A Critical Hit's Game Of The Year 2011
Yes, we realize you’ve already seen almost everyone’s Game Of The Year, but be kind to us; it’s our birthday.
January 1st not only marks the beginning of a brand new year, but also one full year since Critical Hit! began. Here’s a list of our favorite games that were released during that year.
Game of the Year
James: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
C’mon. I had to. I’ve been an Elder Scrolls fan since Morrowind, and Skyrim does everything but disappoint. While you may find some naysayers and yes, there are still some things Morrowind does better, Skyrim is still an astounding RPG. Incredibly immersive gameplay, huge amounts of land to explore and legions of people to meet, Skyrim isn’t just a great game; it’s a whole new life.
Kate: Portal 2
I can’t think of any game I’ve played this year that could be said to be tighter and more perfect than Portal 2. Mind you, I haven’t played Skyrim yet myself, so maybe then my choice would be different.
Most Disappointing Game
James: Saint’s Row: The Third
Saint’s Row was a fun GTA clone. Saint’s Row 2 blew me and my friends away. We were all eagerly awaiting what sorts of craziness would await us in Saint’s Row: The Third, how far it would blow the doors off of Saint’s Row 2, as it had done so handily to its predecessor. Finally, release day had come, and…
Saint’s Row: The Third isn’t a bad game by any stretch. The storyline and character customization easily tops that of the first two games. It just feels like everything else was either streamlined or cut entirely. All the crazy side missions are boiled down to a choice few, and they didn’t even have anything similar to the fun storylines that they did in the second game. It felt like Saint’s Row Lite.
Kate: Payday: The Heist
What’s the easiest way to screw up a heist game? Putting the emphasis on shooting infinite waves of cops.
Best PSN/XBLA Game
James: The Fancy Pants Adventures
Honestly, I loved this game. You can read more about it in my review. I found The Fancy Pants Adventures to be a fun, imaginative platformer that takes what games like N+ and Super Meat Boy do so well and make it more about exploration and art than masochistic retry-button-mashing (not that I have a problem with either of those games, they’re both fantastic). The level designs are great, the sense of speed and momentum is fantastic, and the game as a whole just reminds me of drawing little stick figures running and jumping around in my sketchbook as a kid.
I worried they might start crying if their game didn’t win anything. You’d know what I mean if you played it.
Best Buddy Co-Op
James: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
There are very few games my roommate and I will play together for extended periods of time. We just get bored of games easily. Insect Armageddon is one of the former. While the gameplay is nowhere near complex and the storyline is downright stupid, the amount of stuff to unlock, bugs to kill and upgrades to achieve makes this a game well worth the time spent with a friend.
Kate: Saints Row: The Third
I hadn’t played the previous installments, and so didn’t have a chance to experience disappointment. Like Borderlands, I felt that the co-op was a blast, while playing solo wasn’t all that much fun at all.
Best RPG That Isn’t Skyrim
James: Dark Souls
I really wanted to give this to Dungeons of Dredmor, the indie Roguelike RPG on Steam (for $5!). But, looking back, as much fun as I did have with Dredmor, nothing except Skyrim compares to the amount of hours I put into Dark Souls. Dark Souls is hard, yeah. But for every time the game had me tearing my hair out in frustration (Capra Demoooooooon!), it introduced ten more reasons immediately afterward to keep playing and having fun.
Kate: I didn’t have time to play any RPGs this year.
Best Handheld Game
Kate: Super Mario 3D Land
Not only is it the best game on the Nintendo 3DS, and not only is it the best handheld game of the year…I might go so far as to say it’s my favorite Mario game I’ve ever played (mind you, I’ve never played Super Mario RPG).
James: Mario Kart 7
Super Mario 3D Land is great, and its a great example of what the 3Ds can do… with a single-player game. Mario Kart 7 looks fantastic and plays even better. In my opinion this might be the best Mario Kart yet. The kart customization adds an extra level of depth to the series, and the levels are all fun to play, both the new and old.