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

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May 4, 2007
There's a little selection bias, since I haven't got to some of the games I wanted to. But that's the problem with every game on earth coming out in Nov/Dec.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles ; Just look at it. The soundtrack is great, the battle system is fun, the world is amazing, and the plot is solid. On the negative side, inventory management is a pain in the butt and most of the sidequests are tedious. But the rest of the game is so good that it's hard to care about minor annoyances. Game design wise it isn't particularly special, but its "concept art brought to life" nature makes that pretty irrelevant. Stunning game.

2. Super Mario 3D Land ; I don't know how it's possible to be this good at making videogames -- the whole "subtly, carefully teach the player to play, then reward him for learning" thing -- but EAD Tokyo is. This thing is easily better than either of the NSMBs. Could've been called "Super Mario 4" without drawing complaints.

3. Portal 2 ; Valve is pretty good, too.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; Frankly, this game should either be higher (because it's fantastic) or lower (because it's a remake), but it settled here because it seemed inappropriate to put it anywhere but right above Skyward Sword.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Is a really good game. I'm not disappointed -- though playing it after Xenoblade has made its scale seem small and quaint by comparison.

6. Radiant Historia ; The Chrono Triggerest RPG of the generation!
Not counting ports of Chrono Trigger.

HM: Nothing! HA HA HA
Oct 5, 2007
Kirkland, WA
Games of the Year 2011

1. Dark Souls - 100% the most hours that I have ever spent on a single player game. It was huge, deep and engrossing and I think the world and combat has spoiled me for all other action RPGs ever. I am selling it off now though, it was just too long and tough to ever want to NG+ I think.

2. Jamestown - Cost me like $10. The music is killer and the art is pixel perfect. The difficulty levels are just perfect for me, as I like a challange without having to go all Cave style. Also rank++ for having the best configuration / setup screen ever for multiplayer on the PC.

3. Super Mario 3D Land - I always enjoy Mario, so I know that I would like this. But I really enjoyed this one in particular. In fact, I like it more than the Galaxy games so far (I’m a little into the special levels). I just feel the smaller levels just sit a bit more right with me. And as wonderful as the Galaxy setting was I actually was rather annoyed from time to time when I couldn’t exactly tell when gravity was kicking in or exactly at what angle I would jump off from a spherical surface. SM3D land didn’t have these issues for me so I rate it a bit higher. First game that really sold me on the 3D effect, it really added quite a bit to the look of the game.

4. Portal 2 - All the little things are just done so right with this game. The graphics, voices, writing. However I can’t lie and say that I enjoyed the gameplay as much as Portal. Too often I felt like I was going thought the motions and the challenge too far to long to arrive. Still a very enjoyable experience and well worth of top 5 position.

5. Street Fighter III: Online Edition - In general I don’t like to place remakes on year end lists. But this one did enough for me to get included, especially as I’ve not played the original. The early issues with matching making hurt it, and speaking personally I would have loved to see a light rebalance (Just tweak Yun and Chun SAs a little) though I know that is not for everyone. I’m a fan of really nice 2D sprite art and animation, so this game just grabbed me, even though I’m not very good at it.

6. Frozen Synapse - This game might actually move up the list as I play more. I love the simultaneous turns and the close squad level focus. However right now I’m still hitting a few too many points where the actions are not happening like I expect (by which I mean at a mechanical level, I’m not saying that I want to win all the time, but I’m still figuring out how the AI works at times). Still very fun and would be top five if I had more time to figure it out.

7. Mario Kart 7 - Another game that like Frozen Synapse could move up the list. I love how it looks and even now I’m enjoying playing through the single player cups. But I’m yet to dig into multiplayer at all. If I enjoy it I could see rating this higher. I love the different feel of all the different era tracks.

8. Streets of Rage Remake - Am I the first person to list this guy? Sould I fear a C&D letter from Sega? In any case it is a beautiful looking remake / mashup of Streets of Rage 2 and 3. It also adds a ton of excellent little extras like Ally CPU mode, Boss Rush Mode, billions of config options, new stages, new sprites. It’s just a 100% labor of love for a fantastic game. A real shame that Sega killed it, even though they probably had to business wise. I secretly hope that they hired up the team to actual release it as a legit product, but I’m pretty sure that is not happening.

9. Child Of Eden - Not finished with this guy either, just not enough time to play all the great games. But I really like what I’ve hit so far. Seems much more cool and soothing both musically and visualwise versus Rez. It’s very much a game that I can see non-gamers (of a specific stripe) really getting behind if they would ever give it a look see.

Didn’t have a 10th game, but I like my list. A nice eclectic mix across platforms and genres. Was a really good year for gaming in my book. Still way to many good games to fill up limited gaming time.


Looking for meaning in GAF
Nov 10, 2004
Hard to choose. It was a really good year.

  1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Amazingly, they made a worthy Deus Ex sequel for the modern era. This game is... God. Damn. Fantastic. Just ignore the boss fights.
  2. Dark Souls - Unforgiving yet rewarding gameplay, incredibly satisfying combat, and a beautifully crafted world. Its only downfalls are several weak levels and a lack of explanation for certain basic game mechanics.
  3. Terraria - Great fun with friends, and the massive content updates make this game excellent value for money. IMO, this is Minecraft (which is great) with better combat and better focus.
  4. Magicka - The element system in this game is absolute genius. The gameplay means you will repeatedly kill yourself and all your friends, but that’s okay because it’s freaking hilarious.
  5. Portal 2 - A worthy successor to Portal, with a fully functioning co-op mode. Awesome.
  6. Zelda: Skyward Sword - An excellent Zelda game that is inexplicably dragged down by padding and questionable design decisions. This game could have easily been in the top 3 if not for those issues.
  7. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Oh, so I have to go here OH HEY A HOUSE/CAVE/CASTLE/CITY! I WONDER WHAT’S INSIDE! Repeat 500 times.
  8. Fate/Extra - While somewhat repetitive in gameplay, this game does a very good job of presenting its characters. They really do grow on you as the game goes on.
  9. Catherine - This game is incredibly weird and nearly impossible to describe, but is very well made and a lot of fun once you get into it.
  10. Bulletstorm - This game is unabashedly ridiculous and as a result, a blast to play. No pun intended.
x. Ghost Trick - Very good execution of a very innovative idea.
x. Jamestown - I was pleasantly surprised at how solid this game is. The game implements a number of very good ideas (such as the menu UI and the local co-op), and the music just blew me away.

2010. Mass Effect 2 - They took a chainsaw to Mass Effect 1 with this game, but most of the changes were for the better. The story and lore certainly suffered, but the game became far more fun to play, and that’s what matters most.


Oct 1, 2008
Don't play that many new retail games these days (usually wait for the precipitous price drops, plus I don't have the time), but I still feel like I played enough good games to make a top 10 for the year. Here goes:

1. Renegade Ops ; Call me crazy but this game is just plain fun. Can't get enough of it, hearkens back to the old school arcade games I played as a kid but with enough modern gameplay sensibilities and fantastic graphics to make it my GOTY.
2. Outland ; Ikaruga meets Metroidvania. Enough said.
3. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective ; Fantastic story, characters, animations, and gameplay. Most refreshing game experience of the year.
4. Dead Space 2 ; While not quite the game I expected (the end fell apart a bit) it was still a highly enjoyable ride.
5. Infamous: Festival of Blood ; Move controls shine in this game, along with the perfect price point for the perfect length game. I don't have time for long games these days, but this game had compelling gameplay, a decent story and fantastic graphics which made for a great experience in a tight package. Haven't even played Infamous 2 yet, but I don't expect it to surpass Festival of Blood just because I doubt the game will be quite as focused.
6. Portal 2; Great start to finish. No extra fluff, just another focused experience that was a lot of fun.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; I feel a little bit weird listing this, just because I haven't played enough yet to necessarily justify it, but what I have played has been tremendous. I broke my hand pretty bad in mid-november and still can't exactly grip the nunchuck controller for more than 15-20 minutes at a time before I get horrible pain, but I have been powering through it as much as possible. If it keeps up the rest of the way I'd probably end up listing it up near the top spot, as it is I'll just leave it here.
8. de Blob 2 ; A worthy sequel that fixed a lot of the problems of the first.
9. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; As disappointing as I thought it was (unreasonably high hopes), it was still a great ride with some very good set pieces.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; Nice to have this on the go. Still one of the most amazing games ever made.

x. Dead Island ; Got it for cheap and felt ripped off. Save game issues and co-op issues really turned me off to the game, despite how much I enjoyed the parts I did play. If I didn't lose hours of the game due to the save glitch it likely would have cracked the top 10. Will play a fixed sequel.
x. Battlefield 3; The first online FPS I have ever really played for any length of time (not really my thing typically)...not very good at it and I hate a lot of things about it, but I still enjoy it quite a bit, especially conquest and rush modes. I like not having the focus be on shooting necessarily since I can't use a dual shock to play a FPS to save my life. Give me Move controls for the next one and I'll be there day 1.

2010. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood ; The first AC game that I have played and I am enjoying it quite a bit. Haven't beat it yet, and I am actually getting quite tired of the repetitive nature of it, but the first 15 or 20 hours or so of it were very original (to me) and very engaging. The controls are dogshit though.


May 12, 2006
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
3. Portal 2

Hmm, I didn't really play much this year. I don't really play games as much anymore, so I just wait for a megaton to drop and go for that (note, Killzone3 made me snooze).

Let me get my 2012 ballot out of the way:

x. Mass Effect 3
x. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
x. The Last Guardian

2010. Mass Effect 2


Mar 27, 2011
East Cleveland, Ohio, USA
My Biggest Piece of Shit of the Year Award - 2011 goes to SOCOM 4. Zipper needs to abandon the series for good, I enjoy/ed Confrontation far more.

Game of the Year 2011 top 5:

  2. L.A. Noire
  3. Catherine
  4. Portal 2

Meanwhile from 2010.....

  1. Red Dead Redemption
  2. Nier
  3. Heavy Rain
  4. God of War III
  5. Fallout: New Vegas
  6. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  7. Civilization V
  8. Mass Effect 2
  9. MLB: The Show 10


sparkle this bitch
Oct 9, 2007
Just gonna make mine now. Its not going to change in 3 days.

1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
;(PC) Proper modernization of a classic. It has ambition and polish which are two qualities seldom seem together.
2. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ;(PC) Though I preferred the first more, the second wasn't a slacker either. An adult universe crafted where characters are actually characters and choices mean making a choice. Taking both the good and the bad from that choice with no please all option.
3. Bulletstorm ;(PC) Its the late comer to the list. Most shooters attempt to make survival the top priority. This hankers in the old school score attack method, where you try to craft more impressive kills each time to increase the score.
4. Outland ;(XBLA) This is the Super Metroid or Castlevania cried for all generation. Secrets to find, map to explore, enemy patterns to figure out. All on top of a very slick controlling character.
5. Orcs Must Die ;(PC) Everything done takes place in the 3rd person view of the character. You can build traps, upgrade your characters abilities, or do both. Normally the best routes include a combination of both. The player can be efficient either way. OMD also blends its cartoonish style into its traps and abilities, they suit each other perfectly. As Orcs charge you saying "Not me!". You can freeze them in place or spring them into lava.

2010. Vanquish ; Its similar to what Bulletstorm does with taking old shooting mechanics such as the score attack, and blending them into modern TPS design. Except it is far more heavily influenced by the action genre and balls hard. Watching an experienced player is similar to watching an experienced Fighter or DMC player. You don't even know how its humanly possible they do it, but they are fucking doing it.


Oct 27, 2007
Songdo, South Korea
My Top 10 for 2012:

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; It's a new Elder Scrolls! I loved Morrowind and I loved Oblivion, so this was always going to be a mindblowing experience for me. It definitely delivered!
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; After reading mix impressions on the web, I have to say that this game far exceeded my expectations. The controls are perfect and the way in which Nintendo utilised and reutilised each environment without it feeling like a chore is genius.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles ; I can't say it better than a previous post; this game really is concept art come to life.
4. Pokémon Black/White ; Only thing missing from this, yet another quality Pokémon RPG, are the auto-levelled lv.100 6v6 online battles.
5. Super Mario 3D Land ; Brilliant amalgamation of 2D and 3D Mario design. Another gem that has far exceeded my expectations!
6. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective ; Gorgeous & hilarious. Definitely one of my favourite DS games!
7. Mario Kart 7 ; As much as I miss snaking, this game is every bit a fantastic and Mario Kart DS was. Online play is excellent.
8. Outland ; I actually found this game incredibly difficult. Much moreso than I think most did; regardless, it is a tight, addictive, rewarding game.
9. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ; Aaah, Capcom, it was not long ago I looked back on a year of games purchased and commented to myself, "wow, Capcom is awesome!". I had picked up a range of games, for a range of consoles and was having a blast. Now, look where you are. Yes, MvC3 is awesome and I had a great time with it, but fuck you Capcom for releasing UMvC via retail less than a year later. Fuck. You.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; A worthwhile and memorable remaster of the classic game that is oh so beautiful in 3D!

2010. Alan Wake ; Sorry Vanquish, but Wake gets my vote. Despite the weak combat (much of which was easily avoidable, bar some rocking set pieces) the game stood out to me because of it's fabulous setting, characters and general atmosphere. I'm a little worried about the sequel, though, as it sounds like it has (1) lots of combat and (2) a range of throwaway, continually changing locales rather than the single fleshed-out town. We'll see!

I'm new to being involved in the reading of and voting for GAF GOTY awards, but it seems to me that a huge amount of what I'd consider a sizeable sample of hardcore gamers haven't even played 10 games they'd consider to be in their Top 10. Now, I'm not sure if this happens every year, but for me personally this year more than most have I been completely overwhelmed by not only my vast back catalogue from last year, but the new releases this year. Are there too many worthwhile games being released? Is the end of year rush too crowded? Did everyone simply spend too many hours on Dark Souls/Skyrim to play anything else from the rush?

I've listed my Top 10, any many games did not make the cut, but here are some games that just might've been included in that list had I actually played them: Portal 2, Arkham City, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Dark Souls, Deus Ex: HR, Dragon Age II, Bastion, To The Moon, Sonic Generations, Yakuza 4, Child of Eden, From Dust, Rayman Origins, Solatorobo, Kirby Mass Attack, Layton 3 + London Life <3, Shogun: Total War, Dead Space 2, Minecraft 1.0, L.A. Noire, Shadows of the Damned & Catherine (which will be a part of my 2012 voting, as I'm a PAL gamer). There's just too much!


Sep 4, 2007
1. Saints Row the Third
2. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
3. inFAMOUS 2
4. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
5. Batman: Arkham City
6. Portal 2
7. Shadows of the Damned
8. Dead Space 2
9. Dead Island
10. F.E.A.R. 3


Jan 22, 2010
Bologna, Italy
1. Xenoblade Chronicles
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

4. Bastion
5. Portal 2
6. Cave Story 3D
7. Batman: Arkham City
8. Patapon 3
9. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
10. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Too bad I don't own a PS3 or an X360, i'll catch up with the next batch of consoles


Jun 8, 2004
1. Xenoblade Chronicles
2. Dark Souls
3. Portal 2
4. Trackmania Canyon
5. Outland
6. Rayman Origins
7. Zelda Skyward Sword


Oct 22, 2007
1. Portal 2 ; This game had everything that I want from a game when I buy them nowadays. The single player is incredibly well paced, voice acted, and has some great moments that make me want to play the game over and over (Cave Johnson, "This is the part where he kills you", Space Sphere....I could go on). On top of all this, the multiplayer is absolutely AMAZING. I loved when my friend and I would go into a new puzzle room and then start actually talking out how the hell to solve a puzzle. The "AH HA!" moment when one person figures it out is so freaking awesome.
2. Dark Souls ; Dark Souls is a modern day 3rd person Metroid (NES). This game absorbed my life for a solid month as I got completely lost in it. I started the game going the wrong way twice (Graveyard first, New Londo Ruins second) and had to actually learn from my mistakes. Instead of just my character growing in levels and doing higher damage I actually got better and could eventually handle enemies that were crushing me at first. As I explored, stumbled, and cautiously walked through the world I had conflicting feelings of wonder, terror, hopelessness, power, anger, joy, repulsion and affection. I can go through each of those feelings and many more and describe the exact moments in the game when I felt them, what caused it, and just how great it was. I really wanted this to be my GOTY but the end of the game really drags it down (I'm looking at you Crystal Caves, Lost Ilzith, and Tomb of Giants).
3. Bastion ;
4. Dead Space 2 ;
5. Orcs Must Die! ; Easily the most surprising game I played all year. I got it off Steam on Sale and within 2 minutes was convinced I was going to hate it completely based on the main character. Then I realized the game 1) didn't take itself seriously and 2) was a lot of fun to play. Strangely enough, It made me want to play Evil Genius again.
6. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; Uncharted 3 really is a wonderful game, it just didn't WOW me as much this time as UC2 did. I really enjoyed the story, all the characters, and the ride it took me on but there were just to many weird things with the way it all unfolded for me to put it higher. So many unexplained things!
7. Mass Effect 2 ; Thank you, PS3, for keeping me on the Mass Effect band wagon. After getting ME 1 PC for Christmas 2009 and blowing through it, I went straight into ME2 and didn't mind at all that it became more of a shooter then an RPG. I've got my fingers crossed that ME3 is as much fun as ME2 was!
8. Terraria ; The Co-op is what makes this game fun at all to me. This is another game I played through with a friend and we had a great time. I've never quite enjoyed digging straight down so much in any game.
9. Star Wars: The Old Republic ; To be fair, I just got this for christmas recently....but I'm completely addicted. I don't really know what it is that's doing it for me, but an MMO hasn't had it's hooks in me like this since WoW. Perhaps I was just sick of Fantasy and needed Sci-Fi. Or perhaps I'm still just in awe of the fact that I can be a healing class that has stealth, vanish, stuns, and uses energy instead of mana. Smuggler healing (Scoundrel) is just so much damn fun!

Games I'm ashamed I haven't played yet (in no order):
X. Rayman Origins
x. Batman Arkham City
x. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
x. Skyrim
x. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
x. The Witcher 2
x. Saints Row: The Third
x. inFamous 2
x. El Shaddai
x. Rage
x. Crysis 2

Needless to say, I can't wait for some after-holiday games sales!

2010. Metro 2033 ; I bought this game on the Steam Sale just because I was bored and needed something to play. The atmosphere is absolutely top notch, even if it's just another "Post Apocalypse" game. The best moments I have are when I'm on the surface exploring and worrying not only about enemies but also how many filters I have / my gas mask getting cracked from fighting. There was a moment when I was out of filters and choking to death, running as fast as I could through the wasteland hoping to find anything to save me and I stumbled upon a dead man with 10 filters. Moments like that make me fall in love with a game.


May 14, 2011
1. Shogun 2 ; I typically hate RTS, but this doesn't hold true for the Total War series for the most part because it's a more realistic battle simulator, resource collection isn't done directly behind your standing army if you get my drift;). Either way Shogun 2 set the new bar for the entire RTS genre as far as I am concerned.
2. Gemini Rue ; Wow, winner of my soundtrack of the year, this game would have won my GOTY had I not found the ending somewhat disappointing. The best point and click in years. The game is simply amazing, the only flaws I came across were some minor control issues and the aforementioned ending. Otherwise I loved the art direction, the writing and the music.
3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; My favorite Deus Ex title, not sure why people weren't stoked about this game from day one. That debut trailer was amazing and the game lived up to it.
4. Frozen Synapse ; I freaking loved this game, the OST was in the running for my soundtrack of the year but it lost out to Gemini Rue, outside of that I love playing this title with friends and the option to basically message turns back and forth makes it a much easier time commitment.
5. SpaceChem ; Super original puzzle game where solutions are free form and challenging, the game, if you want to play it well can be a really cool brain buster. Love it.
6. Skyrim ; I really didn't enjoy Oblivion or Morrowind, but this game fixes the broken combat those two had even though it may lack depth, I also find the world more engaging than either of those titles. Overall a beautiful game.
7. Jamestown ; Loved the co-op, the fantastic and unique setting, the OST and the sprite work. The luge made me wanna die though. Excited to see what's coming from Final Form in the future.
8. Cave Story + (PC); Would have been number one on this list if I had decided to count it as a genuine 2011 release, instead I've decided to consider it a re-release so it only gets one point. Number 8 on my top ten games of all time though ;).
9. Sonic Generations ; Nice to see the blue blur back on track, in a B quality game.
10. Renegade Ops ; Fun arcade-style top down shooter, love the inclusion of Gordon Freeman but also would have liked a Sega character as an option.

2010. Super Mario Galaxy 2 ; Hands down the best 3D platformer this generation, and my personal favorite since Sly 2.

Games I haven't played
Skyward Sword
Super Mario 3DLand
The Witcher 2
Portal 2


Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
1. Portal 2 ; Valve games are treats. Treats that remind me why I bother to invest time and money into this medium in the first place. Exceptionally paced, polished and brimming with creativity, Portal 2 is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with a building full of passionate gamers making games. As cliche as it sounds, it's clear a lot of love went into Portal 2, as evident in every spoken word, every environmental surprise, and every puzzle. Gaming brilliance worth every cent.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; The game that should have been much worse than it once. If I were a gambling man I would have bet on failure. Instead I got the most faithful and legitimately deep first person hub based role playing game since Vampire: Bloodlines, with an attuned understanding of what made the original Deus Ex so great. Is it perfect? No, there's room to improve, but it's the Deus Ex game we should have got instead of Invisible War all those years ago, and as they say, it's better late than not at all.

3. Shadows of the Damned ; Kind of like Resident Evil 4 only not, this linear, action heavy third person shooter hit all the right notes for me. An incredible soundtrack, varied environments, memorable characters and cool boss fights were the trimmings on a speedy pace and brutal, if simple, combat. Shooting stuff simply felt damn good, and the game did an excellent job of blending in environment puzzles and other gimmicks to keep the level design fresh. Grasshopper's most polished game.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles ; A purist JRPG that called upon it's roots for foundations, then updated the formula to modern conventions. It might not have revolutionised the genre, but it did more than enough to update an archaic formula with more accessible, streamlined and player focused features. It feels like a Super Nintendo era-JRPG revived for a modern world, and reinvigorated my interest in a genre I had long since abandoned. Also featured one of the most creative and breathtakingly beautiful game worlds of the year.

5. Rayman Origins ; The new poster child for how good native 1080p 60fps graphics can look. Gorgeous hand drawn art and lively animations make the game look like a playable cartoon. As a platformer, the back-to-basics design allowed Michel Ancel to prove he's still got it, as each level introduces its own gimmicks and tricks from start to finish. Tight controls and exceptional co-op make it the best 2D platforming game of the year, and one of the best of the generation.

6. Serious Sam: BFE ; A run-and-gun shooter? In this day and age? No joke, Serious Sam: BFE is the breath of fresh air the genre needed. Calling upon the brutal high speed twitch shooting that popularised old school shooting, Sam reminds us what the genre is all about. Encounter design and ammo/equipment placement is absolutely spot on, and seems perfectly balanced to keep you on the edge of your seat and pushing your skills to the limits, yet never cheaply overwhelming with unbalanced difficulty spikes. Great engine that looks beautiful in motion, too.

7. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ; It's almost frightening how believable the world of The Witcher. The RED engine coupled with CD Projekt's artists make for one of the most technologically and artistically beautiful video games ever produced. Believable characters and a scary attention to detail cap off a near perfect fantasy world. A focus on player driven combat and skills is a welcome change over the original game's dice rolls, and quest arcs keep the adventure thrilling and engaging for the entire experience. Some control issues and a weak third act prevent this from climbing higher up the list, but there's no doubt The Witcher 2 is one of the best RPGs released this generation, and a perfect example of what can be accomplished with cutting edge PC hardware.

8. Batman: Arkham City ; At some point in time Rocksteady decided they weren't going to make Metroidvania Batman and instead open world Batman, and the result is wonderful. A few fetch quest padding issues prevent the game from hitting perfection, but as a freely explorable world where the only rules are the ones you enforce, Arkham City is the most enjoyable sandbox game I've ever played. Able to tackle any encounter exactly how you want to, with a belt full of tools, creates the most authentic Batman experience ever. You're the goddamn Batman, and that's goddamn awesome. Technical problems on PC are a shame, but maxed out with DX11 and PhysX cranked to full, Arkham City is damn gorgeous.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Combining the best and worst of Nintendo, Skyward Sword does enough to invigorate the Zelda franchise with fresh ideas and cool twists on an old formula to warrant a memorable experience. At it's best, the game was a brilliantly creative motion control dream, with excellent boss fights, creative dungeons, surprise twists to environments, and memorable set pieces. At its worst it was a hand holding fetch quest chore. Had Nintendo axed Fi and scrapped the filler this would have been higher on the list, but as it is it's one of the most memorable games I've played this year, and a promising hint at whats in store for the series' future.

10. Super Mario 3D Land ; For content and quality, and bang for your buck, SM3DL is one of the best portable games Nintendo has produced. Recycled assets from the Galaxy series was a non-issue for me, as the game continuously introduced new ideas for each level, and replicated the best parts of the console iterations to great effect in a portable space. Excellent use of 3D and gorgeous graphics, SM3DL's production values are surprisingly high, particularly in terms of just how much content the game is packing. Overall far too easy, but I'd be a filthy liar if I said I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. Couldn't put it down once I picked it up until I was done.

x. Bulletstorm ; Dick tits and explosions. Like Serious Sam: BFE, Bulletstorm was the refreshing change from stop-and-pop nonsense that has dominated the genre for too many years. Adrenaline filled action, hillariously crude dialogue and huge set pieces kept the game interesting, meanwhile the skill shot system was a great twist on standard shooting. Linear as hell, but an awesome action adventure and the best deliberately 'dudebro' game of the year.

x. Mario Kart 7 ; Ghosts will make this game playable forever. Awesome, awesome game, but clearly targetted at a multiplayer audiance. The lack of deep single player options soured the experience a bit for me, and the AI just isn't much fun to race. Multiplayer king though. Communities own.


Dec 22, 2008
Longwood, FL
Eh, I didn't play many new games in 2011. So, I'll just do a Top 5 for the year:

1. Gears of War 3

One of the most complete shooters in gaming. 4-player campaign co-op. Improved Horde mode. Beast Mode. Dedicated servers for MP. And Gears 3 easily one of the best-looking games on consoles today (on par with anything on PS3).

2. Zelda: Skyward Sword

A biased pick, but SS really is the realization of the Wii's potential. Starts off slow, but the game picks up the pace and keeps going. Loved how WiiMotion+ is required. Makes combat so much better.

3. Dead Space 2

Still the scariest series I've ever played. Gory as hell, too.

4. Super Mario 3D Land

Another quality game from Nintendo. Great use of 3D as well. I had much fun playing this while on my Christmas vacation in NY

5. NCAA Football 12

Best football game I've ever played. Fluid gameplay, and good presentation. I'll probably stick with this version unless NCAA13 is something special.

Disappointment of 2011: Batman AC. The game just didn't "wow" me like I expected. Good game, just not GotY-material for me.

Playing through Uncharted 3 now, so I didn't list it. Same goes for Bastion. SMG2 is still waiting to be played.


Jan 15, 2008
1. Portal 2; It took the Portal puzzle solving that I loved and added the best written story of the year. In a year that included several extremely funny games this was the funniest.

2. Dark Souls; At one point I tried to kill a boss 30 times in a row and got beaten to death in less than a minute each time. When I finally managed to kill it the feeling of triumph was incredible. Later in the game you see the same boss as a normal enemy. Burning them to death in two shots with my now significantly more powerful fire magic was an equally great feeling. This game creates feelings like this all the time. I still need to go back and finish it.

3. Saint's Row: The Third;

4. You Don't Know Jack; Each question has an animation before it. Sometimes those animations will have an alternate. Question 4 has four number 4s dancing in a line. Then in an alternate version of them gets shot. What follows in the next 5-6 episodes question 4 animations is a dramatic series of events as the other 4s deal with the tragedy, investigate the murder, and eventually find a replacement. IT IS AMAZING.

5. Dead Space 2; Needle in your eye! Needle in your eye!

6. Mario 3D Land;

7. Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012; It didn't actually do anything particularly impressive compared to the previous one, but I played a lot more of it than a lot of other games.

8. Bastion

9. Radiant Historia

10. Rayman Origins

2010. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty ; I played this the most out of anything this year. If you combine the time I spent playing Starcraft with the hours I spent watching pros play Starcraft it probably took up more of my time in 2011 than everything except sleep and work. Also, I love SC2-GAF.


May 20, 2009
1. Batman: Arkham City ;
2. Assassin's Creed: Revelations ; It's not hard to avoid the annoying Den Defense and Desmond sequences, and the rest of the game is extremely satisfying, including the multiplayer.
3. Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together ;
4. Portal 2 ;
5. Shadows of the Damned ; Johnson > Wheatley, and I loved Wheatley.
6. Driver San Francisco ; Would be higher if I had played more of it.
7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ;
8. Dead Space 2 ;
9. Torchlight (360) ;
10. Galaga Legions DX ;

2010: Vanquish
; Best third-person shooter of the generation.


Jun 9, 2010
Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
3. Portal 2
4. Battlefield 3
5. Bastion
6. Star Wars: The Old Republic
7. Assassin's Creed: Revelations
8. Rayman: Origins
9. Dead Space 2
10. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

I'll try to do write-ups later.


Jan 9, 2008
Just gazing over the thread, looks like Vanquish will be 2011's 2010's GotY, which would be wonderful. I almost wish I didn't play it in 2010 so I could vote for it now.


Dec 6, 2008
Preface: I didn&#8217;t play a lot of games this year. Bought a ton, yes, but not played (have GT5 to thank for a major portion of that). Major ones that I own and intend to play, but haven&#8217;t quite gotten around to yet: Alice: Madness Returns, Batman: Arkham City, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Xenoblade Chronicles. I also fully intend on buying and playing Saints Row The 3rd, Skyrim (despite hating Oblivion and Bethesda RPGs in general), and Super Mario 3D Land, and I would expect at least 1 (Mario) of those to have made this list had I gotten around to playing them.

And the list:

1. Portal 2 ; It may not be the most brilliant and perfectly paced game of the generation like the first Portal was, but it builds wonderfully upon it in both gameplay and narrative. Smartly written and featuring some truly fantastic new characters, and absolutely packed with wonderful and memorable moments. It even had the best Nolan North voice performance in a year that also saw the release of an Uncharted game! The co-op mode is fantastic too, and even features a fun narrative that ties into the single player. The only bad thing I can say for Portal 2 is that it doesn&#8217;t have the eye-opening originality that the first game had, but in that regard it never had a chance. And so, there&#8217;s no doubt that Portal 2 is the best game I&#8217;ve played in 2011

2. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ; Being that its predecessor is one of my favorite western RPGs ever, had very high expectations for the sequel, and it most certainly delivered. The game was a visual marvel (certainly the best looking game I played this year, and possibly the most technically accomplished graphics of any I&#8217;ve seen yet), and the gameplay, despite very uneven difficulty, was fun and satisfying. But most of all, it was the characters and story branching that made the game. Geralt and Triss make their triumphant returns, and Roche is simply awesome (Iorveth is decent too). The completely different way Act II (and to a lesser extent Act III) plays out is fantastic, especially coming on the heels of a game released just months prior where player choice is touted yet amounted to absolutely nothing. The only real problems I can say the game had was that the initial version had a brutal learning curve, and that Act III could have been paced a bit better. Oh, and maybe a little less repetitive voiceovers on the minigames - I really could do w/o ever hearing &#8220;wait &#8216;till he drops his fucking guard&#8221; again.

3. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; As with the previous 2 games on this list, this is yet another sequel to one of the best games ever made. Little needs to be said for the bar of excellence that Uncharted 2 set, and interestingly enough, that ends up being the main thing that works against Uncharted 3. Whereas UC2 completely blew me away with the level of excellence it redefined, UC3 merely matches it. There just aren&#8217;t anything that matches the thrill of the running-from-the-truck-towards-the-camera or jumping-from-truck-to-truck-on-a-convoy-chase scenes from UC2, even though UC3 features ones which are very similar (and in the case of the convoy scene, arguably better). But with all that said, it&#8217;s still among the best looking console games in existence, it still features wonderfully animated and voiced characters, and it still has its share of &#8220;holy shit did that just happen&#8221; moments, and for all those reasons, it&#8217;s still one of the best games I&#8217;ve played this year.

4. Child of Eden ; I own this for both X360 and PS3 (though even combined it was less than $60). I almost even bought a Kinect just for this one game, and it&#8217;s one of the major reasons I really want to get a 3DTV and PS Move too. It will come as little surprise, with this game being on the list, that I loved Rez. And like many others, I&#8217;ve yearned for another. Well, this is it. Yeah, it&#8217;s very short; and yeah, the level progression system that pretty much requires at least one replay of most levels to unlock the next is hardly ideal. But the visuals, the enemies, and the music are fantastic, and space whale turned phoenix was one of the best moments of gaming in 2011. And really, it&#8217;s (basically) more Rez. That&#8217;s enough for me.

5. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together ; Final Fantasy Tactics will almost certainly remain my favorte grid/hex-based strategy/tactical RPG, but even I will admit the Tactics Ogre is probably the superior game. I will admit that I&#8217;ve not played nearly enough of the PSP incarnation (because I&#8217;m absolutely terrible at putting in the time to play handheld games), but what I have experience has left me no doubt that it&#8217;s a fantastic update, and the definitive version of the game.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D ; It&#8217;s a well crafted remake of the most critically acclaimed console game of all time, what do I really need to say? Like Tactics Ogre, I haven&#8217;t played through the updated version, but I have played enough to know that they did a wonderful job of remaking it. Even if the new Ocarina playing buttons are asinine.

7. Star Wars: The Old Republic ; Yeah, OK, it&#8217;s probably not too fair or proper to judge a MMO on the first 2 or 3 weeks of its life, but I found myself enjoying the game a lot more than I expected, even though in a lot of way it very much is WoW&#8217;s game mechanics stuffed into the Star Wars universe. And really, I&#8217;ve already put more time into this than pretty much every other game on this list, so it belongs as far as I&#8217;m concerned.

8. BlazBlue:Continuum Shift II ; This is where the list starts to turn from &#8220;best games of 2011&#8221; to &#8220;games that I played in 2011&#8221;. I loved Calamity Trigger - it may have been overshadowed by Street Fighter IV (maybe rightfully, as that game revived the genre), but I always felt it was actually the better game. And CS/CSII builds upon it, so it&#8217;s still a great fighting game. But really, I just have not played enough of it to truly pass judgement.

9. Nintendogs + Cats ; I have a plump golden retriever puppy. He&#8217;s very cute and likes to roll over on his back. We&#8217;ll see if I stay with this longer than the original Nintendogs on DS, but so far it&#8217;s going well. And I still need to unlock the Welsh Corgi.

10. Pilotwings Resort ; Really scraping the bottom of the barrel here for games that I&#8217;ve played. I didn&#8217;t get a 3DS until early December, and didn&#8217;t get this game until it was on sale at Best Buy for $5, but I did get to put a little time into it over holiday vacation, and it&#8217;s a pretty fun little game. And besides, if I didn&#8217;t put this here, then I&#8217;d probably have to put Dragon Age II, and I&#8217;ll be damned if I&#8217;m going to put the most disappointing game of this entire generation on a top 10 games of the year list.

2010. Vanquish ; The storyline is preposterous, and the voice acting is mediocre at best. But man, the shooting mechanics are impeccable - probably the best of any 3rd person shooter I&#8217;ve played.


Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
Jul 1, 2009
1. Dead Space 2
2. Arkham City
3. Portal 2
4. Skyward Sword
5. Jamestown
6. Battlefield 3
7. Orcs Must die
8. Bulletstorm
9. Deus Ex Human Revolution
10. Spacechem

(11) Saints Row 3
(12) The Witcher 2


Oct 28, 2010
1. Sonic Generations (360) - My Favorite Game franchise of all time made me fall in Love again. Amazing.
2. Batman: Arkham City (PS3) - Asylum was amazing, but this game made me feel like I was Batman. Stunning Stuff.
3. Yakuza 4 (PS3) - I loved 3, but something felt off. 4 is the gameplay highlight of the series for me.
4. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (360) - Bought MVC3 vanilla and Ultimate both day 1. Don't regret a thing. Pure fun.
5. Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii) - Most multiplayer fun i've had at Christmas in years!
6. King of Fighters 13 (PS3) - Finally a KOF to play that's as good as Unlimited Match!
7. Mortal Kombat (360) - MK Redeemed.
8. Uncharted 3 (PS3) - Awesome, but didn't connect with me like the games above.
9. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (360) - Does this count? I loved it regardless.
10. Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax (360) - Random boredom download turns into month long obsession, vastly overlooked gem.


Nov 14, 2009
1. Rayman Origins
2. Dark Souls
3. Alice Madness Returns
4. Batman Arkham City
5. Shadows of the Damned
6. Bulletstorm

Best game from 2010 I only played in 2011 but that otherwise be on top of my list : Vanquish

2011 games I havent played yet (but will) :
- Uncharted 3
- Saints Row the Third


Neo Member
May 12, 2011
1. Dark Souls. I have played a bunch of 2010 games this year, and a few 2011 games as well. None of them were as refreshing or engrossing as Dark Souls. I enjoyed many of the games I played this year, yet none of them are worthy to stand with my GOTY 2011 which is Dark Souls.


May 8, 2009
1. Portal 2 - Wonderful from start to finish
2. Saint's Row The Third - BAT SHIT INSANE from start to finish
3. Bastion - Reminded me of what made games great when I started playing them, and then floored me with its soundtrack
4. Uncharted 3 - It's cinematic, and the set pieces are still as great as they ever were.
5. Zelda: Skyward Sword - A perfect send off for the Wii, reminded me how motion controls can add to a game in a great way. Phenomenal swordplay.
6. Bulletstorm - A FPS doesn't have to be serious and dull, it can also be completely fucking mental, and then have disco inferno play.
7. Sonic Generations - Blue skies, and the best Sonic game in recent memory. The classic segments feel great to me, and the modern segments are blazingly fast.
8. Batman: Arkham City - You're totally still Batman. Except now you have a pretty big city to mess around in.
9. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD - A loving update of a classic, game is still great after all these years. Also, it's damn pretty.
10. Shadows Of The Damned - A decent game wrapped up in one of the most thoroughly entertaining universes I've played through in recent memory. Excellent voice work, and exceptional music.


Nov 12, 2010
2011 Game of the Year

1.Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2.The Witcher 2
3.Deus Ex: Human Revolution
4.Portal 2
5.Batman: Arkham City
7.Uncharted 3
8.Saint's Row: The Third
9.Assassin's Creed: Revelations
10.Dead Space 2

2010 Game of the Year

1. Fallout: New Vegas


Sep 15, 2005
Osaka, Japan
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim I've played over 100 hours already and still love it. The world is amazing, the music is amazing, the quests are fun, the characters are great too. And I love luring enemies close to the giants and then having the giants make them fly. Kinda like when I used to punch some citizen in GTAIV and then run towards a cop car.

2. Minecraft Even though it's been around for longer, it got officially released this year, and most of the big updates were released this year too. Many hours poured into it as well.

3. Portal 2 Loved the story and the game itself was incredibly fun to play. Have yet to play it with someone else, if I did it could have gone higher on the ranking.

4. Super Mario 3D Land It's Mario.

5. Killzone 3 The game itself wasn't the best FPS ever, but as a 3D artist, this game made me drool while looking at everything it had going on.

6. LA Noire This game has lots of retractors, but I thought the story was neat, the game played nicely and it was overall fun. Looking forward to playing it in a year or so, like watching a nice suspense movie.

7. LittleBigPlanet 2 I really loved it, and all the things it introduced new were great. Too bad I was too busy with other stuff and couldn't really finish any of my small projects on it.

8. Jetpack Joyride Yep, an iOS game. But I played the hell out of it during my 6 weeks in Singapore where I had pretty much nothing else to play. At first it was alright, but ended up loving it :)


Jul 14, 2008
Saint Louis
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - I was not hyped for this game at all. I think I was probably one of the 1% that could say this. I can truly say this is the only game that surprised me this year. When I started Skyrim I stepped into the best environment design in a video game. I enjoyed every moment of traversing this new world. I mean I spent the first hour chasing after a rabbit with a two-handed sword(I slayed said rabbit and it felt good). It had so many bugs and glitches. It still does, but this doesn't matter at the end of the day because I AM DOVAHKIIN.

2. Portal 2 - This game was nearly flawless. The story was magical. The comedic element perfect. Why then was it not my goty? I really can't say. I love this game, but I guess it just doesn't compare to fighting a dragon on the side of a glacier in armor that took me 40+ hours of skill leveling to forge.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - I killed two men with retractable blades from my arms while wearing sunglasses that are grafted to my face. What more needs to be said.

4. Dark Souls - If Demon Souls did not exist this would be my goty, but Demon Souls exists. I can't help but compare it to its predecessor and for me it falls short in many areas. Yes it did improve on some things, but this wasn't enough. At the end of the day I still like Demon Souls better.

5. Bastion - I was berated by many of my friends to play this game(I am not a big indie game player). The praise they lavished this title in drove my skepticism to the highest level. Bastion kicked my skepticism in the nuts, decapitated it, and then proceeded to piss on skepticism's corpse. If you haven't played this game, buy it and play it. It's arguably the best indie title of all time.

Honestly every game at this point I wouldn't really consider for GOTY but we are doing 10 so here goes.

6. Battlefield 3 - Battlefield 3 is just my go to shooter. I don't think its a mind blowingly good game. Its pretty as all fuck. Its my eye candy game. It's addictive easy fun. Yet the single player is an atrocious mess that I haven't even touched again after trying it for an hour.

7. Dead Space 2 - It was a fun time. Never really scary, but still had a thrill to it. Nothing spectacular about it. Solid controls, solid gameplay, solid everything. Just a good game, but not goty.

8. Batman: Arkham City - Dat Tessalation, Dat Physx, Dat Fan Service, Dat NANANANANAHANANANA BATMAN.

9. Star Wars: The Old Republic - I enjoy the star wars universe so much. The storylines in this game are enjoyable as no other. I love the idea of being a bounty hunter. At this point, however, this game is unfinished. The bugs are everywhere. There is little to no endgame. Gear progression is a mess. I know this is to be expected with a newly launched MMO. I just believe it could have been better and should have been released in 2012.

10. Rayman Origins


Junior Member
Nov 18, 2010
1. Child of Eden ; This game is perfect. I didn't watch a single video of it till I played it going by the dev behind it and the phrase "Sequal to Rez". This has entered my all time favourites

2. Dark Souls ; We knew it was going to be great but we just weren't aware how much. The geniuses and From Software managed to create something so similar to its prequal and yet so different. It has an atmosphere and gameplay combination unrivaled this gen.

3. Catherine ; Sort of like Child of Eden, i imported this title mainly due to it being a game from the Persona team but unlike CoE, i didn't know what it was going to be. I ended up greatly enjoying my time with this and it was very original.

4. Sonic Generations ;
I knew it was going to be great and it was. Was one hell of a nostalgic trip from start to finish and also serves as a good archives for Sonics past adventures.

5. Shadow of the Damned ; Love this game. I rented it originally. I literally had no idea what this was and loved every minute of it. Funny, awesome, loud and dumb. Just what I needed at the time. This got me hooked on Suda 51.

6. Yakuza 4 ; These games just keep on topping their predecessors and Yakuza 4 is no different. A great story with great characters. The gameplay we all know and love is present although expanded.

7. The Legenf of Zelda Skyward Sword ;
This is what I thought would have been number 1 on my list at the start of the year. I really like the game but it just feels like the inclusion of certain things holds it back from how great it truly could have been. On the motion front, this game is perfect.

8. No More Heroes Paradise ; I like this game. Sure the gameplay isn't amazing but it has great characters and an interesting story.

9. Dead Space 2;
An interesting game. I thought the gameplay was kind of poo but the setting, locations and characters were brilliant.

10. Uncharted 3 ;
Dissapointed with this to be honest. But still a solid game worthy of mention.


Nier ; Probably the best game of this gen. Loved it.


Dec 1, 2007
Brisbane, Australia
1. Portal 2 ; Perfect. Great co-op, amazing story that doesn&#8217;t drag and fantastic new mechanics.
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Constrained by its prequel status which influenced the ending negatively. In spite of this the best FPS/RPG for a long, long time.
3. To the Moon
4. Bastion
5. Gemini Rue
6. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
7. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
8. Skyrim ; Mods will make this better, some atmosphere is missing but still the game I played the most this year.
9. LA: Noire
10. Stacking ; Went on slightly too long but I&#8217;m never bored by Double Fine games

Not enough played to render judgement:
Battlefield 3
Uncharted 3
Arkham City

Adam Prime

hates soccer, is Mexican
Sep 1, 2008
Austin, TX
1. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 - I know most gamers are salty about two releases in the same year... I love it! The actual combat is awesome, I'd purchase another version next year with more modes (Heroes and Heralds is an okay start), creative characters (seriously Phoenix Wright and Frank West are creatively awesome and fun), and more stages. I'm not a tournament level player or anything, but I found the game to be great fun online, and I would have a blast just training mode the game all day. The game is "broken" at "high levels" with "cheap" tactics, but that's MAHVEL baby! That's why you come to play the game, it's crazy, it's fun, some characters are absolutely ridiculous, you have fun trying to figure it all out!

2. Dissidia Final Fantasy Duoceidem - I don't know if I'm the only person in this thread to vote this game, but this game is EVERYTHING that a Final Fantasy fan could ever want. The depth of the game play and staggering amount of customization is truly incredible. This game really does reach the depth of "RPG Fighting game". Had this game been an XBLA/PSN/Steam/WiiWare or even a full retail release - this game would be making people's top ten lists, I believe. Hell, they even included the FULL FIRST GAME into this sequel at a cheaper price! Squaresoft makes a lot of BIZARRE and dumb ass decisions (like releasing this game on a platform nobody in American even plays), but this game's package is a complete fan's dream.

3. Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky - A SNES/PSX throw back RPG, this game delivered on an awesome (cliffhanger) story and truly some of the best RPG writing I've seen since Persona 4. The combat was easy to get into, but truly complex and required great strategic thinking on many boss encounters. Again, had this game been a PSN/XBLA/Steam/WiiWare release - I believe it'd be making more top ten lists. The idea to release this game to nobody is truly a shame to RPG lovers.

4. Uncharted 3
5. Dead Space 2
6. PixelJunk SideScroller
7. Bastion
8. Cthulu Saves the World
9. Ilomilo
10. Prinny 2


Jan 5, 2010
1. Saints Row The Third ; The most fun I've had with a game this year. Period.
2. Portal 2 ; Simply great
3. Dark Souls ; I hate this game and this game hates me.
4. Skyrim ; What an upgrade over Oblivion and Fallout 3.
5. Renegade Ops ; Unbelievably fun twin stick shooter.
6. Bastion ; Great gameplay, my favorite soundtrack this year.
7. Battlefield 3 ; I don't normally like multiplayer FPSs'. I like this one.
8. Ms. Splosion Man ; Unfairly compared to Super Meat Boy (SMB). SMB is about pixel precision, Ms. Splosion Man is about momentum, flow, and timing. Have to knock it for sometimes throwing a distracting foreground and their choice of colors during boss fights.
9. Batman: Arkham City ; I'm still going through this game, but it's fantastic.
10. Trenched ;


Nov 27, 2005
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Portal 2
3. Star Wars: The Old Republic
4. The Witcher 2
5. Batman: Arkham City
6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
7. Battlefield 3
8. Gears of War 3
9. NBA 2k12
10. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
x. Rage
x. Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Mar 15, 2008

1. Gears of War 3 ;

For me this was 2011's best game. Gears 3 has so much to offer the player: Horde, Beast, Deathmatch, Campaign, DLC and unlockables for eons. The deep multi-player of Horde mode was the high point in my opinion, in which you duke it out with waves of enemies which peak at every 10 waves (with boss encounters) and climax at 50. However this time around Epic added a progression mechanic in fortifications which bring a tower defense element to keeping the horde in check. It's brilliant and addictive, and kept me glued to my monitor all the way through the Horde expansion pack.

Perhaps the most fun I had in Gears 3 was earning all the unlocks in the game as you make your way through the various modes: character skins, weapon skins, mutators which make the game easier to get through, ribbons, medals. This was taken to a bit of an extreme with the nigh-unlockable "Seriously 3.0" achievement unfortunately, but I'll leave that one for the die-hards.

When this game came out I had over 20 friends playing it and this added a lot to the whole experience. It was so easy to drop in and out of games compared to other MP-oriented shooters. The MP servers were solid from day 1 and have only had some minor lag issues compared to some other games. Epic also spent a lot of time listening to players who criticized the early lethality of the Sawed-off shotgun and created a multiplayer mode for hardcore players called Alpha, in which the SOS is not available in your initial load-out. I was also a big fan of the "Capture the Leader" game mode.

Anyways, huge game and a must-play for this gen IMO.

2. Akai Katana Shin ;

Akai Katana Shin has the distinction of being possibly the last CAVE shooter for the Xbox 360 and quite possibly one of their greatest achievements. Although Famitsu recognized it with solid marks, the state of the 360 in Japan ensured that it remained a quiet hit among the hardcore.

The CAVE 360 team's reworking of the original arcade game let them do not only what they wanted to do with the original arcade release (but couldn't due to memory restrictions) in "Zetsu Mode", they've also reinvented the game in "Akai Katana Shin" with a totally different play method from the arcade release. "Shin Mode" takes out the invincibility mechanic from the original arcade version of Akai Katana in favor of a screen-crossing katana attack that "catches" on mid-sized and large enemies, causing them to shed masses of score items.

"Zetsu Mode" on the other hand maximizes the scoring intensity of the arcade game by lifting the on-screen item limit, creating clouds of rotating orange point items. Both modes include an extra stage and boss.

I love both of these modes, as well as the soundtrack and UI presentation. Definitely one of CAVE's most beautiful shooters, with a challenging (but realistic) set of achievements. Something for EU folks to look forward to in 2012.

3. Muchi Muchi Pork/Pink Sweets Double Pack ;

Muchi Muchi Pork is possibly one of the best arcade shooters ever, despite a bit of a panning in Japan based mainly on the fact that the piggy protagonists are chubby. With this release, not only did we get a remixed version of the original arcade game called "1.01", which removes some of the ridiculous 2nd loop requirements and makes the game vastly more fun with extremely subtle changes, we also get Pink Sweets, the notoriously difficult Yagawa-designed shooter from 2006. (Oh and the game was released region-free btw!)

For most of us, Pink Sweets was the unknown quantity. Given that its prequel, Ibara, was more of a miss than a hit due to endless boss-milking techniques, Pink Sweets flamed out in arcades rather quickly and the amount of people who have actually played the game was quite few. Lucky for those up for the challenge, a "1.01" version of the game which fixed some of the broken game mechanics was included, as well as Pink Sweets Arrange Mode, a remixed version which is just tons of fun to play.

My breakdown of the Arrange Mode here:

A combination of systems from Ibara Black Label and Battle Bakraid. Build the multiplier up to x16 by chaining enemies and figure out how to preserve it as you plow forward. There are several options for doing so: launching a Hadou gun into enemies or enemy fire and grabbing the ensuing medals or suiciding (which preserves your multiplier) by ramming into something. Optimal play is chaotic and suicidal. The best realization of the Yagawa aesthetic, despite not being programmed by him. I love grinding enemies with destructable bullets in this mode with a x16 bonus. There is a certain amount of "milking" involved, but the pace is perfect since enemies will time out in generally reasonable time frames.
Even the original Pink Sweets, when you spend some time with it, slowly reveals its odd charms, though it is more of a curiosity than anything. The game's one stumbling point is simply horrendous UI which you have to learn your way around. Other than that, gold.

4. Mamoru-kun wa Norowarette Shimatta ; PS3

The first 2-d shooter release on the PS3 unfortunately looks like it's going to be lost in the shuffle, but this was an excellent game that shouldn't be. The original 4:3 orientation of the arcade game is expanded here to 16:9 and the levels gain new enemies and hidden tricks. Gameplay is simple: shoot or curse. You can curse an enemy and slowly drain its life, or you can charge up your curse and blast through it, turning all the bullets that enemy fired into star items. This score mechanic reaches an absurd apex at times with the PS3 release where there are simply so many stars on screen that the game can't handle it, bringing the framerate down to 2 or 3. When the game was initially released, this even led to the game crashing but a patch fixed that. However these are rare moments, most of the game is just a solid chaining-based shooter.

Mamoru-kun PS3 takes everything that was fun about the 360 version, removes the annoying load times, gives you the bonus costumes and characters for free up front and includes an awesome art book with the LE. The mission-based structure of the 16:9 mode takes the emphasis away from scoring, which was always this game's weakpoint, and puts you through a hellacious gauntlet of boss and stage rushes. Still, the difficulty is conquerable and that's ultimately why the game is so satisfying.

I platinumed this baby and loved it the whole time. Slightly tempering my appreciation for it however was the recent release of bonus "mission" DLC which is absurdly difficult and costs about $5 each for minimal content. Despite that, this is the definitive version of the sadly overlooked Mamoru-kun from Grev and Gulti.

5. Modern Warfare 3 ;

I hated the campaign, and am not huge on multiplayer for this game due to its 1 or 2 hit death balance leading to conservative play, i.e. camping. This is especially bad in Japan, where most games seem to be above 100ms for me, which means I can visibly confirm lag after getting iced in the resultant kill cam.

However, Special Ops was just awesome this time around. It's like a whole other campaign included on the disc and playing these missions on Veteran is a real test of your gaming abilities. If you haven't cleared it with a friend, go do it now. Both Mission and Survival were tons of fun.

6. Whale Trail ;

Whale Trail was my favorite game on iOS this year and is an absolute delight to play with its colorful graphics and simple dip, climb and loop-de-loop mechanics. Follow the trail of colored dots to build your multiplier, and collect stars on the way. Get enough stars and you enter fever mode which allows you to destroy clouds and sucks in nearby dots. As you get better at the game, your multiplier grows higher and higher. The satisfying score challenge here was at least as good as a quality arcade game for me, and it only costs $.99!

The recent addition of the challenge mode is also a lot of fun though I have to say that many of the achievements are just too tough in general.

7. Sonic Generations ;

Bought this on a whim and was surprised how high the quality was. Both 3D and 2D levels are fun, with the 3D versions being the most kinetic and enjoyable in my opinion. Lots of collectibles in-game to unlock, but this may border on the "pain in the ass" for some people. There are also some control quirks as well as the abysmally executed last boss that hold it back from being higher on my list, but the game is definitely worth checking out. There are some classic stages in here IMO, both Rooftop Run and Seaside Hill were very memorable.

8. Jamestown ;

I only managed to clear this one right after Christmas so I'm still exploring it, but it's definitely a great first outing for Final Form Games. The simplicity of the scoring system and finely tuned balance are commendable, and the local co-op was apparently very popular although it's alien to how I play shooters. I liked a lot of the subtle additions to the UI over the standard shooter interfaces on the 360, aka making scores very easy to upload, and immediately notifying you of your worldwide rank after you've done so.

Hope to eventually clear on Judgment, and get through the game on Gauntlet as well.

9. Strania the Stella Machina ;

This tough shooter from Grev was a lot of fun, and gives you an arsenal of weapons to use to get through it. Pump the laser and rockets on straight-ahead bosses, the Reflect and Side on tricky areas where enemies come in from the side, and the Bomb...ok well there's nowhere to use the Bomb. But this weapon-switching mechanic is critical to getting further and in fact key to scoring well in the game, although you only figure this out at the very end. For every weapon level, you gain about a million points meaning that the more you vary and level up your weapons, the higher your score will be.

This is unfortunately where the game lost almost all the beginner and intermediate players. While it seems to have an attractive scoring mechanic in the O/D system, which turns you invincible and builds your multiplier up to x2.0, it takes forever to charge and barely makes a dent in the overall score once weapon levels are taken into account at the end of the game. This is classic Grev unfortunately, a somewhat broken scoring system in a game that otherwise should have been a lot of fun.

Strania does make it on my list for the awesome "Side Vower" DLC included in the game, which lets you play through the game as the enemy you were fighting, starting from Stage 6 and ending in Stage 1. Great concept. Game is also very reasonably priced at 800 MSP.

10. Child of Eden ;

Breath-taking graphics and amazing music, Child of Eden was one of this year's "Wow" games. Just a gorgeous experience that you want to immediately share with friends.

A bit frustrating on Kinect in my opinion, I had a much better time after switching to the standard controller and completing the game. Still have not gotten through Passion, and have a bunch of achievements are waiting to be unlocked so I'll still be playing this one in 2012.

x. Instant Brain ;

Makoto Asada's first Adventure game for CAVE, and something I admit I was very skeptical of. However, Instant Brain delivered a compelling plot, good characters and simple gameplay. This game unfortunately has no chance of localization in the west due to its Japan-specific setting, massive volume of text and minimal player interaction. It really is a visual novel. As you follow along the story of the protagonist, each chapter offers clues to the dark conspiracy behind the conclusion. The voice actors really come through here and delivered some great performances.

There's lots of unlocks as well: sexy scenes with the lady characters, Muchi Muchi porn and playable versions of Dodonpachi and a semi-sequel to Nin2Jump. A solid package if you speak enough Japanese to get through it.

It's not enough to make the top 10, especially given some of the absurd gameplay issues with some of mid-game chapters (where you're literally forced to pick choices at random), but I enjoyed my time with the game.


Dec 21, 2010
1. Dark Souls : Perfect combination of oldschool and newschool. I love this damn game and i still haven't even finished it. It really is an experience like no other in this day and age. I hope more developers take notes from this game.
2. Dead Space 2 : Even though the MP part of this game is clearly just tacked on for the sake of it, the SP is really awesome, while it isn't as scary as the first game was, it's much better paced, the set pieces are better and overall it's a more polished experience. I finished this game two times and i very rarely do that, and that's definitely a sign of a really good game.
3. Gears of War 3 : The final and best entry in the main Gears of War series, this game has so much content, especially in the MP component, that it's guaranteeded to last for a long time. I especially love the Horde mode.
4. Batman: Arkham City While this game didn't wow me as much as Arkham Asylum, it was still definitely a damn solid entry to the series and one of the best games of the year for me. I definitely would not mind a third Bats game from Rocksteady.
5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution : A damn worthy prequel to one of the best games of all time. Kept most of the best parts of Deus Ex and improved on some. Pretty much the only lacking part of the game for me was the story which wasn't overall that engaging and interesting.
6. Saints Row: The Third : This game is just fun, especially in co-op, while it took some stepbacks in the customization parts of the game from SR2, the driving, fighting and shooting mechanics were much improved and i'll gladly take that trade.
7. Bulletstorm : Fantastic SP campaing, best FPS campaing that i have played in years, the childish humor did not bother me at all, i thought it only added more good spirit to the game. The shooting/skillshot mechanics are satisfying as fuck. It's a damn shame that we aren't getting a sequel to this, i really would liked one.
8. Killzone 3 : I didn't really like Killzone 2 but this one i did, the SP campaing was intense enough to make me finish it even though the ending was balls but what really shined for me here was the MP, for various reasons it really clicked with me and i definitely haven't put nearly as much hours in to any other new FPS than this one.
9. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception : While this game was more flawed than UC2 and the MP wasn't really that fun, the SP portion of the game had some really good moments and was still a really enjoyable ride.
10. Mortal Kombat : Finally a fun MK game after years of mediocrity. This game is packed with content and while the core fighting system isn't all that deep, it's still enjoyable enough to make you play the game for a long time.

2010. Amnesia: The Dark Descent : I missed this game in 2010 and got it with a few friends in 2011, we all played it at the same time while we were on mumble sharing tips and our screams of terror, it was a damn fun experience and the game itself was really well made. The ending sucked balls though.

Honorable mentions: The Binding of Isaac, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Dishonorable mention: Dragon Age 2


Feb 15, 2009
1. Rayman Origins
2. Batman: AC
3. LA Noire
4. Uncharted 3
5. child of Eden
6. Portal 2

A underwhelming year (for my taste at least).


Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
Jul 1, 2009
I'm pleasantly surprised to see many fellow gaffers pick Dead Space 2 among their top 10 games of the year. In a year with several dozen quality titles.

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