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Game of the Year 2011

Skyrim Wins Inaugural Dealspwn Readers' Choice Award, GOTY 2011 List In Full

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, Readers' Choice: Game of the Year 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim Wins Inaugural Dealspwn Readers' Choice Award, GOTY 2011 List In Full

The votes have been counted and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has won our inaugural Readers' Choice Award for 2011. You can check out the winners of all of the categories in our 2011 Game of the Year Awards below, including a few specific extras. Bastion, for example, took another award for its excellent soundtrack, with Battlefield 3 and Rayman and El Shaddai splitting plaudits for technical and artistic visuals respectively. Dead Island naturally took the gong for best trailer.

Click here to see the list of awards in full...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Most Anticipated For 2012

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, Most Anticipated For 2012

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Most Anticipated For 2012

There are just so many games we're looking forward to this coming year. We've picked out a few highlights, but there are so many more to mention. The likes of The Darkness II, Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Aliens: Colonial Marines, XCOM, Metro: last Light, The Last Of Us, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World,  and so many more...

We're going to be endeavouring to bring you a slew of features on these in the coming months, and we'll be back at E3 and Gamescom again this year to bring you some epic previews of what is to come, but for now here's our Most Anticipated For 2012 list. Do let us know in the comments what you guys are looking forward to as well.

Bioshock Infinite

It's been our most anticipated game of 2012 for some time now. So much so that we thought it completely futile to try and rank these in any sort of fashion. Frankly we'd just like it to come out and stop teasing us at preview shows so some other games can get a look in.

PS Vita

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Most Anticipated For 2012

Japan already have and we can only look on in naked envy. It's sleek, powerful and the launch line up is swoontastic. Sony have a huge stable of loyal developers behind them, and the Vita's biggest challenge will be to provide a library of games that can compete at cost and offer better experiences than those on the smartphone and tablet platforms.  We can't wait.

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Dealspwn's Game of the Year 2011

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Dealspwn's Game of the Year 2011

There's a reason we run a mini season of writer retrospectives on this site before we start the main awards each year. The fact of the matter is that although when it comes to the genre awards decisions tend to be relatively easy, the voting casting a clear winner, when it comes to the actual Game of the Year prize, the top three I ask for from each contributor is invariably different.

Not that I'm complaining. The diversity in the nominations simply signifies the depth of quality we continue to enjoy and build upon in this industry. It must have been a year in which we've seen a lot of sequels, but that didn't mean it was a bad year by any stretch of the imagination.

Dealspwn's Game of the Year 2011

Let's start with the indies. Two were nominated for the coveted gong this year: Supergiant's Bastion and Mode 7's Frozen Synapse were games that captured our minds, hearts and spare time more than a number of thebig hitters this year through strength of concept, peerless execution and some of the finest gameplay to be found in their respective categories.

Of course, there were big budget games that innovated too this year. L.A. Noire, Portal 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution all brought something new to the proceedings, and all were nominated for game of the year. The first attempted to reinvent the adventure mystery with new technology and a striking noir storyline; the second by taking a groundbreaking idea and running with it and the third doing what Invisible War could not - providing a worthy continuation of the Deus Ex name.

Dealspwn's Game of the Year 2011

But ofcourse some made the nominations list by simply being considered the best in their field. Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City, Rayman Origins and Xenoblade Chronicles, Killzone 3 and Skyward Sword; all were nominated, all deserving. But none quite made it.

In amongst the array of choices, though, one game stood out time and time again. Not for being perfect, not in a quantifiable technical sense anyway. It wasn't the prettiest game, nor the most groundbreaking. It didn't offer multiplayer and wasn't exactly a wholly new IP. Its new engine turned out to be not quite so new and its blooper reel would last for weeks.

But we've been banging on about it for nearly two months now, and that shows no signs of stopping

Ladies and gentlemen, Dealspwn's Game of the Year 2011 is...

Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2011

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, Readers' Choice: Game of the Year 2011

Readers' Choice: Vote For Your Best Game Of 2011

We've done our part and our Game of the Year 2011 will be announced in an hour's time, but now we'd like to hear from you. We've compiled a list of twenty or so games that have featured thus far and we'd love to see what our community thought was the best game to come along in 2011.

We'll keep the poll until next week and announce the winner, along with a roundup of all of our other awards in the New Year.

Cast your votes ladies and gentlemen, for this year's Readers' Choice: Game of the Year Award 2011:


Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Action/Adventure, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

The action/adventure genre got bigger and better in 2011. When goons busted their way out of Arkham Asylum into the City, Batman was there to clean things up. When a haughty Helen Mirren wannabe deployed a secretive global initiative to ferret out a lost and ancient city, Drake was back to chase all over the globe and sort things out. Cole McGrath returned, in possession of a host of new powers, and the purple-clad Saints reappeared, bringing a new playground of bizarre, explosive, sex-toy-ridden delights along with them.

If that wasn't enough, Supergiant and Team Bondi rocked up to the party with a couple of newbies to show off and, in Bastion and L.A. Noire, they delivered two of our favourite games of the year.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

Title

Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

Bastion

There was the soundtrack. There was the engaging, fluid combat. There was one of the finest pieces of interactive, procedurally generated storytelling we've seen. Supergiant Games crafted a sensational experience, and one that thoroughly deserves our respect. Bastion is engaging, fun, heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

Batman: Arkham City

Rocksteady succeeded with the 'difficult second album', smashing expectations and delivering a darker, deeper and more delicious experience than before. The story was excellent, the voice acting once again superb, and the open world did nothing to diminish nor dilute the winning formula Rocksteady established with the first game...if anything, it made everything better.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 shook things up a little bit, by abandoning pure horror and introducing more action elements. For our money, though, this made the overall experience a more diverse, better paced affair. The Sprawl was perfectly realised, a terrifying blend of the familiar and the grotesque, and perfectly complimented by Jason Graves' eerie soundtrack.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

L.A. Noire

Team Bondi's story might have been a topsy-turvy mess ending in miserable liquidation, but the game they left behind this year was an utter gem. Providing a roadmap for the future in the detective-oriented adventure game, L.A. Noire was a masterpiece in cinematic gaming, thanks in no small part to the pioneering motion capture and facial recognition work.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Wii owners had been waiting years for this one, but finally Nintendo delivered a first party title that absolutely made the most of everything that the Wii could do. Gorgeous to behold, stuffed full of inventive mechanics, controls and some ingenious level design, Link returned in one of the year's finest games and breathed fresh life into a console on its last legs.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Action/Adventure Game

Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3 was yet another game that offered the complete package this year. More modes, more options, more customisation, and the bespoke co-op mini adventures made for a multiplayer experience that delighted PS3 fans everywhere. As usual, though, it was the singleplayer that really impressed, with arguably the best story in the series and, in Marlowe, certainly the best villain.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Shooter 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

If 2011 was the year of the number three, then nowhere was this more evident in this particular genre, with Modern Warfare, Gears of War, Killzone and Battlefield all squaring up to one another with the magic number on their boxes. It was a year when the FPS genre was defined by just how much content you could stuff into one box, with seemingly little gameplay innovation on the ground amongst the big names, the technical advances eschewed for new modes, new implementations and new playground of violence.

Outside of the usual suspects, though, Deus Ex returned with a prequel that proved to be as good a shooter as it was an RPG, bringing back some good old-fashioned stealth. And Sam Stone was back to remind us all that the FPS existed before everyone started shouting 'Oscar Mike' by delivering a game of insane fun that proved gloriously satisfying.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Battlefield 3

Although the singleplayer may have been a bit of a dud, thankfully, DICE's FPS lived up to its name in multiplayer, serving up an expansive set of warzones, rendered beautifully thanks to Frostbite 2.0 and, if played on PC, hurling teams of up to 32 players against one another. Online, Battlefield 3 was simply astounding, with the clear emphasis on teamwork helping no end, the exceptional visuals and stunning sound work contributing to an atmosphere that was epic, frantic and a whole load of fun, whichever class you were inhabiting.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

If it ain't broke... MW3 delivered another rollercoaster ride of high-octane thrills in an explosive SP campaign, some cracking co-op action, and of course the usual range of MP material. With more to do, more to unlock and more customisation options than ever before, MW3 served up a familiar but expanded platter of multiplayer delights. Elite was simply the icing on the cake...when it worked.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a triumph of open-ended gameplay, impeccable level design and the realisation of a believable, authentic universe. But it was also a shooter that brought back first-person stealth in a way we hadn't seen since Thief. A genre-crossing masterpiece.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Gears of War 3

Gears 3's campaign was beautiful and epic, clocking in at a lengthy 12-15 hours; the multiplayer was honed and polished to a nigh-perfect sheen; Horde 2.0 was stunningly addictive, and even Beast was worth a game or two with friends. It proved the culmination of Epic's five year stint in Sera, and the perfect end to one of the best trilogies this generation.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Killzone 3

All the little things that stopped the last game becoming a classic were been smoothed out and fine-tuned in Killzone 3. Planet Helghan might not have been made up of rainbows, but it was a stunningly rendered game world. Not only a technical triumph, the campaign was incredibly good fun to play through too, thanks to some varied pacing and a healthy mix of assaults, stealth, vehicles, on-rails shooting and plenty of ‘holy shit’ moments.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Shooter

Serious Sam 3: BFE

An orgy of chaos; a blood-soaked, intense and outrageous affair that still provided a stern technical challenge thanks to the upscaled enemies. Serious Sam 3: BFE was stupid, brilliant, inexplicable, wonderful fun. And it had a giant, armour-plated, pirate-hunting red scorpion...which was awesome.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best RPG 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

The evolution of the RPG has been fascinating to behold over the last few years, with a number of key themes becoming buzzwords to describe the experience: freedom, choice, consequence. But beyond all of that is the world-building. If you're going to spend upwards of thirty hours in an environment there have to be reasons, hooks to keep sucking you back in...and 2011 was in no short supply of those.

CD Projekt plunged us back into the world of the witchers, letting us delve into an even more murky and morally grey fantastical epic than before. Assassins of Kings was an astounding sequel, one that we can't wait to see on consoles. Sequels were the order of the day this year,apart from the excellent Xenoblade Chronicles, but for this genre that didn't mean mindless iteration. Dark Souls brought stunning art direction and some fiendish, epic battles to the party; Deus Ex: Human Revolution taught us that stealth was by no means dead - we weren't sure that Eidos could pull it off after this long, but they did...with bells on; Dragon Age II was indeed far different to its predecessor and then, of course there was Skyrim, with its vast snowscapes and procedurally generated dragons.

Dear god, this category was a close one.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

Dark Souls

Punishing, brutal, even to the point of being unfair, there were plenty with a bone to pick with Dark Souls. But those who persisted, those who gave themselves over to the game rather than trying make it something it wasn't, found a title of rich complexity, with a vast amount of depth and some utterly stunning art direction. From Software's epic was an astoundingly good JRPG.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a triumph of open-ended gameplay, impeccable level design and the realisation of a believable, authentic universe. Yes, the boss fights were rubbish, but they were more than balanced out by the exceptional quality of the overall experience. Any worries we might have had were squashed flat - Human Revolution was as good as we could possibly want from a prequel to an epic series.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

Dragon Age II

Hahaha...just kidding.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda returned with yet another brilliantly realised, gargantuan open world experience. Bug-ridden and glitchy to begin with, Skyrim provided nonetheless one of the most complete, compelling, and engrossing game worlds of the year.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings

Geralt's second outing was a masterpiece of RPG storytelling, with improved combat, a deeper, richer experience and some gorgeous graphics. CD Projekt produced another game that challenged our abilities, minds and consciences.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best RPG

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best JRPGs ever made. In fact, it's probably one of the best roleplaying games of this generation - regardless of platform. In the wake of last year's disappointing FFXIII, Monolith Soft made the genre relevant again, delivering depth and nuance without compromising fun or thrills. Sits comfortably alongside Skyward Sword as the must-have game of the year if you own a Wii, simple as that.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Mobile Game

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Android Games, Dead Space, Extraction: Project Outbreak, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, Infinity Blade II, iOS games, Jetpack Joyride, Mobile games, Sworcery, Tiny Wings

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Mobile Game

Mobile games are every bit as relevant, as important and frequently as good as traditional PC or home console games... so don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Oh, and don't you dare tell anyone that they're not "real games." For shame. The rise of iOS and Android has allowed countless Independent developers and triple-A colossi to compete on a level playing field; giving rise to an entirely new ecosystem of gaming excellence.

As resident critic for Mobot.net, I've been inundated with fantastic mobile and tablet titles over the last twelve months. Choosing a shortlist has been an absolute nightmare, so I'd invite you to get involved and tell us all what you've been playing this year!

10: Allied Star Police

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Mobile Game

Ten year-old Owain Weinert was diagnosed with Leukemia last year, but thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, he was able to realise his dream of creating a videogame with casual giants PopCap. Impressively, Owain showed incredible natural talent in game design and development - taking the helm of what turned out to be an polished and addictive action/strategy game that would have been worth paying good money for.

A class act from all involved, and proof that videogames can and should be a force for good.

9: SQUIDS

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Mobile Game

SQUIDS feels like a quality DS title crunched down onto a handset and slapped with an unbelievably low price tag. It blends RPG mechanics with billiards; giving you control over a team of arthropods that you'll fling into enemies and manoeuvre around the maps with all the skills of a pool hall shark. Eyepopping graphical prowess, massive replayability and adorable art design make this a force to be reckoned with.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Indie Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

As I stated in a recent article, 2011 has been dominated - even defined - by the extraordinary quality and quantity of its Indie games. Far from being the derogatory term of yesteryear, Indie is now a byword for imaginative design, eyepopping artistic flair and a price tag that lets us scoop up brilliant titles by the bucketload. Genres and conventions mean nothing to the hard-working visionaries who are free from the grasping talons of shareholders and cliches... and thanks to the Humble Bundle schemes and ongoing prevalence of digital downloads, Indie games are fully striking a massive chord with the mainstream. Big ideas mean more than big budgets, and we've been treated to some truly wonderful experiences throughout the last twelve months regardless of whether you're a diehard PC owner or casual console player.

Choosing a winner, therefore, has never been more difficult. This is probably the most tightly-contested category of the lot.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

Bastion

Is Bastion technically an 'Indie' game? Has the marriage of major publishers with unfettered independent innovation resulted in an entirely new breed? Maybe. All we know is that Supergiant Games crafted a sensational experience, and one that thoroughly deserves our respect. Bastion is engaging, fun, heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

Frozen Synapse

Frozen Synapse handily won our award for Best Strategy Game of 2011... and with good reason. It's a bona fide phenomenon; an astounding Indie achievement that completely redefines the stagnating genre into a fast-paced asynchronous action that takes place within a thriving social network. Mode 7 Games will be bringing the strategic shenanigans to iPad next year, and we frankly can't wait.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

Serious Sam: Double D

Serious Sam: Double D combines the glorious juicy ultraviolence of the Serious Sam franchise with the reckless and unbridled creativity that you'd expect from the Indie scene. The net result is a wondrous orgy of great gameplay mechanics, hidden depth, outrageous combat and more exploding monkeys than you can handle. It's a big, dumb shooter - but a damn good one.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

Terraria

Terraria is the best of all possible worlds. Freeform omnipotent creation goes hand in hand with deep platform exploration and RPG mechanics, providing an experience that's suitable for... well... everyone. There is more to see and accomplish in Re-Logic's surprise hit than in any most other games released this year, and it has the potential to run and run. Deeper than Minecraft, we reckon.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

The Binding of Isaac

The Binding Of Isaac is a randomised, replayable and reprehensible roguelike from the artistic half of Team Meat. The horrific imagery and shocking themes may disgust, but the core experience works brilliantly regardless. As moreish as it is disturbing.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Indie Game

To The Moon

To The Moon sets out to tell a story... and succeeds in spinning a yarn of such compelling drama, heartbreaking woe and genuine relateable issues that it simply cannot be ignored. In fact, its narrative stands tall as one of the most impressive in videogame history. Adorable faux-retro visuals and a lovely soundtrack conspire to create an essential Indie title.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Download/Marketplace Game, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, PSN, XBLA

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

Didn't fancy shelling out for the blockbusters this year? No matter, as the marketplaces had some absolutely cracking titles on show. There were games that re-emerged from ages past - with Joe Danger SE, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD and Beyond Good and Evil HD bringing quality to a fresh audience. But there was plenty of original talent on offer too. In a year that saw studios splintering and going indie, the likes of Supergiant's Bastion and Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die! were a critical darlings and public favourites.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

Bastion

The perfect way to kick of XBLA's Summer of Arcade this year, Bastion was so much more than just another isometric action game. With levels that were literally constructed before your very eyes, dynamic narration the likes of which we'd never seen before and a soundtrack so good that yours truly downloaded it as soon it came out, it made the games around it look amateurish by comparison.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

Dungeon Defenders"

While Orcs Must Die! successfully married direct combat and tower tactics, Trendy Entertainment's effort Dungeon Defenders went one step further by providing a persistent RPG element that invoked the likes of Diablo and Torchlight. Dungeon Defenders was an incredibly brave proposition from a small independent studio... and a hybrid gamble that paid off in spades. With four players leaping into the fray it was insanely good fun.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

Joe Danger SE

The best game on the PSN last year turned into one of the finest games onXBLA in 2011. Hello Games, by their own admission, got a second chance to turn a 9 into a 10, fixing all of the little things that they wished they'd hd time to do on the first pass. The result? A more complete product that lost none of its charm and added in a bunch of extras too.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

Vampire Smile delivered some of the most fluid, thrilling, visceral and satisfying combat to ever grace a console. Silva stepped things up from the first game and delivered a resplendent package that retained the dark and brooding sensibilities of its predecessor and added in a host of content and some brutal multiplayer shenanigans too.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Download/Marketplace Game

The War of the Worlds

The War Of The Worlds was a brave and uncompromising adaptation that succeeded thanks to its exceptional presentation and respectful treatment of the subject matter. A surprise tour de force that deserved your time, attention and money, Other Ocean game had a few frustrating niggles...but then again it also had PATRICK STEWART!

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Sports Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

Plenty of quality for sports fans this year, with the usual franchises stepping things up a gear to try and keep things fresh. Control scheme overhauls for FIFA and PES, the addition of Move to Virtua Tennis 4, the list of tweaks, updates and new features for the likes of NBA 2K12 and Football Manager 2012 were almost endless.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

FIFA 12

EA Sports took a gamble this year, shaking up the FIFA series with a simple but game changing tweak to the way gamers approached defending. Of course it ran deeper than that - the Impact Engine and Precision Dribbling complimenting the realigned focus. It wasn't perfect, but it was a giant step forward.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

Fight Night Champion

Fight Night Champion was gorgeous to behold, the animations were smooth and Champion Mode was a glorious marriage between story and gameplay. Andre Bishop's tale was a cheesy one, a rags to riches frame with laughably clichéd elements, but it was utterly glorious all the same.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

Football Manager 2012

Another year, another Sports Interactive time sink. Bigger, better, and more life-sapping than last year's effort, FM 2012 was stuffed to the seams with new features.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

NBA 2K12

So good that EA still haven't bothered to put out any competition.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Sports Game

PES 2012

Once again Konami's footie title came with a biblical controller manual, but once you'd gotten the hang of the new features, it was sublime. Improved offensive AI, silky smooth dribbling and the outstanding Off The Ball controls meant that picking the perfect pass was always an option...and more satisfying than ever before.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Strategy Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

2011 was something of a transitional year for the strategy genre as studios looked to mix things up a little bit, with a large number of excellent genre mashups seeing the light of day. Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die! were at the forefront of the partnership between strategy and action, with the former throwing in some excellent RPG mechanics in for good measure too. The Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive delivered sequels to their respective long-running franchises, with Shogun 2 bringing back much of the magic that the Total War series might have lost with Napoleon and Empire. And then, of course, there was Mode 7 Games' top-down, Tom Clancy-esque turn based gem, Frozen Synapse. A pretty good year for all concerned.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

Dungeon Defenders"

Orcs Must Die! successfully married direct combat and tower tactics, but Trendy Entertainment's effort went one step further by providing a persistent RPG element that invoked the likes of Diablo and Torchlight. Dungeon Defenders was an incredibly brave proposition from a small independent studio... and a hybrid gamble that paid off in spades. With four players leaping into the fray it was insanely good fun.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

From Dust

Eric Chahi's new twist on the god game was a slow burner, but beautifully realised. Manipulating the land and the elements rather than directly influencing your minions gave the game a rather unique serenity, catering more towards a patient and nurturing game style that made From Dust one of the most striking little games of the year.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

Frozen Synapse

Frozen Synapse wasn't just one of the best strategy games of the year...it was one of the best games of any kind! Fantastic pick-up-and-play appeal married to instant accessibility and a ridiculously deep and compelling level of cerebral strategy made for a masterpiece in turn-based strategy. Not only was it a fraction of the price of hundreds of the 'bigger' titles this year, but Mode 7's infinite combinations of maps and opponents, and excellent community features, made Frozen Synapse a game that we're still playing months down the line.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die! offered up a simple premise backed up with solid mechanics, some lovely, cartoonish presentation and a relatively low price tag. No, it wasn't particularly original, but Robot Entertainment created a gleefully violent blend of action and strategy that proved great fun in short bursts. We just wished we could have doubled the culling fun with a friend.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Strategy Game

Total War: Shogun 2

For some, Empire and Napoleon missed the point of the Total War series, which was getting stuck in with swords, not whittling away at each other from afar with muskets. Shogun 2 addressed this and plenty more besides, delivering the current definitive Total War experience...until the next game comes out. You should play just to see your ninja single-handedly capture a massive castle.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Platform/Puzzle Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Another close category, this one, and the result could have gone any number of ways. Mario finally made his appearance on the 3DS, reminding us just in time for Christmas why we'd bought one in the first place. But cast your minds back all the way to January and you might remember that it was Sony's young pretender, Sackboy, who kicked this year off in style, with Media Molecule handing over a gargantuan suite of creation tools to play around with. Ubisoft's Rayman returned in a busy release window, but that couldn't stop his quality showing through, and 2011 saw GLaDOS try to kill us all over again as Valve got a chance to explore the world of Aperture Science on a larger scale.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

LittleBigPlanet 2

Brendan had it right when he said in his review that LBP was no longer Media Molecule's game...it was ours. With the release of LBP2, everything was blown wide open. he possibilities were endless, with the vast array of creation tools giving creative types the chance to build and design pretty much any game type they wanted. And if you didn't fancy it, well you could always just play the role of consumer...the banquet of choice was enormous.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Ms. 'Splosion Man

If you were spoilin' for more 'Splodin' there was only one game that would get you your fix this year as Twisted Pixel returned with their 'splosive follow up. Ms. 'Splosion Man hardly strayed too far from the formula set up by her husband/partner/occasional paramour, but then again she didn't really need to. Fun, funny and full of 'splosive action.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Portal 2

With Portal 2, Valve finally got the chance to deliver the a full sized game with a full sized budget and a full sized team. And it was excellent. Working through areas together, relying on one another to solve the various puzzles, combined with a gesture system that allowed for instruction without headsets, Portal 2 offered up one of the most interesting and satisfying multiplayer experiences of the the last twelve months and let players immerse themselves more fully in the wider goings on at Aperture Science.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Insomniac broke new ground for their platforming series with All 4 One, introducing 4-way co-op. The series' trademark humour still tickled funny bones, the action was fantastic and, even though the level design was a little more linear than before, the co-op more than made up for it.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Rayman: Origins

Rayman Origins was mechanically brilliant, perfectly-paced and drop-dead gorgeous. Michel Ancel showed that he and his team still have the magic, with the colourful anarchic fun quadrupled when you threw three more players into the mix. As close to platforming perfection as gaming's ever been.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Super Mario 3D Land

Taking some large cues from Super Mario Bros. 3, SM3DL served to remind 3DS owners just why they bought the portable console in the first place. Striking the perfect balance between nostalgic hints and forward-thinking level design, it was 3D Mario in the palm of your hand...even if it threaten to totally not but maybe promote tanuki fur farming.

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Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Driving/Racing Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

It's been an excellent year for racing fans. Codemasters have once again had a cracking twelve months, with two games to make our shortlist this year and a renewed focus following the poorly-received Bodycount to redouble efforts on their flagship racing franchises. The Xbox 360 finally got an answer to Gran Turismo 5, although Turn 10 played to their strengths, eschewing cold simulation for all-encompassing vehicular adoration. The 3DS got the fun multiplayer game it needed in the irrepressible Mario Kart 7, and there were plenty more fantastic games worth mentioning that didn't quite amass the votes to make our shortlist - TrackMania 2: Canyon and WRC2 to name but two.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

DiRT 3

So what was the most complete package this year? Forget MW3 for FIFA 12...it was really all about DiRT 3. A frankly astonishing amount of content, numerous game modes and slick online play in no way compromised the feel behind the wheel. A stunningly realised, comprehensive offering from Codemasters and the definitive rallying experience.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

Driver: San Francisco

Anyone coming into DSF cold could be forgiven for thinking that the storyline was written on hallucinogens, but that didn't matter. Equipped with the innovative 'Shifting' mechanic, DSF was an utter blast, bringing back some of the adrenaline-fuelled, high octane automobile action that used to be the series' staple. Some excellent multiplayer options helped it surpass Ubisoft's original expectations.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

F1 2011

Codemasters and F1, the two go together so very well indeed, and this year's instalment was no exception. No, it wasn't a far cry from its predecessor, but the dev team only tuned up what was necessary, streamlining and perfecting rather than overhauling. With cracking physics, gorgeous visuals and a co-op career mode, this was one of the more niche, but utterly rewarding, time sinks of the year.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

Forza 4"

Rammed with content, with more depth everywhere you looked, on the surface Forza 4 might not have looked much different to its predecessor. But under the hood there was a game that could appeal to car fans everywhere, no matter how good you were at video games. Slick, perfectly balanced and with some fantastic online options that really served to foster a sense of community, Xbox owners could be delighted with Turn 10's effort this year.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

Mario Kart 7

It's Mario Kart. On the 3DS. FINALLY!

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Driving/Racing Game

MotorStorm: Apocalypse

Motorstorm's single-player game found itself streamlined a fair bit with Apocalypse, but it made up for it with more forgiving AI and some true blockbuster moments with some of the best destruction not just in racing, but in gaming itself, making it the first racer that actually made you feel as if 3D added something to it. The online perks and gambling setup added to the longevity too.

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Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Multiplayer Game 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

There was something for everyone this year, even the most hard-bitten anti-social gamer would have to admit that 2011 held a veritable plethora of group gaming options from the co-operative delights of Portal 2 to the expansive battlefields of...well...Battlefield 3. Most encouraging, perhaps, was the sign that local co-op was still alive and well with drop-in play the central feature of the likes of Dungeon Defenders, Skylanders, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One and Rayman: Origins. Let us not forget, too, that the 3DS finally got the multiplayer game its social capabilities had been crying out for in Mario Kart 7. Games like Forza 4 and Dark Souls fostered excellent communities through online features that were a little different than all of the rest.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Battlefield 3

We're not entirely sure why Battlefield 3 needed an Online Pass seeing as you'd never buy it for the singleplayer component anyway. Thankfully, DICE's FPS lives up to its name in multiplayer, serving up an expansive set of warzones, rendered beautifully thanks to Frostbite 2.0 and, if played on PC, hurling teams of up to 32 players against one another. Online, Battlefield 3 was simply astounding, with the clear emphasis on teamwork helping no end, the exceptional visuals and stunning sound work contributing to an atmosphere that was epic, frantic and a whole load of fun, whichever class you were inhabiting.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Brink

Brink was something of a melting pot of cracking ideas, a crucible of FPS innovation and, sadly, niggling design flaws. It had its problems upon release, but they were swiftly rectified giving those that invested in Splash Damage's shooter some of the finest co-op action to be had this year. Curiously addictive thanks to a progression system that rewarded you for playing to your class strengths rather than simply spraying lead everywhere, Brink was a flawed gem.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Of course Modern Warfare 3 made the list. With more to do, more to unlock and more customisation options than ever before, MW3 served up a familiar but expanded platter of multiplayer delights. Elite was simply the icing on the cake...when it worked.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Dungeon Defenders"

Orcs Must Die! successfully married direct combat and tower tactics, but Trendy Entertainment's effort went one step further by providing a persistent RPG element that invoked the likes of Diablo and Torchlight. Dungeon Defenders was an incredibly brave proposition from a small independent studio... and a hybrid gamble that paid off in spades. With four players leaping into the fray it was insanely good fun.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Portal 2

One of the finest, most unique co-op experiences of the year - one, indeed, that provided a true representation of what it meant to co-operatively game - Portal 2 was just as astounding with two people than it was one one's own, if not more so. Working through areas together, relying on one another to solve the various puzzles, combined with a gesture system that allowed for instruction without headsets, Portal 2 offered up one of the most interesting and satisfying multiplayer experiences of the the last twelve months.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Insomniac broke new ground for their platforming series with All 4 One, introducing 4-way co-op. The series' trademark humour still tickled funny bones, the action was fantastic and, even though the level design was a little more linear than before, the co-op more than made up for it.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best Multiplayer

Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3 was yet another game that offered the complete package this year, just beating out Gears 3 in the nominations to make the grade. More modes, more options, more customisation, and the bespoke co-op mini adventures made for a multiplayer experience that delighted PS3 fans everywhere. Simply superb.

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Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
BioWare, Crytek, Game of the Year 2011, Gearbox, GOTY 2011, Microsoft, Most Disappointing Games 2011, Nintendo, Silicon Knights, Sony, Splash Damage, Top Ten, Top Ten Tuesdays, Ubisoft

The hype train has had many stops this year, some good, others less so. We've seen big companies laid low through their own lack of caution, undermined by smack talk, and the best laid plans revealed to be sorely misjudged. In terms of games, we've had darlings of the press - games that have won critics over through previews and interviews, buffet spreads and bright lights - only for the end product to be rather lacking.

In the midst of our Game of the Year Season, it is only right the we look back and reflect for a moment upon some of the disappointments of the past twelve months. It should be noted that the games that make this list aren't necessarily bad (although one or two are), but rather proved to dash our hopes in some way. We weren't necessarily cross...just disappointed.

Though there's room for both at the top end.

10. We Dare

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Forget Dead Island...anyone who finds themselves disappointed by a game on the grounds of a CG trailer only has themselves to blame. The worst culprit of any sort of trailer fiasco this year probably has to go to We Dare. Did we get a raunchy party game for adults? No. Did we get girl-on-girl spanking? No. Were PEGI right to give the game a 12+ rating? Yes. The mainstream press went nuts, with the Daily Fail as usual doing absolutely no research into the actual game; but the disconnect between the trailer and the actual game was pertinent. At the end of the day, We Dare failed to launch in this country, with reports from across the Channel being that the game was about as sexy as Salacious Crumb.

9. X-Men Destiny

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

What was it that Silicon Knights did with that multi-million dollar bankroll from the Canadian government? Well it can't all have gone on X-Men Destiny? Can it? Really? Oh dear. Having an X-Men game in which you can't actually play as any of the X-Men was a warning from the start...the awful combat and mind-numbingly boring missions didn't help. We knew it was going to be bad, just not this bad, hence the low position on the list.

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Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best New IP 2011, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

IT IS TIME! This week we'll be running our Game of the Year 2011 awards, starting with Best New IP. You'll be able to check out all of our GOTY 2011 coverage by clicking the widget embedded in the sidebar to the right, including the individual staff highlights from the past twelve months.

It's been a bit of a quiet year for new IPs in a twelve month stretch that's seen a whole host of sequels, prequels and spin-offs, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily been a poor year in that respect. To glance at our shortlist below for Best New IP would be to note that creativity and originality is far from dead, it just takes a few more willing studios to make a difference. The results, in commercial terms at least, were mixed. The likes of Shadows of the Damned and El Shaddai were brave, left field titles on paper, but even their relatively familiar combat systems couldn't prevent disappointments on the shelves. Others, though, proved more successful, bolstered by technological advances (L.A. Noire/RAGE), moving CG trailers (Dead Island) and simply being the best exponent of a genre on a particular platform (Xenoblade Chronicles/Bastion).

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

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Description

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

Bastion

The perfect way to kick of XBLA's Summer of Arcade this year, Bastion was so much more than just another isometric action game. With levels that were literally constructed before your very eyes, dynamic narration the likes of which we'd never seen before and a soundtrack so good that yours truly downloaded it as soon it came out, it made the games around it look amateurish by comparison.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

Brink

Brink was something of a melting pot of cracking ideas, a crucible of FPS innovation and, sadly, niggling design flaws. It had its problems upon release, but they were swiftly rectified giving those that invested in Splash Damage's shooter some of the finest co-op action to be had this year. Curiously addictive thanks to a progression system that rewarded you for playing to your class strengths rather than simply spraying lead everywhere, Brink was a flawed gem.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

Dead Island

It was always going to be difficult to live up to THAT trailer, but Dead Island managed to surprise many by making a pretty damn good job of it. Equal parts Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising, Techland's sandbox RPG/FPS mashup was a testament to the 'content is king ethos, and the 4-way co-op provided plenty of fun for those hungering for Borderlands 2.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

L.A. Noire

Team Bondi's story might have been a topsy-turvy mess ending in miserable liquidation, but the game they left behind this year was an utter gem. Providing a roadmap for the future in the detective-oriented adventure game, L.A. Noire was a masterpiece in cinematic gaming, thanks in no small part to the pioneering motion capture and facial recognition work.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

RAGE

A new IP from id was always going to be worth shouting about, and with press and public primed for an expansive shooter set in an apocalyptic wasteland, expectations were high. Perhaps too high. Behind the rather uninspired level design there was a technically brilliant shooter, a load of suitably inventive and OTT weaponry and slick, consistent 60FPS graphics, courtesy of idTech 5.

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | Best New IP

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best JRPGs ever made. In fact, it's probably one of the best roleplaying games of this generation - regardless of platform. In the wake of last year's disappointing FFXIII, Monolith Soft made the genre relevant again, delivering depth and nuance without compromising fun or thrills. Sits comfortably alongside Skyward Sword as the must-have game of the year if you own a Wii, simple as that.

Click here to find out who won Best New IP 2011...

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | The Plan

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011

Game of the Year Awards 2011 | The Plan

There are twelve days of Christmas, therefore it's only fitting that we run a twelve day retrospective looking at the best this year has had to offer. For the next twelve days expect at least one award to go out each day as we start the process to determine what the best game of 2011 has been .

We've seen the return of some fantastic franchises this year, delighting newcomers and old-timers alike. We've witnessed the birth of some phenomenal new IPs, some of which will find themselves celebrated shortly today. It's been a year where content has proved king, games increasingly looking to tick boxes that appeal to the widest range of consumers for the longest possible time.

We'll come to the big fat over-the-shoulder editorial that bids farewell to this strange up-and-down year at the end of the month. But, for now, let us revel in the delights of the most exciting industry on the planet. You can check out the timetable below and, as usual, you'll be able to cast your own votes too. Let us know what you've thought of 2011, grab a mince pie, make sure your mulled wine is within arm's reach, and settle in for some debate.

  • December 19th - Best New IP
  • December 20th - Best Multiplayer Game
  • December 21st - Best Driving/Racing Game
  • December 22nd - Best Platform/Puzzle Game
  • December 23rd - Best Strategy Game
  • December 24th - Best Sports Game
  • December 25th - Best Download/Marketplace Game
  • December 26th - Best Indie Game & Best Handheld/Mobile Game
  • December 27th - Best RPG
  • December 28th - Best Shooter
  • December 29th - Best Action Game
  • December 30th - Game of the Year 2011 & Most Anticipated for 2012

It's time for the games of this year to step into the Thunderdome, championing your virtual investments and grinding your opponents' faces into the dust made by their games as you blow them up with your explosive opinions and nuclear rhetoric. With few releases during these cold December days it's time to warm ourselves by the fires of opinionated smack talk.

I'm excited.

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Josh Clark

Author:
Josh Clark
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dragon Age II, Driver: San Francisco, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Tomb Raider

Game of the Year | Skyrim

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Josh Clark

It would be easy to think that there was never any doubt as to which game would take home the trophy, but that wouldn't be doing Bethesda's phenomenal achievement justice. This year saw Valve release a full-length sequel to Portal, Epic bring Marcus Fenix and co's story to a close, and Adam Jensen fail to ask for things. None of these were quite able to inspire the same sense of awe and appreciation I experienced while wandering the land of Skyrim. The world Bethesda have created is believable, and full to bursting with sidequests and dungeons ready to devour any time you may once have dared label 'spare'. Expansive vistas, epic dragon vs mammoth battles, and the ability to literally talk an opponent to death are just some of the reasons that Bethesda have managed not just to better Oblivion, but in my opinion better any other game released this year.

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Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Tom Silkstone

Author:
Tom Silkstone
Category:
Features
Tags:
Batman: Arkham City, Game of the Year 2011, GOTY 2011, Kinect, Mass Effect 3, Test Drive Unlimited 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Game Of The Year | Skyrim

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Tom Silkstone

Well there shouldn't be any surprises here, my Game Of The Year has to be Skyrim! Oblivion used to be my favourite game ever, but Skyrim manages to knock it right out of the park, which is no mean feat. You can spend hours just walking around the environments taking in the sights whilst watching the weather change, or staring up at the sky in wide eyed amazement. There's a huge amount of content packed onto the disc and even the smallest side quests have been beautifully crafted. I've already sunk a ridiculous amount of time into Skyrim and at no point have I found myself becoming bored, as I shout dragons out of the sky, before summoning a powerful creature, and then blasting them with magic to finish them off, I just wish you could shout, "Your soul is mine" Shang Tsung style whilst you absorb their life force.

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