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There was never a doubt in our minds that Battlefield 3 would be the best example of a game about warfare in a modern setting in 2011, and the day it finally hit the shelves in November all that anticipation could finally be put to rest. Despite it’s somewhat patchy launch, the game itself was fantastic. Dice’s now famous Frostbite engine is looking better than ever, and we have been given the grandest of fields to battle in – one filled with all the tanks, jets and humvees we could ever wish for.
Batman Arkham City is Rocksteady’s fantastic sequel to Arkham “best superhero game ever made” Asylum. Taking the framework that made that game so good and expanding it into an open-world playground filled with the most vile scumbags imaginable, not to mention the trademark villains and sidekicks that makes the Batman world so appealing, Arkham City is easily one of the best games of 2011.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when Deus Ex Human Revolution finally hit the market: it was actually as good as it looked. Since Invisible War struggled to improve upon its predecessors achievements and success, we found it hard to believe there could be a worthy successor to Deus Ex with a third installment, but with this intelligent and satisfying prequel, we were rendered immobile for days until completing it. The dystopian future Adam Jensen comes from is rich in detail, and the man himself was a hugely versatile protagonist, allowing us to make the ultimate choice: sneak past, or elbow sword to the neck?
It’s a testament to just how good Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are when they can appear on a list of games many years after they were originally released. Sure, this HD collection for the PS3 is a remake of two beloved Playstation 2 games, but going back to them was one of the best gaming experiences we had all year.
Undoubtedly the most original shooter of 2011 that we played, Bulletstorm introduced us to the hilarious skillshot system. Its easy to shoot a guy in the face with a shotgun. But its harder to whip a guy towards you, boot him in the balls so his body flies towards a huge wall of spikes, and then shotgun him in the face seconds before he’s impaled. This is the only game I know of that rewards such imaginative thinking, and we had endless fun figuring out the hundreds of skillshots in the game. Bulletstorm deserves its place on this list.
Crytek are notorious for creating some of the best-looking games out there, and Crysis (released in 2007) is still used as a benchmark for PCs. It’s always assumed you needed a behemoth of a machine just to get their games to run, but that all changed with the release of Crysis 2. It was their first game to be fully optimised to run on this generation of consoles, and the result was one of the most beautiful console games ever made.
EA’s mega-sequel Dead Space 2 arrived early in 2011 to scare the crap out of everyone in January. It was bigger, louder and more violent than its predecessor, which says a lot. With a new focus on Isaac’s mind, the game tapped into some psychological issues aimed directly at the player this time, and the result was one terrifying experience. We were worried about the possibility of Isaac having an actual voice this time ruining some of the atmosphere, but those fears were unnecessary as Dead space 2 turned out to be one of the best games of the year.