Thoughts on Games of 2011

I have probably played 15-20 games that came out in 2011, and plan to finish up at least 5 more before January is out, but I would be surprised if the list changed. Overall I thought it was a solid - if not stellar - year for gaming. I actually had some difficulty whittling down my list to a top 5, but here it is nonetheless:
GOTY: Resistance 3 - this has become one of my all time favorite single-player FPS series, and R3 is the best single-player experience in the series. In a generation that has built its reputation on FPSs, this is the cream of the crop.

2. Portal 2 - A great game (despite the consolization of controls and puzzles), it had more personality and a better story than most RPGs of this generation. A thrilling run.

3. Crimzon Clover - one of the all-time best shmups. the fact that it is made by an indie developer is just stunning. If you haven't played this yet and have even a minor love of shmups, get on it.

4. Uncharted 3 - Given how amazing U2 was, I expected this to be my GOTY. It is a remarkable game, but the combat isn't as fluid or enjoyable as the previous entry and the story wasn't quite as captivating (even it was told better). A must-own for action/adventure fans.

5. Killzone 3 - I probably sunk more time into this FPS online than any other that came out this year, and I also found the singleplayer to be the best in the series. If it hadn't been for Resistance 3, this would have been the best FPS of the year.

Honorable Mention: Dragon Age II - as a stand-alone release, DA2 is only so-so and a definite step back in many important areas from the first DA game. However, the DLC episodes really flesh out the game, give it a bevy of new areas to explore, add interesting new characters to your party, and compensate for some of the problems in the retail release. I still prefer the first DA, but I've sunk a lot of hours into DA2 this year.


Here's a few other categories for fun. Feel free to use them or add your own.

Digital-only new release of the year: NBA Jam On Fire Edition - they finally fixed the most niggling problems from the retail release of NBA Jam (TAG mode FTW!) and put this out at the right price.
Runner up: Jamestown

Retro-release of the year: Radiant Silvergun (XBLA) and Guardian Heroes (XBLA) (tie). The two best games for the Saturn, both available for cheap on XBLA? Yes, please.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Red Faction: Armageddon - I am still playing this, but the previous RF game is probably the best sandbox game this generation - so the fact that Armageddon is a corridor shooter that gives you cool gadgets and weapons that would have worked much better in a sandbox environment is very frustrating.