2011 was, in regard to video games, an obscenely wild affair: an exciting year headlined by a ton of big budget titles. Many games were played, many fantastic experiences were experienced; but for each of us there can be only one “game of the year”. So it is with a heavy heart that, in choosing this year’s winner, I must snub so many amazing titles (apologies to Duke Nukem). All were great; but only one was best.
Dead Space 2
Somehow more terrifying than the first, Dead Space 2 helped me to realize how much of a wuss I really am. I can’t think of another game that has ever made me put down the controller and walk away more times than this one. Dead Space 2 was severely creepy, sadistically fun, and polished to a lustrous sheen. Here’s my review of the game, where you can learn about my pitiful scarediness in greater detail.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include LA Noire, the detective caper boasting an elaborate, suspenseful story and amazing facial motion-capture technology. LA Noire succeeded in breaking away a much needed slice of the uncanny valley and, while not perfect in every way, the character presentation and interaction is really on a whole other level.
Portal 2 is a terrific environmental puzzle game, oozing with charm and abundant in character; its inclusion on this list should come as a surprise to no one. There just isn’t really any other game like Portal out there, and if there were, it probably couldn’t match the originality and straight funky freshness of Portal 2. (Read more about my experience with Portal 2 here)
Nathan Drake’s third globe-spanning quest takes him into introspective territory, with a gripping story and further camaraderie from the characters you’ve come to know and love in the series. Uncharted 3, honestly, doesn’t introduce any major changes to the franchise formula, but continues the honor of being among the best story-driven experiences in gaming. (Read the review if you feel so inclined)
AND THE WINNER IS…
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is different than the other games on the list; radically and unapologetically so. The runner-ups are all cut from the same cloth, essentially: games whose narrative requires strict and linear participation in order to shine. Skyrim scoffs at that notion, instead giving you a gigantic Nordic wilderness to play in with hundreds of locations to discover and explore. Playing Skyrim is a liberating experience that gives you room to flex your wings, eschewing the kind of restrictive borders we’ve become accustomed to in gaming. Also, it’s pretty damn fun.
Skyrim does so many things right that it’s easy to overlook its buggy shortcomings and humdrum writing. Developing and leveling up your character is a rewarding and involved experience. Explore even a fraction of Skyrim’s intricate landscape and you’ll quickly realize how much love went into the game’s development.
Rarely does a game come around that has this much potential for limitless playability; Skyrim ends only when you’ve decided you have enough.
The thing Skyrim has going for it that the other runner-ups just don’t; the thing that ultimately makes it so special, is its unmatched and tireless longevity. For this reason, and many many many others, it is with much enthusiasm that I name Skyrim my 2011 Game of the Year.Tweet
About the Author
|Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone).
Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG
Mark A. Brooks has written 626 posts on Delta Attack.