UPDATE: I was in a rush to get this out yesterday and I carelessly left a few people off. Mray901, Another Mathew, Masterassassin, and Sheriff Warbuff's answers have been added.







2011 was a great year for gaming. There were tons of great games released. Nearly every major franchise had a new game in 2011. Today, I'm starting a monthly blog where either myself or a prominent member of the community asks a question, and the people (that's you)  answer. The inaugural question was, "What is your personal 2011 GOTY?" Here's what some of y'all said.


My Game of the Year, like many people, is Skyrim. The Game literally has so much to do that you feel engulfed in its world. It isn't just a virtual reality, it feels like a real place. You can do one thing, then get sidetracked and do something else, then do something else. It is just incredibly in depth.

The combat and story are really good as well. The fighting actually looks real, whereas with past games it has looked stupid. The inclusion of finishing moves is much appreciated and needed for a game like this. The combat itself feels slightly floaty without, but that addition makes it feel a lot better. The story is awesome. The way all the guilds interconnect in a lot of ways, the epic main story, and all the sidequests feel and act great.

Really the main draw of this game though is the open world and expansive nature.


My personal GOTY for 2011 is Uncharted 3, followed very closely by Deus Ex: Human Revolution(you know I'm not good at answering limiting questions right!)

Uncharted 3, for me was jus more of the same great experience.  I know some people in the industry didn't like it, for example Arthur Giese really dislikes it, though I dismiss his opinion as he doesn't have a job in the industry at the moment and his former jobs include Xbox magazine, he tends to be one sided. The opposite of Colin Moriarity if you will.

The story, writing, dialogue, were all very well done. The game is technically sound, which I put a lot of stock in, that is why neither Dead Island or Skyrim are in my top 3 games of the year, I love them both, but if it's a chore to play, then well that hurts guys like me with very little time.

In addition to the campaign, U3 has a very fun coop mode and although the online MP will not dethrone CoD or BF, it is very easy for people that aren't that great at FPS MP to play.  Even though this is the third game that uses the over the top set pieces and dramatic twists method of storytelling, it is still very much fresh and new.


I have made it clear that my game of the year is Skyrim. However, for the purposes of this blog, I want to talk about the game that means the most to me personally from 2011. That game is Bastion. I first became aware of Bastion at PAX East 2011. That was one of the best days of my life because I finally realized that I wasn't alone in my gaming fandom and that I should follow my dream of games journalism. I remember hearing Ken Levine talk about his favorite games of the show and him saying that Bastion really snuck up on him and surprised him. 

Three months later I was sitting down on Skype for an interview with that game's Creative Director, Greg Kasavin. I was excited to speak with Greg but I never could have guessed just how much I would actually love the game itself, since it still hadn't released yet. Then I played it. All of a sudden I was able to put everything I heard Greg say about the game into context. His influences for the game, the way the team came together, the darker, apocalyptic tones of the story and the desire to make a children's game that didn't treat kids like children; It was all there. The game they had set out to make was the game they made. Bastion is a brilliant game that stands on its own but also for me personally, it is a symbol of where I began and hopefully where I will someday be going. Bastion may not be the best game I played this year, but it is the one I will remember for the longest time.




Normally, I would say picking a game of the year for myself is quite impossible, especially with the number of great titles released during 2011. However, that would just be a weak attempt at dodging the question, so I will do my best to formulate a solid answer.

Because I play it on the 360 and not the PS3, my knee-jerk reaction to the question would be to say Skyrim. However, I cannot ignore the fact that Bethesda apparently did not properly test their game for the PS3 and pushed out a sub-standard product for that system, eliminating it as my choice for game of the year. So, I am left with Dead Island, Uncharted 3, Portal 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic to pick from, really.

In the end, because it has changed my views on the MMO genre, I am going to pick Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sure, it doesn't have the flashy graphics of a lot of the new games, but it is fun and the story so far is good. The other 3 games are all great, but each had a flaw in them that drew me more towards Star Wars, but it was extremely difficult to decide. I might have gone for Dead Island if I had gotten to play it more (I prefer it in co-op and my only friends with the game are mojo and shootist, both of whom aren't usually playing it). Regardless, a tough decision, and i don't like deciding my favorites above all others, but there it is.


I think Batman Arkham City is my game of the year. I loved the original and I felt like Arkham City improved on everything built in the first game. The combat was fast paced, fun ,and simple yet hard to master, the stealth segments were just as tense and puzzling, and the story was engaging and shocking just like a Batman mystery comic. I thought the open-world aspect would make things confusing and longer than it needed to be, but the game lasted just the right amount of time and there are a mind boggling amount of side quests, challenges, and riddles to do. Arkham City itself really sells the atmosphere and it feels organic and almost alive; I loved listening to the random thugs and people talk about the events going on in the city. The boss fights are challenging and fun without being over the top, and the new gadgets add even more creative ways to go about situations.                                                                                                                  

  Arkkham City is not only an example of what a Batman game, a superhero game and a licensed game should be like, but it also is a prime example of the stellar sequel that all video games should aspire to.


(This was taken from his list of his top 25 games of the year)

If things continue as they are now, Skyrim might be in my Top 25 list for next year as well.  I literally can't stop playing it.  Trust me, I've tried.  I'm actually playing as I type this.  The way each element of gameplay feeds into each other, the expansive world, the incredible quest lines; I could go on forever about the awesomeness of Skyrim. The sad part is that with over 100 hours put in, with many hundreds left to deal, I still feel like I will never see all this game has to offer.  It wasn't an easy choice, but Skyrim is my pick for Game of the Year.


At first, if you listened to my appearance on the Indie and Mojo Show (If you didn't, go watch it...NOW), my pick was Portal 2. I cited my reasons being the brilliant cast of characters, how well the story weaves together, all the memorable moments, and how ingenious shooting portals at a wall is. I fought to the death, and eventually claimed that as the Indie and Mojo GOTY.

            Then, my sister's boyfriend bought me Saints Row The Third for Christmas. It blows everything else I've played this year out of the water and into deep space. It is everything that GTA IV aspired to be and more. While the story isn't as incredible, it's fun as hell, and that's what gaming is all about.

Doctor Apozem

(This was taken from his "Best Games of 2011" blog)

Before the Skyrim fans burn me at the stake, let me explain. Portal 2 may feel like it was released ages ago, but that was just last spring. Besides, Portal 2 is amazing. The single player keeps that sense of "what the hell" as you travel through the bowels of Aperture Science. Not to mention your companions for this journey are genuinely hilarious. GlaDOS, Cave Johnson, and Wheatley are all some of the funniest and best-written characters in gaming.

If that wasn't enough for you, Portal 2 even shipped with a jaw-dropping co-op campaign. Solving puzzles with a friend was some of the most fun I've ever had in gaming, period. The incredibly complex, mindbending puzzles required flawless teamwork but felt totally rewarding. If an amazing single player campaign and innovative co-op mode aren't worth the title of Game of the Year, I don't know what is.


In my opinion, Skyrim is everything a gamer could want in a game. Good characters, fun combat, great story, an amazing world, and of course the fact that there's hundreds of hours worth of content to be had in a single playthrough. I love almost all of Bethesda's terrific RPG's, so quite obviously my personal game of the year is...

...Batman: Arkham City.

As absolutely incredible as Skyrim is, Arkham City is simply the better game in my opinion. though Skyrim has all the high points i mentioned above, and could have probably taken my GOTY spot  in any of the last 3 years, Arkham City was too much competition for it. Every aspect of this game is done to a near perfect level. The combat is amazingly fun, the world is dark and moody, exemplifying the Batman universe very well, the predator sequences are somehow even better than they were in Arkham Asylum (something I didn't even consider possible), the voice cast was suitably terrific, boasting names like Mark Hamill as the Joker and Tara Strong as Harley Quinn. The rouge gallery in the game is full its usual of terrific and complex characters, the boss fights, unlike in Arkham Asylum, are some of gaming's best in recent memory, and the story is one of the absolute best i have ever seen in a video game, as any fan of Batman who has played this game can surely tell you. Its full of surprising twist that leave you guessing at each turn, and is able to bring a huge cast of well developed characters into the mix, without them ever feeling shoehorned in. The ending is simply mind-blowing,  bringing to light subtle story development that the writers planted throughout the game in ways that lend the characters more emotional depth than almost any in video game history. The story is deep enough that it took me a while of thinking and discussion with other GIO members to truly appreciate the full depth of the amazing story. True, this game has the incredible Batman universe to draw from, whereas games like Portal 2 and Skyrim have to create their own universe, but the way Rocksteady handles this intellectual property, both staying true and respectful to the source material while making it something all their own is amazing to behold. Really the only part of this game that dissapointed me was the final boss fight. Though a great boss fight all in all, it was arguably one of the most lackluster of this games terrific boss battles, and I expected more of a climactic battle to close out this stellar experience. All in all, as much as I loved Skyrim, as well as several other games that came out in 2011, there were none that impressed me more, or that I had as much fun with, than Arkham City.


Oh. My. GAWD. How do I pick a personal GOTY from what is arguably the best year in the history of gaming? There have been a number of games that I have sunk *considerable* time investments into, including an unprecedented 5 that ate over 100 hours apiece: Dead Island, L.A. Noire, Batman: Arkham City, Skyrim, and Modern Warfare 3. And you want me to pick just ONE???


The funny thing is the game I'm choosing isn't even on the list of the ones that cracked 100 hours. But it grabbed hold of me and refused to let go, and even now sticks with me regardless of the fact it was released almost a year ago. The game is Dead Space 2, and I've already written a couple of blogs to explain exactly why I love this game. But the nutshell version is immersion. Never before have I felt so much a part of the game as I did in Dead Space 2. Everything about it, from its complete lack of load times through the amazing sound design to the incredibly innovative in-game menu, keeps you totally invested in Isaac Clarke and his ongoing struggle to retain his skin and his sanity.

And for those of you who want a serious challenge or to experience survival horror in its purest form, I suggest playing through the game in Hardcore mode. You will truly know what the struggle to stay alive feels like.







My personal Game of the Year is Batman: Arkham City. Not only is it debateably the best licensed game ever created, it's also debateably the perfect Batman game. It makes you feel like Batman, and it makes you feel like you're actually in Gotham, defending its citizens and defeating its bad guys.

Not to mention the great story, great gameplay, and great voice acting. Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamil, Tara Strong - they all bring the characters out in full, and they do a great job at making them feel real. And then the ending hits you, and you have no idea how you're supposed to feel. It was a powerful game, it was a big game, and it was a fun game, and that's why it's my game of the year. 






Another Matthew


My personal game of the year is Dead Space 2. There are just so many moments I loved, such as the train segment and the event near the end of the game. Listed second place in the top ten moments of 2011 in GameInformer's magazine.

I enjoyed the game so much that I immediately played the game three times in order to get all the achievements. I think many games deserve game of the year, like: Uncharted 3, Portal 2, Skyrim, Batman: AC, and even Zelda has a shot.

I picked Dead Space 2 because it's the only game I've finished out of those titles (expect Uncharted 3) I've said. My major complaint is that Dead Space 2 lost some of that horror element to it, in my opinion. It didn't scary me like the original, but it made up with a better protagonist, action set pieces, and the dark tense atmosphere remains. 






Sheriff Warbuff

My personal 2011 GOTY most likely would have been Skyrim had I not gotten my hands on it 6 days before the new year. The real 2011 GOTY for me is well known to some of you, and to those I apologise for re-hashing, but Driver San Fransisco takes the cake.

First off Driver fulfills a couple long running fantasies of mine, car chases and car crashes. Movies like The Blues Brothers and TV show Hunter rank high on my favorites list. The series as a whole has never never been coy about where the inspiration comes from. Driver San Fransisco cranks up the obsession by going as far as recreating famous chase scenes from the inspired movies in the game. What's even more awesome, is these famous film nods don't even account for 5% of what the game has to offer. With over 200 missions and activities I had put 20 hours into the singleplayer before I even finished the 5 hour campaign.

Content aside, the best feature for the game is also its wackiest. Ubisoft wanted to eliminate the GTA style on foot gameplay and keep players behind the wheel. To stream line this experience they adopted "posses anyone mechanic" like seen in Battlefield 2 Modern Combat on Xbox and PS2. No driving sim or arcade racing experience I've had as been so stream lined. Se a car on the road you want to drive, tap a button, look at the car, tap again and BAM I'm driving it. Want to get across the city? Tap the button, spectator fly cam across and in seconds I'm there. What if there is a challenge I had the wrong vehicle for? Simple, fly cam to a garage and purchase one of over 150 at my disposal.  No need to save and quit to access a different game mode, its all right there and takes literally seconds.

When the day comes I get my hand on an HD capture device, I'll be logging hundreds of hours recording my own car chases and cutting together music videos. Driver San Fransisco is my favorite game of 2011.







Out of all the monster hits of this year, picking a favorite isn't easy. But no matter how many times I think about it, Skyrim is always my personal GOTY. Like a lot of people, I've run into my share of glitches, and even had to switch consoles.


Yet throughout all the problems, I've put in over 200 hours, played six different characters, and lost track of time in the awesome land of Skyrim. From my first Dragon encounter, to seeing the Northern Lights, I could sit here for hours writing about all the awesome moments I've ran into. 


Even with it's problems, no other game has given an experience like Skyrim. Which is why it's my Game of the Year.






Thanks to everyone who contributed!