Joel's Top 5 Games of 2011

Usually by this time in a console cycle we are talking about all the great games that will come from future consoles; but that’s just not the case this year. It’s really impressive to see how well developers have managed to continue understanding the capabilities of the current consoles. With that being said it’s now time to look at the best of the best and so without further ado here are my Top 5 games of 2011.

5. Assassins Creed: Revelations

I am almost positive that some grumblings are happening right about now. Straight off the top Revelations is an Assassins Creed game from start to finish. The formula might feel familiar but in my opinion that doesn’t deter this from being one of the best games of 2011. Revelations manages to build on top of Brotherhood to provide a whole new adventure that still plays to the “AAA” level that we have come to expect. The game manages to provide enough new stuff (not to mention the beautiful Constantinople) to make it another great adventure to go through. Where will the series go from here is still to be seen but there is no denying that there is little better in gaming then doing the leap of faith.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I among what I would guess as thousands of others dusted off my Nintendo Wii to get ready for the release of Zelda: Skyward Sword. There is little doubt that Zelda: Skyward Sword will be the last major release from Nintendo for the platform. And needless to say Nintendo managed to finish off their console with what I believe to be one of its most memorable moments. This is the first game in the consoles extremely lucrative life cycle that has truly managed to use the motion controls to their fullest. Skyward Sword is not only a great motion controlled game it is one of the best adventures I have had in the last five years. It keeps close to the roots without feeling like a complete rehash. Needless to say Zelda remains extremely relevant in 2011 and I just can’t wait to see how Nintendo treats the franchise going forward on the Wii U.

3. NBA 2K12

In years past I have heard countless arguments of why sports games shouldn’t be included in year-end round-ups. NBA 2K12 breaks the mold on your typical annual entry. More than just a mere roster update, NBA 2K12 provides the most well rounded sports experience I have ever played. From the incredible presentation values, to the downright ridiculous realism in the gameplay makes this by far the best sports game of the year. What makes NBA 2K12 even more impressive is that it combines what looks pretty close to what you watch on TV with some of the deepest gameplay modes in sports today. Who needs the actual NBA when you have such an incredible video game.

2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Unlike many, my last memorable experience in the Elder Scrolls franchise came back in the days of Morrowind. There was something about Oblivion that I could never put my finger on that stopped me from ever being able to get into the experience. The same cannot be said for Skyrim. From the moment I inserted the disc I was taken back from the incredible world of Skyrim. There is something to be said about a game that’s main story quest is probably the least interesting part of the game and yet it ranks for me as the second best game of the year. Bethesda manages to leave the world to your disposal and with that you make your own story. There were countless times in the game that I was walking to the next quest and was overtaken by the world and that magnitude of the experience. Plus if that wasn’t enough there are dragons, and they never get old.

1. Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

When I sit back and look at all the amazing gaming experiences I had in 2011, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception stands out over the rest of the pack. Naughty Dog has managed to create an experience that no other developer in my opinion has been able to replicate. Uncharted 3 is what you would want from the next Uncharted experience. It is a continuation of the Nathan Drake storyline with the entire supporting cast that gamers have grown to love over the years. It’s the subtlety that really impresses me with Uncharted 3. There were probably a dozen moments in Uncharted 3 where I would sit back and think I can’t believe how amazing video games have become. Uncharted 3 to me is more than just a great video game it is an amazing journey and one that I will never forget.

Honorable Mention: infamous 2, Fight Night Champion, Resistance 3, L.A. Noire, Top Spin 4, and Saints Row: The Third.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.