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EGM’s Best of 2011
Eric L. Patterson’s Picks

By
Posted on December 19, 2011 AT 05:10pm

Year-end “best of” lists are always a little strange for me, because my interests typically lie more in the smaller, niche releases in gaming—often to the detriment of the time I get to spend with the blockbusters everyone else is raving over.

In that, 2011 was a mixture of good and bad. In the previous year, the downloadable space saw a wide variety of games I adored or couldn’t wait to try. This year, what had before seemed like a flowing river of excellent gaming now felt more like a creek running far below its banks.

And yet, something wonderful happened this year—Japanese gaming provided us with a wide variety of wonderful experiences and enjoyable games, even as some proclaim the West’s dominance of the market to be unstoppable. Four of my five favorite offerings this year came from Japan—so, you know, I’m not ready to count the country and its content out just yet.

Eric’s Top 5 of 2011:

#1: Dark Souls

Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: From Software
I put 100-plus hours into my first playthrough of Dark Souls, and yet still found myself feeling like it was over far too soon. So deep, so engrossing, and just so fantastically wonderful; Dark Souls is a perfect example of why I play videogames. And, for one of the first times in my life, I actually wish a developer would now give me more content via DLC.

#2: Corpse Party

Formats: PSP
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Team GrisGris/5pb
I had such low expectations going into Corpse Party—and then came away being absolutely blown away by the experience. Its retro visuals hide a dark, sinister scenario of hopelessness and brutality that I simply couldn’t have imagined from a game like this. Supported by a surprisingly engaging cast, Corpse Party sits as one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had in gaming in 2011.

#3: The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Formats: PS3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Team Ico/Bluepoint Games
In almost any other case, I’d feel hesitant to list a remake or “HD upgrade” of a previous game as one of my picks of the year. These aren’t just rereleases of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, though—these are the games reborn, finally playable in the way they were always meant to be experienced.

#4: Persona 2: Innocent Sin

Formats: PSP
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
The “lost” Persona game finally gets an official English-language release, and the world is a better place for that fact. Even though its old-school design now feels rough at times, Persona 2: Innocent Sin’s characters, storyline, and drama still feel as fresh as they did 12-plus years ago.

#5: LaserCat

Formats: Xbox Indies
Publisher: MonsterJail Games
Developer: MonsterJail Games
While utterly simple in design and concept, LaserCat took me back to the days when I first fell in love with videogames—yet did so in a package that felt polished and perfected in every moment of its adventure. LaserCat’s a perfect example of the fact that, if you put in the effort to look, the Xbox Indies section can provide you with some fantastic experiences for equally fantastic prices.

Eric’s Off-Topic Awards:

Topic of the Year: Poison
Loads of topics were discussed this year, but for me, by far the most fascinating were the conversations that came up about Poison and her status as a transgender gaming symbol, long a back-and-forth argument on the Internet—and her inclusion in Street Fighter X Tekken put those conversations into overdrive. And then, of course, there was my interview with Street Fighter X Tekken director Yoshinori Ono…

Best Game for Wives to Buy Their Husbands: Catherine
The classic stereotype when it comes to videogames and marriage is that the husband wants to spend his time lost in fantastical virtual adventures, while his wife would rather he stop wasting time and instead do things around the house. Well, wives of the world, here’s a game you’ll want your husband to play—because it’ll teach him the horrors of infidelity.

Biggest Crushing of my Hopes: Saints Row: The Third
One of the games that had me the most excited as the year came to an end was Saints Row: The Third. I had so much ridiculous fun with the multiplayer in Grand Theft Auto IV, and the idea of doing that in the cracked-out world of Saints Row will all of its new toys and customer character options had me salivating. And then—I find out it has no competitive multiplayer. My heart, she was broken.

(Honorable mention in this category goes to Resistance 3 losing the server browser Resistance 2 had, making certain games types a pain in the ass to find.)

What do you guys think of Eric’s picks? Let him know on Twitter (@pikoeri) or drop in a comment below!

EGM’s Best of 2011 Coverage

EGM’s Top 25 Games of 2011
Part 1: #25 – #21
Part 2: #20 – #16
Part 3: #15 – #11
Part 4: #10 – #6
Part 5: #5 – #1 (Friday, December 23rd)

EGM Editor’s Choice Awards
Part 1: Eric L. Patterson
Part 2: Ray Carsillo
Part 3: Marc Camron
Part 4: Brandon Justice
Part 5: Matthew Bennett (Friday, December 23rd)
Part 6: Andrew Fitch (Saturday, December 24th)
Part 7: Brady Fiechter (Sunday, December 25th)

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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