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2011 Game of the Year Media Picks Thread


Feb 14, 2005
Kyoto, Japan
If you find a new GOTY, please post in this thread. Thanks!

Archive: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

Current standings:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 72
Portal 2 - 24
Batman: Arkham City - 19
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - 7
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - 7
Gears of War 3 - 4
Bastion - 2
Catherine - 2
Dark Souls - 2
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - 2
L.A. Noire - 2
Star Wars: The Old Republic - 2
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - 2
Battlefield 3 - 1
The Binding of Isaac - 1
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - 1
Forza Motorsport 4 - 1
Infinity Blade II - 1
Killzone 3 - 1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - 1
Minecraft - 1
Renegade Ops - 1
SpaceChem - 1
Super Mario 3D Land - 1
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - 1

[360][PC] Bastion

Paste Magazine
Brendan Keogh said:
Bastion finds itself on that ever-so-small list of games that left me short of breath and covered in goosebumps as the narrative conclusion drew nigh. What gives Bastion its potency isn’t its (admittedly simple) story or its (admittedly simple) gameplay, but its masterful synthesis of the two. Most games struggle to blend story and gameplay, as though one were water and the other oil. But Bastion, through a conscious and deliberate distilling of narration of play, through playing to the strengths of both words and games, brings the two into a much tighter relationship of worldbuilding. More than anything, Bastion is about piecing together a world that no longer exists. And it does so through its playing and its telling.

Quarter to Three
Tom Chick said:
This is what it was like to be a kid and to play your first Zelda game. Supergiant’s ability to recapture that feeling was profoundly moving.

[360][PS3][PC] Batman: Arkham City

Blistered Thumbs


Our fave game of the year took us back to Gotham, where the sequel to megahit Arkham Asylum gave us the keys to the city in an expansive open world. Being the Dark Knight (and Catwoman!) means brawls, gadgets, more than 400 Riddler puzzles, and the most badass super villains in DC history. Including The Joker, voiced by the always-awesome Mark Hamill.

Joaby said:
The award goes to Batman: Arkham City - one of the very best titles to come out in years and a truly awe-inspiring piece of work.

Gregory Laporte said:
The graphics in the game are absolutely gorgeous and the gameplay is outstanding to play.

Global Grind
Cacy Forgenie said:
How cool was it to play as Catwoman or Robin? New gadgets, awesome gameplay and story made us couch potatoes for a long time.

The Guardian
Nathan Ditum said:
But at the very top of the pile, and a welcome success story for the British Rocksteady Studios, was Batman: Arkham City, an object lesson in tone, setting and playability that astonished with its depth and quality.

Charles Webb said:
You're trapped in a city of thieves, murders, lunatics, and bona fide supervillains--and all you've got are your wits, your nerve, and billions of dollars of Waynetech at your disposal. You are Batman, and this is your number one game of the year. While it might not have been the top seller on this list, it was certainly one of the most anticipated and talked about games this season.

Kyle Dickson said:
Arkham city was an amazing sequel, whereas Asylum was all corridors and claustrophobic battles, Arkham City managed to keep you still trapped but within a sprawling metropolis which was all for you to explore.

Nerd Reactor
John Nguyen said:
The game has got it all; the most intuitive and fun combat system that truly makes you feel like the dark knight, cool gadgets that allow you to take down many foes, an open city to truly explore and survey, beautiful graphics, and voice acting by the best Batman and Joker voice actors ever, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill respectively.

Next-Gen Gaming Blog
Toby Ross said:
Arkham City is characterised by an incredible level of polish, a fascinating and Batman-lore studded world, and gameplay which rarely gives anything less than brilliant. From a stunningly honed combat system which simply puts all competing systems to shame, to the imaginatively designed levels, and the catalogue of infamus villains, Batman is an all round triple-A experience from the independent, British developers Rocksteady.


The Students' Blog
Shannon Rasberry said:
Batman: Arkham City is quite simply the best licensed-product video game of all time. It took a storied game franchise in such an extraordinary direction — including an alternate parallel world in which Gotham City is barricaded off into a prison, complete with its own societies, rules, and alliances — that mere words can’t describe all of its successes.

Gerard Campbell said:
The voice acting is top-notch (notably Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill), the story is more cohesive and the side missions set the scene for a third game nicely (and I believe there will be a third game). The addition of a playable catwoman to the mix, while not essential, is a nice change of pace from the brooding bat.

The Telegraph
Rocksteady's vision of the Dark Knight is a prime example of a studio reaching a supreme level of confidence and duty of care. Every aspect --the brawling, the gadgets, script and acting performances-- are presented with a huge degree of polish. And they all blend together seamlessly, stuffing the grim, terrifically detailed cityscape with constant, compelling distraction.

Ultra Mega Cyborg
Blake Lockman said:
This game gets everything right, you actually feel like Batman. You play the game, you get pulled into Arkham City and you are Batman. Never in my life have I played a game that pulls you into it and makes you feel like the character more than this game. The voice acting, the graphics, the story, the combat, the game play, there is nothing wrong with this game. I can’t find anything to complain about, it’s a perfect video game.

WillyG Productions
WillyG said:
Even if you didn’t consider the story Arkham City is still an amazing game, with combat moves to rival Nathan Drake, impeccable characters and voice acting, and a staggeringly dark and rich world armed with a variety of fun missions to complete. Add what I think is one of the best plot lines in gaming history and Arkham City just rockets above and beyond everything else around it. Keeping to a common trend in Batman media, The Joker steals the show — and this Joker is good enough to make Heath Ledger proud.

Yahoo! Games
Holy Game of the Year, Batman! Despite stiff competition from the massive Skyrim and the brilliant Portal 2, Arkham City swooped down and snagged the trophy when none of us were looking. And we should have expected as much. A love letter to comic book fans, Arkham City expands on everything that made 2009's Arkham Asylum such a treat. From its fantastic gameplay to its stellar delivery, this is more than just the best superhero game ever -- it's the best game of 2011.

Chet Roivas said:
Rocksteady’s resplendent sequel was a marvel; a sandbox game with incomparably decisive narrative threads running through it, a rollicking action title buoyed by a rich and engaging plot, and a sprawling enterprise as polished and refined as something half its size.

[360][PS3][PC][IOS] Battlefield 3

Manfred Beck said:
The multiplayer mode alone would justify the purchase price already, but that's only part of the package in the most complete shooter in the "Battlefield" series and one of the best shooters of all time. As a bonus, there's a more than satisfying single-player mode and an online co-op mode. The graphics and sound are stunning and the atmosphere immediately draws the player into the spell.

[PC] The Binding of Isaac

Josh Miller said:
It’s irritatingly difficult yet each and every time I play it i know that “THIS TIME” I can do it. This time will be different. And then it’s not, and I get killed, but I know that next time I’ll make it. I generally hate games that kill the player a lot but the binding of Isaac somehow manages to just not feel cheap. It also is a game that almost every play through I manage to make it a little bit farther, I get a little bit better. i know I’m not losing because the game is “cheating”, I know that I lose because I need to be better, and I can get better.

[360][PS3][WII][PC] Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Power 98 FM
Willy J said:
The Call of Duty franchise is so popular that this game sold over 6.5 million units in the first day alone! You can save the world from terrorists’ plots and snipe-shoot the bad guys to save the day and Earth from World War 3.

[360][PS3] Catherine

The Northern Light
Bryan Dunagan said:
“Catherine” is one of the games that was under the radar for a while prior to its release. The strange and very adult story of Vincent and his K/Catherines hooked hundreds of players this summer. With the story focusing on adult relationships and hard themes, “Catherine” gives you reason to fall in love with games and their narratives all over again. Multiple endings, saving your fellow bar patrons, tons of twists, big reveals and hard-as-nails puzzle mechanics really creates one of the greatest titles of the year. It is so weird that you can’t not love it.

What Culture
Matt Mann said:
The puzzles in Catherine were some of the most challenging gameplay I have ever faced in my gaming life. However, the time I spent with the main character Vincent was some of the most fulfilling time I spent with a game character all year. The relationship questions this game asks and how we as a society view being in a relationship are some of the toughest questions ever presented by a video game.

[360][PS3] Dark Souls

The Big Nerd Show
Sk4zZi0uS said:
It has stunning visuals, so absorbing atmosphere and most importantly it's really damned hard almost to the point that it would put the average to casual gamer off. It's this difficulty that I love about the game, you are just a man, a regular man with no superpowers, no super strength and average everyday speed and athleticism. You have to think about how you play, how you move. You can't just barrel in and hope that your amazing button mashing skills will get you through because it won't.

John Robertson said:
This sounds like a nightmare, and it is. But imagine the feeling of satisfaction upon facing ones nightmares and overcoming them, triumphing in the face of overwhelming odds and relentless hostility. That is the feeling of success Dark Souls offers. But it only offers it to those that put in the time and effort required to garner such rewards.

[360][PS3][PC] Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Paul Tassi said:
Deus Ex, when played from a stealth perspective, has a level of complexity that far exceeds that of Skyrim’s sneaking play style. There’s much more to consider than just staying in the dark and wearing padded shoes. Each area requires masterful planning and patience to progress through unseen, and the level design makes each new section a kind of puzzle to get through. Even playing as a guns blazing warrior instead, the varied enemy types require a great deal of strategy for you to survive as you have to place your perks accordingly and decide the appropriate weapon combination to use in each setting.


[360][PS3][PC] The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

See, there's another location I haven't found showing up on my compass indicator. I'll just go check that out... and it looks like I'm pretty close to my next quest objective now, so I might as well wrap that up. Oh, huh, somehow I just opened up three more quests. Hmm, but first, maybe I should go forge some new armor and grind up my lockpicking skills and... wait a minute. It's morning already!?

ABC Television (Australia)
Hex said:
But beyond the superior animation, refined combat, and gorgeous weather effects, the most beautiful changes are under the hood. You may get to play a shaggy Viking, but Bethesda has really given their RPG formula a haircut. They got rid of weapon degradation, and they streamlined the skill system to the point where it's just about invisible.

It's one of those rare games that lets you be whatever you want to be, giving you the freedom to explore, master whatever skill you want and get into one adventure after another. Its beautifully crafted surroundings and engaging story, makes the experience worthwhile.

All Age Gaming
John Elliott said:
The game is a lovingly crafted fantasy adventure done right. Players have almost unlimited choice in how they want to play, with the mechanics to back up every decision you care to make. You can play the game how you see fit, with magic, combat and stealth and unlimited numbers of ways to mix them up into the super badass or heroic do-gooder you want to play as.

ars technica
Jason Schreier said:
The game is at its best not during its grandest moments but during the little details that flesh out its world, those bits of environmental storytelling that make every sight worth seeing. From a bustling wizards' college to an abandoned lighthouse filled with corpses, the landmarks in Skyrim are peculiar and unparalleled.

The A.V. Club
But when the engine turns and the game manages, somewhat impossibly, to lift off, the result is awe-inspiring. Skyrim’s Nordic take on Tolkien is vast and involving—the kind of sword-and-sorcery diversion that people fall into like a drug coma.

Bad Haven
Kevin Lenaghan said:
There may seem something odd about enjoying walking for miles between locations in a virtual world and chatting to electronically generated people about psuedo medi-evil nonsense, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. Also, YOU GET TO FIGHT DRAGONS, YO’!

The Birmingham News
Bryan Crowson said:
I've spent many hours happily hunting dragons, and there's no end in sight in this vast fantasy landscape.

The consensus was that Skyrim offers such diversity that its few faults are lost against a backdrop of brilliant potential. Skyrim's capacity for player-generated stories also shone through as a highlight, with several judges taking the time to share tales of how they've exploited Skyrim's fully realised fantasy world.

BnB Gaming
Skyrim remains a technical masterpiece with a sense of scale and longevity that only Bethesda can claim to have truly tamed. The game offers hundreds of hours of questing and journeying, and those hundreds of hours may never be filled with the same thing, nor serve to advance the main narratives in any way. The land of Skyrim is yours to do with what you will and the possibilities are almost limitless. Never has a game offered so much freedom.

Boy Howdy Podcast

Classic L337

The Controller Online
Scott Grant said:
Bethesda drops you into one of the biggest game worlds out there and asks you to go nuts. This huge world is filled with hundreds of locations, side quests, non-player characters, items, monsters, caves and ruins. The depth of this world is stunning and makes the actual story of the game secondary to its brilliance.

Critical Gamer
Stephen K said:
It was adventure that welcomes everyone, retaining depth and subtlety while fixing the broken parts. Experienced travellers could rediscover Tamriel’s vast beauty once again, and newcomers had the chance to experience for themselves what it is we’ve been pretending to see all this time.

Matt Gardner said:
Of course, the joy of Skyrim was that at any moment if you wanted a change of pace, you could have it. If the bloodletting proved too much, you could always go off on a ramble and plunder the depths of one of the 150+ individually crafted dungeons, or scale the peaks. If you were bored of wandering around, there were over 200 quests to get on with, you could get married, buy a house, join a rebellion, rob a tomb, serve a demon lord, rescue prisoners of war, become a mammoth poacher, save a nature reserve, become a thief/assassin/wizard/werewolf and so much more.

Digital Spy
Matthew Reynolds said:
Becoming the Dragonborn and saving the world is just a slice of what's on offer; this vast open world's carefully-crafted quests and surprise encounters out in the wilderness are both equally as enthralling, and the hundreds of stories and secrets hidden in its many villages and dungeons provide a sense of unparalleled discovery.

Simon Cranmer said:
I don’t really know what I can say about Skyrim other than its just a brilliant game, with so much to do, you’ll never find yourself with nothing to do in the game. Theres so much fun to be had in the game like putting a cauldron on somebody’s head (for some reason I find that funny!) to killing mammoths and just exploring.

The Examiner
Kyle Anderson said:
Bethesda has truly conquered the world of open-world role-playing, and I cannot wait to see what they do going forward now that they just have to perfect it.

Extreme Gamer
The next chronicle in the Elder Scrolls saga doesn't disappoint with one of the most captivating gaming experiences to date. Either slugging it out with massive dragons are simply enjoying the countryside, Skyrim has something for everyone.

I think the best way to explain the feeling of this game is to imagine that you are a character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and this is your character’s “hero” story. From the seemingly endless quests, to the custimization available to just about any object you can pick up to the fantastic back stories for just about every town and character, this game has raised the bar for RPG play, and the open world experience by far.

Corey Winter said:
A vast, extremely detailed open world that seemed to come alive all on its own....with gigantic dragons. From the opening scene, it was obvious how much time, energy, and detail the designers at Bethesda put into this game. They probably put as much time into the game as most of the players have.


Feb 14, 2005
Kyoto, Japan
Ron Whitaker said:
Skyrim drops traditional RPG classes in favor of a more organic system that is elegant in its simplicity, allowing your “class” to evolve naturally through your choice of play style. The multitude of side quests are crafted with care and purpose, and best of all, the game doesn’t railroad you into following the main plot. This is where Skyrim shows its depth. Rather than forcing you to engage in activities that don’t interest you, Skyrim presents a panoply of options that you can choose to enjoy or ignore, such as its robust crafting system.

Rhett said:
But Skyrim isn't a game about story. It's about the world; acres of beautiful land to explore, and a a gazillion side quests. You build your own story with your own imagination. My character was a reclusive blacksmith who discovered he was chosen one, and set off to save the world. He sided with the Imperials, put and end to the civil war, rose to lead the Companions, and did, indeed save everybody. But power corrupts, and and after the glory had faded, my hero found himself working for the Dark Brotherhood, assassinating (mostly) innocent people.

John Apostol said:
It’s a timesink that’s as demanding as any MMO but more personable and engrossing than any narrative created this year. The story is rich and uniquely approached from multiple angles and not just through a set of dialogue options that reflect how good or evil you wish to act towards an NPC. The combat is at once empowering and frightening. The dragon fights are especially electrifying.

Dragons, racist Vikings and a huge mountain. These are just a few of the elements of the world so very attractive to Skyrim. In the fifth Elder Scrolls game you escape captivity and you are free to come and go wherever you want. Whether you want to save the world by the sudden invasion of dragons to stop the various demons to worship in exchange for their special weapons by any adventurer or just one arrow in the knee guard to condemn, it can.

Jacob Saylor said:
Skyrim has brought me nearly two-hundred hours of enjoyment so far, and because you can choose when to complete the main storylines, the game has as much play value as you let it.


Gamereactor (Denmark)
It's hard to put a finger on exactly when the moment comes, but it is certain that it does if you give the experience more than just an hour's ephemeral surface. For Skyrim is proof that the sum can be greater than the individual elements. Elder Scrolls V is not without its technical flaws, although it is far better than Oblivion. Yet it means nothing when you get carried away by the atmosphere.

Gamereactor (Sweden)
Skyrim world was fortunately not only huge but also living with lots of different animals, several monstrosities, people who were busy with their own lives and the occasional club-waving giant. It meant that you could not take anything for granted and had to work hard to live up to the title "The Dragon-born."

Gamereactor (UK)
One game to rule them all. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has taken over our weekends completely as of late and there seems to be no end to the quests or storylines on offer in Bethesda's impressive open world game. What really makes Skyrim stand out is that water cooler quality, it just feels as though you're experiencing your very own adventure. From the Throat of the World to the dampest, and darkest of dungeons, Skyrim is our game of the year.

Nick Tan said:
The vast scale of its Nordic open world is at once breathtaking and invigorating, and yet almost every facet of the game is elegant, an adjective not normally associated with video games. No enemy is too powerful to overcome, no skill is too simple to develop, and no goal is too far beyond your reach. Skyrim rekindles that ancient spirit of adventure buried within us, to a time and place we wish we could remember at a moment's call.

Games Abyss
Andreas Asimakis said:
It is a game that will make all other facets of life, be it the need to take in nourishment, lavatory breaks, restful sleep, socializing with friends, or even satisfying yourself and your loved one, seem completely pointless by comparison. And no other single player gaming videogame experience can dare make such a boast save Skyrim.


The enormous world of Skyrim is dense with memorable moments: That first dragon fight; climbing to the top of the land's tallest mountains; being attacked by a pack of sabercats on the road; learning a new shout that calls in a lightning storm or freezes enemies solid; getting smashed into orbit by a giant's club; stealing a guard's weapon right off of him; electrocuting a chicken and getting a whole town howling for your blood; finding a legendary weapon; crafting dragonbone armor... and on and on.

Mike Splechta said:
Adventuring in the lands of Skyrim truly feels open. You can take a break from slaying dragons and just sight see if you wanted to. Or perhaps take up a trade and craft some fine armor or weapons. Alchemy is also available to those that would rather spend their time concocting powerful healing potions or deadly poisons. Helping citizens in the land of Skyrim is also encouraged as they often provide great rewards.

Gaming Irresponsibly
Josh Knowles said:
Everything about Skyrim screams “Instant Classic!” and deservedly so, the game allows each player to craft their character’s own story and adventure. This allows you to play the game the way you want to play it. Just remember though, if you get in trouble, make sure you tell the guards that you are “The Thane of Whiterun”.




Giant Bomb

Hooked Gamers
With more unique quests than you can possibly imagine, soaring dragons to battle and hundreds of hand crafted dungeons to explore; Skyrim is a marvel amongst its typically lacklustre AAA companions. This is what a cRPG should be. Freedom to do as you choose, hundreds of hours of content, and a fantastically exciting world to explore in which every corner reveals something to grab your interest. Sure there are bugs, but they are negligible to the overall experience. Never before have we so quickly rushed back on to a game after it has just crashed on us. We are going to be playing and talking about Skyrim for a very long time.

Horrible Night
Justin Lacey said:
Skyrim's transcendence with fans is almost as impressive as its radiant storytelling system that will keep gamers engrossed in unique content for years to come. This is the definitive western RPG that made its mark as an epic solo experience in a year marked by multiplayer season passes and MMO's trying (and failing) to secure gamers' time and money.

Impassioned Cinema
Max Covill said:
An incredibly monstrous world that I’ve only yet to begin to explore at 40 hours in. Tons of different skill paths to follow. Play the type of character you want to play as. Everything in the world is living and all your actions of consequences. I just got married in the game the other day and I’m already thinking it was a mistake. It’s not easy to just undo things though and adds real weight to your decisions. Skyrim is an awesome game and easily the best game I’ve played this year. Did I mention it has Dragons? Yup.

Inside Gaming

International Business Times
Prarthito Maity said:
Did you know that among the nine provinces in Tamriel, Skyrim was the first to boast a human settlement? Actually, the Nords settled in that area. The main story, set 200 years after the events in "Oblivion," revolves around the player's efforts to defeat Alduin, the firstborn of Tamriel's primary deity Akatosh. Alduin is prophesied to destroy the world.

Just Push Start
With all of the new things that Bethesda put in Skyrim, they have succeeded once again in making an Elder Scrolls game a surefire contender for “Game of the Year”. The improved visuals and gameplay are much improved from Oblivion and the game offers a lot of variety of things to do that everything a fan could ever want from an Elder Scrolls title. As of this date, Skyrim is the pinnacle of RPG gaming offering countless hours of exploration and action.

Darryn Bonthuys said:
After all, how many games do you know of that can still be played by the original owner for over fifty hours at a stretch? Skyrim is just such a game, as the massive world that Bethesda has crafted is filled with secrets and quests, just waiting to be explored, while the comprehensive character customisation option ensures that your dragon-slayer can be tailored to your personal satisfaction.

Middle Easter Gamers
Mufaddal Fakhruddin said:
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda’s finest, and of the entire role-playing genre itself. Where most games focus on the multiplayer and rely on DLC packs to keep player interest, Skryim offers a living, breathing world that is filled with action, adventures, magic, myths, stories, humor, arrows and fantasies.

Ben Salter said:
It simultaneously piqued the interest of players who got bored of Oblivion and those pining for the days of Morrowind and before. For such a basic evolution, dual wielding felt revolutionary and opened up a new world of possibilities. Speaking of which, the land of Skyrim was vast and stimulating to explore. Combined with the Radiant quest system, it could potentially go on forever or at least until the next Elder Scrolls game.

The Motherboard
Kurtis said:
A honed craft of this industry, and a superb example of how to pace action and story while immersing one in a world in and of itself.

Peter Nowak said:
It puts characters into a large and immensely believable-looking and -sounding world, albeit one filled with undead and dragons at every turn. Moroever, with its virtually unlimited missions and quests outside of the main storyline, Skyrim offers up perhaps the best bang for gamers' buck with literally hundreds of hours of play time.

Ifran Iftekhar said:
Skyrim is the name of the region just north of Cyrodiil, the location. The game still looks as fresh as ever. The main story, set 200 years after the events in "Oblivion," revolves around the player's efforts to defeat Alduin, the firstborn of Tamriel's primary deity Akatosh.

Official XBOX Magazine
Fabulous combat, intriguing characters, creepy dungeons — all the trappings you could ask for in a fantasy RPG are here and executed to perfection. But it’s wandering the world — this unbelievably immersive world — that hooked us for hours on end. Exploring the vast (and stunningly gorgeous) realm of Skyrim evoked feelings of wonder and possibility unlike anything we experienced from any other game this year.


PC World
Matt Peckham and Nate Ralph said:
There's something for everyone here, including procedurally generated quests so you'll never actually have to stop playing. But Skyrim, the fifth chapter in the legendary Elder Scrolls series, is an explorer's playground, rewarding the curious with a fully realized world to call their own. Our game of the year will leave you entranced with its windswept vistas and hulking monstrosities for years to come.

It should come as no surprise that Skyrim takes the crown this year as our favorite overall game of 2011. Bethesda has proven that they are the masters of the role-playing genre. I don't know about you, but seeing what they've been able to accomplish with Skyrim has me itching to see what they can do with Fallout 4.

PlayStation Lifestyle
Anthony Severino said:
The game’s magic isn’t in the sorcery, the tale, or even the combat – Skyrim is about freedom. Skyrim is what you make of it, and what you take from it. Whether you’re a mage, a knight, a thief, or some sort of combination of it all, no two quests are alike, and no two experiences are the same. Skyrim’s world is as unforgiving and brutal as it is beautiful, and every inch of it is begging to be explored and conquered.

Skyrim is a game that has not only surpassed its predecessor in every way, it’s a game that stands on it’s own merits high above a sea of worthy competitors. A vast and engrossing open world wherein each and every stop along the way tells its own story. Every city, every town, every hut, every ruin, every shrine, every beggar, every lord, every tavern and every cave tells a story – and you will be drawn in each and every time.

Andrei Dumitrescu said:
What the last game where the number of locations one can discover and explore is bigger than the number of quests one can do? The last game where you as a gamer gradually develop the power to fight and destroy a dragon? The last game where you can become anything as long as you are willing to practice?


Emily Sutherlin said:
Players are dragonborn, and heed not only the ability to fight dragons, but also understand them and harness their powers. The game has over 300 hours of play time, meaning it will be nearly impossible for two players to have the same game. If you’re looking for a video game that’s worth the money, this is the game.

Tom's Oyun
Talha Turhal said:
Massive content, storyline, regardless of who changes the dynamics, end-point mode support, and most importantly, all these things fit to 5 GB ... Each mortar is brave, not in this business!

Trendy Gamers
Jason Dunning said:
All of the other nominees put up a good fight but in the end, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took home the award for Game of the Year. It was just too amazing of an experience that we really couldn’t give this award to anyone else so congratulations (and thanks) to everyone at Bethesda, you made our Game of the Year in 2011.

The latest chapter in the Elder Scrolls history takes the definition of epic and turns it on its head. Receiving perfect scores across the board, including in our own Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review, gamers everywhere are completely obsessed with the open-world freedom that Skyrim provides to them and the amount of content is guaranteed to keep players busy for hundreds upon hundreds of hours.

Stu Horvath said:
I have stood at the top of a mountain to stare at the shimmering aurora in the sky above. I have been lost in a blizzard. I have explored more ruins that I can count. I have seen friends fall and I have murdered in cold blood. I have died, hundreds of times. I have been moved, enraged, frustrated, scared, saddened, overjoyed, thrilled…and I have but scratched the surface.

USA Today
Brett Molina and Mike Snider said:
Once players slay their first dragon, the role-playing odyssey from Bethesda Softworks will have them hooked. It's easy for folks to sink dozens — if not hundreds — of hours exploring new towns and accepting fresh quests and still feel like they've only scratched the surface of the world of Skyrim's offerings.

The Wall Street Journal
Adam Najberg said:
No detail was too small for the developers, who created a majestic escape from the real world that is engrossing and eminently playable. That alone would justify adding this game to a top-10 list, but the array of choices you have to make from the game’s beginning, the almost-limitless side quests and the moral quandaries that face you at every turn put at the very top of mine.

A universe that is hard to imagine, writing which is beautiful to each word, and a journey unlike any other, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim does the Game of the Year Awards a justice, revealing that not only are there so many special games throughout the year that are released by developers and companies that put their life and soul into a game, but also that there are some games that are truly worth distinguishing in respect and admiration.

Jason Schreier said:
The game is at its best not during its grandest moments but during the little details that flesh out its world, those bits of environmental storytelling that make every sight worth seeing. From a bustling wizards' college to an abandoned lighthouse filled with corpses, the landmarks in Skyrim are peculiar and unparalleled.


Dan Webb said:
With one of the most incredible game worlds ever conceived, more than a handful of truly engaging questlines, a sublime score, stunning visuals, tons of dragons to despatch back to the gates of hell, a ridiculous amount of content and an astounding amount of depth – especially in the meta-games – it’s hard to dispute that Skyrim is one of the best games ever created.

Tom Mulrooney said:
There are so many positives in Skyrim that it outweighs the majority of flaws you may come across, and perhaps the biggest indication that this is an utterly superb game and worthy of our game of the year is the fact we’re still playing it when there are piles of other amazing games to complete.

[360] Forza Motorsport 4

X360 Magazine
Gavin Mackenzie said:
It’s an excellent racing sim with a truly massive quantity of content to play with. Not only that, it’s well designed as a game as well, with varied, flexible modes that let you enjoy it in exactly the manner that suits you. I love it.

[360] Gears of War 3

Nicholas Puleo said:
The campaign itself is accessible, allowing players to choose their own difficulty levels and the game is replayable thanks to it’s addictive survival modes. Horde got a significant upgrade adding strategy elements to the mix and Beast is just different enough to make you go back for more.


New York Post
Anthony Sulla-Heffinger said:
For a game featuring characters who look more like professional bodybuilders than soldiers, wave after wave of Locust and Lambent enemies and a gun that has a freaking chainsaw attached to it, Gears of War 3 does an awfully good job of telling a compelling, often times emotionally-driven, story of human survival, struggle and sacrifice. It is that factor that set it apart from all of the other AAA titles that were released this fall.

Press Democrat
Eric Wittmershaus said:
Its 10-hour single-player or cooperative campaign is the series’ longest, strongest entry. The refined Horde mode and newly introduced Beast game type were 2011’s deepest, most satisfying co-op experience. The competitive multiplayer modes are largely familiar to “Gears” veterans, but they emerged polished and well-tuned at launch, thanks to a massive, long-running online beta test that rewarded die-hard fans with unlockable items for the retail game.


Feb 14, 2005
Kyoto, Japan
[IOS] Infinity Blade II

Slide To Play
Andrew Podolsky said:
IB2 offers you more tactics, like the ability to choose between dual-wielding weapons, a sword and shield combination, or a heavy two-handed weapon. The storyline in the sequel is deeper and more satisfying than the original game's premise, with characters that change in ways beyond leveling up with experience points.

[PS3] Killzone 3

MTV (Latin America)

[360][PS3][PC] L.A. Noire

Bishop's Gaming World
The motion capture technology Team Bondi used is simply astounding to look at, but they also replicated 1940's and 1950's Los Angeles perfectly. Gameplay in L.A. Noire has been compared to past CSI games. Well, I never got bored with L.A. Noire. I guess a good story and better gameplay mechanics will do that to a game.

Michael J. Fax said:
A sublime mixture of old school/new school gaming that's essentially a point 'n' click crime thriller. The familiar Rockstar controls and the gorgeous motion capture make this the best looking game we've ever seen and, with a gripping, mature storyline, there's little to dislike. It's less heavy on the action than your typical Rockstar joints, but there is something truly unique here. If L.A. Noire was a human, we'd probably have assassinated it due to confused fanboy obsession.

[3DS] The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Dragon Blogger
Persian Poetess said:
Ocarina of Time is Nintendo’s Gone With the Wind of RPGs. Never has the company given us such a compelling game, with such an enthralling storyline, and so user-friendly “my-grandma-could-play-it” kind of controls. Young and old will have fond memories of OoT and enjoy reliving its genre defining moments.

[WII] The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Justin Dennis said:
Western blogs called it creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s “magnum opus” - a tall order, considering 1998’s “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” has topped countless “best of” lists for years. Skyward Sword also marks a new artistic direction for the series - it’s the first title to use animated cutscenes and full voice-acting to deliver the story.

Peter Nelis said:
The traditional overworld/dungeon layout has been tweaked sufficiently to add plenty of new interest to the storyline, and the implementation of the Motion Plus’ (almost) 1:1 response has been second to none. Yes it’s missing the boomerang, and yes it’s still Link off chasing after Zelda, but the truth is that it feels every bit as fresh as it always has.

EDGE Magazine

Level 7
Erik Hansson said:
A great cozy adventure game that succeeds using the Wii remote and equipment improvements to create one of the best Zelda games ever.

Not only the best Zelda game since Ocarina Of Time but also the best use of motion controls in any video game - this is gaming at its near perfect best.

Nintendo Lee
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a top notch game and has everything from visuals, story, music to random side quests building excellently on the 25 years of history in this fantastic franchise.

Nintendo Life
James Newton said:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game of stunning creativity: the work of master craftsmen and women, it's a breathtaking technical achievement in many ways, with subtly beautiful visuals and audio blending with rampantly imaginative design. It's as good a Zelda game as we've ever played, and one that fully delivers on the revolution Nintendo promised back in 2005.

[PC] Minecraft

Lev Grossman said:
Minecraft isn't a complex pitch: you're in a very big, rather retro-looking low-res world. You can walk around, you can pick up things, and you can make other things out of them. While you're doing this, various animals try to eat you. The end. The complexity comes from you: the Minecraft universe is so endlessly, pleasurably reconfigurable and customizable that it rewards you for the zillions of hours you sink into it by becoming a reflection of your imagination.

[360][PS3][PC] Portal 2


Associated Press
Lou Kesten said:
It's based on a simple game mechanic: blasting holes and jumping through them. Its three main characters are mostly disembodied voices. It's essentially a series of abstract puzzles, and yet, "Portal 2" delivers one of the year's most satisfying — and malevolently funny — stories.

Joe Sinicki said:
It made us laugh, amazed us, and even brought a tear to our eyes. Valve’s followup to it’s critically acclaimed and cult favorite original puzzler was not only better than the original — it eclipsed it. The writing? Superb. The voice acting? Unparalleled. Oh, and the gameplay? Portal 2 straddles the line between accessible and infuriatingly difficult.

Larry Frum said:
Outstanding characters? Check. Cryptic puzzle solving? Check. Great dialogue? Check. Everything you'd expect from a "Portal" title returns in "Portal 2," with some great additions. While the first title was all about the puzzles, this one keeps the puzzle-solving portion alive but mixes in a wonderful story that is fast-paced, informative and extremely humorous.

The Critical Failure
No other new game I played this year had the fun and brain-teasing that this game gave me this year. The combination of GlaDOS, Wheatley and Cave Johnson was just too good. The game took everything that was great about the first game and improved upon it and everyone seems to love this game and has no qualms about it except for maybe it is too short.

Chad Concelmo said:
Think back to how unbelievably perfect the pacing is in the game. Think about some of the wonderfully memorable moments: the opening, with a moving apartment; the descent into the retro bowels of Aperture Science; the potato; Cave effin' Johnson; the ending! AHHHHH! THE ENDING! No other ending in a game this year was as memorable, outrageous, or just plain fantastic.

Azhar said:
The original Portal was perfection, but it was also an experiment. Portal 2 is something more. It’s an innovative and absolutely brilliant experience that is unlike anything else in gaming. It’s simply one of the best games ever made – a masterpiece, and a work of art. The fact that Valve took a two hour long experiment and turned it into a full-length, arguably better sequel is an exceptional achievement in itself, but to craft a masterpiece out of it and do one up on perfection is something else entirely.

Dan Whitehead said:
Portal 2 may have lacked the surprise punch of 2007, but it was funnier, smarter and found dozens of ways to fill its playing time without resorting to meaningless padding. And, clearly, that's why Valve actually makes games, while I just blab on about them on the internet.

Every tough puzzle that you solve, you feel empowered to soldier forward and take on the next challenge, which usually is even more difficult. The ratio of difficulty to player satisfaction is virtually perfect, and something that Valve's contemporaries might want to closely study.

The Game Critique
It increased the size of the world and the length of the game, but more importantly it increased the thematic scope of the game. Where other sequels feel empty with their extra space filled by the same amount of ideas as the first, Portal 2 fills that space with expanded themes derived from the first by go far more in depth and cover a wider range of details.

Thomas L. McDonald said:
The designers had a tough act to follow in creating Portal 2, and they accomplished the task with wit, style, and imagination. The game is just different enough to make it more interesting and challenging, but the solutions are never overly complex. They require analysis of the environment and the goals, and then a logical application of the tools at hand.

Portal 2 defies genre. To label it as a “puzzler” diminishes the genius with which those puzzles have been blended into the fabric of the world, so seamlessly that you don’t even realize you’re solving them, or how genius you’re becoming yourself through doing so. Portal 2 transcends the tropes, conventions and limitations of what we’ve come to expect and accept from interactive storytelling.

God is a Geek
Lee Garbutt said:
Co-op mode, Animal Kings, Cave Johnson (LEMONS!) or the dangers of creating a pudding made from fibreglass. If you didn’t understand any of that, then you’ve been playing the wrong games this year. Stunning.

The Irish Times
Joe Griffin and Ciara O'Brien said:
One of the smartest, wittiest games of the year, Portal 2 gave us challenging puzzles, a super sci-fi narrative and colourful characters, especially the dim-witted Wheatley and the complex ghost in the machine, GLadDOS. We’ll ne-vEr for-GET her U-nique CA-dence.

Mike Fahey said:
We voted for Wheatley, the delightfully ditzy but well-meaning artificial intelligence that unwittingly guided us to our potential doom. We voted for GLaDOS, the power-hungry robot with a heart of solid gold spite, with whom our relationship grew closer and stranger than ever before.

No Bull Shit Gaming
The new features Valve added with the blue bouncy paint, the orange speed paint and the white paint that allows the player to put a portal anywhere. They also gave us a change of scenery in the hidden facility where we are introduced to those new features.

PC Gamer

Piki Geek
Iain Dooley said:
It showed us that original Portal was simply the prototype for much greater things to come. Valve dared to tear apart the expertly crafted formula of the game’s predecessor and push the boundaries of perception, and in doing so answered the age old question of whether games are art. The conclusion? They can be so much more.

Brand new puzzle elements poured complexity on to the already intricate puzzle formula, challenging veterans and any of their previously established strategies. A gripping storyline carries the fantastic gameplay with its masterfully composed balance of diverse personalities, the perfect amount of mystery, and just enough answers to Portal fans’ burning questions.

Press X or Die
Wayne Dawe said:
From fleshing out the rogue A.I. GLaDOS’ background to introducing new layers of Aperture for players to explore, with new gameplay mechanics to boot, Portal 2 delivered more of what the people wanted without diluting any of the experience.

The Racquette
Bryan Meyer said:
The puzzles are difficult and give you satisfaction when you figure them out. The extra puzzles are even more difficult! I'm currently stuck in chamber 11 trying to smash a plasma screen for an achievement. I'll try for an hour, curse for two and then the PS3 will stay at the mother's house for a few weeks, but I still love this game.

How do you go from low-budget experiment to million-selling blockbuster in one move? Simple: expand your backstory, add a few more elements to the physics-based puzzles and cast Stephen Merchant to voice your sidekick.


Sphinx Sanitarium
No wow fancy graphics, no massive explosions, or even ridiculous guns. Just you, your portal gun, puzzles, and a maniacal computer system. A wonderful transition from modern puzzles to retro puzzles and then back to modern puzzles all wrapped in an often dark humor makes for a fantastic single player experience.

[360][PS3][PC] Renegade Ops

Console Arcade
Jamie Davies said:
Finley tuned, tightly focused and incredible fun to spend time with, blowing stuff up simply never gets old. For that reason, along with its riotous multiplayer, Renegade Ops was something of an understated triumph that deserved to do incredibly well.

[PC][IOS] SpaceChem

Michael Rose said:
SpaceChem is also one of the most challenging, ingenious and downright rewarding gaming experiences of 2011. No prior understanding of chemistry or chemical reactions is needed -- in fact, the game bends the truth when it comes to molecule bonding every now and again -- and you will no doubt come away from each session with a few more brain cells than you had before play.

[PC] Star Wars: The Old Republic


Lilikka said:
I often told people, when talking about Skyrim, that it would so much better if there were a way to adventure with your friends. But that’s exactly what BioWare has done with Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’m not going to lie: I didn’t have high hopes for SW:TOR. I’m not much of an MMO player; I’ve never played WoW and my only experience with the genre has been with Free-to-Play games that just aren’t the same caliber as a Pay-to-Play. And if I’m having this much fun with it solo, I can’t imagine what will happen once I actually find a guild that I enjoy!

[3DS] Super Mario 3D Land

Classic Game Room

[IOS] Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

It plays out somewhat like an old-school adventure game crossed with The Legend of Zelda, but it's not so much the way the game plays that makes it so unforgettable, as it is the way all of the elements come together to create a uniquely absorbing experience. From the dark, haunting soundtrack to the low-fi pixel art visuals, it's a game that needs to be experienced to be understood fully.

Eli Hodapp said:
The initial experience of playing the game is so powerful that it gave me chills. I really can't think of any other mobile game that has invoked a similar emotional response that I've played in my entire life.

[PS3] Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Cheat Code Central
Uncharted 3 has the same kinds of action movie moments and breathtaking set pieces as its predecessor, only it manages to do everything even bigger. With a story that delves into the past of series protagonist Nathan Drake, this is one game that's hard to put down before the credits roll. To top it all off, it has exceptional cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes sure to gobble up dozens of hours of your time.


Blake Morse said:
Whether falling out of a plane, being tossed about in a boat as it filled with water, or finding yourself in a firefight in the middle of a desert, this game kept us on our toes. Excitement was around every corner and fortune was waiting for us.

Liam Bull said:
Gorgeous and pure Hollywood. A fantastic story with loveable characters that deserves a nomination for best ever game, let alone Game of the Year. Full of action and very enjoyable cut-scenes, always keeping you on the edge of your seat and treating your eyes each and every corner you pass. Genius.

Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)
Joel Gregory said:
And in this regard Drake’s Deception is undoubtedly the series’ highlight, with sequences so spectacular you can’t believe they’re interactive until you’re actually guiding Drake out of a sinking cruise ship as water bursts in through every door and porthole.

Reg Hardware
Andrew Bailey said:
It's an unabashed popcorn-blockbuster, of course. But one so exquisitely crafted it almost defies critique. To mention the relatively short 8-10 hour campaign, the loose and floaty gunplay or the occasional hiccup in the cover system would be churlish nitpicking in a game as near-perfectly executed and presented as this.

Dean Takahashi said:
Nobody aspires to create such a high level of emotional engagement in games, particularly in the genre of shooting games. The title has its flaws, but it overcomes them by making you feel like an actor inside an adventure movie where your actions make the difference between life or death.

[360][PC] The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Reaction Time
Joe Marsden said:
Standing in the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, you’ll find no better action-RPG such as this, with each and every side quest being as engaging as each step through the main story. Characters that are integral to the plot don’t take a back seat behind Geralt as many developers would wish, as each story character is treated with the same polish as our protagonist. The gameplay is well crafted, with the difficulty being rather steep in the early hours of the game (which isn’t a bad thing, by the way) and combat being fast and fluid.


Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
Jul 1, 2009
It's going to be fun to see which outlets don't pick Skyrim.


May 25, 2007
I wish people brought up Portal 2 more often, that game blew me away and far deserves GOTY over Skyrim

The problem with Portal 2 is it's a one time experience with no real replayability i loved it but can see why it won't get many nods. I started Skyrim yesterday and can see why it will sweep you can feel how vast everything it's breathtaking.

If we have taken anything from this gen people sure like to explore these huge worlds.


gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Jul 30, 2009
Western Australia
Portal 2 blows you away more than Skyrim?
I'd find that a hard point to argue.

I recognise Skyrim's strengths, but Portal 2 is still the best game I've played this year. The game sucked me into its world quicker than any before it and the resulting ~8 hour ride is one I can't help but look back on with fondness. To use a tired phrase, the game is more than the sum of its (fantastic) parts. The feeling that overcome me when Cara Mia dressed the closing cutscene of the game... it was serene. Portal 2 is the culmination of everything Valve have learned of game design in the many years since Half-Life and it shows - the game is their best to date.


Sep 20, 2007
I can't believe people are going to ignore all the performance issues and major bugs in Skyrim. Fantastic games that have issues like that should never be GOTY.


May 20, 2011
I recognise Skyrim's strengths, but Portal 2 is still the best game I've played this year. The game sucked me into its world quicker than any before it and the resulting ~8 hour ride is one I can't help but look back on with fondness. To use a tired phrase, the game is more than the sum of its (fantastic) parts. The feeling that overcome me when Cara Mia dressed the closing cutscene of the game... it was serene.

I concur with this.

Skyrim is amazing. The open world is just insane, and it's great to just get lost in this game. However, in my personal opinion, a game with as many technical bugs as skyrim (we must look past the "oh well its huge so its okay if there are bugs"), shouldn't get a game of the year award. I installed the game on my xbox on day 1 and texture streaming was terrible. Just the other day I was in an area (Xbox 360) and my frame rate dropped to about 1fps, after which my xbox froze and now my xbox will occasionally make a rattling noise.

Portal 2 was a near perfectly crafted gem of a game, that didn't have any of these major bugs. It combined brilliant mind bending puzzles along with an engrossing narrative with characters that will be remembered for years to come.


Feb 21, 2010
I think Skyrim will win this in a landslide, I haven't played it yet but the way everyone is crazy over it I assume it must be something amazing. Zelda wont get that many awards eventhough it has a high metacritic score because of media bias.


Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
Jul 1, 2009
Portal 2 blows you away more than Skyrim?
I'd find that a hard point to argue.

Let me help you out, one of those games worked for me on my pc. That's the one I'd say is the goty if it's a case of either or.


Feb 26, 2007
The Whitcher 2 will be robbed in place of the more mainstream pick. But honestly, not sure Skyrim could be my choice based just on how mundane a lot of the design choices are. It's an open world game sure, but the vast number of dungeons and quests are actually very linear. Admittedly you can tackle them in so many different ways, but half are aged and just basic. The sword play and general combat is just insanely basic, repetitive and janky. Animations, a lot of the VA, much of the story etc, just doesn't seem realistic or believable enough.

Ok so The Witcher 2 is not as 'open', namely in traversing huge lands and amount of class diversity, but it is infinitely more polished and narratively competent. Characters that are realistic and demand appreciation or invoke response. VA that's also more life like. Combat that actually offers some level of digression or intuitiveness with counters, evading etc. A narrative that is genuinely affected (sometimes gravely) by the decisions you make. To me, it was a more accomplished game in every way bar actual size.


May 9, 2011
I still to this day don't know what everyone saw in Portal 2. I did finish it but it was just an ok game. Was it the "humor"?


May 27, 2010
Portal 2 deserves way more awards than it actually will get. it's by far the best game on HD consoles/PC


Aug 26, 2010
will anyone pick dark souls? my guess is it gets a few votes from outlets trying to advertise their "hardcore" credentials.

i havent played many games from this year (dark souls is the only second-half game ive played) so i am not an especially good judge.

edit: though i did play portal 2 and thought it was excellent. havent played skyrim though. or skyward sword, if thats going to be in the mix.


Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
Jul 1, 2009
I still to this day don't know what everyone saw in Portal 2. I did finish it but it was just an ok game. Was it the "humor"?

For me it was :

- Breath of fresh air with regards to setting
- Fun gameplay in a first person game that doesn't revolve around "shoot everything that moves"
- Characters with "personality" ( even if they are robots ),
- Looks amazing
- Well optimized
- I enjoyed the writing

etc etc


Dec 6, 2008
will anyone pick dark souls? my guess is it gets a few votes from outlets trying to advertise their "hardcore" credentials.

i havent played many games from this year (dark souls is the only second-half game ive played) so i am not an especially good judge.

edit: though i did play portal 2 and thought it was excellent. havent played skyrim though. or skyward sword, if thats going to be in the mix.

Demons's Soul won a few GOTY last year, so I don't see why not.


Jul 29, 2007
I can't believe people are going to ignore all the performance issues and major bugs in Skyrim. Fantastic games that have issues like that should never be GOTY.

I agree. I'd consider it for RPG of the year for me though (I played 360 version).

The Librarian

Apr 22, 2008
I still to this day don't know what everyone saw in Portal 2. I did finish it but it was just an ok game. Was it the "humor"?
No. It's its mediocrity that makes it so fucking amazing. I was playing the game the other day and said to myself at one point, "Holy shit. This game is so mundane. I am blown away."


May 9, 2011
I can't believe people are going to ignore all the performance issues and major bugs in Skyrim. Fantastic games that have issues like that should never be GOTY.

Game worked fine for me. I'm not going to change my vote just for PS3 owners. I had more crashes with Witcher 2, guess that doesn't deserve GOTY.


gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Jul 30, 2009
Western Australia
Playing through the dilapidated areas of (Portal 2 spoilers)
yesteryear Aperture Science
and witnessing gradually
Cave Johnson's Andrew Ryanesque descent into madness
is up there with that moment in Super Metroid where the creatures teach you to wall-jump and then you (finally) successfully reach the top of the shaft yourself as my favourite section of a game.

We even had a thread about that. Not sure how it slipped my (or the OP's :p) mind.