Geekcoms top games of 2011


first_imgEvery year the same thing happens: just as we start to get busy with the lead-up to Thanksgiving, some early holiday shopping, and other end-of-the-year activities, there is a massive flood of games. And not just any games, these are the triple-A titles that we’ve been waiting all year for. And then then comes Black Friday, the day when we recall all the titles we missed during the year — the games like Portal 2 and The Witcher 2, which were must-plays at the time, but for whatever reason you just didn’t have time to pick them up.With the 2011 almost over, and the major releases past, it’s time for Geek.com’s End-of-the-Year Gaming Guide.Geek.com’s Top Games of 2011These are the games that defined 2011. Sure, they are mostly sequels, but these were the must-play games of the year. Any well-rounded gamer should consider playing these if they want to have a good feel of what happened this year and what everyone was, and still is, talking about.BastionBatman: Arkham CityBattlefield 3Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3Deus Ex: Human RevolutionElder Scrolls V: SkyrimGears of War 3Infinity Blade 2LA NoireLimboMinecraftPortal 2Super Mario Land 3DSword and Sorcery EPUncharted 3Witcher 2Zelda: Skyward SwordAnd now… the AwardsThese are Geek.com’s 2011 game awards. Here we’ll congratulate 2011’s most notable games in a number of seemingly random, but actually expertly-conceived and delicately-balanced, categories.Best Game in App Form2011 was the year that gaming apps came into their own. Apple’s own pick for App Store Game of the Year was Tiny Tower, a building management sim. Our pick is a better building management sim. It comes from a niche Japanese studio specializing in this type of game and that has produced such works as Game Dev Story. Kairosoft makes games the old-fashioned way by eschewing Zynga-esque algorithms and metrics in favor of games that feel like they’re made by hand. Tiny Tower may have epitomized app gaming in 2011 with its management sim gameplay, pixel art aesthetic, and microtransaction-based business model, but that didn’t stop our pick from being the better game to play…Winner: Mega Mall Story Biggest DisappointmentThis is probably our most subjective award because of its reliance on individual expectations, but even with us doing our best to curtail those thoughts, this game still let us down. It had a huge amount of hype behind it, an unprecedented level of press coverage over the years, and clamoring from long time gamers who loved the previous release. Unfortunately the end result was, well, a hot mess. It was offensive, childish, and just not fun…Winner: Duke Nuke ForeverCall of Duty Modern Warfare 3 vs. Battlefield 3… FIGHTIn the battle of the top-tier warfare shooters it was once again EA vs. Activision, squad-based vs. machine gun mayhem, and vehicles vs. killstreaks. MW3 ran away with the monetary win with over $1B in sales, but that doesn’t matter so much for us. In the end one game just beat out the other thanks to its depth, incredible graphics, and its sheer size, while the other was little more than a competent improvement on the previous version…Winner: Battlefield 3Sleeper HitOur Games of 2011 list shows just how packed the year was with top-notch releases, but one gem flew under the radar. An entry in a long-running franchise, this year’s edition kept up the high-fidelity visuals and impressive cinematics of its predecessor. A major shift to the narrative allowed players to take control of multiple characters, greatly increasing the game’s depth in adventure and fighting. Ever more mini-games and collectibles will keep the perfectionists going at this game even into 2012…Winner: Yakuza 4 Best Handheld Game (non-app)With all the focus on app gaming on phones and tablets, it’s easy to forget that some fine work is still being done on other mobile platforms. There was very little to talk about on the PSP this year, but the DS had some good games and the 3DS managed to score a few as well. Top games included Street Fighter 3D and Ocarina of Time 3D, but the our pick was a really big hit for mobile, non-iOS/Android gaming and it was also something the 3DS really, really needed…Winner: Super Mario Land 3DBest DownloadableDownloadables games may be small, but they can still have great graphics, awesome voiceovers, and tell a complete story. This year’s best downloadable game blew us away with its gameplay, visuals, and simple appeal. It was a pleasure from start to finish and we wish there were more games like it…Winner: Bastion Best Rogue-likeRogue-likes are the Rodney Dangerfield of game genres — they just don’t get any respect. Our favorite RL of 2011 wasn’t a RL by conventional standards, but it’s close enough for our purposes and the changes it made from the genre’s standard helped make it attractive to a wider audience. Plus it was super affordable from day one…Winner: Dungeons of DredmorBest Game without BloodshedIt’s a sad statement on gaming, but we actually had a hard time coming up with a winner for 2011’s best carnage-free game. We’ve thought long and hard, and after discounting a few nearly violence-free games, like Portal 2 and Sword and Sworcery EP, our list was much shorter than we would have liked. Some of the ones that came to mind include the overly-complex Space Chem and a number of other puzzlers, but we’re going to give this award to a lauded, yet under-appreciated racing game…Winner: Forza 4 Best Game from a Previous YearWe’re now in an age where games are ongoing products. Post-release content updates, major gameplay changes, and close attention to the community are quickly becoming standards for core games. One game, hailing from 2007, exemplified how to keep the flame alive. Tons of new content, deep interactions with the modding and eSports communities, and even a graceful transition to the free-to-play model make the 2011 version almost unrecognizable from its (orange) boxed release…Winner: Team Fortress 2last_img read more