Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 of 2011 - Game of the Year

Part 1
Part 2


Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: November 1st, 2011

Adventure games may come and go, but Uncharted is one of the few franchises that has yet to disappoint. The witty antics of Nathan Drake continued in the third installment, which stayed true to what the series is known for; over the top action sequences. Though the pacing and feel was not able to match up to the previous installment, you were still treated to frantic cover shootouts, platforming sequences, and mind bending puzzles. Gorgeous vistas and animations were backed by the ever perfect performances from the voice cast. Coupled with an enjoyable multiplayer and co-operative experience, Uncharted 3 was one of those games you wanted to dive right back into upon completion.

Batman: Arkham City
PC - PS3 - Xbox 360
Developer: Rocksteady
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Release Date: October 18th, 2011

Where I expected a sequel to simply provide more of the same, Arkham City surprised in every way. The small change of taking the game outside of the confined space of the asylum made a huge difference, as you took to the skies. The story and voice acting were just as fantastic as Arkham Asylum, and the visual appeal was even more impressive than before. It was a unique feeling as you glide from rooftop to rooftop, swooping down to kick a criminal in the back of the head. It was a game that once again made you feel like Batman. With improved combat and stealth sections, and the return of the addictive Riddler trophies; Arkham City was a title that kept me entertained from beginning to end.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings  
PC - Coming soon to Xbox 360
Developer: CD Project Red
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: May 17th, 2011

When you think about Game of the Year, you think of something unique, enjoyable, and a game that leaves an impression on you well after you have played it. Out of all the games on this list, The Witcher 2 was the one title that made the biggest impact this year. Being a PC exclusive, not many have been able to experience it since it demanded so much in hardware. Once you play it though, you love every minute. Like a bad love child of Mass Effect, Fable, and Elder Scrolls; this was the best action RPG I have ever picked up.

Visually it was unmatched by other RPGs, with gorgeous play on lighting and some of the best animation I have seen in a long time. Villages are filled with people working about their day or drinking away the night at the local tavern. Subtle touches to the dialogue like adding a timer for split second decisions make every conversation entertaining. Quests feel like actual quests, in which menial tasks soon evolve into situations with varying outcomes. It was the combat that stood out the most. Where you start off clumsy and unskilled, you soon evolve into the battle hardened warrior that can enter a room with twelve guards and dispatch them with ease. The complex magic and swordplay system allows you to customize the main character however you wish.

It was a total package of a game, and one with plenty of replay value. Any issues I had with the game were addressed in a recent, completely free patch courtesy of CD Project Red. The fine touches and polish coupled with a brilliant world and original dialogue, led Witcher 2 to be my Game of the Year for 2011. 

Top 10 of 2011

1. The Witcher 2
2. Batman: Arkham City
3. Uncharted 3
4. Skyrim
5. Gears of War 3
6. Portal 2
7. Star Wars: The Old Republic
8. Bastion
9. Deus Ex
10. Dead Space 2

Note: These are only games I have spent time on to fully play through and enjoy. With plenty of other titles missed along the way, don't feel distraught if you don't see your personal favorites on the list. I'm sure I'd love them too.

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