Seasonal greetings, one and all! As 2011 comes to a screeching halt, and we prepare to forcibly rocket ourselves into 2012, now is the time for the considered and sesquipedalian VideoGamer.com community to pause and reflect on which of their games from 2011 they'd most likely attempt to rescue if their house caught ablaze in a terrifying New Years Eve party disaster.
After reminding myself of how to use Excel and counting all the votes, I can confirm that 75 games were nominated this year. Only the top 25 are going to be lucky enough to get individually listed, so what didn't make the cut? Hyperbolic shooters Duke Nukem Forever (53) and Bulletstorm (29) were absent, as was hilarious open-world romp Saints Row: The Third (48). Mario Kart 7 was hit at the last minute by a blue shell and finished at number 35, and the charming Bastion finished at 43.
After getting that out the way, well, I feel an analogy coming on: while the VideoGamer.com staff make up the wrinkled, dry and booze-soaked filling of a Christmas cake, it's the community that are the icing. Thank you all for spending another year here, and may your posts and support continue long into 2012.
That's quite enough chit-chat, I think. Let's see what won!
25 - 10
25. Super Mario 3D Land
23. Mass Effect 2
22. Driver: San Francisco
21. Test Drive Unlimited 2
20.Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
19. Pokemon Black/White
17.Assassin's Creed: Revelations
16.Forza Motorsport 4
15. inFamous 2
14. Dead Space 2
12. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
11. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
10. FIFA 12
What Tom said in his 9/10 FIFA 12 review: "The differences [from FIFA 11] really are quite striking. The Tactical Defending feels entirely alien to begin with but stick with it and it makes FIFA 12 feel like a brand new, and more realistic football experience. The King is dead. Long live the King: FIFA 12."
FIFAAddiction: "FIFA has become a game for the more serious players. It will be a learning curve which will help younger and less experienced players learn about football. Defending and now shooting requires an understanding of what you are doing."
9. Gears of War 3
What I said in my 9/10 Gears of War 3 review: "This is quite easily the best Gears of War yet, weaving excellent core mechanics together with the renewed perception of an ever-maturing developer. Once again, Epic has successfully iterated on a series that most other developers are still desperately trying to imitate."
ReadySteadyGo: "Clearly an improvement from the last two Gears games."
MrGloomy: "I think the campaign doesn't have the epic moments of gears 2, I think the pacing, narrative and gameplay elements (level construction, layout and AI paths) is far better (personal opinion). The slower, slightly more quiet campaign of Gears 3 captures the narrative and sombre nature of the story at lot better than I was expecting."
8. Battlefield 3
What I said in my 8/10 Battlefield 3 review: "Battlefield has always been a compulsive multiplayer experience because it offers an incredibly broad suite of options and objectives for players of all talents and ability. While being able to fire in a straight line is always a neat skill to have, players who don't fancy themselves as expert marksmen can still become invaluable members of the team thanks to a wide, and absolutely vital, range of supporting roles."
Wido: "The online is perfect."
Mikejosh1978: "All the bad things I have said towards MW3 this year - I take them back as I would rather have it than some wannabe clone that is more broken and tiresome than any CoD i have ever played."
7. Uncharted 3
What I said in my 9/10 Uncharted 3 review: "Nathan Drake is a card-carrying member of the rather exclusive club of video game characters I have a whopping big man crush for."
InvalidUser: "Drake looks like a different guy to me in each one; he seems younger in this one too. It's weird character evolution to me or my eyes are goofed."
Guyderman: "Even more cinematic than the previous two games."
Dugular: "I was left cold. It felt like they focused way too much on those 'moving sets' and cinematic setpieces that they completely forgot to put in a good old-fashioned firefight. It also ruined the enjoyment of a brilliant set-piece because they were all one right after the other."
6. Modern Warfare 3
What I said in my 9/10 Modern Warfare 3 review: "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 doesn't do anything new, but it also doesn't do anything wrong. For better or worse, this is a slick and well-metered trio of modes that make an entertaining package, but Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward are simply looking to augment previous games rather than expand the series into pastures new."
Pblive said: "I've always seen the single player as 'Michael Bay does shooting gallery' and the multiplayer is always so frantic I have a job keeping up."
InvalidUser said: "Just done the campaign - mostly on rails garbage"
RSHunter said: "MW2 got me hooked on the COD series. This has firmly planted me with Battlefield."
5. LA Noire
What Neon said in his 10/10 LA Noire review: "As you stoop to inspect the naked body of a mutilated young woman, as you shakedown a gambling racket in a dusky backroom, as you pick through the skeletal cinders of a burnt-out building... as you do these things, you'll silently admit the truth: you don't want to stop the bleakness, you want to revel in it."
P0rtalthinker: "Assassin's Creed and LA Noire have quite a bit in common. An unusual accusation you might say, but I believe it rings true. While I do appreciate the direction Team Bondi went with when making LA Noire (it's a completely different experience from anything else I've played), just like Assassin's Creed, the gameplay revolves around a set number of activities. There is only a certain amount of ways you can spend time finding clues, interviewing, and engaging in street/car chases before it feels recycled. LA Noire's redundant nature, coupled with the length of the game, I wished they had thrown different activities into the mix."
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
What Neon said in his 9/10 Deus Ex: Human Revolution review: "the strongest compliment I can pay Eidos Montreal is this: with its grand design, dynamic play and sheer wealth of ideas - not to mention its old-fashioned pre-occupation with air vents - Deus Ex: Human Revolution is reminiscent of the best efforts from the golden era of PC gaming at the end of the 90s."
Clockpunk: "I think the stylistic choices in the world creation are stunning - I love the aesthetics, and the music is superb. I just want to tell Eidos how much I love seeing the classic style inventory screen again."
3. Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City went down a hoot with critics, and my 10/10 Batman: Arkham City review shows just how smitten I am with Rocksteady's work: "It doesn't take the world's greatest detective to spot that this is an expertly crafted adventure, one that maintains a breathtaking pace and invigorating rhythm from beginning to end. Dizzyingly extensive and lovingly detailed, Rocksteady has created an intricate, spirited and unequalled playground worthy of one of the most iconic characters in modern fiction."
Of course, a competent superhero game will always go down well - most of us have grown up with these iconic characters and will jump at the chance to play as them. But Batman: Arkham City is an even bigger accomplishment, with a studio that has meticulously crafted a game that feels utterly captivating and wholly unique.
What did the community make of Rocksteady's second Bat-title?
Neon-Soldier32: "Arkham City was a big release for me this year and boy did it deliver! From the moment you get kidnapped, to fighting Mr. Freeze to prowling across the rooftops as Catwoman. Arkham City has one of the best combat systems ever to grace a game with each punch feeling and sounding great and the counter system working so smoothly you'll head into fights, rather than take Jokers'/Harvey Dent's/Penguin's (delete as appropriate) goons out quietly [...] Rocksteady has massive balls for delivering an ending like Arkham City's and I cannot wait to see what they do next - so long as it isn't Batman: Arkham Gotham Street Racing."
Vector33: "Rocksteady got the most important element right; it felt good to punch criminals in the face. Oh, and everything else was pretty f**king good too!"
Rbevanx: "The story is also to a very high standard and feels like you are right in the middle of a major Batman comic book story."
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim was always going to be a serious contender for Game of the Year, but even Oblivion's most passionate supporters have been surprised by just how complete and engaging Skyrim has turned out to be. In his 9/10 Skyrim review, Nick said that "Skyrim is easily one of the strongest and best examples of the Western RPG, and it further establishes Bethesda's reputation as one of the most talented and creative forces in the gaming industry. Moreover, it offers players a world so vast they could easily become lost in it, and so beautiful they may never wish to return from it."
But what does the community think?
87Sarah: "This game has to be the GOTY for me. It's the only game in a very very long time that has had me hooked right from the start. It has everything I could want in a game. (minus the bugs) but I'm willing to overlook that and the poor shadows because of the sheer epic-ness of everything else."
FantasyMeister: "I played it for 150 hours then started hitting the quest-killing bugs. It was great up until then, offering an easy GOTY 2011 pick and seemingly infinite world of gameplay, but jeez Bethesda, hire some full-time testers next time, I'm sick of doing the job myself."
P0rtalthinker: "Considering the fact that I nearly sunk in 500 hours into Bethesda's preceding Elder Scrolls title, it's no surprise why Skyrim has quickly become one of my favorite games of the year. Skyrim is why I do gaming. Never before has there been such a level of freedom in a game to this magnitude. Everyone who plays Skyrim has an experience uniquely catered to how they like to play, which is truly an amazing feat. There is just that special magic that Bethesda has managed to pull off in Skyrim, and the sheer amount of content in the game will merit you more bang for your buck than any other game to date."
1. Portal 2
So - who saw this coming? If I was Gary Barlow, I would just say that Portal 2 is pure class and then knock off. Contractually, however, I am forced to keep typing, so I'll say that Portal 2 was magnificent - clever, creative, affecting and utterly unique. "A mere ten minutes here will yield more memorable moments than you're likely to squeeze out of the entirety of most other games this year. In all aspects of its design, Portal 2 is genius," said Jamin in his 10/10 Portal 2 review.
Coincidentally, Jamin does not think Portal 2 should be Game of the Year. The VideoGamer.com community, however, disagrees:
Altaranga: "Win, win, win from start to finish."
Rbevanx: "Game of the year for me and would recommend it to anyone of all ages to play if they still haven't with great humour from Stephen Merchant and a great soundtrack to go with some original and brilliant level designs, and sheer enjoyability when you finally discover the solution to a problem. Only took six hours to do the main game for me but this is truly quality over quantity exceptionally more so than the yearly FPS that we are drowned in. Portal 2 is fantastic and is a true classic in my view."
Dazzadavie: "Steven Merchant, that is all."
Vector33: "How Valve managed to better the almost perfect Portal I'll never know. Brilliantly funny with some very inventive new mechanics. A wonderfully crafted adventure based on perfectly tuned gameplay."
87Sarah: "While I did enjoy it and it is a 2011. I think if I had played more games from 2011 this one would be further down the list and may not have even entered the top 10 at all unfortunately."
Get2DaChoppa: "Was actually a very tough choice for this top spot, but I just think Portal 2 is one of the best single player experiences I've probably ever played. Fantastic script and voice acting, and just enough puzzling to call yourself a genius. Just loved it."