2011 Game of the Year

It’s that time of year again, where we put our heads together and decide what game deserves to be called Game of the Year.  Last year we couldn’t nail it down to just one game, but this year I’ve pooled not only our reviewers, but also a few of the people who we play with, to vote for their  three favourite games of 2011.  I then tallied up the results and came up with the top five.

The top game won’t be a surprise to many, as it has already claimed a number of GotY awards, but some of the others in the top five might be a little unexpected.

5 – Batman Arkham City

Rhett: Arkham City is the greatest superhero game of all time. The tone and graphics are spot on and gorgeous. The collectibles are addictive. The fan-service is impressive. But most of all, you feel like a total badass as Batman, and that’s what really counts.

Famousfive: I think we can thank Christopher Nolan for the success of Arkham City.  I was never a fan of the Batman films of the late 80’s and 90’s, but when Nolan re-booted the concept of Batman, I was hooked. Arkham City reflects Nolan’s dark reality of the Batman Universe, whilst at the same time delivers a game that is accessible, fun and challenging.  And as Rhett said, you feel like a total badass as Batman, and that’s what really counts

4 – LA Noire

Brad: I hated this game, it was so slow to get going.

Rhett: I haven’t played LA Noire but from what I’ve seen, I can understand it’s place on this list. Groundbreaking facial animation and innovative gameplay sound like they’d make for an intriguing package.

Urbankiwi: An unusual game coming out from Rockstar. Possibly a hint towards where they are headed with games in the future. Certainly very engaging… and Very large in size. The Storyline, Style and characterisations were very nicely done. Some aspects of gameplay were a touch repetitive however the requirement to spot “tells” when someone is lying is quite clever. I cant wait to see what else comes from Rockstar using this style of engine.

Famousfive: LA Noire just blew me away the first time I saw it, and when I stared playing it, I was hooked.  The only thing that kept this from being my game of the year, was the extremely linear game-play.  There was a whole world just waiting to be explored, but it was lifeless and gave you no incentive to do so.

3 – Battlefield 3

Brad: Great game but feels a bit like the others.

Rhett: Battlefield 3 came with a single player campaign which was probably the worst modern war game campaign yet. It made the Modern Warfare campaigns looks like Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. Heck, it made Medal of Honor look good. But Battlefield isn’t about single player, is it? The multiplayer suite here is amongst the best you can get. Whether you love it or not really depends on two things: what kind of player your are, and whether you can deal with a 30FPS competitive shooter. Personally, I prefer the smoother, 60FPS Modern Warfare 3, because I prefer the twitchy action. But if you like slower-paced, strategic combat (and flying helicopters!) then Battlefield 3 is for you.

Urbankiwi: Look lets be frank, were not talking so much about the single player movie.. err.. campaign.. While the single player mode is interesting the game really gets it longevity in multiplayer mode. Plenty of options and fun to be had with friends online.

Famousfive: If it wasn’t for Battlefield 3’s multiplayer component, this would have been top of the most disappointing games of the year.  The single player failed miserably, but in a world where we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to first person shooters, Battlefield 3 managed to rise above the single player campaign and deliver the best online FPS experience ever.

2 – Lord of the Ring: War in the North

Brad: This is my game of the year. The online multiplayer is one of the best out there. Skip and I have been hammering this over the past month and it is  just seamless.

My comments for the review still stand I love this game.

Rhett: I haven’t played this game. It’s Metacritic score is 63, which makes me think I don’t want to. Why is it on this list? I have no idea.

Urbankiwi: Absolutely great social game. They definitely did a great job on the co-op aspect and yes   working as a team is a must! The scenery was well done and the storyline complimented the actual LOTR trilogy very nicely.

War in the North is an amazing game, if you have two good friends to play it with.  It’s where social gaming excels. You’re transported to a world that is cool to be in, a world where you’re not going to meet some guy who is 100 levels higher than you who will kill you just by looking at you.  It’s essentially a single player game that you get to play with your mates, talking shit to each other.  It’s a blast.  But if you’re Nigel No Mates, War in the North just won’t cut the mustard.

1 – Skyrim – Game of the Year

Brad: I want to play this, can I get a copy please?

Rhett: For me, nothing this year really came close to Skyrim. It wasn’t a great year for big, story driven RPG’s (Dragon Age 2 was a disappointment, and Mass Effect 3 was delayed). Skyrim’s story, while marginally better than past Bethesda games, didn’t really do much to fill that gap. But Skyrim isn’t a game about story. It’s about the world; acres of beautiful land to explore, and a a gazillion side quests. You build your own story with your own imagination. My character was a reclusive blacksmith who discovered he was chosen one, and set off to save the world. He sided with the Imperials, put and end to the civil war, rose to lead the Companions, and did, indeed save everybody. But power corrupts, and and after the glory had faded, my hero found himself working for the Dark Brotherhood, assassinating (mostly) innocent people. This kind of game is nerd heaven, and after nearly 60 hours, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Urbankiwi: Alas one game that i have not had time to access yet. You know a game is super popular when fans create SkyRim helmets out of Bacon.

Famousfive:  I don’t like RPG’s.  Never have.  That is until I played Fallout 3.  Fallout 3 was my kind of game.  Set in a modern post-apocalyptic world where you had guns and didn’t have to bother with learning spells and shit.  It soon became on of my most played games.  Skyrim however was more of a traditional RPG, sent in a fantasy world with dragons and magic.  I wanted to play it, but was sure I would hate it.  How wrong I was.  I soon learnt to love my battle axe, and never really wanted a gun.  The ting that got me with Skyrim was the world you got to explore.  It was a living, breathing world that was so full of things to do and find that you would just get lost in it for hours at a time.  As Rhett said, I’ve barely scratched the surface, yet I want to go deeper.  That’s why it’s the Game of the Year.

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