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

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Apr 7, 2009
1. Uncharted 3; U2 was better. But its still the best game for me!
2. Skyrim
3. Resistance 3
4. Portal 2
5. Arkham City
6. InFamous 2
7.Assassin's Creed: Revelations
8. Stanley Parable
11. Aladdin Magic Racer
12. Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion
13. Mass Effect 2...? Why is this on the list

I could have sworn I played more than 10 games last year...

2010: Red Dead Redemption - I believe my favorite game of all time. Does everything right for me.


Aug 1, 2009
1. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

There is plenty to quibble with about this game. First of all, it's the second MvC3 game released this year. Even with the Heroes and Heralds DLC, it's relatively bereft of single player content. There is no option to save online replays, the netcode isn't working well for everyone, Capcom's DLC messaging has been inconsistent, and so on.

But I don't care; this game is just too damn fun. Pulling off even basic series combos results in a bombastic display that has you launching opponents into the air (only for them to plummet back down to earth). The screen filling hyper combos are visual treats, and always satisfying to land. I've never played a fighting game with this level of options, either, as it gives you a nearly unlimited mixture of teammates and assists to play around with. Every character seems to have his or her personality and style perfectly translated from their places of origin with a staggering attention to detail (including clever character-specific conversations that can take place before matches).

In short, the game gushes with personality, noise, color and hype. Despite my own lack of skill, I can say that this is the rare game that has pushed me to invest hundreds of hours in an effort to improve, and I've enjoyed every minute of it (unless I'm rage quitting after some online losses, of course).

2. Xenoblade Chronicles

This game takes the things that I love the most about “JRPGs” (flashy and fun combat, a creative scenario, gorgeous environments, and a sprawling plot) while trimming almost all of the fat. Being able to save anywhere and fast travel between generously placed landmarks makes exploring environments like the vast Gaur Plains feel effortless and fun. The game is brimming with minor innovations as well, including substantial experience bonuses for discovering hidden areas and a web of social relations that connects all of the NPCs. The game also offers plenty of side activities, including a town to rebuild, that serve as a pleasant break from the main quest. Also, if you haven’t listened to the game’s soundtrack yet, you might want to.

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

While offering a main story sequence for players to latch on to, this game also gives you the ability to do just about anything. In the course of playing, I purchased several pieces of property, became married, attended a college lecture (and went on a field trip), meddled in the politics of a civil war, read a surprising number of books, played tag with some kids, became trapped in someone's personal nightmare, became a vampire, became a werewolf, and saved the world (eventually). While the combat system is far from the best that I have experienced, it gives you a wide range of viable playstyles to pick from. It’s unfortunate that so many people have experienced game breaking bugs (with the PS3 version being the most overt offender), but my experiences on both the 360 and PC were nearly bug free.

4. Bastion

In many ways, this game is the opposite of Skyrim. Instead of offering hundreds of hours of content, Bastion provides a focused, 6 hour or so experience that would struggle to support more than two playthroughs. Instead of letting the player uncover background information piece by piece through dusty tomes and dialogue menus, Bastion employs a clever and efficient narrative device that never interrupts gameplay. The sprawling, visually consistent environment of Skyrim contrasts with the lush and colorful levels that assemble in front of you in Bastion. Bastion’s combat features a more frantic pace and a more diverse arsenal of weapons, although you clearly have less ways of approaching a given situation. If Skyrim represents freedom, Bastion represents a meticulously crafted theme park ride.

It’s great that the current gaming industry provides enough room for both of these types of role playing games to thrive.

5. Portal 2

Portal 2 provides proof that games can feature excellent writing. GLaDOS, Wheatley, and Cave Johnson barrage the player with one liners and monologues that are often funny, sometimes uproarious, and sometimes unnerving. Despite my appreciation of Half-Life 2 and its episodes, I’ve already become more invested in the Portal universe, and I love how much information the game can communicate to the player solely through environmental details. When Wheatley
becomes the antagonist
, for example, his incompetence is reflected in how
the facility scrambles to put together puzzles in front of you

Also, it’s a puzzle game, and it’s puzzles are some of the best that I’ve seen. The various gels and their properties are a lot of fun to play around with, and other additions like light bridges expand on the already solid foundation of portal puzzles. The middle section drags somewhat, placing more of an emphasis on finding the right slot for a portal instead of playing with momentum and the like, but Cave Johnson kept me from caring too much.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

This game may well have been my favorite of the year if a handful of glaring flaws could be addressed. Fi, Link’s loquacious companion, pops up to hold your hand too often. The text in the game moves needlessly slowly, which becomes a larger issue when the game re-explains the nature of a bug you’ve captured for the fifth time. There are also sections of the game that feel like overt filler to me, almost implying that the developers were afraid of creating a shorter, tighter experience. Who thought that making the player
return to the first dungeon to fill a bottle
would be fun?

When it’s at its best, though, this game provides the “magical” experience that I rarely find in games any more. The entirety of the Lanayru Desert region and its dungeons were phenomenal, with a central mechanic that could potentially carry an entire game on its own. Link’s arsenal also feels fresher and more creative than usual, with nearly every item getting frequent usage until the end. The somewhat controversial implementation of motion controls worked great for me, and it allowed for fun twists on old series standbys (I particularly liked rolling bombs).

The characterization of Link, Zelda, and their friends was surprisingly strong; I never would have imagined becoming invested in Groose’s character arc before I did. Outside of Child of Eden, this was the only emotionally affecting game that I played this year.

7. Sonic Generations

Why do people still bring up the Sonic Cycle? Coming off the success of last year’s Sonic Colors, this game does fan service right. Older stages from Sonic’s glory days are lovingly recreated, and several stages from his less beloved games have been redeemed (even Crisis City, somehow). Both Sonics are fun to play as, benefitting from some smart level design that plays to their strengths. Classic Sonic offers slower, more methodical platforming with occasional bursts of speed, while Modern Sonic constantly barrels forward in a way that readily lends itself to speed running. More than any other game this year, Sonic Generations left me wanting more; I’d gladly pick up a Sonic Generations 2 that remixed more levels (who wouldn’t want an HD spin on Hydrocity Zone?). That final boss battle, though... yikes.

8. Rayman Origins

As much as I love this game, I wanted to love it even more. The visuals, of course, are outstanding. Rayman and friends control effortlessly, and the levels are peppered with hidden areas and tantalizing collectibles. Hell, the game even provided me with my favorite Co-OP experience of the year. I suppose my only real issue with the game is that the levels didn’t feel different enough from each other to me. My favorite platforming games tend to be stuffed with ideas, including stage specific gimmicks, power ups, mechanics, and the like. Rayman’s levels, however, rarely surprised me. Ultimately, this amounts to me thinking the game is great, but not outstanding.

9. Outland

Outland, often described as a Metroidvania/Ikaruga mashup, is a uniquely tense action platformer. Navigating the environments while having to constantly shift polarities can make even simple jumps challenging. The boss battles are generally terrific, featuring a particularly climatic encounter with a winged serpent. Also, this game (like pretty much everything on this list, really) looks beautiful. It could use a bit more of a personality, though; what little plot there was didn’t really grab me, attributing to a vague feeling of artificiality that the game gave off.

10. Child of Eden

I consider this to be more of an experience than a game. Yes, you can refine your runs through levels and chase after high scores, but the mechanics are rather simplistic. Fortunately, the game excels in providing a powerful, overwhelming audiovisual experience. “Evolution” is truly a sight to behold.

x. Alice: Madness Returns; Another game that would have benefited greatly from being trimmed down. The art direction here is superb, and both the combat system and platforming feel solid, but there’s just too much repetition. I ended up setting the difficulty to easy so I could more quickly get through levels to see the next beautiful environment.

x. Sequence; In a noteworthy year for RPGs, this was another innovate and successful one. The combination of the rhythm genre’s note highways with real time battles is clever, and prevents each battle from feeling exactly like previous ones. I also would like to highlight the game’s writing; there are a lot of humorous item descriptions, and the characters are well realized. The production values can be sparse at times, with the primary characters having a limited range of poses and many of monster models being reused, but that’s understandable (not a ton of people worked on this game).

x. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together; I didn't vote for this because it was a remake. Other than that, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and it's definitely one of my favorite experiences of the year. It's the first time that a SRPG has really clicked with me since the original Final Fantasy Tactics. It's a shame that the Archer class is so dominant, though, as it took away from the fun of unlocking additional classes and named characters.

Notable games that I haven’t played enough of yet: The Witcher 2, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Ghost Trick, Super Mario 3D Land.


Jun 10, 2004
1. Uncharted 3; U2 was better. But its still the best game for me!
2. Skyrim
3. Resistance 3
4. Portal 2
5. Arkham City
6. InFamous 2
7.Assassin's Creed: Revelations
8. Stanely Parable
11. Aladdin Magic Racer
12. Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion
13. Mass Effect 2...? Why is this on the list

I could have sworn I played more than 10 games last year...
just a heads up, but you misspelled Stanley


Jan 14, 2011
Winter Park, Fl
1. Uncharted 3 - There is no end to my love for this series and this game.

2. Resistance 3 - The game had the atmosphere I had been looking for since the first game. This was also the first game I played only in 3D and it was incredible.

3. Infamous 2 - Best superhero game in my opinion

4. Portal 2 - I did not think this game would be as good as it was. Excellent gameplay

5. LA Noire - The CSI game i've been waiting for.


I must do better.
May 31, 2009
1. Portal 2: Really felt like they earned the longer length of the campaign with all the new tricks thrown into it. Still the funniest dialog I’ve seen in a game that really makes you want to keep playing.

2. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: A deep, gorgeous, pc focused RPG, with an improved combat system over the original. Some of the best fantasy lore/setting in videogames.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Shockingly similar to the original with its multitude of ways to complete objectives. There was some streamlining but overall I felt it was a great way to bring the franchise back.

4. Hard Reset: Pure and simple fps fun that reminds me of my dislike of modern shooter conventions. Great weapon selection and the in-game menus were some of the smoothest I’ve seen on the pc.

5. Magicka: The chaos that comes with 4 friends weaving all types of magic together was the best co-op fun I had all year.

6. Red Orchestra 2: Some of the most satisfying kills I’ve ever experienced in an online fps. It’s a shame about the launch issues, but just how hardcore and specific the game was really made it stand out to me.

7. Dungeons of Dredmor: A great introductory rogue-like that I found was able to eat up plenty of my time when I wanted something to play while listening to podcasts.

8. Terraria: The 2D look and unique treasure really got me to stick with this game much more than Minecraft. I’m not really into the creation side of the game, but exploring caves with friends was a lot of fun.

9. Bastion: It took a while for the narration to click with me, and I had to wait until I got a controller since m+kb stunk, but after that I had a great time with this game. The music and artwork are amazing, and the seemingly simple combat felt great once you put some idols on.

10. Track Mania 2: Canyons: I like the new drifting control scheme for Canyon and just like older games in the series I will always have new insane tracks to race on. It’s really easy to boot the game up, play a few quick tracks, and quit so I’m always jumping on.

Alpha Protocol: I put this game off because all I heard was how bad the gameplay was but I found it to be decent and allowed you to go crazy with powers near the end. The dialog choices and how it affected the NPCs around you felt very natural. I loved that if you acted like a smug asshole that made bad jokes constantly almost everyone would hate you, like they should.


Mar 30, 2007
1. Portal 2
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
3. Bulletstorm
4. Dead Space 2
5. Crysis 2
6. inFamous 2
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
8. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
9. Mortal Kombat
10. Rage

2010 LttP game: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood


Jun 7, 2004
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim
2. Portal 2
3. Mortal Kombat
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
5. Super Mario 3D Land
6. Tropico 4
7. Top Spin 4
8. Dead Space 2
9. Marvel vs. Capcom 3
10. Child of Eden

x: Sequence
x: Death Rally (iOS)

disappointment of the year: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

(still haven't played Dark Souls, Saints Row The Third, Arkham City, Assassins Creed:Revelations, Xenoblade Chronicles...all games that might've made it on the list.)


Neo Member
May 25, 2009
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
3. Mario Kart 7
4. Super Mario 3D Land
5. Pokemon Black/White
6. Xenoblade Chronicles
7. Star Fox 64 3D
8. Dead or Alive: Dimensions
9. Rayman Origins
10. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition


Mar 5, 2011
1. L.A. Noire
2. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
3. LittleBigPlanet 2
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
5. Yakuza 4
6. Batman: Arkham City
7. Rayman Origins
8. Portal 2
9. Alice: Madness Returns
10. El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron


Jul 21, 2009
1. Portal 2
2. Total War: Shogun 2
3. Frozen Synapse
4. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
5. Saints Row The Third
6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
7. Orcs Must Die!
8. Ghost Trick
9. Yakuza 4
10. Bastion

I see that Shogun has been posted a couple times but it's either total war: shogun 2 or shogun 2: total war so I just went with the title found on wikipedia.


Mar 16, 2006
Man, did I even play ten games this past year? Let's see.

1. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; doesn't quite feel like other Zelda's, but an absolutely great game with oddly enough some of the best sound effects I've ever heard. The sidequests are so much fun for some reason.

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D; still the greatest game ever made and what a fantastic port job. Makes the game look like what I thought I remembered it looking like.

3. Catherine; incredibly interesting, tense story. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and that's really my number one requirement for any game or movie story. The music was incredible too:

4. Portal 2; co-op is where it's at. The single player also made me salivate in anticipation of what would happen next.

5. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection; the games are fantastic obviously but what sets this apart is Peace Walker's online co-op. Loved the game on PSP and it's great to actually be able to play it with people now.

6. Mario Kart 7; simply mario fucking kart. Online plays great, graphics are awesome, music sucks though, but the retro levels make up for that.

7. Gears of War 3; great end to a great series. Horde mode is fantastic, music was a little disappointing after the brilliance that was the second game's soundtrack.

8. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection; Love these games, and it's a solid remake. can't ask for much more, well I could, but I'm satisfied.

mr stroke

Oct 11, 2006
1 Uncharted 3- A flawed masterpiece. Clunky combat and poor aiming, mixed with stunning visuals, great voice acting, amazing set pieces, and the best pacing in any series ever. Not as good as the previous installment but still better than any game released in 2011.

2-Witcher 2
3-Battlefield 3
4-Batman: Arkham City
5-Mortal Kombat
7-Gear of War 3
8-Crysis 2
10-Dirt 3

backlog still in shrink wrap-Skyrim, Mario 3D land, and Rayman :(


Jun 26, 2008

1. Dungeons of Dredmor ; (PC)

For all the impressive setpieces, sweeping orchestral scores, and fancy technical achievements of the "AAA" games released this year, nothing took up more of my time or provided as much fun as this unassuming new roguelike did. The premise, as with most roguelikes, is straightforward: take your massive-eyebrowed hero, work your way through all of the nasty floors of Dredmor's dungeon, find Dredmor himself somewhere at the bottom and kill him. Again, I guess, considering he is a lich. I don't know why we are assuming that would do anything because that obviously didn't work the first time, with him being undead and all.

If you're unfamiliar, a roguelike is a type of turn-based strategy/RPG game that generally entails randomly-generated floors, lots of unfair traps and complex things that usually have little explanation, and most importantly permanent death. Every time you perform an action, everything else in the dungeon will also perform an action. Sometimes they have graphics, and are often painfully obtuse and hard as hell. Obviously, these are not the most mainstream of games nor have they ever been. Dungeons of Dredmor is an attempt at trying to make a roguelike that is a little more accepting of the average player, while not compromising too much of the core tenents of roguelike design.

They achieve this goal wonderfully through a combination of slightly less daunting mechanics, excellent sprite-based artwork, and a fantastic sense of humor that throws the concept of taking itself seriously out the window and accepting that it is, in fact, just a video game. It even allows players to disable permadeath or change the difficulty so just about anyone can get in and start running over traps like an idiot at whatever pace they are comfortable with. At the same time, it still packs a solid punch and persistently asks you to learn and get better at managing all of your skills and resources. The game takes the sting off having horrible, horrible things happen by making most of those things hilarious; having your character die permanently isn't quite as bad when it is because your viking-pirate hybrid that wears a traffic cone and has mysterious powers of veganism dies because he ate a root of T'Char and could not handle the dark gifts of Zalgo. Poor lad... he chucked like a sailor.

It's just the right blend of needing to be taken seriously (or else you'll die horribly and have to start over) and not wanting to be taken seriously at all (you will get an achievement if you equip parachute pants while wielding a hammer) that make this such an easy game to come back to. For all it offers, Dungeons of Dredmor is also the cheapest game on my list: $5 USD for the base game, and $2.50 USD for the expansion. If you can't afford this game, then you can't afford things like food, which is bad and I'm sorry. But it also means you can't afford things like internet access, which means if you're reading this I'm not sorry because you're a liar.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; (PC/360/PS3)

Everyone's probably talked about Skyrim enough that even if you've never played it, you've got a pretty good idea about what it's all about. Noting that, I'm going to skip any introductory explanations about the basics.

Straight to the point, then, is that the things I love about Elder Scrolls haven't changed in a decade. Sure, we've seen all kinds of modifications to the formula since Morrowind; the introduction of much more level scaling and loot scaling, leveling system changes including the addition of perks, combat rules changes, and so on. There are tangible differences between Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim that set them apart from each other in meaningful ways.

What hasn't changed, though, is that the core of the game is still about creating your own personal character, getting set out into the world, and immediately being able to go out in any direction and find something interesting. Almost every truly memorable moment in these games has come from exploring some area I had never seen, had no foreknowledge of or quest leading to, and discovering something completely unexpected. That sense of exploration and discovery is the one thing that I feel like no other series of games that has even come close to matching. Part of making that feeling of discovery potent is to create a world that feels genuine; the act of finding something doesn't translate as memorable if what is found doesn't feel like it was actually there long before you found it. It's an incredibly difficult thing to try and purposefully craft into a game, and Bethesda shows with Skyrim that they have begun to reach masterful levels of understanding how to do that. That journey is set to the backdrop of an amazing musical score that ranks among the very best they've ever put forward.

Unfortunately, it's hard to say that they are reaching any kind of mastery with most aspects of the rest of the game. The combat sees improvements from Oblivion, certainly, but when your improvements only elevate you to the level of mediocrity it's hard to appreciate them. The quest structure feels like it hasn't changed at all since Morrowind, and in some ways even comes across as a step backward, as concepts like faction allegiances and interplay continues to be minimized. The characters, too, feel like the same simple NPCs they've been crafitng since Morrowind; characters with little depth that mostly serve as infodumps or dots connecting the points between quests. Crafting remains woefully balanced as well, and the forces of loot scaling and level scaling are still felt to the detriment of the overall experience.

It's still nowhere near enough to impede the desire to explore Skyrim's landscape just to see all the interesting locations they've filled it with. Much like every other Elder Scrolls game, I find myself doing so for dozens of hours and enjoying how well it sates the wanderlust in me, flaws and all.

3. King of Dragon Pass ; (iOS)

If you took a text-based RPG, a strategy game like Civilization, and a pint of depression and blended them all together, you'd get something like King of Dragon Pass. It's a strange simulation and RPG hybrid that uses hand-drawn art and distressing amounts of numbers to tell the story of a small barbarian clan trying to stay alive in a strange land. There's a lot of management to be done, hard decisions to be made, and absolutely no animation to speak of whatsoever.

In the world of King of Dragon Pass, the gods and mortals once walked together and shared the world; the gods were eventually attacked by the forces of Chaos, and were being destroyed in a war that seemed to come from all sides, so they abandoned the world and left mortals behind to save thesmelves (like I said, this game is depressing). In King of Dragon Pass, you govern the fate of a small clan long after all of these events took place. Driven out of their homeland, they're forced to rebuild in the Dragon Pass, a land not well explored by men and full of all kinds of terrible and mostly depressing things.

What makes this game compelling is that balanced against very solid and well thought out simulation mechanics, you'll constantly be thrown curve balls in the form of crises that you will be given a selection of possible solutions and asked to choose between. We're talking real choice and consequence an order of magnitude more meaningful than modern games; one single decision can chain into any number of consequences that play themselves out over years if not generations of your clan's existence. Those consequences aren't trivial and many of them completely change the course of the game in ways you can never predict. As a brief example, when out on an exploration mission my men came across the corpse of a dragonnewt warrior; there were five or six ways to handle the corpse, and my advisors came to no concensus. I decided to try and craft a set of armor out of it, producing a treasure that made one of my advisors much more effective at combat. A few years later, my village was approached by another dragonnewt claiming to be the owner of the body we made the armor out of! I tried to lie my way out of it, but the dragonnewt had a mystic connection to his previous body and called me on my bluff. I gave up and returned the armor, not knowing what kind of magic the dragonnewt was capable of. Since he clearly seemed capable of reviving I didn't want to risk my clan's safety. The next year I was raided by a neighboring clan, and we lost the battle as we had a much smaller force and no longer had the aid of the magic armor. Our food stores were pillaged, and my clan began a slow descent into starvation (not depressing at all).

The overarching goal is to strengthen your clan and make alliances with other clans to form a tribe. Other tribes form of clans that don't join yours, and eventually a kingdom is formed; the win state, as you might expect, is derived from the game's namesake. Just how much is tracked by the game on both macro and micro levels is impressive. Other clans will form feuds with yours that you can solve in a variety of ways, and that clan will remember the feud even if later you add it to your tribe. The invidiual clans are not of one mind, either - the nobles and the villagers might hold different opinions about your clan, causing unrest among their villagers if their nobles start dealing in favors with you. Pretty much everything you can think of is tracked; if you recruit farmers, the game tracks where you recruited them from, so recruiting people from clans of poor relations can cause bad blood on either side. If you take prisoners during a raid, you can ransom them to the clan they came from, free them, kill them or keep them as thralls - if that same clan raids you later and wins the battle, they can free those same people you took as slaves. Not only that, but if you chose that your ancestors were not thrall-keepers, you can lose favor with their spirits and they'll not answer you when you need them.

I'm not going to try and explain all of the game's intricacies, but the point is that the game's depth is amazing and shows a care for granular detail that most games don't even dream of. On top of that is layered a fantastic crises system of choice and consequence that games pretending to be focused on that very thing pale in comparison to. It may not be a looker - though I hesitate to say even that because it is chock full of quality hand-drawn art - but Kingdom of Dragon Pass has it where it counts in spades.

4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; (PC/360/PS3)

Even if you've never played the 2000 original, you probably knew that this sequel had a lot to live up to. I'm not actually one of those that considers Deus Ex in the highest regard; I very much like the original game, but I always felt the nonsensical plot got a little too crazy for its own good, and the overall balance of the game's skills and weapons was kind of a mess. Also it ran like poop back when it released. What it did have, though, was some phenomenal level design that accounted for a huge number of different play styles and really allowed you to build your character however you wanted and still find content that felt tailored for exactly how you built J.C. Denton.

To get it out of the way immediately - this game does not reach the heights of Deus Ex when it comes to that level design. Even with the fewer skills to be accounted for, there's not quite as much thought put into the setpieces and it simply doesn't pack the level of complexity Deus Ex's environments did.

It isn't far off, though, which means it is still a very intelligently designed first-person adventure that allows the player to explore and exploit their particular character's strengths to achieve all manner of goals in the gold-tinted future Jensen lives in. That exploration is accompanied by a wonderful presentation; the art design for Human Revolution is truly phenomenal and from start to finish employs a cohesive and distinct style that makes the world seem very genuine. The sound design is even better, with what I consider to be one of the best complete soundtracks in gaming. The balance of the individual skills and weapons is also much better than the original's, with most every skill serving some kind of useful purpose and each weapon being worth the inventory space for one particular role or another.

Certainly it is not without flaws, as the skill system allows for too many skills to be acquired over the course of a single playthrough, and the hacking skill is provides far more benefits than it should, making it feel almost mandatory. More notably though the much-maligned boss fights stick out like tumors that contradict the rest of the game's wonderful design; luckily they are few, and their encounters are straightforward and brief.

For me, the strengths of Human Revolution came together much more than the the original's, even though the flaws are more evident.

5. Portal 2 ; (PC/360/PS3)

The first Portal is one of my favorite games of the current generation. It did one thing, did it phenomenally well, and right when they ran out of the good stuff, the game ended. It's about as smart as you can get when it comes to game design. That made me nervous about the idea of a sequel at all. I wasn't sure what direction they were going to go, and whatever that turned out to be, surely they couldn't hit that pitch-perfect pacing twice in a row.

Unfortunately, that thought pretty much turned out to be accurate. It's not the perfectly tuned slice of puzzle gaming that Portal was, nor did it have the same laser focus on mastering one singular element of design. While the gameplay does introduce some new ideas - mostly revolving around fluids that have different effects on the environment - the puzzles seemed a bit more straightforward throughout the game compared to the original. There's not much room for ingenuity when working through a room in Portal 2; at one point I stumbled across a means to solve a puzzle, and was actually blocked by an invisible wall. To proceed I had to turn around and solve it in the manner that they had put forth instead.

What they did manage to do though is expand the scope of the game in ways that were still very thoughtful. There's a much bigger thread of exposition that runs through Portal 2 in an attempt to replace the mystery of the first game's setting. Losing that kind of mystery always comes at a cost, because whatever you trade mystery for becomes subject to examination and value judgments. That said, I think the folks at Valve were not just smart enough to recognize this, but skilled enough to do it anyway and give something back in return that felt worthwhile. In Portal 2's case, that definitely comes from the characters they've decided to invent and expand upon. They manage to make robots into some of the most memorable, emotive characters in all of gaming. Not just that but they made them genuinely humorous; a risky mark to take aim at but one they manage to strike well and it adds a wonderful element of depth to the cast.

While I adore the characters they've created with this sequel, I can't help but hope that in the third game that a balance is struck between exploring the game's setting and bringing that tight design focus back. The quality of the puzzles seems to have suffered slightly under the additional burden of drawing out the content. That said, Portal 2 is still a puzzler of fantastic quality with some of the best writing I've enjoyed in ages.


Jan 12, 2011
1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; This game has everything: stealth, awesome weapons, an interesting setting and engaging story. My game of the year.
2. Dark Souls ; My first experience with this series. I loved the feeling of exploration and danger. Amazing atmosphere throughout.
3. Portal 2 ; Wheatley is my npc of the year. Great puzzles, great design and awesome writing.
4. Modern Warfare 3 ; Average singleplayer experience, but much better multiplayer than Black Ops.
5. Battlefield 3 ; Technically amazing and epic in scale.
6. Clash of Heroes HD ; I've probably put close to 100 hours into this game. Great combination of bejeweled and heroes.
7. Dungeons of Dredmor ; Funny, challenging dungeon crawler for $5. Plus it was made in my city!
8. Binding of Isaac ; Weirdly twisted little dungeon crawler/arcade game. The biblical inspiration was great.
9. Spacechem ; One of the most challenging (and rewarding) games I've ever played. I would lay awake at night thinking of solutions.
10. The Witcher 2 ; Amazing graphics and interesting characters. Definitely one of the best RPGs I've played.

x. Minecraft ; I boot this up every patch or so, and always get a day or two of fun. The gift that keeps on giving!

2010. Fallout: New Vegas ; Bought this with all the DLC for $15 during the latest steam sale. Despite the occasional bug, I thought it was brilliant. Much better than Fallout 3, it is easily the best RPG I've played in the last 10 years or so.

EDIT: Is Clash of Heroes HD eligible? I believe there are feature differences as well as new art.

#1 defender

Jan 19, 2010
1. Batman: Arkham City
2. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
3. Yakuza 4
4. Infamous 2
5. Little Big Planet
6. Motorstorm: Apocalypse
7. Mass Effect 2
8. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
9. Renegade Ops
10. Infamous: Festival of Blood

2010. Vanquish


Jan 3, 2011
New Zealand
1. The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
2. Xenoblade Chronicles
3. Ghost Trick
4. Saints Row 3
5. Bulletstorm
6. Professor Layton and the Last Specter
7. Pokemon Black
8. Batman Arkham City
9. Crysis 2
10. Portal 2


Jul 17, 2006
Denver, CO
Well I guess I have no more time to try out any more games. Sorry Uncharted 3 and Gears of War 3.

1. Portal 2; Seriously how can someone make such a great puzzle game that also has the best co-op, atmosphere, and story of any other game out this year. Portal is the counter argument both to people that say games are to mindless and games are to similar to everything else. They keep the puzzle aspects of it interesting by adding tons of new mechanics to the classic Portal gameplay and they somehow toped themselves with the two characters they introduced to the story. The art design was wonderful, and added to both the story and gameplay perfectly with some drastic changes to the environment multiple times through the story. The co-op is truest to the term co-oprative than any game before it with the amount of discussion and cordination that has to be done to continue through it. Really Portal 2 just does almost everything one head above anyone else. Truly a gem and one that will be remembered.

2. Mortal Kombat; I am not a big fighting game fan. I can barely do a fireball motion consistently, and forget about any 15 hit combos. The fact that this makes number 2 on my list really says tons. They added so much stuff for people like me and my friends that don't have the skills to get deep into a fighting game system. Test your luck was an amazing gamemode for people like us. The story was well done and blended with the gameplay perfectly, and the challenges and unlockables provided tons of replayability when your friends aren't around. I don't know how they could make a better fighting game.

3. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective; This is a game with some really unique gameplay and puzzles that fit in wonderfully with the story. Telling a story using gameplay is one of the holy grails of gaming, and this one did that multiple times. Practicably every puzzle is a story in itself. Add some amazing characters and a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and you have yourself a wonderful game.

4. Saints Row: The Third; It is so refreshing to have an action game that is focused more on fun then it is on cinematics and realism. Good character progression is becoming a lost art disturbingly fast, but Saints Row is here to save it with its constant dolling out of new weapons, vehicles, and abilities each better than the last. When you aren't going through the incredibly fun story, you can also work towards collecting collectibles, beating side missions, and reconquering the city, all of which was insanely fun an rewarding to do.

5. Sonic Generations; People thought it couldn't be done, but the Sonic team has finally struck a balance between blinding speed, and precise platforming by re-implementing the concepts of multiple paths that the Genesis Sonic had. When you are on the faster portions of the track there will be areas that fork, with the path that takes more skill to reach leading to another fast portion of the level, and if you fail to are rewarded with a classic platforming section. Both sections are fun and provide great replayablity by encouraging you to find the quickest path possible. I've never replayed one level so many times while still having as much fun with it the last time as I did the first time.

6. Bastion; This is yet another game on my list that just hits the ball out of the park on both gameplay and story. The way the story is told is unique and incredibly well done and the world in which Bastion resides is surprisingly deep and interesting. But what really sets this game apart is the dearth of ways you can approach any situation. There are plenty of weapons, weapon modifications, character traits, and enemy traits to choose from, all very different from each other and yet all still very viable. Creating new strategies around these options is always satisfying, and the amount of new strategies you can create is astonishing.

7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; There was once a time when a game like Skyrim would be very low budget and very difficult to play thanks to some really obscure and hard to understand game mechanics that are supposed to play up the "RPG" part of the game. I am glad that we are finally past all that in Skyrim. The fact that I can easily recommend this game to any player really shows how far Skyrim has evolved the genre. But polish isn't the only thing that Skyrim does better than its predecessors as the giant world it's set is both beautiful to look at and interesting to learn more about.

8. Batman: Arkham City; Batman: Arkham Asylum was my game of the year the year it came out, so making that game again was bound to be success to me. The parts that make Batman Batman are all still here with both deep and satisfying combat that make use of a large arsenal of weapons, and some incredible gliding mechanics that makes getting around the world fun. There are a lot of moving parts to that game, and all of them are really great.

9. Super Mario 3D Land; When you think of Mario games you think of good controls and fun levels. Super Mario 3D Land is no different. Running across the huge number of levels, stomping Gombas and collecting coins is as fun as it has ever been. You should know what to expect from a Mario game at this point, but when they continue to do that so well how could you complain?

10. Child of Eden; The video game industry is chock full of games meant to get your adrenaline up. It is refreshing to see a game whose goal is to bring your adrenaline down. Playing through Child of Eden is an experience all it's own, with imagery and music to set the perfect tone of every level. You could also play for high scores or achievements if you want, but all I want from Child of Eden is to sit back and appreciate the experience and it does that wonderfully.

x. Brink; The look of the game was gourgous, levels were fun, and classes filled thier roles
x. Dead Island; Co-op is always fun and this game did co-op well
x. Duke Nukem Forever; Glad to see some classic FPS design come back, and parts of the Duke universe were fun
x. Orcs Must Die; The traps are really cool and fun to use and it's rare to see good controls in a tower defense game

Missed playing Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, Alice Madness Returns, Yakuza 4, Witcher 2, Rayman Origins, Xenoblade (is that going to be an option next year?), Resistance 3, Infamous 2, Modern Warfare 3, WWE All Stars, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery.

Biggest disappointments were LA Noir, Battlefield 3, and Zelda Skyward Sword.
Apr 10, 2008
Buenos Aires
Consoles owned: DS, PSP, Wii

1. Kirby Mass Attack ; Pikmin 2D. So much variety in levels. Challenging, especially if you go for Gold Medals.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Haven't finished yet. It has some clear flaws, most easily fixable like too much dialogue, unnecesary cutscenes (opening chest, etc) and goddamn loot/bugs description being repeated every session. By this point I'm sensing some clear filler, but it's not that bad. Gamer could have benefited from being shorter, true. But it's Zelda.

3. MotoHeroz ; I really liked the racer/platforming blend on this. It's just so much fun to play, and has a lot of content.

4. Kirby's Return to Dreamland ; Not much to say, it's sidescroller Kirby done well. The ability rooms provide some variety and extreme challenge. I haven't beat the True Arena yet and I doubt I ever will, it looks impossible even with 2 players.

5. Ghost Trick

6. Okamiden ; Not as good as Okami in most aspects, but it does improve on the dungeons. Still doesn't touch Zelda on that aspect, but they are at least good.

Other good games I played not worth to include in a GOTY list:
x. Aliens Infestation
x. Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!?
x. Monster Tale
x. Mighty Milky Way

Haven't played yet:
Tactics Ogre PSP
PES 2012 Wii
Lost in Shadow


Jun 10, 2004
love the dredmor pick Wallach. it's going to be way up there on my list as well. i spent a good two weeks mesmerized by that game and its awesome soundtrack.

out of curiosity did you play binding of isaac?


Jun 26, 2008
love the dredmor pick Wallach. it's going to be way up there on my list as well. i spent a good two weeks mesmerized by that game and its awesome soundtrack.

out of curiosity did you play binding of isaac?
Thanks, I wish more people had played it. Of course they basically bribed me by putting my own little quote in the game (the one in my banner), so naturally it had to go on my list.

Haven't played Binding of Isaac. I kind of want to, but I thought Super Meat Boy was a bit of a technical mess on PC and it didn't sound any better when Isaac launched. Was hoping to hold out until he coded it in something other than Flash, I really don't like to encourage developers to use it.


listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
Haven't played Binding of Isaac. I kind of want to, but I thought Super Meat Boy was a bit of a technical mess on PC and it didn't sound any better when Isaac launched. Was hoping to hold out until he coded it in something other than Flash, I really don't like to encourage developers to use it.
FWIW, the main issues with Isaac related to Steam achievements and I think they're all fixed. Besides that, there's no Joypad support and there isn't going to be, so use Joy2Key if you want it. I do recommend you play it. It's very one of a kind.


Jun 26, 2008
FWIW, the main issues with Isaac related to Steam achievements and I think they're all fixed. Besides that, there's no Joypad support and there isn't going to be, so use Joy2Key if you want it. I do recommend you play it. It's very one of a kind.
I will at some point, but not until I have less things in my rotation that I'm actively playing. If he pulls a VVVVVV with it at some point I'll make it a higher priority.

On a side note, is my formatting going to work properly? I wonder if I should write out the list normally at the bottom or something.


Jun 10, 2004
Thanks, I wish more people had played it. Of course they basically bribed me by putting my own little quote in the game (the one in my banner), so naturally it had to go on my list.

Haven't played Binding of Isaac. I kind of want to, but I thought Super Meat Boy was a bit of a technical mess on PC and it didn't sound any better when Isaac launched. Was hoping to hold out until he coded it in something other than Flash, I really don't like to encourage developers to use it.
that quote of yours being in the game is great. how did that come about?

as for isaac, it is definitely a bigger mess than SMB (which i had no problems with). i get a boatload of slowdown that is only slightly alleviated by setting the game's cpu priority to high. it's apparently a common complaint. the menus are also a total hassle to navigate. flash really feels like a dinosaur at this point and the sooner html5 usurps it the better. despite these things i adore the game. it's brutal in every sense of the word and completely opaque, but the sheer variety of items and the drastic effects they have on your character (both mechanically and visually, for better or worse) is something to behold. by the end of a run no two characters will look or play alike. the replay value is immense thanks to the game's random nature and the brilliant achievement-based progression metagame they incorporated. new items, floors, bosses, and playable characters are unlocked by accomplishing certain feats and clearing the game multiple times, with all progress tracked through achievements. in fact i would say it is easily the best use of achievements i have ever seen. i highly recommend that any fan of roguelikes at least give it a shot.


Jun 26, 2008
that quote of yours being in the game is great. how did that come about?
One of their guys posts on SA and a spreadsheet got put together for them regarding bug reporting and suggestions and whatnot. At some point someone brought up suggesting new quotes, so most of us added a few ideas to the spreadsheet. They took a handful of the ones they liked and put 'em in the game.


fired zero bullets in the orphanage.
Sep 1, 2007
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; To me, Skyrim has been a constant rollercoaster. It has a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but in the end it simply provided an experience that completely absorbed me like few games have done before. Finally I can adopt the playstyle I wanted to be in Oblivion, stealth around and steal without worry of psychic guards, get insane damage from hidden archery strikes, just roam into a completely random cave and get sidetracked for hours on a huge, expansive and unique dungeon with its own subplot. Dragons provided a plethora of completely insane encounters, where something as simple as encountering a small little farm outside the nearest major city can have me ambushed by two Ancient Dragons at once, lure them back to the city, and have an entire guard force fight them with me. Even had the dragon not attacked me here, I just cannot get bored of walking around the gorgeous world they crafted here. There's so many moments that just stand out like a perfectly framed picture, it's unreal.

It certainly has its rough spots, like the Thieve's Guild bugging out on me not allowing me to continue, but it honestly has provided me so much entertainment in comparison that the bugs detracted less here compared to me usual foray into a Bethesda game. Truly a game that will be hard for them to top.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; I sadly never have actually played the other Deus Ex games, and infact actually had no idea what type of game it really was. I didn't watch a single piece of footage on this, and only ended up renting it due to it releasing right before the year end rush. Immediately I was completely on board as I spent the first few hours doing nothing but breaking into my co-worker's offices and reading a subplot in all the emails, and saw that the game punished me for wasting time not doing the urgent mission at hand. It reminded me of the type of game that is nearly gone at this point, where you actually have legitimate player freedom and the game won't cater to you 100% of the way. The city hubs were amazingly designed with this in mind, having so many shortcuts to make sure each power you unlock had a purpose, hidden goodies to find, or simply make traveling a helluva lot easier. This same design philosophy carries over to the actual missions as well, so while I was playing stealthy, it wasn't just some always obvious path to skip through. There were multiple paths I was able to try out, meaning even having a single goal(not be seen/not kill) can have multiple playthroughs alone and not feel entirely repetitive.

Hearing that the DLC is good makes me ecstatic, as I haven't had time to jump back into the game lately. Knowing I have even more of this game to play makes me ecstatic to get back into it soon.

3. Gears of War 3 ; Gears has always been a series that nailed the sweet spot of TPS for me. Incredibly satisfying gunplay accented by the simpler things, such as the ever so satisfying head pop sound, to the feeling of nailing an active reload in a heated battle. I was late on the 360, so by the time I tried Gears 1, 2 was due out in 6 months or so. At this point it was essentially impossible for me to get into the MP, as it was populated by the best of the best. I vowed to get great at the game for 2...but I think it goes without saying how that went down. Even with its netcode issues, I was still able to get the occasional game where I wasn't the host but went on a complete rampage, it felt amazing every time. Gears 3 FINALLY delivers this at a consistent rate due to the dedicated servers, and is finally a game I can go to for my MP gameplay.

I should mention I'm the type of gamer that absolutely despises the trend of MP unlocks, perks, and all that garbage. In pretty much every case it's all a matter of playing the game more than other players and getting outright advantages over other players--straight up bullshit to me. Gears is one of the few games that sticks to the basics, and as such is the only type of game I can really invest a lot of time into. Beating a team of newer players with my shiny unlocked gun does not do a damn thing for me, and being beaten by a team with better equipment than me does little but make me shut off the game and question why I would waste my time with this.

And on top of all of this, Gears 3 still has a great campaign, horde mode, beast has a truly commendable wealth of content that can satisfy nearly every niche of gamer, co-op or competitive alike.

4. Rayman Origins ; I feel like I have so much to say about this but so little at the same time. It's simply an extremely well done platformer. Gorgeous art, great music, creative stages all the way through. It's complete quality through and through, and the only knock I have against it was the boss battles all being pretty annoying pattern memorization. This had a horrible release date, and it's a complete shame it's going to be overlooked by so many people.

5. Bulletstorm ; I did not play Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Killzone 3, etc. this year, mostly for one reason: Bulletstorm. I am at the point where these linear point and shoot fests are completely lost on me, I'm burnt out and they aren't fun. Bulletstorm embraces what it is, gives the player a bunch of crazy weapons, and lets them go all out. I knew I'd like it based on the prelease gameplay, but I'm still genuinely shocked the campaign was as great as it was. Before I beat the game I managed to hit every skillshot with exception of two or three of the more hidden ones, which goes to show how much fun I had simply experimenting. I was always switching my weapons around and never had a 'go-to' weapon, as it was simply too fun to play it that way. It's a shame Duke Nukem Forever didn't help continue this trend, and I haven't played Serious Sam 3 yet, but I am really hoping that the crazier style of FPS starts to come back. I'm supporting People Can Fly 100% of the way, and am hopeful that Gearbox can make a great ground up Duke game to help.

6. Portal 2 ; It hurts to put Portal 3 this far down the list, because I honestly don't even have any critiques against it. It was constantly witty, made me genuinely laugh on many occasions, and had a lot of creative twists thrown on the portal forumla to make it never dull out over the length of the campaign. Then there was the amazing co-op half, which made for so many moments of both hilarity and stupidity, the game is just pure joy to play through.

7. Saints Row The Third ; Take something wacky, dial it to 11, inject it with steroids, then inject it with more steroids, and then you might be close to how nuts The Third is. The mission scenarios alone made me laugh, and it had good dialog to compliment this. While the gameplay never excels to truly great levels, it felt serviceable and worked well enough to never frustrate me. It also fixes a big issue most open world games like this face, which is a completely broken economy. Due to the smart upgrade system literally covering everything you can think of, from reducing fire damage, bullet damage, fall damage, ammo up for specific weapons, health up, stamina up, etc., I found myself always short on cash in a good way. There's property to buy and cars to upgrade on top of this, and it actually lasted me throughout the entire game before I got to the point where I felt rich, as it should be. The city isn't as interesting in comparison to SR2, and they actually did lose a lot of activities in the process, but I feel like it's a much more polished product overall, and had a much more entertaining time with it overall compared to the dragging on feeling I had with the previous two.

8. Batman: Arkham City ; Similar to Portal 2, I really don't feel this should be so far down on the list, but I can't exactly help it. I was a big fan of AA, and am not entirely sure which one I prefer. I feel the pacing in AC got worse due to the city, but AC actually has legitimately fun boss battles and much more variety in the combat. Instead of dwelling on comparison so much, I can only really say that on its own AC is still a fantastic game and the type of superhero game other developers need to strive for. The combat is as fun as ever, and I still managed to crack the top 100 in quite a few combat rooms, which is always adrenailine pumping. I was pretty miffed about the handling of catwoman however, she is poor at stealth which goes against her character--not sure if this was just part of the DLC mess meaning they didn't spend as much time on her, but I hope in the future if they decide to go to multiple characters again, they'll all be fleshed out in a gameplay sense more. To other developers, please stop churning out these mediocre movie tie ins and do the source material justice.

9. Catherine ; From the outset I was intrigued by the idea behind Catherine. Then, they showed gameplay and I was immediately turned off. A game about pulling blocks, really? Well, luckily I ended up adoring the actual gameplay segments, finding many of the later levels to be legitimately creative and puzzling, while offering a great challenge. I loved it enough to actually go through and get each of the 9 endings, and spent quite a chunk of time in the Rapunzel minigame and the Babel challenges. In the end, though, the game broke me. Rapunzel got way too hard for me, and I was only able to actually clear the first Babel challenge. Regardless, the addictivness I found in the gameplay was genuinely shocking, and has actually opened me up to try out more puzzler games in the future. This even started the weird 'competitive' streams I watched whenever they happened, which were always hilarious...and the game works surprisingly well at being competetive, I have to say. I also want to mention that I loved the artstyle and music in the game, which always helps.

10. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; Zelda is outright my favorite series of all time, so this can mean many things when a new installment comes out. I may end up being biased towards it and overlook many things I would lambast a game for in other areas, or I may actually be overly critical and want the game to instead be how I would rather picture it. I do think I got really critical of the game in the OT, but I don't believe it is unfairly so. There's a lot of elements in here I loathe; Fi is a horrible character, the game's pace is way too slow with regards to both Fi's interupptions and the text not being able to go faster than a dying snail, and the sky is a barren waste of everyone's time. There are parts where I was genuinly getting annoyed and/or bored, like backtracking to an earlier dungeon to collect water for an arbitrary reason, or escorting someone with horrible AI up a mountain for, again, a completely arbitrary reason. The game stretches itself out far more than it needs to, and has a lot of fat.

But getting the negative out of the way, what isn't there as fat is some fantastic stuff. Skyloft was full of cheery characters that were all very expressive and odd, fitting well within series expectations. I really dug all of the tear collecting segments, as it added twists to make them full of tension that they lacked in TP; plus it tested your knowledge of areas instead of introducing you to them. I liked all of the dungeons, though I found most of them too simple for my tastes. This is finally a game that does motion controls well, for the most part. I was very worried heading into it when I was seeing stuff like using the wiimote to balance on a rope or swing on a vine, as it made me think Nintendo was going to go compeltetly overboard and throw a motion on everything that didn't need it. I do feel this at points(bomb rolling), but for the most part they managed to atleast work as well as I would hope, and the sword combat opens up a lot of unique ideas that I would actually like to see further explored in the future, though who knows what the next Zelda game will be with the way this series go. The main thing that this game did right for me was the endgame, the buildup to the final dungeon, the dungeon itself, and the entire final gameplay scenario was amazing.

x. Dark Souls ; Ahh, Dark Souls. In the ~45 hours it took me to complete this game, I went through so many emotions it wasn't even like the Skyrim rollercoaster. It was more like flying a plane as high as altitude would allow, throwing my only parachute out the window, then skydiving after it trying to catch it. That is to say, for the first portion of the game this was some of the best gaming I had in years. It was easily the game of the year for me(this was after Deus Ex and before Skyrim), everything was just clicking. I've always been a patient gamer, so I never really found the game(or Demon's) to be hard, but I never actually got the appeal of Demon's Souls. I felt like I finally understood with Dark Souls, as I was effortlessly moving past all the roadblocks I was hearing about online. The community engagement added a lot, as this was at the game's launch and I was posting a lot in the gaf OT which was moving faster than any thread I've ever seen here.

I eventually got to the clocktower, took an elevator down, and saw it bring me back to the start at Firelink shrine. My jaw dropped at how far I've come, only to see the game perfectly weave me back here. This jaw did not raise for awhile, as I went into the sewer and had the best time I had with the game. The incredibly small hallways made me go slow as hell here, I was sitting on a ton of souls. I saw a giant rat and got killed for the first time in the game. My heart was beating incredibly fast as I was making my way back here, noticing all the clever traps i missed before, such as holes that I previously thought would kill me dropping me into a pit with curse frogs that eventually lead up to where I was. I got invaded for the first time and my palms turned white, I ended up kicking its ass and moved on. Later I found out it was a CPU scripted invade, but at the time it caught me off guard. I eventually got my souls, killed the boss on my first shot, and moved on. I was ecstatic at this point.

Eventually I hit a point, beating Anor Londo. At this point, I don't really know what to say. The endgame areas are all incredibly boring to me, and downright annoying/cheap in others. A pitchblack area with giant skeletons who wield giant clubs, narrow paths, instant death falls all around. This was the antithesis of fun, and it eventually just wore on me. I started running past everything which is never a good thing in this game, but it eventually worked and I managed to cheese the boss. Then I had to go through a cave with invisible pathways, got instant killed by the boss, was sent back and had to trek over this invisible section multiple times. Not fun, wanted the game to be over at this point. Then I hit lost izalith.

Lost Izalith is the culmination of horrible, rushed design. I was shocked. Giant ugly half torso's of some dinosaur looking thing that just walk at you, jump up, or swing their tail. They take a beating. There's something like...28 of these fucking things in this one giant room full of lava. The area looks ugly as hell, there's groups of these enemies in 2-3 in completely random spots guarding absolutely nothing. It's a giant ugly pit of lava that has them all over the wall for no reason, there's nothing over there, and the area is large for no reason. The enemies aren't fun to fight, the area is a pain to get across, and at this point you just faced hordes of enemies that were early bosses copied over again. They got nuts with copy and paste here, and just lazily hashed together this area. After this area I just had short trek to the last boss, beat the game and really felt nothing. The endgame stuff was so disappointing to me compared to the creativity they had in crafting the areas, I couldn't believe it was all in the same game.

On top of this, there's the whole online system. They had a lot of things called Covenants in here, which sounded amazing. A group of people that just invade everyone's games to fuck them up, another group that helps invade people that do this when they get reported, it was like a game within a game. Except it never worked, atleast when I played it for the first few weeks after launch. I was rarely seeing messages from other players, rarely seeing spirits, the invading never happened, and this was happening with everyone. They released giant patches since then, and it's quite possible that this all actually works now, but on top of the online system being as it was and the entire second half of the game...I was just dumbfounded. It says a lot about how much I enjoyed this at the start that I was still going to put it in my top 10, it barely missed it and instead is my number 11. I love the music, the artstyle, and the gameplay itself, but I certainly hope From Software actually finishes the product before they release it next time.

x. Alice: Madness Returns ; A game I was going to completely skip had it not been for gaf, I'm glad I picked it up. While a lot of the levels go on for longer than I feel they need to, the game still provided a ton of great enjoyment for me. The combat was much better than I anticipated, and the platforming allowing for triple jumps and hovers inbetween let you cover an insane amount of ground and allows them to have some devilish secrets hidden around. The art style is gorgeous, and I looked forward to seeing the new dress Alice had in each chapter.

x. Shadows of the Damned ; I laughed at a lot of games this year in retrospect, SotD was certainly one of them. The books Garcia read are hilarious not just for the content, but for the great way the lines were delivered. Gameplay wise you have a lot of very weird things like the baby door locks that you need to feed an item, the dark mechanics which drain your life if you're in it for too long, drinking alcohol to regain life, etc. It all is fit together with oddly appropriate sound effects and is mixed with a story that is completely absurd. All in all the gameplay actually was a lot of fun as well. It's fairly exploitable with all the invulnerable frames you get for the melee attacks, and the guns after you upgrade them start getting super powerful. As fun as it is to use the Dentist, which is basically an SMG that locks on to multiple enemies heads at once and unloads an entire clip into all of them, it kind of makes the entire game not hard at all.

Biggest disappointments of the year for me were LA Noire and Uncharted 3.


It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time.
Mar 17, 2007
Baltimore, MD
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. L.A. Noire
3. Deus Ex Human Revolution
4. Portal 2
5. Dark Souls


May 15, 2010
1. Mario Kart 7
2. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
3. Bastion
4. Portal 2
5. The Legends of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
6. Plants VS Zombies
7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
8. Pushmo
9. Pokemon Black/White
10. Terraria


Master of the Google Search
Feb 22, 2007
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. Portal 2
3. Radiant Historia
4. Saints Row: The Third
5. Ghost Trick
6. The Stanley Parable
7. Rayman Origins
8. Sonic Generations
9. Catherine
10. Pokemon Black

x. Back to the Future
x. Dragon Quest VI
x. Bastion

2010. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
Dec 28, 2008
1. Atom Zombie Smasher ; The reason I play video games. It's mechanically simplistic yet still systematically emergent and whenever I play, I can tell an amazing story about me trying to save humanity from a Zombie outbreak from just the mechanics of the game. Most of the time it's tragic but when it's not, the highs are higher than anything I played all year.

2. Portal 2 ; It's linear, highly scripted provides little player agency and yet I still love it. As someone who doesn't like linearity in video games, Portal 2 proved that if it's done as well as this, there is (hopefully) a bright future for this method of game design.

3. Frozen Synapse ; For as far back as I remember, I have never felt as tense as I do when I click the "send turn" button in Frozen Synapse. You sit there and spend 15 minutes planning 5 seconds of combat thinking of what another person somewhere on the internet might do and then try and counter that all while knowing that he is doing the exact same thing. It's just great.

4. Skyrim ; The most ambitious game of the year. So many cool stories. So many great adventure. So many dragons and I still feel like I haven't scratched it's surface.

5. The Binding of Isaac ; It's a rogue-like that doesn't feel bullshit and antiquated. I get as much fun out the core mechanics as I do the overarching ones. Really fun. Really addictive . Really good.

6. Gears of War 3 ; Best shooter this year.

7. Mortal Kombat ; Alcohol + friends + MK = a tonne of fun.

8. Batman: Arkham City ; My favourite Batman sim. The combat is just so much fun and really rewarding.

9. Orcs Must Die ; Everything about it is really, really polished. Outside of multiplayer, I don't know how they'd improve on what they set out to make.

10. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; I'm a sweet cyberpunk guy in a gold coloured world, stacking boxes and icing fools. Great combination of new and old school RPG design.

2010. Super Meat Boy; I am a leaf on the wind - Watch how I soar.


Oct 31, 2007
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
2. Atelier Totori
3. DoDonPachi Resurrection
4. Deathsmiles
5. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
6. Ghost Trick
7. Corpse Party
8. Hyperdimension Neptunia; While this mostly got average to bad reviews, I very much enjoyed all the tweaks you can make and the dungeon crawling as a whole
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
10. Hard Corps: Uprising

2010. 999; Played this in February or else it'd have made the #2 spot on my 2010 list.


Jan 8, 2009
1. Portal 2
2. The Witcher 2: Assassain of Kings
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
4. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
5. Batman: Arkham City
6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
7. Mortal Kombat
8. Modern Warfare 3

Honorable mention: Team Ico Collection. It'd be high on my list, but I don't think HD remake count.

Also have yet to finish Bastion, Saints Row the Third and AC: Revelations.


May 23, 2010
1. Dark Souls
2. Bastion
3. Gemini Rue
4. Rayman Origins
5. Jamestown
6. Skyrim
7. Terraria
8. Puzzle Agent 2
9. Football Manager 12
10. Mortal Kombat


Jul 18, 2006
Dominican Republic
1. Resistance 3 ; I was almost going to remove it from the top of my list due to some game breaking bugs, but i still think that the game is really good. Definitely went back to what made the original game good, so people should definitely try it, since it's definitely being underapreciated. I just hope that for a future game, they also return the online amount of players to at least R1 levels, with 40 players.
2. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ; Another master piece from Naughty Dog, but not as good as Uncharted 2 on my book. The game needed at least a couple of more months in the oven since it also has some bugs in the single players campaign, and the ending but it's still really good.
3. Batman: Arkham City ; Just finished it last weekend. Awesome game, lot's of things to do-
4. Mortal Kombat ; Really nice revival of this franchise, interesting single player mode, and also didn't rip me up by releasing a superior game six months later at a cheaper price and with more characters.
5. Dark Souls ; The sequel to Demon Souls. Enough Said.
6. Renegade Ops ; Awesome Jackal game, fun coop campaign and some of the best graphics i have ever seen in a downloadable game. Has some serious online bugs though.
7. The King of Fighters XIII ; Finally, Kof is back.

2010. Gran Turismo 5.

My backlog and lack of time did not allow me to play Zelda Skyward Sword, it's a shame considering that a lot of people have it as part of their GOTY list.
Jul 7, 2010
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. Portal 2
3. Kirby Mass Attack
4. Super Mario 3D Land
5. Saints Row: The Third
6. Shadows of the Damned
7. Ghost Trick
8. Pushmo
9. Dead Space 2
10. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2010. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
x. Xenoblade Chronicles (EU import)
x. Radiant Historia
x. Dragon Quest VI
x. Bastion
x. Deus Ex: Human Revolution


Mar 23, 2008
Northern Ireland
1. Dark Souls; Satisfying combat and lots of great enemy designs and variety. Just like Demon’s Souls, it has fantastic level design but the decision to go with an open world this time around introduces some really great moments were you would loop around back to your original starting position via a completely different path and realise how well each area connects together despite each having a very unique atmosphere and aesthetic. While I found that maybe a few of the bosses ended up being a bit of a let down, there were still some great ones such as Ornstein & Smough that really stood out. The soundtrack during the boss fights was fantastic throughout and really added to the atmosphere of some specific areas like as Ash Lake. I put just under 100 hours into my first playthrough and loved every minute of it.

2. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective; It reminded me a lot of the first time I played the original Ace Attorney game. I didn’t get around to playing this until near the end of the year, but I got hooked once I started. It reminded me a lot of the first time I played the original Ace Attorney game. It has a great memorable cast, a fantastic soundtrack and some really impressive animation. Most of the puzzles are simple enough but still fun to carry out and they found some nice ways to mix them up as the game progressed so that they always feel interesting.

3. Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception; It had some issues with pacing but was still a very enjoyable adventure with some of my favourite chapters of the series. There were a few complaints around release about it feeling too much like Uncharted 2, but I felt that the introduction of chase sequences and the melee brawls added some nice variety and most of the big set pieces such as the cruise ship and plane still felt unique to Uncharted 3 and not like a retread of the Uncharted 2 train chapters. I didn’t play much competitive multiplayer but the co-op multiplayer modes are a lot of fun and I’m glad that Naughty Dog looks to be adding new co-op scenarios post-release.

4. Shadows of the Damned; RE4 style gameplay with some cool puzzles that make good use of the darkness mechanic. The Big Boner and 2D sequences were definitely the low points but the rest of the game was solid throughout with some enjoyable boss fights and great weapons. The banter between Garcia and Johnson was always great to listen to, especially during the story book sections. I really liked the ending and am disappointed that we may never see a sequel.

5. Portal 2; Lots of cool new mechanics to play with such as the light bridges and different types of gel helped to make most of the puzzles feel fresh and not just more of the same puzzles from the original. Weatley and Cave Johnson where both great new characters and just as memorable as GLaDOS. The old test chambers were a nice change of pace and introduced some unique puzzles while also providing some cool back-story about Aperture Science and the main characters. That ending was also pretty cool.

6. Yakuza 4; I’m not usually a fan of switching between multiple characters in the middle of a game but I thought that Yakuza 4 handled the switch between its four characters well enough. Each character was a lot of fun to play as and their unique fighting styles as well as having their own personal side missions and challenges helped to switch things up enough that you didn’t feel like you were experiencing the exact same thing four times.

7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution; Great stealth gameplay with a decent amount of options available for tackling each situation. I had the most fun with the side missions which took place around the hub locations but most of the main missions were great too, offering some nice challenge. The boss fights really hurt the game as each encounter with one made me want to stop playing, but I’m glad that I stuck with it because after each boss the game returns to being just as enjoyable as it was before.

8. Dead Space 2; I felt that the USG Ishimura setting of the original Dead Space was a more interesting location than most of what was featured during the sequel, but the more linear progression of Isaac’s journey through the campaign still worked well. Shooting off limbs is as fun as ever and some of the creepy new enemies were great.

9. Gears of War 3; I didn’t touch any of the multiplayer stuff this time around but had fun with the campaign and plan on playing through it again with a friend at some point. I found the story to be pretty weak for the most part and it introduced too many useless characters when really it should have stuck to the main four, but it had enough memorable moments and fun set pieces to keep me playing and found the ending to be a lot more satisfying than I was expecting from the series.

10. Infamous 2; I only played through once so far which means that I only got to try out the ice powers but I really liked their addition even though they don’t really fit in with the environment in the same way that the standard electricity does. I liked the new characters but felt that the original game had a more interesting antagonist along with better boss characters, and nothing about the story really stood out in same way as some of the bigger moments from the first game. It was also missing out on having something as fun to climb up as the trash tower, but even with these disappointments, I still found my self having a lot of fun just gliding around the city, ice jumping onto telephone lines, hunting for shards and taking part in whatever side mission or random activity pops up on my minimap.

X. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath; I had been looking forward to playing this for a long time and am glad that I finally got to experience it. The beginning was a lot stronger than the later half of the game. Going after the bounty’s and trying to bring them back alive was a lot of fun and there was also much better stealth opportunities in the early game. Towards the end I was usually just playing like I would any other shooter and would just rush through each area. The characters are all fun and quirky with lots of Oddworld style humour.

X. Infamous: Festival of Blood; It’s more Infamous 2 but with some cool new powers to screw around with and a nice Halloween twist to the city of New Marais. I played through this to 100% completion in a day and had a lot of fun with it.

2010. God of War: Ghost of Sparta; I played a lot of older games during 2011 but this was the only 2010 game. I did play Castlevania: Lords of Shadow just this month but decided that I should probably stick to games that I at least started during 2011 even though I still played through it before the deadline. Ghost of Sparta follows a similar template to all of the previous game in the series, but I really enjoyed most of the new weapons and mechanics that they added such as the Arms of Sparta and the Thera’s Bane. Graphically it was a nice step above Chains of Olympus and had some really impressive vistas. The Deimos stuff was also pretty cool for the most part.


I got grudge sucked!
Feb 20, 2007
Just in the nick of time. A few of these I've not finished but I've put in more than enough time to rate them. Think of me as a game journalist.

1. Dark Souls- Easily my favorite. I haven't finished Skyrim yet but I don't see this changing. Demons Souls was my game of 09 and this is a more complete realization of what that game was.

2. Deus Ex. Even with the shitty boss fights and meh ending, I loved this game. I enjoyed the story, the setting, the atmosphere. I hope the do at least one more game leading up to the time of the original.

3. Xenoblade Chronicles. I'm halfway tempted to wait until this year for the US release, but I've played too much of it to ignore it and it wouldn't have the same impact then anyway. Its just a good JRPG that expands a bit on FFXII's combat and grand scale.

4. Radiant Historia. I've never spent 50 hrs on a portable game before.

5. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. and have done it only one other time since

6. Skyrim: When all is said and done, it may climb higher, I've got about 35 hours in so far. I'm one of the few that really liked exploring vanilla Oblivion and this is better in every way.

7. Portal 2. Just recently finished this. The game is honestly pretty dull until the first main twist and getting to explore beyond the testing grounds and Cave Johnson make it a lot more interesting. I felt satisfied at the end.

8. Batman: Arkham City. Definitely one of the best of the year but just not as good as the original. All in all the game may be longer than AA, but the main story is surprisingly short and I haven't felt any of theside missions as compelling. I may enjoy it more when I don't feel like I have to finish it in a hurry.

9. NBA 2K12: The my player role playing is addictive. I'd like to see them expand on it a bit.

10. Two Worlds 2: And here's the oddball. My problem here is I have a lot of GOTY contenders like Skyward Sword, Saints Row the 3rd, Gears of War 3 other games like Bulletstorm, MK, etc. Problem is I haven't played any of them. Two Worlds came out here in the US almost exactly a year ago and despite the jank, I really enjoyed the game. Its unfortunate that the games climax comes out of nowhere, certain plot points are completely dropped, and the largest area of the game you never really get to explore at all. Despite that I found it one of the better gaming experiences this year. To be honest I'd almost put Fishing Resort here. That game is pretty fun.

Honorable Mention: Fishing Resort. If you have a Wii and like easy going exploring type games, Fishing Resort is for you. Really well made, great for all ages and genders.

Honorable Mention 2: I think the OP said I get two honorable mentions. Venetica gets my second HM for all the reasons TWII did. It came out when I had nothing else to play, really low expectations and surprisingly fun despite all the jank.

2010: Fallout New Vegas. I played about 20 hours when it first came out in Oct of 2010, then lost interest when I got to the strip. Picked it back up over the summer, got a companion (Cass > you) and was really hooked. Haven't touched the DLC though.
Nov 16, 2007
Lack of funds has meant that I haven't played as many games as I would have liked to, but I've really enjoyed some of the ones that I have. So, this list isn't as long as my lists in years past were.

1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky; The story and characters in this game captured me like very few other RPGs have in the last couple of years. When you combine that with a well realized world, an inventive and enjoyable battle system, and some of the best written NPC dialogue I can ever remember encountering, you have an easy choice for my game of the year.
2. Yakuza 4
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2: Innocent Sin

2010. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors; I wish I had played this game when it first came out and voted for it. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite games of all time. The story and characters are wonderful, and the puzzles are enjoyable and integrated perfectly into the story. Playing through the game was an experience I will never forget, especially getting the true ending and having my mind completely blown and every element of the game justified.


Apr 15, 2011
Somewhat off the top of my head:

1. Dark Souls ; Damn close to what I want out of action RPGs, if not gaming on a whole.
2. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky ; One of the most charming and memorable JRPGs I've played, reminding me of stuff like Lunar yet likely being better in about every way.
3. Super Mario 3D Land ; A delightful mixture of classic Mario and 3D Mario. Only reason I didn't beat this sooner was due to Xenoblade.
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; More along the lines of what I'd like to see out of first person games, and showing how series should be revived.
5. Radiant Historia ; My tastes leaned more towards Trails in the Sky in the end, but this is just about as good of a JRPG!
6. Saints Row the Third ; Delightfully insane, even if I wished there were less filler missions.
7. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; Improves upon Oblivion drastically, I would've been more seriously into this had Saints Row the Third not come out days afterwards (and that it had bugs Bethesda was still squashing).
8. Portal 2 ; Disproving my thought you couldn't make Portal a longer game without being tiring, plus one of the best climatic scenes in a game ever.
9. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation ; This may be one of the weaker Dragon Quest games, possibly 3 after the original two NES games, but it's still a great traditional JRPG.
10. Catherine ; Fun puzzle solving and an unorthodox story for a video game. Come to think of it, when it comes to Japanese game narratives this has been an awfully strong period.

x: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; I like what it managed to do with motion controls, the villager quests, and the visuals, but I just didn't really ENJOY this as much as I'd like to from a Zelda. Not to mention it seems like their attempts at reintegrating more item controlled progression comes off as limp compared to older titles.
x: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ; Played about as much of this as Skyrim (20 hours about), but it doesn't feel like a game you could fairly judge in the same amount of time. At least I played enough to know I like it, I considered Arkham City but that's been barely played at all.
x: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
x: Pushmo
x: Corpse Party

2010: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - For some reason this really hit the spot. It was down to this or Vanquish, but I think this will stick with me more.

I actually would've thrown Xenoblade on at 3, maybe 2, for 2011, but despite importing and finishing it I am in the US, so I think it'd be better to vote for 2012. Helps that due to being a Christmas gift something like 50-75% of my playtime was this year anyway.

Agent White

Feb 5, 2008
Springfield, Ma.
1. Portal 2
2. Rayman Origins
3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
4. Dark Souls
5. Dead Space 2
6. Saints Row the Third
7. Batman: Arkham City
8. Witcher 2
9. Super Mario 3D Land
10. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

2010. Alpha Protocol

x. Pixeljunk Sidescroller
x. Atom Zombie Smasher
x. Pushmo
x. Trine 2
x. Binding of Issac
x. Bulletstorm
x. Outland
x. M&M: Clash of Heroes


Nov 27, 2007
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ; First game in a long, long time where I couldn't wait to get home and fire it up. Yeah, it has some technical problems, and the combat isn't that deep, but I found exploring the world more enjoyable than just about everything else this year.

2. Bastion ; I love how well the visuals, music, narrative, and gameplay all came together in this game. All of them combined so well made this game a great experience.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution ; Never have played a Deus Ex game, I feel like I have missed out on something great after playing this one. I didn't like how easy it was to cheese the boss fights, but everything else was great.

4. Dark Souls ; I absolutely love the combat mechanics and the difficulty in the game. There have been several times where I can feel my heart pound during a boss or invasion fight. Haven't completed it yet, but I'll get there eventually.

5. Gears of War 3 ; I never have been into the Gears series outside of the campaigns. This one, however, I fell like it got everything right in the other modes. The DLC options and a certain shotgun are all that really hurt the game in any form.

6. Dead Space 2 ; They did a nice job blending more action into the series, though I feel like the quality of the frightening atmosphere from the first was reduced because of this. Still a good 3rd person shooter overall.

7. Mortal Kombat ; A fighter that actually has some meaty single player content, and one where I had my friends actually get excited about. Too bad the online was crap most of the time.

8. Portal 2 ; Loved the characters in this game. I do feel like the puzzels were way too easy to solve.

9. Forza Motorsport 4 ; Still really polished, but not much was really added to separate it from the 3rd one.

10. Battlefield 3 ; Multiplayer is fun.... though I hate, hate the unlock system in this game. Seriously the worst on I have ever experienced.

x. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary ; It was good to go back through and play the original campaign again with a shiny new graphics layer. It just wouldn't feel right actually ranking it as a 2011 game just because of that and the multiplayer component being nothing more than an update for Halo Reach.

2010. Red Dead Redemption


May 27, 2010
Canberra, Australia
1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
2. Batman Arkham City
3. The Witcher 2
4. LA Noire
5. inFamous 2
6. Dead Space 2
7. Bulletstorm
8. Driver San Francisco
9. Portal 2
10. Dead Island

2010: Singularity

X. Alice Madness Returns
X. Shadow of the Damned
X. Resistance 3
X. Skyrim
X. Saint's Row 3
X. Gears of War 3

Stuck away on business so don't have time for anything more detailed. :(


Feb 22, 2011
1. Serious Sam 3.
2. Portal 2.
3. Terraria.
4. Rage.
5. Saints Row: The Third.
6. The Binding of Isaac.
7. Minecraft.
8. Jamestown.
9. Renegade Ops.
10. Sonic Generations


Dec 2, 2010
1. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
2. Portal 2
3. Gears Of War 3
4. Battlefield 3
5. Rayman Origins
6. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
7. L.A. Noire
8. Mortal Kombat
9. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition
10. Jamestown

x. Minecraft
x. Orcs Must Die!

2010. Mass Effect 2
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