What a weird year in gaming 2011 was for me. Games continued to get chopped up into smaller, more annoying DLC chunks. Kinect, which I was pretty excited about in 2010, had only one or two titles worth even a glance. The “AAA” titles were mostly sequels to games I haven’t cared about this whole generation. The quirky Japanese stuff continued to dry up. I voluntarily skipped Uncharted 3! Between catching up with Fallout New Vegas and journeying to Skyrim I spent more time in 2011 with Bethesda games than anything else. I could go on and on about how I am at odds with the modern gaming populace but I think my ‘of the year’ winners below probably illustrate it much better.
Favorites of 2011 – Retail
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Saints Row: The Third
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Favorites of 2011 – Download
The Adventures of Shuggy
Orcs Must Die
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Age of Empires Online
Most Hours Spent
Fallout New Vegas (110)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (72)
Dead Island (53)
Test Drive Unlimited 2 (47)
Saints Row: The Third (37)
DLC I Willingly Paid For
Age of Empires
Beat Hazard Ultra
Mass Effect 2 – Arrival
Best Undead Encounters
I’ve kept track of the games I’ve played for several years but it wasn’t until 2011 that I broke them down into a multi-functional spreadsheet. Seriously, thanks to the magic of Google Docs you can check it out yourself. It’s not in exacting chronological order but the oldest stuff is at the bottom. I also have charts! Delicious and colorful pie charts that illustrate that I got way more games on the cheap than I paid full price for and that most of those were still brand new 2011 releases. Go me!
For a more traditional Top Ten list check out my Giant Bomb page where I’ve made similar annual lists for the past two years. And if you want to get even more granular than that spreadsheet, my Raptr page breaks it down by hours played and Achievements unlocked and more. If you’re going to those lengths you might as well take a look at my 401(k) and offer your investment suggestions, and while you’re at it could you take a look at this thing growing on my leg?
Just past the break is your bonus Close-Personal-Friends-of-Me Awards as shamelessly solicited on formspring! Never mind that thing on my leg, this should give you that blinding insight into the Me of Me.
Best First Person Shooter – Dead Island
With Portal 2 technically a first-person puzzler I couldn’t help but give this to Dead Island for its functional and different combat gameplay.
Best Game That Didn’t Star a Human – Rock of Ages
Best Vehicle Based Game – Test Drive Unlimited 2
Best Use of Silent Protagonist – Portal 2
Best Chase Scene in a Game – Need for Speed: The Run
I only played the demo and it only happened the very first time but racing against a series of avalanches to move up one single position was genuinely exhilarating. Too bad the whole game doesn’t seem as exciting.
Most Divisive – Age of Empries Online
I couldn’t get anyone I know to play this perfectly fun (if DLC-ified) RTS with me all year!
Worst Rehash – Prince of Persia Collection
Best Game I didn’t Play – Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Rayman Origins
Biggest Disappointment – Jurassic Park, Kinect, Online Passes
With the love Telltale has for the source material and their expertise in Adventure games I didn’t think it was possible for Jurassic Park to suck… but, boy, it sure does. Outside of voice controls in the new Xbox Dashboard Kinect has been practically abandoned. Online passes just suck all around.
Best Videogame to *actually* feature cake in it – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Sweet rolls are close enough right?
Best Sidekick – Shaundie (Saints Row: The Third)
Best Weapon – magic repeater crossbow (Orcs Must Die)
Best Soundtrack – Bastion, Terraria
Best Easter Egg – DLC Quest
DLC Quest is practically an easter egg itself!
Most Likely To Be Turned Into a Shitty Fox Movie – Saints Row: The Third
Worst Fanbase – the Modern Setting Military Shooter kids
Honorary “Suda 51 WTF Why Is This Even Happening?” Award – Saints Row: The Third
Best Developer – Robot Entertainment
I love the bombastic raucousness of Orcs Must Die so much I played the game on three different platforms. And it wasn’t until November that I realized the same people behind Orcs! also made Age of Empires Online. I love Robot’s art design and sense of humor and no other developer surprised me on both counts so much in 2011.
Most Obnoxious Trailer – Dead Island
Most Replayability – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Sleeper Hit of the Year – Orcs Must Die
Best Controls – Dead Island
Ok, maybe not the best controls but surely a very unique melee system that works most of the time and puts you face to face with the undead.