Even though my list of favorite games for the year 2011 are posted on the left side of the screen, I wanted to write a few words about my five favorites:
5) inFAMOUS 2 - Loved the first and was looking forward to the continued story of Cole MacGrath. This will be a running theme in my list but it isn't often that I finish a game and restart it almost immediately. While I didn't exactly do that with this game, I had trouble staying away while attempting to play something else. Didn't last too long (about 2 weeks) before I was back doing an evil run through. I've never had so much fun being an asshole in a game. LOL.
4) Gears of War 3 - Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical after part 2 but the whole game was a major improvement from pacing to the addition of 4-player co-op. Horde Mode continues to be lots of fun and Beast Mode adds a nice twist.
3) Batman: Arkham City - This could easily be anywhere in my top 3 but lands here by the narrowest of margins. Having so many villains from Batman's universe was awesome and fit the story very well. Have yet to collect all of Riddler's trophies so I'm still roaming the streets and having a blast doing so.
2) Dead Space 2 - While not as creepy as the previous release, DP2 still had me at the edge of my seat. Stand outs for me were improved zero gravity gameplay mechanics, a backstory that actually intrigued me, huge action set pieces and no shooting of fucking meteors. The only downside for me was that the surrounds weren't utilized nearly as much as the previous version. While the game was still atmospheric, I wasn't as tense as I was in part 1 when the sound of a bottle rolling on the floor would just creep me the heck out. Also, the multi-player did nothing for me. With only just 2 games in the series thus far, I can't think of any other franchise, outside of Bioshock, where I look forward to another sequel more than Dead Space. I still plan to go back for a Hardcore run sometime in 2012. One of the few (until that point) games where I immediately jumped back into a new play through after finishing it, the sequel to my 2008 game of the year was narrowly beaten out by...
1) Portal 2 - As much as I loves me some Dead Space, for me there's something to be said about finishing a game and immediately wanting to jump back into that world for more. Oh wait, did I say that already? Well, with inFamous 2 I went back and started a replay after 2 weeks away. I started a replay of Dead Space 2 immediately after finishing but how about 2 replays? Counting co-op, Portal 2 is the only game I've ever played through on 3 consecutive runs. After my campaign run, I enjoyed many laugh-out-loud moments when I finished co-op runs with Thomas and Romier. I remember practically getting cursed out by Joey when Romier and I were playing because we wouldn't let him sleep back when we spent a weekend in Pennsylvania. Brilliant game mechanics, superbly-written witty dialogue and some of the best voice acting I've experienced in gaming, Portal 2 was immediately my "game of the year" to beat back in April when I first finished it. From the single player (Chell, GLaDOS, Wheatley (Stephen Merchant) and Cave Johnson (J.K. Simmons) to the co-op (Atlas and P-Body), no games cast of characters left such an indelible impression on me. I was grinning from beginning to end. Kudos to Valve.
Writing this, I just realized that all top 5 (and 7 of 10) games were sequels. But I must add that there were games released during the year that I either didn't pick up or picked up later in the year (black friday) and have yet to start and is the reason they weren't considered for the list. Games like...
- Crysis 2 (never picked up)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (late pick up)
- Ico/Shadow of the Colossus (late pick up)
- Killzone 3 (never picked up)
- Child of Eden (never picked up)
- Battlefield 3 (never picked up)
- Dead Island (late pick-up).