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Adam Ghiggino
31 Dec, 2011

PALGN Game of the Year Awards 2011

PALGN Feature | Here she comes, Miss Game of the Year...
2011 has come and gone, and boy has it been a big one. There have been heavy hitters appearing nearly constantly all year - LittleBigPlanet 2, Killzone 3, Crysis 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3... you get the picture. But alongside the big franchises smaller titles appeared and impressed enough to earn places on our Game of the Year awards list as well. Now, in this huge mega-pack of an article, you will find each staff member's three personal Games of the Year, along with their most surprising game and the biggest disappointment. And there were a few of those. But, enough introduction - it's time for the awards. And the winners are...

Anthony Capone - Staff Writer

Games of the Year

Crysis 2

In a year in which shooters were again the genre of choice, Crysis 2 retained its originality and created an experience to set it apart from 2011’s other military soapboxes. Even with the limited hardware of the current generation of consoles, Crytek forayed onto Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, developing a gorgeous rendition of New York scarred by a war between mercenaries and alien invaders. Open streets and dynamic enemies were a refreshing taste from the usual corridor galleries, and superpowers granted from the Nanosuit gave players a freedom unfamiliar in the usual pray-and-spray festivals. Importantly, Crysis 2 engrossed us with its battle to save humanity and delivered gameplay of an epic scale, all without the artificial veneer of most other shooters.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I would have been one of the few anticipating Deus Ex: Human Revolution not having experienced the original. I did have the fortune of playing (and rather enjoying) Deus Ex: Invisible War, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an absolutely sublime title. As my fellow staff commented, whoever could have thought that an untested studio could pull off the impossible and develop a game that was faithful and the captured the spirit of its pioneering predecessor? Like the original, players could forge their own path with a number of gameplay options. This distinct freedom gelled perfectly with the deep role-playing features, and the combination of fantastic art design, an engaging narrative and the best soundtrack of the year immersed us in a dynamic and believable future world. Adam Jensen may not have asked for this, but the fans of Deus Ex certainly did.

The Third Coming

2011 will be remembered for its deluge of awesome threequels – Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Uncharted 3. Like dogs of war, we fought epic battles in each of these games, but no roll of the dice could set my mind apart on which of these four games should occupy the converted game of the year ward. Gears of War 3 saw a wonderful end to the bombastic trilogy, will killer gameplay, graphics and the best narrative of the series. Battlefield 3 reigns supreme as king of online warfare, but the memorable scale of Modern Warfare’s campaign remains unrivalled. Finally, Uncharted 3 again saw us stepping into the boots of Nathan Drake, with the best edge-of-your-seat ride and characters to be seen in the virtual space this year.

Most Surprising Game

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

I’m not a fan of remakes, let alone game rehashes. Nevertheless, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary rekindled my love for the original adventure of Master Chief. Remakes are seldom worthwhile, but surprisingly, this makeover was a subliminal package, but a stunning new HD graphics engine, rerecording of the classic Halo: Combat Evolved soundtrack and hidden treasures littered about the game giving clues to the Halo universe. However, the most important thing remained unchanged – the iconic Halo gameplay. This allowed us to relive glorious memories of a decade ago, such as blasting the Covenant with the overpowered pistol and performing crazy stunts in the Warthog. 343 Industries should be commended for being faithful to the classic game, while delivering a shiny new package for diehard Halo fanatics.

Most Disappointing Game

Mass Effect 2: The Arrival

Following the stellar release of Mass Effect 2’s downloadable content – Kasumi, Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker – Arrival concluded the add-on adventures of Commander Shepard with a pitch to carry into Mass Effect 3. The reapers were on the verge of arriving in the Milk Way, and Mass Effect’s protagonist was tasked with halting the pending invasion. While a promising set-up, all we received was a squad-less Shepard trudging through room and room of goons under the guise of stopping an inter-galactic war. After Shadow Broker, you could have been forgiven for expecting one final hurrah, but aside from some excellent voicework from Lane Henriksen and a few memorable encounters, the experience was a very underwhelming affair. Nevertheless, Arrival is still a vital piece of the cake for Mass Effect completions and serves as a prologue for what should be a fantastic end to the Mass Effect trilogy.

Start spreading the news...

Start spreading the news...
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Adam Ghiggino - Managing Editor

Games of the Year

Portal 2

There aren't many games that can combine originality, humour and creativity as superbly as Portal 2. Constantly introducing inventive new puzzles and new mechanics to play with, the game expanded and explored the world of Portal, with a brilliant script that saw Chell joined by her old foe GLaDOS and Stephen Merchant's hilarious new character Wheatley. Add to that a great co-op campaign that equals the main story in almost every way, and you've got the definition of an unmissable experience.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I'll just have to say it - I've never been able to get into the original Deus Ex. I know, I know, it's one of the best games of all time. Or so you say. But by the time I got around to playing it, Deus Ex had become incredibly dated, so much so that it always prevented me from completely enjoying it. Human Revolution brings Deus Ex back into the present (even though it's set in the past. Of the future- oh no I've gone cross-eyed), with a fantastic presentation, compelling story and the same open-ended gameplay fans so enjoy. Upgrading to be as stealthy or as deadly as you want has never been so fun, and it's certainly made a fan out of me. I didn't ask for that.

Stacking

Another great title from Double Fine, who are certainly invested in making weird and original universes in each of their games. In a world populated by Matryoshka dolls, you play as the smallest one, with the ability to stack inside anyone larger than you to possess them and gain their abilities. Each puzzle in the game can be solved a number of ways, and finding out all the possibilities is a joy in itself. So unique, it simply has to be played to understand the genius behind it.

Most Surprising Game

Duke Nukem Forever

This is a departure from the usual definition of 'Most Surprising Game' as 'Game That Was Unexpectedly Good'. Duke Nukem Forever was unexpectedly bad, but perhaps the most surprising thing was that it was released at all. Did anyone really think we'd ever be actually playing this game? I mean for realsies? We actually played the actual Duke Nukem Forever that was actually in development for 14 years. The moment we all thought would never come arrived, and the result was a resounding "meh." There's a lesson about life somewhere in all this.

Most Disappointing Game

Jurassic Park

This is a bit of a sad moment, as for the first time I have to report that I have not only not enjoyed a game developed by the normally wonderful Telltale Games, I actually found it pretty poor. Telltale have seemed to be on a bit of a trend lately in making their games easier - Back to the Future earlier this year was a walk in the park, with some scenes simply requiring you to click the centre of the screen to continue. Jurassic Park furthers this mindset by literally playing out like a DVD menu. It's Heavy Rain without any movement or non-linearity, and as Telltale have attempted to target the casual audience, they have somehow made a game that could barely be called a game. If you like adventure games, try the Telltale-published Hector: Badge of Carnage series also released this year, as they are much harder, funnier and more interesting.

First you will be baked. And then, there will be cake.

First you will be baked. And then, there will be cake.
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Cody Giunta - Staff Writer

Games of the Year

Okamiden

It's the little sequel that could. Okamiden had a very difficult task of following up the sleeper hit Okami, and boy did it ever deliver. Utilising the DS, Okamiden's paintbrush action seemed second nature to all who played it. Beyond this inspired mechanic, the game was awash with colour and beauty in its art style, that left no doubt in anyone's mind as to where its origins lay. Wrapped up in a story full of charm, tears and laughs and the tease of more games in the series to come, Okamiden was an unforgettable game and arguably one of the very last releases for that fantastic console known as the Nintendo DS.

Professor Layton and the Last Spectre

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the charming gent known as Professor Layton would once more churn out a stellar game, perhaps the greatest Layton title yet. The Last Spectre, a prequel to the series, didn't reinvent the entire Professor Layton formula, but it's now polished and refined to a point of sheer excellence. New puzzle types were again introduced which garnered a greater level of satisfaction than ever before, and the story itself turned up both the bizarreness and emotion of the Professor Layton universe yet again. On top of that, the charming RPG add-on London Life surprisingly made it to Australia, and we were thankful for that indeed. It would have been worthy of being a download title on its own, but the fact that it was bundled into our release makes Professor Layton and the Last Spectre all the more sweeter

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Like The Last Spectre, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword brings players to the chronological beginning of a franchise while also able to be viewed as a last hurrah for a nintendo system. Skyward Sword is everything a Wii game should be-it looks amazing despite not being HD, it makes use of motion controls in such a way that is both intricate and easy to pick up and is above all a compelling title in its own right.While the game's momentum takes awhile to build, it is truly an amazing adventure once it hits it's stride. The controls and new items to use combine in such a way that there really isn't anything else like it on any other console. If this is the lasting legacy of the Wii and a sign of things to come for the Zelda series, then nintendo's experiment is the right move in a new direction.

Most Surprising Game

Sonic Generations

The Sonic franchise was meant to be more worn out than Dr Eggman trying to run a marathon, right? Well, it seems that such a streak of mediocrity for the Sonic series has finally been broken with Sonic Generations. The folks at Sega took a bold step in trying to balance new ideas and old school action and have admirably succeeded. Sonic Generations fuses the 2D Sonic of old with the 3D era in both visual, story and gameplay sense and somehow pulls off a miraculous blend of sublime modern gaming. It's familiar yet breathes new life into the Sonic series, something that few other game franchises have been able to pull off successfully.

Most Disappointing Game

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

There's a lot of love for Ghostbusters. From the original movies overflowing with eighties New York awesomeness to the many spinoff cartoon shows and other games, it's a franchise that a lot of people get a kick out of time and time again. Which is why it was such a shame to see Sanctum of Slime be so woefully unworthy of the universe. The problem wasn't that none of the original Ghostbusters had a significant role to play, but the game itself was simply dull, repetitive and completely lacking in any kind of truly redeemable quality to it. Even judging it on the fact that it was a download-only title, so much more could have been done with it to make it more interesting or at the very least fun in some respect, which Ghostbusters has always been.

Hey, at least you got on one GOTY list.

Hey, at least you got on one GOTY list.
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Adam Guetti - Staff Writer

Games of the Year

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

While many studios make valiant attempts, Uncharted 3 is arguably the closest the gaming industry has come to successfully mirroring the Hollywood blockbuster experience. After two opportunities to connect to Nathan Drake and co; for the third time around, Naughty dog ratcheted their storytelling to the next level, delving into the hidden psyche of the cherished fortune hunter and presenting key developments you actually care about. You feel for drake as he falls and become engrossed with whole gang's plights as you race towards the next development. It was all backed by Uncharted's solid gameplay and truly epic set pieces, showcasing wow moment after wow moment in amazingly spectacular and beautiful fashion. Third person action simply does not get better than Uncharted 3.

Portal 2

Whats not to love about Portal 2. Expertly written, GLaDOS, Wheatley and Co. etched a smile on our faces for the entire ride as you chuckled yourself into submission. Those who feared valve would fall into the trap of repetition with this fantastic sequel were put at ease after the implementation of traps, launch pads, gels and more, resulted in puzzles that were challenging without the rage quits. It all culminated in utter elation and satisfaction as you finally solved and nailed the perfect run. Sure, Valve may not be giving gamers the title they most desire from their spectacular line-up, but what they did provide has managed to be one of the most creative, challenging and witty games this generation. If you've somehow missed this game, shoot yourself a portal to your nearest retailer and grab yourself a copy.

Most Surprising Game

Dungeon Defenders

While many of us are blinded by the appeal of the rapid fire triple-A release schedule it's the smaller titles that can often take us by surprise. Dungeon Defenders was one of these games; blending the best bits of tower defense and third person action titles to create one manic downloadable experience as you battled wave after wave of deadly creatures with your allies. Couple that with loot, level progression and class upgrades and watch as the hours slowly but surly whittle away from you. Though it might take a while to get accustomed to the extensive mechanics, give this gem some love with three of your friends and you won't just take part in the most enjoyable downloadable titles, but one of the most surprising gems of the year.

Most Disappointing Game

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

With such a rich and expansive text to draw from, the gaming industry still fails at creating an authentic, enjoyable Lord of the Rings experience. Lord of the Rings: War in the North looked promising. An action RPG with an expansive setting, a wealth of loot and more orcs you can poke a staff at, fans were whetting their lips with anticipation. Which is why the reality of a truly average hack and slasher was extremely disappointing. From highly repetitive action, boring environments and lackluster presentation, War in the North just never managed to come together as well as it should have. With a bit more polish Tolkien fans could have finally had the ultimate LOTR experience, but instead were left with something completely forgettable. Maybe next time hey?

You were named after the dog?

You were named after the dog?
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Jeremy Jastrzab - Executive Editor

Games of the Year

Outland

Simply, the most underrated games of 2011. Console download services have allowed for a strong resurgence in the platforming genre; and while the puzzle fiends are satisfied, there wasn’t really much in the way of action platforming available, until Outland was released. Combining the platforming prowess of Prince of Persia, a Metroid styled overworld and Ikaruga polarity gameplay was an absolute masterstroke in creating a fast-paced and enthralling game that encouraged smart action and deep exploration. Actual rewards lay hidden in many dark corners and each boss battle was more creative than the last. Just why more haven’t lost themselves in the outskirts of Outland? Well, that’s their loss…

Dead Space 2

In a year packed with quality, it’s easy to forget that Dead Space 2 was released in January and took a big chunk out of gamer’s collective nerves. Perhaps some wanted to forget the nightmares… While the action took a little away from the horror, Visceral Games amped up the intensity to eleven, as the game took you through an unyielding journey of thrills and spills. Greatly improved in most areas, and begging for more of the highly inventive puzzles, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for what Isaac had to go through, by the end of the game. Unfortunately, it seems that EA has some funny ideas over how the franchise is meant to progress…

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Against all the odds, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a remarkable breath of fresh air. Not only did it successfully capture the spirit of its original predecessor, it did enough to update it for modern standards for one of the most engaging marriages of the old and new seen this year. While successful due to a number of sums, the most endearing aspect of the game was impact that your choices had, and just how you could utilise them; your choices never led you into a corner – as there was always a way to get out of them. If the developers use this as a stepping stone for another Deus Ex game, we could be in for a true gaming revolution.

Most Surprising Game

Child of Eden

I’m a staunch advocate of ‘Gameplay is King’, so artsy-fartsy has to play brilliantly to win me over. Or do what Child of Eden did, and prove that it is possible to provide a core title that plays well through motion controls. While the combination of visuals and audio make it an experience unlike any other, there was an engaging and challenging shooter beneath it all too. The biggest surprise though was that the Kinect version probably ‘plays’ the best of all three options – as it was the mode that really allowed you to feel part of the game.

Most Disappointing Game

Homefront

For mine, Homefront, wasted the limitless potential from the most provocative background provided for a video game, arguably ever. And by wasted, it took one bite off the wagyu steak dinner and dumped the rest down the back of the waiter’s pants. While the backdrop of a resurgent North Korea invading the USA made for an enthralling premise and provided some good moments, five hours after being rescued from the makeshift prison van, this Call of Duty clone highlighted several issues in modern gaming, such as failure to fully utilise the setting without copious amounts of supporting media, one-noted linearity, a blatant cliff hanger and the patchy multiplayer was a camper’s paradise… But most damning of all, and I’m dead serious about this, there was no final boss battle with Mecha Kim Jong-un. Over to you Crytek…

I'll be honest. No idea what's going on in this picture.

I'll be honest. No idea what's going on in this picture.
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Jahanzeb Khan - Making a Mysterious Comeback

Games of the Year

Sonic Generations

What can I say? Sonic Team finally created the best Sonic game since Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and is quite possibly their greatest game since Nights into Dreams (1996).Classic Sonic was introduced to the HD realm in a big way and Modern Sonic was finally nailed right. A fantastic game that has everything a good Sonic title should have and more, and one of the best platformers of this generation. With Sonic Generations, Sonic Team finally gets their mojo back, and hopefully they manage to keep this quality effort going from now on.

Shadows of the Damned

The game is what it says it is, a road trip, one that is full of laughs, disgusting moments, and awful jokes, but in the end it’s a bloody good time. To me it was a lot like a really good heavy metal album: loud, abrasive, aggressive, relentless and just plain bad ass. Amazing game that had great pace, exhilarating action, huge boss battles, and an absolutely insane ending. All make an unique experience that just oozes with style.

Hard Corps: Uprising

This is how you make an old school game relevant again. Taking the traditional tough as nails gameplay conventions from the Contra series, Hard Corps introduces a surprisingly modern gameplay experience thanks to the RPG style ‘Rising Mode’ that allows you to build your character. Plenty of cool weapons and skills, huge bosses, intuitive and challenging level design, and addictive gameplay, all combined with some slick anime visuals and a thumping heavy metal soundtrack.

Most Surprising Game

Sonic Generations

Well this game was supposed to suck…but it didn’t. Some may still find this hard to believe, but really, this game is not rubbish, far from it…it’s a brilliant game. It’s a modern Sonic title done right (finally), it will send Sonic fans to heaven and give new comers a chance to experience the true spirit of the franchise.

Most Disappointing Game

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

This game pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with Capcom at the moment. In fact, talking about why this game is a disappointment is really pointless because Capcom released ULTIMATE Marvel vs. Capcom 3 within the same year, making the original an absolute waste of money. Hey Capcom, I hope your decisions come around to kick you in the rear end in 2012. You deserve a fate worse than Sega and Atari combined.

That's not no good. It's great.

That's not no good. It's great.
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Michael Kontoudis - Staff Writer

Games of the Year

Batman: Arkham City

After the surprising critical and commercial success of 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum, expectations were understandably stratospheric for Rocksteady's follow up, and while Arkham City fails to recreate the shock and awe engendered by its forebearer so long ago, it certainy lives up to its pedigree. Sure, the narrative is so stuffed, convoluted and winding that it ends up eating its own tale, and sure, the more open environments can occasionally interfere with pacing, but there is no denying the scope and quality of Rocksteady's achievement. Arkham City, like no other game before it, lets players become the Batman, completely and without compromise. Brimming with content and polished to a sheen, this is without doubt a classic and one of the best games of the generation.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

While playing Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, you can almost hear Naughty Dog straining and gasping to keep up, not only with the technical limitations imposed on their vision by ageing hardware, but also to bear the weight of expectations loaded upon them following the release of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves two years ago. Better visuals, bigger and more incredible action sequences, and a more grounded, emotional narrative bear testament to the developer's efforts, making Drake's Deception one of the most memorable games of 2011. It may not be better than Among Thieves (spotty aiming and lopsided pacing chip away at its gilded facade), but Drake's Deception stands toe-to-toe with its predecessor in boasting more engagement, thrills and spectacle per-minute than any other game release this year.

Resistance 3

Resistance 3 is the best shooter of 2011, a year which has boasted a cavalcade of shooters, each more bombastic and hyped than the next. Insomniac Games has finally found a voice for its series, eschewing fetishistic militarism for a grim, hopeless tale of survival against overwhelming odds. Taking inspiration from its flagship Ratchet and Clank franchise, Insomniac Games has focussed its efforts around the inventive use of a varied and entertaining arsenal of weapons which upgrade through use, offering true 'sand box' play and opportunity for experimentation within the confines of an otherwise linear shooter packed with memorable moments. Compared to Resistance 3, Modern Warfare 3 is an unimaginative slog, which makes it shameful that the game failed to sell as well as its predecessors.

Most Surprising Game

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

That Eidos Montreal could successfully pull off a sequel to the lauded Deus Ex over ten years since the release of that seminal title is nothing less than extraordinary. Dismissing all doubters who felt burned by the series' lacklustre second entry, Invisible War, Human Revolution lived up to its heritage in the best way possible, taking the complexities and conceptual framework of the original and making them accessible to new audiences. Sumptuous art design, a pitch-perfect soundtrack and well-integrated role-playing mechanics make Human Revolution the best game of the year which could have, and probably should have, been so much worse than it is. Where things could have gone so very wrong, they instead went so very right, which is testament to Eidos Montreal's passion and proficiency.

Most Disappointing Game

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

One of the best games of this year, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is also its most disappointing. Ironically, it was not the game's reliance on motion controls which let it down (they were, in fact, impressively intuitive and responsive), but the areas in which Nintendo were once masters: storytelling, pacing, and invention. Skyward Sword is a game firmly rooted in the past, and while nostalgia renders its familiar visual, aural and narrative conventions somewhat charming, there is no doubt that the template is becoming hoary. An overlong tutorial, unskippable text, and hours upon hours of meaningless tasks (collect this, go here and fetch that, assemble the mystical trinket which has been splintered into nineteen pieces) drag down what is otherwise the most charming and engaging Zelda title in years. The dungeons are amazing, the controls are clever, and the soundtrack simply stunning, but it's hard to shake the feeling that somewhere in the bloated, shambling thirty-five hours offered by Nintendo is a spritely, exciting twenty-hour adventure just waiting to emerge.

I'M NOT WEARING HOCKEY PANTS.

I'M NOT WEARING HOCKEY PANTS.
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Jarrod Mawson - Staff Writer

Games of the Year

Shadows of the Damned

Grasshopper is one of those developers, like Valve and Platinum, that has my undivided attention for every game announced, as though quality across the board is pretty mixed, the unique scenarios, bizarre characters, and addictive (if flawed) gameplay keeps me coming back. Like all of their games, Shadows of the Damned had it's share of flaws, but it was the rock solid shooting mechanics that channelled Shinji Mikami's staple of powerful weapons and satisfying kills, widely varied environments and creative locals stretched across the entire game, and hilarious potty mouthed humour that made the game so damn difficult to put down. Descriptions of a 'road trip through hell' couldn't be more accurate, as the game constantly pushes the player forward without ever breaking a sweat or slowing down, teasing exciting new scenarios and wacked out encounters around every corner. It's the best game you haven't played this year, and the closest any game has come to being a true successor to Resident Evil 4.

Most Surprising Game

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Much like my pick for last year, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was on my **** list right from the get-go. A prequel to an age old classic, streamlined, from a studio with no experience with the franchise? If I were a gambling man I would have put good money on Human Revolution ending up a disaster. Thankfully I'm not, because what we got was not only a faithful revival of the Deus Ex franchise, but one of the most engaging and legitimately well designed role playing games since Vampire: Bloodlines. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. The RPG design could be tighter, level design more open, boss fights overhauled, and more. But nobody can deny Eidos Montreal's heart was in the right place. Surprisingly, much of the streamlining of RPG mechanics worked in favour of a modernised experience, barely detracting from the freedom of character building and world interaction yet making choices distinct and functional. To go from disgusted and appalled at what seemed like bastardisation of one of my all time favourite games, to enjoying one of the greatest games released this year, is the very definition of a surprise. Just make another one, Eidos Montreal. Bigger, deeper, and ever better. You've got my money.

Most Disappointing Game

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

The strength of Naughty Dog's presence in the 'movie game' genre goes without saying, and though I'm far from the biggest fan of the series, my enjoyment of previous Uncharted games, especially Uncharted 2, guaranteed a purchase of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception at launch. It's unfortunate then that this final chapter in the Uncharted PlayStation 3 trilogy did not strike the same chord as the last. Huge production values could not save a game marred by weak encounters, spotty dragged out pacing, inconsistent characterisation, a plot that boringly retreads the tropes of past games, and technical issues at launch like questionable aiming controls and missing motion blur (later patched, thank the stars). It's not that Drake's Deception is a bad game, just that design issues and age finally exposed flaws in the franchise; there are better third person shooters, there are better stories, and there are better action games. Worst of all, the game simply last the consistent polish and moment-to-moment excitement of Uncharted 2. Ironically, Drake's Deception is also responsible for introducing elements, such as stronger puzzles, that I felt would improve the series. And though not without value, they're stretched too thinly across an overall package that I couldn't help but feel was unequivocally worse than it's predecessor.

Nothing like a hot laser boner.

Nothing like a hot laser boner.
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James Varoutsos - Technical Director

Games of the Year

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The five year wait is over and what Bethesda delivered in that time is nothing short of a masterpiece. Known for games that give players a vast, open world to roam within and play the way they want, Bethesda really pushed the envelope again with Skyrim. Everything has been tweaked and improved upon and considering the pedigree Skyrim has come from, that's pretty amazing.

There is one they fear... in their tongue he is Pelican Skirt.

There is one they fear... in their tongue he is Pelican Skirt.
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Well, that's it from us for this year, but how about you? What are your games of the year, your surprises and disappointments? Which games lived up to your lofty expectations and which ones broke what little joy and naiveté? Let us know in the comments section, and on behalf of everyone at PALGN we want to wish all of you the very best this New Year, and hope to see you again next year. It's been our pleasure.

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63 Comments
2 years ago
Demon Souls was a spiritual successor to a series on the ps1/ps2... damn what was it called.... Kings Field!
2 years ago
So a game like demon souls could at least be called, somewhat original with its multi-player aspect. I'll have to look at this Kings Field for sure, I'm intrigued.
2 years ago
Well, I'm with some other commenters here. I'm simply dumbfounded that Dark Souls doesn't even appear on anyone's list.

Denny called it in the comments section of his review: "simply THE greatest game of this generation". I think pretty much anyone who's played it would have to agree.

Dark Souls (and it's predesessor) are so far ahead of anything else released this year (or indeed the previous half-decade) - it really is no contest.
2 years ago
Hyperbole aside, the reason I bought up Dark Souls in the first place is because it is in the elite "Perfect 10" club on this site, yet not a single current staff member mentioned it in their list. Which, from an outside observer point of view, can only hurt the credibility of reviews and best-ofs going forward.

So in that light, I'm curious - Has any of the current staff played the game? Or played it through?
2 years ago
AlaCarcuss wrote
Well, I'm with some other commenters here. I'm simply dumbfounded that Dark Souls doesn't even appear on anyone's list.
Your taste =/= everyone else's taste.
2 years ago
I work full time, I play cricket in the summer and I attempt to run the site - and anyone with half a brain will realise that it's not all fun and games.

My gaming back catalogue is freaking massive. Dark Souls is sitting in that back catalogue, along with many of the titles considered amongst the best of 2011.

Quite simply I can't get to everything, let alone a title that will take up 60 hours... **** wouldn't I love a spare 60 hours... While I can't speak for others, we're all busy individuals. At the same time, this is an article with the purpose of allowing individuals to articulate their own tastes, and not purport any "PALGN thinks this is teh best". And Denny was allowed to put in his choices, if he wanted to add them.

Now you see, the point of then attaching a forum to post with this article, is for you all to discuss what you liked/didn't like and agreed/disagreed with. You liked Dark Souls? Good for you! By you mentioning games that we didn't mention, everyone wins! I can look at what staff have played, what readers have played and think... "Hmm... you know what? I should probably consider playing Dark Souls".

As I've mentioned before, PALGN belongs to the writers and to the community, not to one massive collective cause. I've always believed in giving everyone the freedom to express their tastes and preferences as they see fit. The article was posted over three weeks ago, and everyone's made their point pretty clear by now - you like Dark Souls. Get over it. And in the last six months, I've learned that there are many, many worse ways to hurt the credibility of a site...
2 years ago
mmmm 60 hrs, that would be living. I get maybe 15 hrs a week game time max. Gotta be jelly of all those dole bludgers....
2 years ago
ah those were the days, i was a professional final fantasy VII player back in the day...
2 years ago
God I can't handle doing that anymore. I remember when I got Tales of Symphonia on the cube I sat down and beat it over one weekend. Like 40 hours or something.

I can't physically do that anymore.
2 years ago
Gaming in your teenage years was the best *sigh*
2 years ago
Benza wrote
God I can't handle doing that anymore. I remember when I got Tales of Symphonia on the cube I sat down and beat it over one weekend. Like 40 hours or something.

I can't physically do that anymore.
I remember one night we were sitting there at like 3am, text, press button, text, press button.....oh shit, what were we meant to do next....added 6 hours to that game just wandering around pressing on dudes to see if that was where we were meant to be going.
2 years ago
oh man I remember I used to get that when playing something till like 3am, then saving and starting the next morning and having no fucking idea what I'd spent the last hour doing the night before and having no idea where to go.
2 years ago
this is why they made everything corridors
2 years ago
My game of the year would have to be Deus Ex. I completed that game like 3-4 times got all achievements for it for steam and was still left with a sense of wanting to play it again. That to me is game of a year quality.
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