2011 turned out to be a pretty fantastic year for video games when all was said and done. Technology was pushed to the limit and games pushed the boundaries of what people thought was possible. While some games focused on the realism factor and strived for the greatest looking faces, other games took a different route and aimed for a fantastical art style full of whimsy and wonder. All in all 2011 was a great year no matter what type of games you enjoy playing. With expansive RPGs, amazing indie games, classic multiplayer games, and everything in between it will surely be a year to look back on fondly. As a full time college student and part time employee I don't always have hours and hours to spend playing every game that comes out. I admittedly missed a few great games that I plan on going back to eventually but for now here are the top 5 games that made the most lasting impressions on me this year.
5. Portal 2
Portal was a game that I followed from development to release. I loved the indie feel of it all and wanted to see the team succeed, and Portal 2 was that success. The game is bigger, challenging, hilarious, and stars a great cast of actors that bring the hilarious world of Apeture Science to life. Portal 2 is a must play for anyone who loves a good puzzle, and the multiplayer is just the icing on the oh so real cake.
4. Trenched (Iron Brigade)
When I first purchased Trenched, now Iron Brigade, I was a bit skeptical. I don't play a ton of multiplayer games and mech shooters aren't that enticing to me. Leave it to Double Fine to annihilate my skepticism with giant mech cannons aimed directly at the fun center of my brain. Everything from the wave based gameplay, to the upgrade system, to the frantic multiplayer is so well executed I just couldn't stop getting loot! Just one more match, please!?
3. Batman: Arkham City
To some this is easily the Game of the Year and that is completely justifiable. It's got everything you could ever hope for in a Batman game; incredibly balanced combat, great exploration, great side missions, a good story, villains, gadgets, and Alfred. From start to finish this game was perfectly paced and I didn't stop until everyone, besides the Riddler, was behind bars. Let's hope Rocksteady can keep things fresh next time!
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
What a game! Hours upon hours of detailed quests with branching stories and combat that feels pretty good compared to previous outings. Not to mention all the loot, the voice acting, the dragon battles, and just the curious oddities that occur in the world of Skyrim. The game packs in the content and doesn't let up on you at any point, there is just so much to do that you never want to stop. Skyrim is a gem and allows for players to experience a free flowing world unlike any other.
Bastion was the game I woke up at 6 AM to start downloading, once the download finished I played Bastion in it's entirety for the entire day. For a solid 9 hours, without any breaks at all, I explored the beautiful world that Super Giant Games created, listened to the fantastic narrator, and partook in some of the best gameplay I've ever experienced. Every ounce of Bastion dripped with a sense of heart and care that just doesn't show in other games, it was the most unique and unparalleled experience I've ever had with a game. Go play it.
Honorable Mention: Dark Souls