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 Top Ten Games of 2011

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PostSubject: Top Ten Games of 2011   Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:04 pm

Let's face facts here, 2011 has been a monster year for video games. A lot of things happened such as many franchises returning to their roots, glasses-free-3D portable gaming and even an entire online service getting hacked for three months. No matter which you look at this year, it made an impact. The following ten games are my personal stand-outs and favourites and you're very welcome (no, encouraged) to present your own list. But if you do, I've got to lay down a couple of ground rules:

1. The games must have come out this year. I don't care if you played a game for the first time this year that came out in 2010 or before (Hell, I did like DKC Returns and No More Heroes 2 but... yeah).
2. You have to have actually played it and reached the end or close enough to it. I know that sounds a bit obvious but I've seen lists consisting of games that the list maker hadn't even played. Therefore, I'm not including awesome-looking games such as Uncharted 3, LittleBigPlanet 2, Minecraft or Rayman Origins. If one of your favourites didn't make this list, chances are I probably didn't play it.
3. Remakes or re-releases don't count UNLESS they've received a major touch-up. A good example of this would be Ocarina of Time 3D. Henceforth, Virtual Console games or classic games appearing on XBLA, PSN or Steam don't count either.

With all that said and done, here is my personal Top 10 Games of the year:

#10 - WWE All-Stars
Like I said before, I haven't been a fan of pro wrestling since I was 14 but this game ALMOST made me go back. You probably weren't expecting this game on the list at all but it really is a game like (almost) no other. Combining wrestling with the ridiculous over-the-top moves you'd expect to see in games like Tekken or Street Fighter makes for really entertaining gameplay, especially with friends who have never played it. If you get some practice on this game and then introduce it to one of your buds, I can guarantee there will be some shocked expressions after witnessing things like, oh, I dunno, Randy Savage somehow moon-jumping from the mat all the way the ring post before hitting you with a satisfying over-the-top Elbow Drop. And that's just the beginning of it.

#9 - Kirby's Adventure Wii
While this may be the latest entry on this list, it's no secret that 2011 has been rather kind to Kirby. Epic Yarn brought the pink blob back on to home consoles for the first time since the N64 (not counting the abysmal Air Ride on the Gamecube), I never actually played Mass Attack on the DS though I heard really good things about it and if you want to count the 3D Classics version of Kirby's Adventure then, by all means, be my guest. But Adventure Wii took everything great about Kirby and upgraded it. While it may not be for everyone, Adventure Wii at least deserves a try even if it's just a brief playthrough on Co-Op.

#8 - Ms. Splosion Man
The only downloadable game on the list, Ms. Splosion Man proves why side-scrolling platformers aren't going away any time soon. Twisted Pixel have always been a company about simple yet innovating gameplay and it shows with Ms. Splosion Man. This game is on the list simply because it has a strange power over the player. You'll get frustrated with a certain part of the level yet as much as you want to turn the game off entirely, you'll find it hard to do so and keep pushing yourself until you get to that oh-so-sweet checkpoint.

#7 - Sonic Generations
Celebrating the anniversary of Sonic The Hedgehog has always been a bumpy ride for SEGA. For the tenth anniversary, we had Sonic Adventure 2 which was good but had some glaring flaws. For the fifteenth anniversary, we got Sonic 06 and Sonic Genesis which were downright terrible. But Generations not only got an anniversary game right, it brought Sonic back from the seemingly dead (not that Colours didn't already do that last year). It combines all the great things about the Classic Sonic games of the early nineties with the better features of the recent 3D games while still being able to poke fun at itself. While we don't currently know if this will be the only return to grace of the blue blur, Generations certainly proves that we'll still be seeing him, whether people want to or not.

#6 - Okamiden
I wonder if Capcom really does know that the Okami series has a cult fan base. After all, let's be honest, the first game did get over-looked by many which is a travesty. And yet despite that, they still went ahead and released a sequel three years later on the DS. This may have also been overlooked (I genuinely don't know) but it truly is a wonder how these games aren't getting more attention. I am convinced Okamiden has the best looking visuals on the DS and I can only imagine what the handheld went through to render them. With an improved combat system, a timeless story, entertaining characters, improved Celestial Brush and a hinting at a third game in the series, Okamiden deserves to be on this list for so much enjoyment all at once.

#5 - Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
There was a lot of controversy with releasing the original MvC3 back in February (especially since MvC2 was released eleven years ago) and then releasing the update on another disc just nine months later. But frankly, the Ultimate Edition is what we should have gotten in the first place with more characters, balanced gameplay and a refined online lobby system. Easy to learn, difficult to master, UMvC3 will remain to be one of my favourite fighting games for a very long time.

#4 - Super Mario 3D Land AND Mario Kart 7
Truth be told, while these games are very different from each other despite starring the same mascot, I truly can't figure out which one I prefer. But they both should be on the list regardless. Just like Kirby, both of them prove that the same basic gameplay still works after so many years while also showing that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The results of both are reasons to own a 3DS especially since it's obvious that Nintendo had a rocky start with the new handheld.

#3 - Batman: Arkham City
You would think that one form of entertainment media that superheroes would strive in are video games but only a select handful of games actually do a good job. 2009's Arkham Asylum was one of them showing that it could not only be done but also make it a phenomenal experience. 2011's Arkham City took it to the next level and pumped it full of metaphorical steroids. Arkham City is, to put it bluntly, incredible. The amount of combat moves, brain-teasers and wide-array of Batman's utilities truly make you feel like The Dark Knight himself. With great cameo appearances from Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing as well as the extensive list of Batman villains which, let's be honest, make Batman so great and even the fact that you don't even need to have a great knowledge of the Batman mythos to have a great time, Arkham City makes superhero games more respected... aside from the sucky ones, which are the majority, sadly.

#2 - Portal 2
Other than teasing fanboys with a potential Half-Life 2, Episode 3 this year, Valve had also released the sequel to my favourite PC game ever, Portal 2. Nobody expected the original Portal to gain such popularity but it was certainly enough to warrant a follow-up. And by God, they delivered. Portal 2 can make you feel like a complete moron one minute and a rocket scientist the next. Sure, your protagonist, Chell, never utters a word but she doesn't need to. GLaDOS is as rude and cynical as she was before, the new guy Wheatley is an example of great casting decisions and the haunting pre-recordings of the deceased head of Aperture Science HQ., Cave Johnson help you learn more of the lab you're trapped in. But they all entertain in one way or another. Add to that a genius co-op multiplayer and Portal 2 is one game that just has to be played by everyone.

And my #1 Game of 2011 is...

Duke Nukem Forever
Okay, I lied.

#1 - The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Come on, were you really expecting anything else? Of course Skyward Sword is the winner. Hell, I made an entire review about it on my deviantART and I usually review films on there. Skyward Sword delivers on so many levels. The MotionPlus controls insert a lot of strategy into the combat. The story really pulls you in and you actually care about saving Zelda for once. The graphics look better than some HD games I've seen. The music really sets the mood. The entire game is a complete masterpiece and if you're a Wii owner, you really owe it to yourself to experience it. It's safe to say that Nintendo truly saved its best Wii game for last.

Well, there you go. Those are my picks and I would really like to hear your personal favourites. What stood out for you? It doesn't necessarily have to be ten games but a list would be preferable if you can. Just follow the above rules and tell us about it.

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