Noire next R*.
4. Batman Arkham City - Best Batman game ever, hope they keep the quality for future releases and actually hope Rocksteady does other games from DC property. Don't know what other superhero would work good with it though. It would be really hard to do a Superman game.
5. FIFA 12 - best sports game I played in a while.
6. Killzone 3 - Not as good as 2, but enjoyable
7. Dead Space Extraction - Didn't get to finish it but it was actually a fun PS Move game, which is rare.
8. Dead Space 2 - Way weaker compared to DS1, wouldn't be on this list had I played other games that released in 2012. My personal gaming disappointment of 2011. I won't buy Dead Space 3 unless there's great word of mouth

Did not play but will mention because I want to play them based on personal hype. Listed from most wanted to least wanted

- Dark Souls
- Little Big Planet 2
- Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
- Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
- Infamous 2
- Modern Warfare 3
- Battlefield 3

On top of that I still need to play some older games that I bought (RDR GOTY, ACB, etc).

EDIT:

I don't think HD collections count, unless I'm misreading the OP, if so then my list changes.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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UK
Really disappointing year. I don't know if it's because my love for games waned this year or the titles were genuinely disappointing... or both.

Xenoblade - Really the only deserving title of any of the games I played this year. I wasn't expecting to like it much, but after a slow start, I did exactly that. Who knew the Wii could pull off such environments. The game was huge. Graphically excellent and fun battle system.

Mass Effect 2 - I didn't play the original, so I got this for the PS3 this year. Really enjoyed it. Some strong characters and nice graphics. Looking forward to the next one.

Mega Mall Story - Extremely addictive. It's pretty darn easy but it's heaps of fun. I love these Kairosoft games. Great charm and fun gameplay.

Plants vs Zombies - I got the PS3 version after passing up all the other versions, but have to say got really into this and it was lots of fun. Some nice extra modes to keep you busy. There needs to be a sequel already.

Tales of Vesperia - I finally picked this up... or downloaded it off the 360 coming straight off the high that was Xenoblade. Pretty good RPG with nice graphics and decent battle system. Looking forward to Graces f.

Batman: Arkham City - After the surprise hit that was Arkham Asylum, this was unfortunately never going to be up there. I preferred the more closed in-ness of the original or at least the structure of AC didn't feel right. Way too many Riddles meant it felt overwhelming at times.

Eufloria - This was such a sucker of time. Highly addictive, simple yet quite in-depth strategy. It takes a bit to get in to and understand, but once you've in, it doesn't let go.

Uncharted 3 - This was surprisingly disappointing. I had a media block on the game and expected it to be really good. But it was simply more of the same and I think I may be bored of that now. Melee combat wasn't quite right and had initial aiming issues. The graphics a little too good at times, hurts the eyes. Stunning looking game but gameplay a little tiresome.

Killzone 3 - I rather enjoyed the campaign mode for this. Excellent graphics and a fun multiplayer, kept me entertained.

ICO/SotC - To round off an overall poor top 10. Fun to replay these again. STill stand up rather nicely today. ICO looked and played great in 3D which gave it that extra dimension this time around.

Ack too many disappointments that maybe should have made the list but didn't... Dark Souls, LBP2, Child of Eden, Yakuza 4, Test Drive Unlimited 2, LA Noire, Resistance 3...

2 games I didn't pick up that may have made the list: Skyward Sword and inFamous 2.
 
Aug 5, 2006
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01) Dark Souls
02) Shadows of the Damned
03) Catherine
04) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
05) Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
06) Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition
07) Portal 2
08) Ghost Trick
09) Resident Evil 4 HD Edition
10) No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
 
May 1, 2010
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1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Saints Row The Third
3. L.A. Noire
4. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
5. Portal 2
6. Xenoblade Chronicles
7. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
8. Dark Souls
9. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
 

Brazil

Living in the shadow of Amaz
May 27, 2009
26,841
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São Paulo, Brasil
uol.com.br
Incredible year. I absolutely adore all 10 games I'll list here.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Just... Wow. I was smiling during my entire playthrough.
2. Portal 2 - What an amazing ride. Great gameplay and dialogue, and probably the best final 15 minutes in any game ever.
3. Pokémon Black & White - The best mainline RPG to date. It has awesome battle graphics - really: they're all I could ask for -, a surprising plot, a fun region to explore. The use of an entirely new line-up of Pokémons along the main quest is the best idea the developers could ever have.
4. Xenoblade Chronicles - There is still hope for console JRPGs.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - I wasn't expecting much after playing Oblivion, but it really caught me off-guard. This game really is what everyone's saying it is. An amazing journey.
6. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - This game didn't cause the same impression Uncharted 2 did on me, but it's still awesome. Actually: it's better than Uncharted 2. The setpieces are simply amazing, and the shooting and platforming are really fun.
7. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective - I can't get enough of Shu Takumi.
8. Yakuza 4 - The Yazuka formula in its best state yet.
9. Batman: Arkham City - Awesome ride. Great ending. Can't wait to hear more from Rocksteady.
10. Kirby Mass Attack - My favorite 2011 platformer. Creative and fun.
 
Apr 22, 2009
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1. portal 2
2. the legend of zelda: skyward sword
3. mario kart 7
4. the legend of zelda: ocarina of time 3d
5. the legend of zelda: four swords anniversary edition
6. 3d classics: excitebike
7. fifa 12
 
Mar 21, 2010
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Austin, TX

1) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Pretty much the ultimate embodiment of the modern video game.

2) Mortal Kombat - The game us fans have been waiting for since MKII.

3) Batman: Arkham City - Nothing pleases my inner child more than soaring onto a rooftop with my grapple gun.

4) L.A. Noire - Future classic. Its obvious flaws are outweighed by absolutely brilliant moments throughout.

5) Rayman Origins - Probably the new standard for platform games in the 2000s. Sorry Mario.

6) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The product of sheer, pure child-like ambition.

7) Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Even as a jaded Zelda fan, I found much more joy in this game than I thought I would.

8) Marvel vs Capcom 3 - Riskiest purchase of 2011, but one of the best.

9) Super Mario 3D Land - The polish of New Super Mario Bros. combined with the charisma and personality of Super Mario 64.

10) Sonic Generations - A major footnote in the story of Sonic's comeback.

 

Creamium

shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup
Mar 10, 2005
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1. Bulletstorm ; Just as I was starting to get tired of fps games, Bulletstorm comes along and revitalizes the genre. The numerous ways of killing your foes and the skillshot-system that rewards your creativity, are some of this game's biggest strengths, but the weapons themselves are also a lot of fun to use. The story and tone are completely over the top, fitting the game perfectly. The colourful and often lush environments top it off. Bulletstorm succeeds at everything it tries to do.
After finishing the campaign, the real fun starts with the superb echoes mode. Playing short bursts of the campaign with as much skillshot and weapon variety as possible... Pure bliss. The game was made for this : a 5 min adrenaline burst, in which you keep trying for that 3 star skill shot rating. Multiplayer... doesn't matter.

What seems so hard for many other devs, comes effortlessly for People Can Fly : making a fun, addictive and accessible game. Sometimes all you need is a good pair of boots and a leash.

Honestly, looking back, nothing I've played all year comes even close to Bulletstorm. Nevertheless, here's the rest.

2. Outland ; This mix between Prince of Persia, Ikaruga and a metroidvania is certainly Housemarque's finest effort so far. Great level design, a welcome dose of challenge and the polarity mechanic put to good use. Very nice art style to boot. Outland was another big surprise for me this year.

3. Portal 2 ; Portal 2 makes the original look like an experiment. It improves on every aspect of it and has even better writing, humor and voice acting. Valve prove that they're still the masters of storytelling in games.

4. Jamestown ; dat pixel art, soundtrack and presentation! I don't normally play shmups, but I was relieved to see it's very noob friendly. I even finished it! The design choice of letting you play the first levels on an easier setting, then forcing you to pick a harder difficulty, is great. For shmups noobs like me, it's a great way of getting a good first impression on easy, then gradually you can start playing it 'for real'.

5. Zelda : Skyward Sword ; After the agonizing opening hours, this game finally starts to play like a Zelda, and even one of the finer 3D ones at that! Very enjoyable dungeons, open areas that feel like dungeons and some of the best bosses in the series. Shame about the mindnumbingly tame opening and padding throughout the game.

6. Rayman Origins ; Superb and charming platformer, with gorgeous visuals. It deserves even more praise for having water levels that are actually fun. It's not fit to join the ranks of the god-tier platformers of this gen (Meat Boy & Galaxy 1), but it's a really good one nonetheless.

7. Bastion ; Sometimes all a game needs to get noticed, is charm and atmosphere, which Bastion has in spades. Ofcourse it's fun to play, but what sets Bastion apart is everything else : the soundtrack, the art style and narration.

8. Shadows of the Damned ; Wacky, funny and plays a lot like RE4. Disturbing game at times with some seriously sick bosses. Fantastic soundtrack as well.

9. Dungeons of Dredmor ; I play with permadeath disabled, sue me. Dredmor is pure crack : you want to keep getting stronger, upgrade your abilities and forge new weapons so you can finally beat that monster zoo. Plus, it has a terrific sense of humor.

10. Hard Reset ; lots of weapons, hordes of robots and huge fights with tons of explosions that slow the framerate down to a crawl. Hard Reset is old school fps fun. The weapon upgrade system in combinaton with new game +, make this the ideal game for multiple playthroughs.

x. Blocks that Matter ; The best game nobody played this year. Collect blocks with the Tetrobot and advance using only Tetris 4 block structures. Simple concept, great execution, gets hard as hell after a while.

x. Uncharted 3 ; Enjoyable experience, but it comes nowhere near Uncharted 2 and is a whole the weakest part of the series because of some questionable pacing. Aiming debacle didn't help either.

x. Gears 3 ; The ultimate popcorn game. You have fun with it for a while, enjoy horde and the co op campaign, but overall Gears has lost its appeal a bit.

2010. Halo Reach ; What a perfect farewell letter to Halo from Bungie. Best campaign in the series.

Disappointments : Dead Space 2, Infamous 2 and most of all Arkham City. I expected it to improve upon every single expect of Arkham Asylum, but instead AC turns out to be a completely incoherent mess. Such a major letdown on all fronts.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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1. Batman Arkham City - Wow what a game. It's so much more ambitious than the first game and still just as good. it lived up to the hype which is saying a lot since this was one of the most anticipated games of the year

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - incredible game. Great art and the gameplay is unmatched in the "FPS" genre

3. Madden 2012 - Probably won't be on anyone elses list but i'm not going to leave it off just because it's madden. if you are playing this game single player or random exhibition games it's a piece of shit. but when you get 31 other people and are running an online franchise (while using league manager to have full salary caps/management/offseason) wow it is really a joy to be a part of. EA fixed a lot of the issues with last years game and on the field its the best playing madden of the generation.

4. RAGE - this is what FPS's should be. quick and to the point. the animations are incredible. there are texture resolution issues at times and texture pop in but the game is really fun to play

5. Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - i love mario kart and this is my favorite mario kart in over a decade. looks great with the 3D effect. the new tracks are awesome and the all-time classic tracks here are a great addition

6. Skyrim - I love skyrim. great graphics and just insane on how much stuff is packed in.

7. Driver San Francisco - really cool premise and the car handling is fantastic.

8. Saints Row 3 - lol this game is fucking nuts. could be higher but i just haven't had time to get through it

9. Catherine - i'm not big on puzzle games but this was enjoyable and i liked the story

10. Radiant Historia (DS) - great JRPG. really like the time travel stuff and it had been a while since i played a new JRPG IP
 
May 8, 2011
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Antiterra
1. Witcher 2 ; As someone who couldn't get into the first one at all this surprised me. But everything was just so well done and great, loved every second of it.

2. Saints Row 3 ; Strap it on.

3. To the Moon ; It was cheap and short, but the music and story just blew me away

4. Battlefield 3 ; Best multiplayer fun I have had in a long time, didn't expect the campaign to be that good and well it wasn't, the good multiplayer just far overweights the campaign for me.

5. Anno 2070 ; Always been a sucker for city builders game and this was just great.

6. Uncharted 3 ; More of the same some would say and even though I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Uncharted 2, I still really liked it.

7. Fifa 12 ; There was some bugs that needed to get ironed out and they did that, but even before that it was one of the best football games ever.

8. Batman Arkham City ; Good sequel to a already good game, everything has been improved on.

9. Football Manager 2012 ; A football manager game that actually felt polished at release. That I have put 500 hours into it speaks volumes about how addictive it is.

10. Shadows of the damned ; Great humor, music and gameplay. It's a crazy game and that is why i like it.


Disappointments : Dead Space 2, RAGE, Skyrim and Killzone 3.
 
Aug 21, 2010
177
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Ireland
1. Portal 2- Was a refreshing break from most FPS games this year, and there was ALOT! Really enjoyed the rollercoaster story, gameplay, environments and characters. The closest thing to a perfect game this year!
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution-First time playing a Deus Ex game. Blown away by the setting at first. Nothing is a must in the game, a brilliant sandbox game with each route defining the main character through augmentations. Just lots of fun to play.
3. LA Noire-Ok, so it does get boring towards the end and it's not exactly an open environment, but I can't say that I didn't get sucked in at the start when it seemed new which is more than I can say about most games this year. (I don't condone managers screaming the heads off their employees, btw)
4. BulletStormProbably would have been higher, but I only rented it. Great action FPS, shame I didn't finish it.


x. Uncharted 3-It was a bit too much 'more of the same' with a constricted feel compared to Uncharted 2. I did enjoy it though.
x. Skyrim-Only got it in the steam sale, love the environments..... That's all I've experienced so far
x. Battlefield 3-Multiplayer, shame about the rest of it...

2012 Gaming resolution: Play Less FPSs
 
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