Rabidgames’ GOTY awards 2011

Quite a pretentious title, isn’t it?

Anyway, please let Rabidgames clarify first why some games are missing. Rabidgames hasn’t played all interesting games in 2011 so far for various reasons: Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda: Skyward Sword certainly look intriguing, but let’s be honest here, Rabidgames will never buy the casual shitbox called wii. And could anybody please explain why the best JRPG in ages is a fucking wii exclusive? What a moronic idea (look at the poor sales of Xenoblade Chronicles and compared to Blue Dragon, they prove Rabidgames right)! Also, Uncharted 3 and Portal 2 are missing simply because Rabidgames has not played them (although Uncharted 3 seems to be the Indiana Jones to CoD‘s Jason Stratham – short-lived popcorn gaming at its best).

Rabidgames would like to give Dark Souls a special award. It is indeed a challenging game which is a unique experience and allows for some great masochistic fun, sure. However, it offers nothing but a truly great fighting system and, of course, the ridiculous difficulty – otherwise, it is unbalanced, repetitive (fight a boss, fail, walk through 20 enemies again to be able to fight the boss again, or worse – it is pointless grinding …) and suffers from bad design choices (save points cluttered in the middle of nowhere). It’s a shame since Dark Souls offers something fresh and new – but the main selling point was not the gameplay, it was the pretentious “look, we are hardcore RPG gamers and we love Dark Souls” attitude.

By the way, if you expect Duke Nukem Forever or even CoD: MW3 in this list, please think again.
Ok, ok, let’s cut the crap and let’s see who made into Rabidgames‘ exclusive list of Top 10 games in 2011:

10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012
Finally, the PES series is back. PES 2012 actually feels almost as good and perfect as PES 6 was (the PS2 version, of course). While FIFA 12 is pretty close in general, it is the singleplayer content that is considerably better and more fleshed-out in PES 2012. And each match you play feels new because anything can happen. Welcome back, PES. Admittedly, the gameplay is not perfect, but it is a big step in the right direction – and it was enough to overtake FIFA.

9. Crysis 2
Finally, a shooter which deviates from the boring CoD “narrow corridor, scripted events all over and fuck freedom” routine most shooters suffer from these days. Granted, the story is paper-thin and the word freedom is used rather relatively when compared with the original Crysis, but at the end of the day, you get two games at once: A military shooter which feels like Metal Gear Solid in the beginning, and futuristic battles against aliens later on.

8. Two Worlds 2
This game can easily be forgotten: It takes some time to delve into Two Worlds 2 – the story develops slowly, the fighting system seems simple but gets more and more interesting, and the game really starts to shine after the first 5 hours which are a prolonged tutorial (and even then you have no clue how to craft spells). But Two Worlds 2 is a proper open world RPG in the vein of Oblivion. There are endless possibilities, tons of quests and much loot to encounter and collect – if you’re willing to give Two Worlds 2 a second chance after the rather clumsy beginning.

7. Mortal Kombat
We witnessed the rebirth of a once great beat ’em up franchise. 3D fighting, weapon styles and the DC universe flop are forgiven (and forgotten), Mortal Kombat is at its best again (plus some bone-breaking kombos). It also gives singleplayers tons of content – the pretty cool but weird story mode, arcade ladder and the infamous tower which might have destroyed more controllers than any other mode …  Plus, there’s Freddy fucking Krueger!

6. Bulletstorm
In 2011, between military shooter 4.858.923 and sci-fi shooter 323.586, there was an unpolished gem called Bulletstorm that achieved one thing: It brought fun back to the world of shooters. Instead of simply shooting enemies, you had to kick them into environmental traps or used a whip, your foot and/or your shotgun to blow them apart (literally). The crazier the better, the more violent the more points. Bulletstorm is a walking cliché – and it works. There’s not much of a story in this insane joyride full of violence, chaos, controlling Robozilla and amazing dick jokes … well, would it need one?

5. WWE ’12
Anothe re-invention this year. Smackdown 2012 became WWE ’12 and we got a new engine. Well, partly new at least. There are still some animations left that hail from the very first Smackdown on the PS1! If it wasn’t for the ancient leftovers, the terribly botched Road to WrestleMania and the still broken servers, WWE ’12 would have been pure fun. The way it is now, it’s still alright to be easily satisfied with the amazing Universe Mode and tons upon tons of customisation options …

4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Another series that returned in 2011, Deus Ex celebrated its glorious comeback: Set in a dystopian future where man and machine merge, players can choose to either kill everyone as a homicidal terminator or sneak through levels undetected. The amount of detail in Human Revolution is immense – it really makes you afraid of the future. Unfortunately, the game is pretty linear and the first boss fight is not only mindless but it can also break your game if you only equipped stealth equipment before.

3. Dead Island
Admittedly, Dead Island is a big technical clusterfuck. Bugs, glitches and seemingly clunky controls scared many off after a first glance. But if you dare to enter the paradise gone to hell, Dead Island turns out to be a rare gem: It is a fresh mix of Borderlands and slaughtering zombies. True, the story is lame and the interactions are limited, but the gameplay itself is incredibly amazing once you have mastered the analogue controls: Hacking zombies to pieces is always fun, isn’t it? And if you build your character right, you can either have a hammer swinging death machine or a human razor blade (and more). Dead Island is a raw game which is hard to swallow at first – and yet Dead Island breathes fun because of the fact it has not been polished and dumbed down for the screaming mainstream audience.

2. Saints Row The Third
Originally thought to be the sure GOTY winner, Rabidgames had to think again. It is still great fun and the sheer insanity still makes Rabidgames giggle like a premenstrual teen girl from time to time … but Saints Row The Third lacks the ease in gameplay and the seriousness in telling a crime story Saints Row 2 had mastered. It seems to be the ever-lasting tale of THQ: Whenever we get some cool new toy, most of the old ones get taken away from us. For the love of Johnny Gat, please stop this shit! Give us everything we crave for, damn it! Alright, alright, when you splatter billboards with human air-cannon ink or unleash the Apocalypse onto Steelport, the pain flees quickly and you forget about all the negative aspects of Saints Row The Third … but still, it has failed to impress each and every pore of Rabidgames.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Yes, Skyrim it is! Surprised? It is a RPG behemoth which consumes hundreds of hours and gives you complete freedom. It is a beautiful world rich with details and lore. And you get to slay (and even summon) dragons. Rabidgames played Skyrim for more than 70 hours and completed the main quest and the Companions story arc. Rabidgames barely touched the Bards (it’s not much anyway), the Thieves and the Mages Guilds and has neither seen the Dark Broterhood nor the civil war story line. After 70 hours! That’s twice the life span of completing (as in 100%) most “big” games we consider huge theses days … Skyrim has only one problem: bugs. Apart from it, the single elements (story, world, gameplay) are all awesome – but all combined, they make Skyrim the masterpiece it is. Skyrim is Rabidgames‘ GOTY, and it is a strong contender for the best game of this generation. We should all thank Bethesda for having the guts to release a game like Skyrim in times when gamers get fed crumbs called games – at full price. Skyrim is actually worth double each pound you spent into it. Rabidgames sincerely thanks you, Bethesda.

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