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2011’s been a wallet- and time-draining year, with numerous hit titles releasing month after month. Of course, there’s been the obligatory Call of Duty supertanker blitzing sales records once again, but this year also saw a few surprises, such as Battlefield finally stepping up and making itself heard on a grand scale. This year’s gone to prove that the industry as a whole has taken a massive step forward, with the quality of games being higher than ever. That said, there’s also been a number of sequels flooding the market, which is a safer bet when it comes to quality but limits creativity. My list contains a few of the usual suspects, but not all of them. So, don’t go fretting—these weren’t easy choices.

Matthew’s Top 5 of 2011:

#1: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Many wondered how Bethesda could possibly top Oblivion, but they sure did. With a major graphics overhaul, improved story, addictive crafting, and new dual-wield combat, Skyrim contains hundreds of hours of gameplay no matter what your playstyle may be, making it my definitive Game of the Year.

#2: Battlefield 3

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: DICE
In terms of graphics alone, this deserves to make the top five, but the game’s so much more thanks to its Frostbite 2 engine. Battlefield 3 features a ton of customization options, crazy destructibility, and well-balanced classes, but it’s the sheer level of enjoyment that guarantees a top game.

#3: Saints Row: The Third

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition
Saints Row offers something that can’t even be described as madness—it’s pure lunacy. Whatever you want to do in the world, you can. Can’t be bothered to run into a gang area? Then call in an airstrike and destroy the whole place! With tons of weapons, vehicles, and side missions you’re never short of things to do.

#4: L.A. Noire

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Leeds
L.A. Noire offered something a little different in a gaming world full of first-person shooters—something more refreshingly intellectual. Although the story was short and linear, it made you think outside the box. Arresting a suspect’s only the beginning; winning the battle of wits and seeking the truth was the real meat of this game.

#5: Dragon Age II

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac
Publisher: EA
Developer: BioWare
Many saw Dragon Age II as too linear, since its adventure was restricted to one area of Kirkwall. But this actually allowed the developers to create a rich, interesting world. Combine this with the well thought-out and developed characters, and you get one hell of an adventure that keeps you busy for hours.

Matthew’s Off-Topic Awards:

Craziest Detective: Cole Phelps (L.A. Noire)
Most police detectives are meticulous, thoughtful investigators. But L.A. Noire’s Cole Phelps was absolutely insane: He spent hours looking at cigarette packets and chewing-gum wrappers instead of the victims, and during his interrogations, doubting a suspect’s story apparently equated to accusing them of being a serial killer.

Most Improved Sequel: Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3’s major improvement comes from its online modes, which featured quicker matchmaking and better team balancing. Add to this the introduction of Horde 2.0, which got a complete tower-defense-style overhaul, and one of the best online experiences reclaimed its crown.

Biggest Surprise: Rift
Rift was an unexpected success in the MMO world, with many observers expecting the game to enjoy a few months of success before quietly fading away. Nine months later, the game’s still going strong and has stolen a fair chunk of WoW’s subscribers with its well-balanced classes and amazing graphical detail.

 

What do you guys think of Matthew’s picks? Let him know on Twitter (@mattyjb89) 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

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
Part 6: Andrew Fitch (Saturday, December 24th)
Part 7: Brady Fiechter (Sunday, December 25th)

0   POINTS
0   POINTS


About Eric Patterson

view all posts

Eric 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.

EGM’s Best of 2011
Matthew Bennett’s Picks

The EGM staff gives their picks for the best games of 2011, as well as our personalized off-topic awards. For this installment, it's EGM Online Editor Matthew Bennett.

By Eric Patterson | 12/23/2011 04:55 PM PT

Features

2011’s been a wallet- and time-draining year, with numerous hit titles releasing month after month. Of course, there’s been the obligatory Call of Duty supertanker blitzing sales records once again, but this year also saw a few surprises, such as Battlefield finally stepping up and making itself heard on a grand scale. This year’s gone to prove that the industry as a whole has taken a massive step forward, with the quality of games being higher than ever. That said, there’s also been a number of sequels flooding the market, which is a safer bet when it comes to quality but limits creativity. My list contains a few of the usual suspects, but not all of them. So, don’t go fretting—these weren’t easy choices.

Matthew’s Top 5 of 2011:

#1: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Many wondered how Bethesda could possibly top Oblivion, but they sure did. With a major graphics overhaul, improved story, addictive crafting, and new dual-wield combat, Skyrim contains hundreds of hours of gameplay no matter what your playstyle may be, making it my definitive Game of the Year.

#2: Battlefield 3

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: DICE
In terms of graphics alone, this deserves to make the top five, but the game’s so much more thanks to its Frostbite 2 engine. Battlefield 3 features a ton of customization options, crazy destructibility, and well-balanced classes, but it’s the sheer level of enjoyment that guarantees a top game.

#3: Saints Row: The Third

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition
Saints Row offers something that can’t even be described as madness—it’s pure lunacy. Whatever you want to do in the world, you can. Can’t be bothered to run into a gang area? Then call in an airstrike and destroy the whole place! With tons of weapons, vehicles, and side missions you’re never short of things to do.

#4: L.A. Noire

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Leeds
L.A. Noire offered something a little different in a gaming world full of first-person shooters—something more refreshingly intellectual. Although the story was short and linear, it made you think outside the box. Arresting a suspect’s only the beginning; winning the battle of wits and seeking the truth was the real meat of this game.

#5: Dragon Age II

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac
Publisher: EA
Developer: BioWare
Many saw Dragon Age II as too linear, since its adventure was restricted to one area of Kirkwall. But this actually allowed the developers to create a rich, interesting world. Combine this with the well thought-out and developed characters, and you get one hell of an adventure that keeps you busy for hours.

Matthew’s Off-Topic Awards:

Craziest Detective: Cole Phelps (L.A. Noire)
Most police detectives are meticulous, thoughtful investigators. But L.A. Noire’s Cole Phelps was absolutely insane: He spent hours looking at cigarette packets and chewing-gum wrappers instead of the victims, and during his interrogations, doubting a suspect’s story apparently equated to accusing them of being a serial killer.

Most Improved Sequel: Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3’s major improvement comes from its online modes, which featured quicker matchmaking and better team balancing. Add to this the introduction of Horde 2.0, which got a complete tower-defense-style overhaul, and one of the best online experiences reclaimed its crown.

Biggest Surprise: Rift
Rift was an unexpected success in the MMO world, with many observers expecting the game to enjoy a few months of success before quietly fading away. Nine months later, the game’s still going strong and has stolen a fair chunk of WoW’s subscribers with its well-balanced classes and amazing graphical detail.

 

What do you guys think of Matthew’s picks? Let him know on Twitter (@mattyjb89) 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

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
Part 6: Andrew Fitch (Saturday, December 24th)
Part 7: Brady Fiechter (Sunday, December 25th)

0   POINTS
0   POINTS



About Eric Patterson

view all posts

Eric 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.