The Games of Christmas ’11: Day 25 26

By RPS on December 26th, 2011 at 10:00 am.


Happy post-Christmas, one and all! How was it? Did Aunt Agnes do that thing with her teeth at the dinner table again? And did you get Ninja Action Man or did mum cop out and get you Office Temp Action Man again?

Us, we’re not here right now. We’re hibernating and pruning our ear hair for another a week or so, preparing for the many word-based adventures of 2012. However, we have one final new missive for you in 2011: more games from the last year that we’ve loved. Yes, it’s true, we have room in our heart for more than 24 games. All of these deserve your affection and/or money as much as all the others we frothed about – we just didn’t froth about them quite as much. Your suggestions for our terrible, unforgivable oversights yet beyond these are, of course, welcome.

Frozen Synapse

Alec: This was going to be one of the sacred 24 right up until the eleventh hour, but eventually we decided to treat it as 2010 release, as we did with Minecraft. Basically, our logic is this: the first year you can pay for the game in is the year we will consider it for inclusion in features such as our Advent Calendar. Which means I need to invent time travel, return to late November 2010 and make sure Mode 7′s excellent tactical strategy game, which achieves very smart, high-speed twists on the X-COM-esque formula things in both single and multiplayer, is included in our 2010 advent calendar.

Adam: I didn’t exist in 2010, but if I had I would have been hollering about how brilliant Frozen Synapse throughout the latter parts of the year. It’s like a boardgame I would dearly love to play but the action-heavy “we-go” mechanic could only function as it does on a computer. And it functions marvelously, with an elegant visual design and a sensible front-end. It was definitely one of last year’s games for me but I’m determined to become reacquainted in 2012.

Bulletstorm

Jim: This narrowly missed our 24 and that’s a real shame. It was a game that was overlooked both critically and commercially, for no good reason. It was so ludicrously hyperbolic that it’s impossible not to revel in its trick-shot combat madness. The ludicrous noise made about its perceived vulgarity turned out to be little more than hot air. Bulletstorm was great fun and, more rarely for a game of this kind, actually funny.

John: It was just plain fun. Fun in the same way high-fiving on a roller-coaster is fun – it’s bloody brilliant while you’re doing it, but you don’t really feel the need to talk about it months later. But just like I want little more right now than to high-five on a rollercoaster, I rather feel like having a game of Bulletstorm.


Men Of War: Assault Squad

Jim: One of the highlights of the year for me, and bolstered by waves of excellent DLC. This co-op skirmish variant of the original game gets right what Men Of War Vietnam got so wrong: we want big battlefield challenges, loads of tanks, plenty of meticulously modelled carnage. It’s a minor masterpiece and a beautiful reboot of the original concept. Sure, I do still prefer the variety of a proper campaign, but this can be replayed and played and played…

Limbo

John: The best times are the times when Kieron is wrong, which happens far less frequently than one might imagine. But about Limbo, he is Wrongy McWrongington. Yes, it’s a cruel game, but it’s brilliantly cruel. Yes, it kills you unfairly, but that’s part of the dynamic, a process you’re in. And no, that’s not the same as Rick Dangerous. It’s cunningly crafted, and exquisitely presented. And there’s that moment when the spider comes back.

Dead Space 2

Jim: It’s hard to be terrified when you’re an armour-clad death-machine, but it was also hard not to be impressed by the sheer spectacle of Dead Space 2. It was ridiculously overwrought and basically horrible. I’d much rather play another one of these than another Call Of Duty.

Adam: I look back over the year and the one glaring omission in the glittering array of high quality games is a horror game worth its salt. There was no Amnesia this year. When I’m not tactically strategising, I do like scrabbling around in the dark, hiding from blasphemous monstrosities. That Dead Space 2 was my favourite horror game of the year shows how unscary 2011 was, because this was like the Cameron take on the Scott original. Not that Isaac’s first adventure didn’t lean a little far toward the action side of things itself, but this time it really does feel like war. It still contained some of the most spectacular set pieces of the year and The Sprawl was a memorable location.

Minecraft

Alec: Like Frozen Synapse, this was technically released in 2011. But we spent most of 2010 playing and writing about it, so it doesn’t get a repeat slot on the Calendar of Calendars. But we do love Minecraft, and it’s without a doubt one of the most important videogames on any format from the last few years. It’s also a cult, but a nice one.

Jim: I played less Minecraft in ’11 than I did in ’10, but it remained one of the most fascinating projects in the gaming landscape. The pull its success is now exerting on developers should not be underestimated, either. We are yet to see the true consequences of Notch’s millions.

John: Like the others, this was a game of 2010 for me, and while I certainly played it a bunch in 2011, it wasn’t in the same way, that obsessive, sneaking another play for five minutes between two things I had to do sort of way. Which I guess is in some ways enormously hypocritical, since the game has recently added a lot of the features I opined it lacked last year. Well, I guess when I finish Skyrim?

Adam: I spent more time reading about it than playing it this year, which is often a sign of something I’ve developed an intellectual fascination with but don’t feel ready to develop my own stance on. I’ve had several stances on Minecraft in the past, all of them positive, but right now I’m watching it and trying to work out what I should do next with it. As a thing that is happening it continues to be as enormous and compelling as the worlds it creates every time I boot it up.


Magicka

Jim: The year started with the insane (and insanely broken) revelation that was Magicka. Ludicrously difficult to master with its spell system, this tongue-in-cheer fantasy co-op adventure was a haphazard experiment in the joy and silliness of dropping fun mechanics into a game and just seeing how players dealt with it. Hilarious and inspired.

Adam: Magicka is responsible for a few of my most cherished memories of the year and it’s a work of comic brilliance. I might have argued for its inclusion in the 24 if I’d had more time to play it with a likeminded group of slapstick sorcerers, but buggy performance on its part and thundering ignorance on their part conspired to keep many of my friends away.

Brink

Alec: Lovely-looking and well-written with TIGHT multiplayer action, it’s simply very sad that Brink didn’t achieve greater things and a wider, longer-lasting audience. Confusing marketing and a mystifying lack of community features kept it from being the game it should have been, but it’s a multiplayer shooter that boldly strove for new ground where others settled on rinse and repeat.

Jim: Brink was so beautiful that its failure to really capture a significant audience genuinely surprised me. I’ve always enjoyed the Enemy Territory way of doing things, and it seemed to work better than ever here. Obviously not too many people felt that way, because it all faded away after the first week. What a shame.

Driver: San Francisco

Alec: A real surprise, this one. A deeply unwell franchise smoothly salvaged, with snappy, funny writing, an insane concept that actually worked and the right balance of freedom and imperatives. I liked it a lot.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Alec: Released in 2010 on console, but the traditional Ubisoft time-dilation effect meant we had to hang on until March 2011 for the PC version. It’s comfortably best AssCreed so far for me, cementing what the second game had done then essentially turning it into a party of old-urban exploration, free-running, money-making and fluid fight-o-biffing. Such a shame that the next game, Revelations (released just weeks ago) was just a bloated repeat.


Trine 2

Alec: Just lovely. Really, truly lovely. It probably should have been in the calendar proper, but it had the misfortune to arrive while we were already part way through that particularly ultromegafeature, plus none of the other Hivemind nodes have had a chance to tackle its delicately clever tri-character puzzling as yet.

Warhammer 40,000 Dawn Of War 2: Retribution

Jim: An astonishing expansion for Dawn Of War 2, and one of the best strategy campaigns we’ve ever played. I feel like this sort lost our attention too quickly, due to everything else that was going on, but its achievements were clear. Brilliantly made, thrillingly challenging, and extraordinarily dynamic. This is Relic at the height of their powers.

Bloodline Champions

Jim: I’ve only dabbled in this over the year, but Quintin was quick to point that it stands out among the free MOBA/PvP games. Free, obviously, and beautifully made. Worth a look if you want that sort of combat.

Atom Zombie Smasher

Adam: A real oddity, which knows how to punish and elicit a guffaw of delight, interspersing the agony of defeat with narrative interludes that don’t give a damn about contextualising themselves and somehow make a game about zombies into one of the most intriguing propositions of the year. It’s merciless, smart, funny and unlike anything else I’ve played all year. Blendo should also be commended for creating a superb aesthetic with top-notch audio and visual design.

Alice: Madness Returns

Adam: Although the repetition causes it vanishes up its own rabbit-hole long before the end is in sight, Alice McGee’s second adventure was gorgeous enough for me to see it through. It’s a visually stunning tour of a Wonderland that is often as beautiful as it is horrid. Not a calendar contender due to the lack of invention in terms of action throughout its arduous duration, but it shows plenty of invention in other ways.

Duke Nukem Forever

What the hell was that?

, .

194 Comments »

  1. Inglourious Badger says:

    What?! No….there’s no……you forgot……!

    Yeah, ok, I think you covered everything. Happy festive season RPS! What a year of games it was.

    • Orija says:

      Space Marine, Orcs Must Die

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Orcs Must Die was featured in day #6, and DOW2 Retribution was superior to Space Marine, in my opinion.

    • iaguz says:

      Warhammer 40k Space Marine was Calender worthy for the 20 minutes of so of combined play time with the jump pack.

      The rest of the time without the jump pack (especially how the final confrontation with the Big Bad was just a piss easy Quick Time Event. Really guys?) gets it well out of contention!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Waste Of Space Marine, more like.

    • Defiant Badger says:

      @ Inglorious Badger

      Well, going by the logic that a game should be on that year’s christmas calendar when you can pay for it I’d say that Project Zomboid definitely should be mentioned (despite it’s silly name).

      But then I would say that, wouldn’t I.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Ah, good point my fellow badger. Plus I just remembered Capsized came out this year and that was bloody brilliant.

    • Fumarole says:

      Waste Of Space Marine, more like.

      Waste Marine, surely.

    • thegooseking says:

      Blocks That Matter.

      Easily sits in my top 5 of the year. It was good, and more to the point it was unexpectedly good. The fact that the bonus metagame involves curating a sort of museum of great block-based games of past and present doesn’t hurt, either.

      Of course, I had an idea to make a puzzle platformer involving tetrominoes, so the fact that Swing Swing Submarine did it so well and so first kind of struck a chord with me.

    • iuqxfsd says:

      Cheapest tablet PC!
      Ainol Novo7 Basic Tablet PC 7 Inch Android 3.2 Dual Camera 8GB HDMI 1080P Black http://dwz.im/3154

    • Frantics says:

      Well, to swing my rag.

      Space marine is some awesome as hell shit. Who doesn’t love huge killy dudes. Try it with some nightwish or ayreon. And weed .:)

      Crysis 2 is truly superb, loved it.

      Good picks lads, lots of awesome amazing stuff this year, I loved it. Amazing we have these things at all when you think about it. Always great reading you chaps writing, thanks for another year of brilliance!

      Having fun with Earth Defense Force at the moment, what a game, never seen anything like it. Another one to save the spliffs and metal for. Speaking of, Dead Rising 2 is a simply amazing game that got a new version this year, been enjoying that. L.A. Noire is another game like nothing else I’ve ever seen and brilliant with it, love investigating cases, and Stronghold 3 is awesome relaxing stuff.

  2. Gassalasca says:

    I DISAGREE WITH YOU!

    There. Somebody had to say it.

    • Mr_Initials says:

      I DISAGREE WITH YOUR OPINION BUT RESPECT YOUR RIGHT TO HOLD A DIFFERENT POSITION THAN I.

    • Burning Man says:

      It’s okay, to not like things.
      It’s okay, but don’t be a dick about it.
      It’s okay, to not like thiiiiings!
      Don’t be a dick about the things you don’t like.

    • povu says:

      Hearing the Biscuit version here.

  3. Museli says:

    The Old Republic has made a last-minute dash into my games of the year, despite its sloppy launch. Even if I quit after my free month (which I shall not), I’ve already spent more time in it than I would in many single-player games. My main character’s story has had all sorts of twists and turns, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Never thought I’d say that about an MMO.

    The Curious Case of the Frozen Synapse also highlights the problems with defining exactly what ‘of the year’ means. Technically speaking, my GOTY 2011 should be New Vegas, as it’s the game I’ve played most and had the most fun with this year. By the rules of RPS though, my game (and soundtrack) of the year is good ol’ Terraria.

    Can’t wait to read more of your finest words next year, gentlemen. Enjoy the remainder of your festive period :)

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m in the exact same boat with New Vegas. I picked it up cheaply (perhaps too cheaply), and definitely loved it the most out of any game I’ve played this year.

  4. japstersam says:

    Fantastic year for games for everyone. Its the first year I have really got into the more ‘indie’ side of gaming, and have this year had the joys of Limbo, Bastion and To The Moon (the latter two on RPS reccommendation) and have absolutely loved them.
    I have to say To The Moon was the best thing I’ve installed this year, but Skyrim was a worthy winner. Also from this list, loved Bulletstorm and Frozen Synapse was some good fun.
    I think Brink was decent enough overall but the launch was absolutely crippled with bugs. The lag rendered it unplayable (in the UK at least) and there were lots of glitches where literally every other match you would find yourself without sound, without a scoreboard etc. The worst was when I was in a game where all the enemy team had turned invisible, which made shooting them pretty awkward xD you could tell there were the fundamentals for a great game in there though, and the character creator is worth a mention.
    After reading the Advent Calendar, off to download SpaceChem as we speak.

  5. Meat Circus says:

    Still, it’s a great pity Frozen Synapse didn’t make the cut because of procedural irregularities.

    • Orija says:

      It’s an open secret that these guys sold out to Bethesda.

    • Meat Circus says:

      I had wondered why John had started announcing he was sworn to carry my burdens.

    • Wulf says:

      That line is so boring, though.

      About the best inventory line in Skyrim, by far, has to be…

      B-but… J’zargo only has so places where he can put things!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
      Rumours about mudcrabs since 1873

    • Phantoon says:

      I found M’aiq The Liar.

      He told me to go away.

      I was sad.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Phantoon:

      Yeah each time I come across that prick he’s *this* much closer to getting Tupper’s Frosty Chopper (my crafted blade – not a euphemism) up his chuff.

    • Durkonkell says:

      “M’aiq does not understand what is so impressive about shouting. M’aiq can shout whenever he wants.”

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Durkonkell:

      Does he actually say that at some point in the game?

    • Durkonkell says:

      That is one of the things that M’aiq randomly says to you. He says a lot of things related to the game’s design decisions and environment, such as:

      “Much snow in Skyrim. Enough snow. M’aiq does not want any more.”

    • The Tupper says:

      Well, okay. I might spare him a fatal thrust from my Chopper. Might.

    • Durkonkell says:

      You don’t actually have much choice!

      In addition to being a source of humour and the only recurring ‘mortal’ character to appear in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, he’s also invincible.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m sure a quick setessential false in the console will allow Tupper to thrust away at M’aiq’s chuff if he so desires.

  6. Jim9137 says:

    Every calendar worth of its salt should have XCom on it. It is like the big ‘un at the end, the one with the toppings, the one that is actually thick and wide, the one whose doulbedoors you have to pry open. It’s that One.

    So I don’t like your calendar, mister, it doesn’t have enough chocolate.

  7. John P says:

    The trouble with your rule is that if you don’t hear about a game at first, or it doesn’t turn into something great for a while, it can be out of contention.

    For instance I’m pretty sure you could buy Minecraft in 2009, which should have ruled it out last year.

    You might as well just run with “the year in which we realised this game was cool”, and also “we forgot this last year, so we’ll put it in this year”.

  8. ThTa says:

    I’d personally add Crysis 2 to that list, for being pretty, featuring some decent semi-freedom in your approach of levels, and having some of the most fun movement in an FPS in recent years. (Bar Tribes: Ascend, and mind you, I haven’t played Brink yet)
    I know none of that doesn’t sound particularly revolutionary, and I agree, it isn’t. But I had a lot of fun with it, and it’s most certainly better than the modern manshoots of late. (Of which one even cracked your 24)

    But don’t mind me, I’m just a grumpy old man who nearly burnt a pie, just yet.

    • The Greatness says:

      Yeah, where the heck is Crysis 2? That was the first thing I thought of when I read the premise of this article. I’m playing through it right now for the first time and really enjoying it. I don’t care that it’s linear, it’s still got the best shooting I can think of: the guns feel superb and really weighty, the suit abilities still make you feel like a super soldier but force you to be tactical and not just charge in blindly.

    • Dominic White says:

      As much as I liked Bulletstorm, I definitely got more enjoyment out of Crysis 2, too. I got shouted at by a few people when I suggested that people pick it up when it was really cheap on D2D, too.

    • Arona Daal says:

      Yes,Crysis 2 was a pretty solid Shooter,no GOTY Stuff but good Craftsmanship with some nice innovations.For example the “adaptive Stance while aiming over Cover” Thingie.

    • EmS says:

      while i too think that crisys 2 was a proper game it isn’t good enough to be in this list
      first there are things like that they didn’t care about a finished pc release and that the only main feature the graphics really nothing groundbreaking nor new were (bf3 sees like a way better choice for this)

      aside from some nice scripted filmy stuff I’m really not too impressed wit many other object in this game and it just looks like a half-life 2 in newyork

      about the freedom of play in the levels it is at least commendable but stealth is nearly a game breaker. just play deus ex instead if you want a more free experience

      so it docent stand out in any way and inst more than a above average shooter so why does it have to be in the list of the best games this year?

      if you look at a game like bulletstorm i can tell you a bunch of things that are completely bullshit about it but it presents it so well and has this balls to the wall attribute that makes it so fun

    • MultiVaC says:

      Bulletstorm was okay, but Crysis 2 was a hell of a lot better. In an odd way, Crysis 2 was not at all what I was looking for in a sequel to Crysis, but it had a lot of things I was looking for in Bulletstorm. It was fantastic core shooting with all sorts of ways to feel slick and cool while doing it. Bulletstorm didn’t really deliver on that as much as I expected. The skillshots didn’t feel very “skillful”, it seemed more like lining up kills in arbitrary and sometimes inconvenient ways for the sake of scores, while in Crysis 2 you would fluidly leap, slide, sneak, and shoot your way all over the gameplay areas just because it was the most effective and interesting way to play. You weren’t doing it because the game constantly bribing you to, it was because you were playing a post-human uber-soldier, and that’s how you roll. It also made a huge difference that Crysis 2 was “Half-Life linear” instead of “Call of Duty linear” like Bulletstorm.

  9. Abundant_Suede says:

    (SPAZ) Space Pirates and Zombies is another good “runner up” category entry for me. I think that it got kind of submerged in the deluge of quality indies this year, but it deserves more love.

    • JuJuCam says:

      SPAZ was my glaring omission of the year, otherwise hard to fault the list. What a year!

    • MattM says:

      Indeed, to my mind the game was completely not revolutionary instead it took a bunch of standard gameplay elements and then polished and balanced them very well. Very little in that game felt pointless or haphazard.

  10. The Tupper says:

    I’m glad that Driver: SF finally got some love. That’s one of my faves of the year, without a doubt.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      I really enjoyed it too, though I’m somewhat puzzled by RPS describing the writing as a highlight. I was cringing most times anyone opened their mouth.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I really enjoyed it too. The best part of the game was the conversations you found yourself in when mind-jacking into an occupied vehicle.

  11. KoenigNord says:

    I invested so much more money this year into games (thank you RPS for telling us where to spend all my money :P ).

    Didn’t know that Frozen Synapse was available last year, got the full game this year and played a lot against my friends, discussed my next moves and possibilities like playing chess. This was and is very joyful.
    Atom Zombie Smashers is one of these games i don’t play this so much (steam tells me I played 4h) but I like it very much. Simple, funny idea with great soundtrack.

    And there are many more games like Rock of Ages or Dwarfs!? :)

  12. thepaleking says:

    Avadon: The Black Fortress and Six Gun Saga. Just sayin’.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I was just going to mention Avadon. Sure it’s more linear than your usual spiderweb games, but it had the best RPG comabt/battles of any RPG released this year, I thought.

    • Paul B says:

      My most played game of 2011 (just ahead of Skyrim) with 36 hours put into it, and I’m nowhere near finished. Avadon was the game that made me pick up a Spiderweb Software game again (insert anecdote about playing Exile as a kid). Could have been shorter, but one of the best RPGs this year and should have been more appreciated.

  13. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Brinks an interesting one. It just shows that it’s nearly impossible to recover from a failed launch for an fps multiplayer. The decision not to have it on steam and the fact that a lot of the retail copies didn’t work pretty much killed the game. Despite the numerous free weekends and constant sales prices if you don’t hit the ground running

    In short brink shouldn’t be on the list

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Brink had three huge flaws that ruined it for me:

      First, and most importantly, its visual design was extremely busy, with little thought given to prioritising important information—the worst part being that it was often difficult to distinguish friend from foe. In a fast-paced game with friendly fire, that is absolutely essential.

      Second, it had poor feedback. Much of the time, I could not tell if my bullets were hitting my target or not; I could not see grenades (either my own or enemy ones). The HUD did show messages when I killed an enemy, but their effectiveness was diminished because of all the other HUD clutter.

      And finally, the maps I played were very tight, and highly connected. This is good design for a deathmatch game, but bad where there are other objectives. It removes any tactics around defences and chokepoints, and with enemies able to appear from literally any direction, everything became a confusing mess.

    • Arona Daal says:

      Brink was not even remotely reaching the “Enemy territory way of doing Things”.

      ET: Wolfenstein was superior in almost every regard: Weapons,Maps,Classes,Map Objectives,tactical Options.

      Brink was essentially ugly dudes shooting each other in cluttered tunnels with SMGs.

      …Well, *i* guess it belongs on a list with Duke Nukem forever.

  14. thatcity says:

    crysis 2 is forgotten by rps.shame,it’s a very very good fps imo,even if i think think that didn’t surpassed the first one.
    anyway,i predict that the next rps game of the year will be bioshock:infinite,you are so predictable!!! (i will do a link to this next xmas)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “i predict that the next rps game of the year will be bioshock:infinite”

      I would be *amazed* if that were the case. In fact I am pretty amazed anyone would even make that prediction.

      For reference, the GOTYs have been:

      2007 – Portal
      2008 – World Of Goo
      2009 – Dragon Age: Origins
      2010 – Minecraft
      2011 – Skyrim

      Of the games coming out next year, Dishonored is a much better contender. (Although I am vaguely hoping it will be Dead State.)

    • Kaira- says:

      I see a pattern here. Next year’s GOTY is obviously some indie game. Project Zomboid, perhaps?

    • Fumarole says:

      It’ll be Age of Decadence.

    • Phantoon says:

      Dragon Age the first was competent and not terrible, and had some nice setpieces-

      But nothing better really came out that year?

      Of course, this year was probably the best year we’ll have for PC gaming in a while. So many games came out, so many wallets were crushed under the weight of the never ending steam sales and humble bundles.

    • Delixe says:

      @Phantoon While nothing IMO was better that year than DA:O we also saw Batman: Arkham Asylum, Left 4 Dead 2, Empire: Total War, Borderlands, Street Fighter IV, Dawn of War 2, ARMA II, Fallout 3, Torchlight and Mirror’s Edge. It was hardly a bad year for games.

    • Keith Nemitz says:

      Everybody’s game of the year, 2012 will be ’7 Grand Steps’. You heard it here, first, um, …from it’s megalomaniacal creator.

    • thatcity says:

      i hope that dishonored will be a great game,it seems a very good one from early preview,we will see.
      the sentence “you are so predictable” it’s due to the fact that since i follow you yours goty award was given to 2 games that everybody else give praise and honor(minecraft,skyrim) and rps is not everybody…it’s THE site,at least to me.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Is Age of Decadence on any schedule whatsoever? I can’t tell because they update the main site so infrequently.

      Also, the lead is a douche in interviews. That has no relation to this article, but should be mentioned whenever someone says Age of Decadence.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Guy days I predict next year they will give GOTY to the fashionable option. Website responds, nooo we only give the award to the fashionable option.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Gonzo you are turning into one of the least talented trolls on here.

      Obviously I don’t think BI will be the “fashionable” option? How is that even something you are fretting over?

    • alundra says:

      are you guys really making an scene because your game of choice was not picked by rps??? an scene?? over a game?? really???

      omg, one of my game(s) of the year, dungeon defenders was barely mentioned by rps, I feel so inadequate without the active reinforcement of a bunch of strangers…over the internet….

      maybe it’s time to grow up.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Fools! I come from the future! The answer is Far Cry 3! You couldn’t possibly have guessed!

  15. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I don’t get all the praise for Retribution. Sure, the game’s pretty good but all the single-player campaigns are basically the same.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, all awesome.

    • Vinraith says:

      Retribution was a nice thought, in that being able to play any race in the campaign should be a core feature of any Warhammer 40K game. Unfortunately, the way it was done feels really shoddy, and really samey. The result is that while it’s good that it’s possible to play any race, it’s not much fun to play any of them.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I disagree, I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the year. It’s nowhere near as entertaining as MoW or anything, but it was fun as a casual play.

    • Vinraith says:

      I can only speak for myself, but I found it to be tremendously disappointing. More than anything, to me, it feels poorly made. Pathing is sketchy, missions are uninspired, and character progression is stripped down and de-emphasized compared to the earlier titles. Even playing in co-op it ends up feeling like a chore, and like I’m fighting with my units to get them to go where I want and stand behind cover. To each their own, of course, but I can’t help but see it as the “Soulstorm” of DoW2.

    • Nick says:

      It would have been better if the missions weren’t all so hugely linear that you were playing the same thing exactly with each race. The original DoWs at least let you approach things with some semblence of variety.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It sucks that the single-player campaign is always the same, but that multiplayer mode is really, really fun.

  16. Kradziej says:

    One TERRIBLE AND UNFORGIVABLE oversight you sirs made was Jamestown – it really is just a lot of fun, with an amazing (I mean it, it’s worthy of the biggest and most epic game out there) soundtrack, sweet sprite visuals and a silly – but smart – storyline. The Vaunt mechanic is great and the difficulty curve just perfect.
    I think all you people out there should definitely give it a go… also, most of you probably have it, since it was a part of the last bundle of the humble.

    • Patches the Hyena says:

      Yes, yes, yes. It’s a lovely game.

    • hypercrisis says:

      Jamestown was one of those games I bought because the devs seemed nice, but the reality is its a rather mediocre shmup fails to ever hit par.

    • Just Endless says:

      As someone who strongly dislikes the schmup genre, I think Jamestown is pretty neat. I can’t finish it, but it’s pretty neat.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Jamestown is fun and all, but the graphics are the only thing that distinguishes it from other shoot-em-ups and they’re a dime a dozen. I suspect it’s a fun casual game if you’re a fan of the genre, but it doesn’t really have that cross genre appeal that stronger contenders do. This is of course only my opinion, and genre aficionados could probably prove me wrong.

  17. Moni says:

    I might start praying at the altar of the Infinite Turkey, the only entity capable of subduing Horace’s infinite belly.

  18. Text_Fish says:

    I bought Duke Nukem in the Steam Sale for a few quid last week thinking it must be worth a laugh if nothing more. Turns out I was wrong. It’s probably not the worst game of the 2012, but definitely the worst game of 2012 that I would ever deign to try.

    • DickSocrates says:

      It’s 2011… or did I miss something?

    • Wulf says:

      He’s a time traveler who bought Duke Nukem Forever in a future steam sale for 13p. Duh!

      Do you have rocketpacks and automated bathrooms there in the (not so distant) future, TF?

    • AndrewC says:

      I am terribly distressed by the idea of an automated toilet.

    • magnus says:

      Do toilets of the Future make that ‘Ding’ noise that the one’s in Invisble War make? If they do, someone please cryogenically freeze me now!

    • Text_Fish says:

      In the future scientists turn 2011 in to 2012. Also, in the far distant future we don’t even need toilets any more because we all have miniature teleporters installed in our pants that zap our bodily waste into outerspace. They do make a Ding noise though, so there’s something.

    • The Tupper says:

      I feel a bit disappointed whenever a game has a toilet but doesn’t allow me to flush it. Which has just made me realise that my Skyrim guy has a lovely house, a great life of adventure and a smashing burd to hang out with, but he doesn’t have a toilet.

      If I were him I’d be careful with those shouts – he’s likely to follow through.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Top-quality trouser humour there, Tupper. It’s like I’m really reading Viz.

    • Shadram says:

      I’m constantly amused that no houses in Skyrim have toilets, but many bandit caves do (or at least, buckets positioned in a way that leaves no doubt about what they’re for).

  19. Colonel J says:

    No love for Red Orchestra 2, Jim? I really thought it would make the final list.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      Yeah i got it on this winter sale and it’s better than i thought after all the negativity

    • Orontes says:

      Like the game (cool setting), but its buggy as hell. Still think it should be in there.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      At least it WORKS properly on my PC, unlike Brink, which is on the list, god knows why.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It was good, but I actually played Brink for longer. ;)

    • Nick says:

      I hated RO2 so much that I still regret buying it even at the discounted price I got for owning the original (that I liked).

      I greatly regret buying Brink as well (why include a parkour system and then barely use it at all in your map design?) but I still had more fun with it than RO2.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I think RO2 is a real diamond in the rough – but it’s very rough indeed. That said I’ve never had any significant bugs or performance issues, but that’s my experience.

      Either way, when it’s working right the game can be incredibly enthralling. I feel it and Stalker share a lot of the same power – the ability to drop you completely into a place and atmosphere, and tell you a fascinating, compelling story through nothing but gameplay and the web of cause and effect woven by the actors around you. Most importantly, enabled by a well researched setting and geography with a hefty sense of place, rather than just being a game-y box to shoot men in.

      It’s probably easier for me to overlook some of RO2′s problems since I never played the original. But I’ll overlook a lot for that feeling I get when crouched behind a wall, surrounded by men shooting, shouting, falling, and dying. Slithering forward through a ditch or running frantically into cover… It’s subjective, but the sense of danger and import in every moment of the game is something very rare these days.

      It’s more comparable in this regard to a game like Minecraft or Amnesia in some ways. A very unique and powerful game, I think.

      That said, I think the launch was too rough, the final product too unfinished for it to make the advent calendar proper. But a mention of its importance would have been nice.

  20. Babun says:

    Anomaly Warzone Earth should be somewhere…maybe. It’s definitely fun and polished, speaking of, it’s time for another round.

  21. Aninhumer says:

    Since the feature starts in December, it would probably be a good idea to include anything released in the previous December for consideration.

  22. AndrewC says:

    Big up for Driver! The racing was rubbish but the tone was friendly and fun! And in a world of DOOMFATEHORRORDARKNESSDEATH!!! it was really nice.

    In this vein I would also like to big up the new Sonic as i’ve been having fun with it, because it is all bright and smooth and lovely, because it’s the first Sonic where i’ve actually got that the ‘real’ game lies in repeating levels to find better ways to do them, and because it is fun to call Sonic a PC game.

    So I demand! DEMAND! that Sonic replace the rather nasty-feeling Dead Space 2.

    FUN OR DEATH! You decide!

    • The Tupper says:

      I love Driver SF and (as you correctly identify) its sense of fun. One thing that disappointed me, though, was its stupid use of profanity. Don’t get me wrong: I swear like a mother-felching sailor born under a cuntish moon, but it meant that I couldn’t wholeheartedly recommend the game to (most) people with kids, which is a shame.

      The missions where the player had to repeatedly ‘leap’ into trucks/buses/Humvee drivers to cause head-on collisions is a game mechanic that children would adore, but because of the unpredictable outbursts of the main character – once he simply shouted ‘CUNT!’ when someone clipped the side of my car – I can’t show it to my nieces or nephews, as their parents would murder me.

      As with many other forms of art, some games use swearies brilliantly and (particularly if they’re simulating mass murder) it would be ridiculous for strong language not to be used.

      I feel, though, that Driver SF missed a trick by not toning it down, particularly as it takes inspiration from cheesy TV cop shows of which few, to my knowledge, ever had the lead actor shout “CUNT!” at someone who had broken his wing mirror.

    • Thants says:

      Is this a joke? I’m pretty sure the character in Driver SF doesn’t yell cunt at any point.

    • The Tupper says:

      No, honestly I’m not kidding. It was a one-off that the character shouted when I got pranged during random sand-box driving. It’s possible that I miss-heard the utterance but I really and truly don’t think I did.

      The game has other instances of strong language as well – I was using that as a particularly inappropriate example, inappropriate in that it makes an otherwise PG (at worst) rated game into something that restricts its potential audience.

      And I stress that I, personally, have no problems with swearing (nor do I have children), but I think that the kids I know would love the game (as I do), and I’d have to either mute the dialogue (then expain to them why – which rather defeats the purpose) or risk the wrath of their parents.

      Edit: The parents I’m referring to, incidentally, would (if I muted the dialogue) not understand why a game that was somehow unsuitable for their children would be better without the soundtrack. They don’t know games and if I was in their place I wouldn’t trust that remedy either.

    • Thants says:

      Unless they snuck it by all the ratings boards (and me) the worst language in it is shit, asshole and bitch. Which would still be too offensive for some parents, it’s true.

    • The Tupper says:

      I only ever heard it once. It was certainly a, ahem, strident verbal ejaculation (if you’ll pardon the term).

      It was a one word shout and it sounded for all the world like the aforementioned. But without wanting to get into whether it was what I thought it was (I could’ve been mistake but I seriously doubt it) I think my point stands. The game is good enough not to restrict its audience. Kids would flip for it if fucking Mario-or-somesuch-twaddle adopted the game mechanic (for once, no pun intended).

    • LionsPhil says:

      I would argue that all and any of “shit”, “arsehole”, and “bitch” wouldn’t be heard in a ’70s cop show either.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Haha, holy shit. I heard the C-bomb being dropped once too but assumed I had misheard it. Completely forgot about that.

      For more appropriate usage of the word ‘cunt’, see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FZyUDMvt8I

    • The Tupper says:

      Hehe. Now THAT’s how to use profanity.

  23. Muzman says:

    I guess it has been a year crowded with good games like people are saying.
    Now, if this keeps up, it seems like it’ll be necessary to do something the marketers have been asked to do for a while: Not do things just for the end of the year.
    I look forward to Christmas in July: The games of (half of) Financial Year 2011-12!

  24. dinoscom says:

    Where is Dungeon Defenders? Best co-op game for pc this year.

  25. MuscleHorse says:

    I’m glad you remembered Atom Zombie Smasher. It really deserves more exposure – speaking of which, I believe it’s one of the Christmas daily deals on Steam right now. SURF GUITAR

  26. Abundant_Suede says:

    I would just point out, that by the rules you’ve laid out here in regard to Minecraft and Frozen Synapse, you can’t feature SW:TOR in next year’s list, even in the event it turns out to actually deserve it.

    If you do decide to grandfather it in, I demand FroSyn be featured as one of the best games of 2012. We can’t just run around breaking our own imaginary rules we just made up!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’m not sure we’ve ever included an MMO in one of these lists, actually.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Here’s to hoping GW2 is good enough to set precedent next year, then.

    • TODD says:

      MMOs don’t belong on Game of the Year lists because it often takes years for them to mature, whether in terms of features or community or what-have-you. If RPS were to grandfather in World of Warcraft Episode 2: Attack of the Clones next year, they would also have to cast a critical glance over Eve Online: Crucible, Guild Wars 2, Mists of Pandaria, etc. No one has enough time to play every major MMO release in a year and rank them.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I thought MMOs don’t belong on the list because their design philosophy is inherently corrupt, with the goal of making a good game subordinate to a number of other concerns, and the quality of gameplay sacrificed for the technical limitations of its “massive multiplayer-ness”, ending up with something inferior to even a mediocre offline single player game?

      Still hopeful for GW2, though!

    • InternetBatman says:

      That’s entirely unfair to many MMOs. Sure the Old Republic’s combat is just autoattacks, chains, metagaming, and some crowd control but I fail to see how that’s demonstrable worse than real time Kotor, where all you did was queue u a relatively small set of abilities and attacks. DDO requires actual role-play and designs levels that offer more for diverse groups. WoW could be the best rhythm game ever made and requires tactical decisions (especially for healers and tanks) and situational awareness.

      Just because you don’t like a genre doesn’t mean that it’s gameplay suffers, it just means that its gameplay is different. People judge MMOs harshly because they play them as single-player games even though you single-player is only a fraction of the gameplay.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Just because you don’t like a genre doesn’t mean that it’s gameplay suffers, it just means that its gameplay is different.

      Really. Entirely unfair?

      This is true so far as it goes, but not applicable to my previous statement. MMOs do not have bad gameplay because I dislike them. I dislike them because they have poor gameplay relative to dedicated SP offline games or small scale multiplayer games, because of the technical limitations imposed by the novelty of that scale that, as you point out, so few people really care about anyway, preferring a solo experience. So yes, they are certainly “different” in that respect.

      I distrust them on a fundamental level. Their primary design goal is to keep players paying for more time, or more in-game bonuses. This may sometimes overlap with the goal of making something the best game it can possibly be, but not necessarily, and incidental in the event that it happens. More often than not, it’s about exploitative design taking advantage of people’s obsessive compulsive tendencies with a game that would be a mediocre ARPG at best, but stretched out over months instead of the week or two the experience should actually merit. I speak in generalities, but think you would be hard pressed to make a case this was not true for the vast majority of MMOs.

      I (quite carefully) offered no specific opinion about SWTOR, or KOTOR for that matter, so that is neither here nor there.

    • Wisq says:

      Hear, hear.

      To date, I’ve not found an MMO I really truly liked. I’ve found myself sucked in to them — usually by a well-meaning friend, and usually for several weeks at a time — but ultimately, I look back and realise: At no point during my experience have I ever had as much condensed fun as in my typical singleplayer games.

      Borderlands remains one of my favourite FPS games, in large part because of how it combined MMO-like progression with fast-paced singleplayer gameplay and much more regular rewards. It feels exactly like someone took an MMO and decided to step it up by a couple orders of magnitude, from the “keep you grinding for years” speed to the “best couple of weeks you’ve ever had” speed.

      I hope some of the upcoming MMOs like The Secret World prove me wrong, but for now, I don’t intend to get my hopes up too high. These things are expressly designed to slowly milk players dry, not to give them a strong experience and then let them move on to something else. And that’s even before you start looking at the limitations of the technology and the sorts of “sit back and occasionally poke buttons” gameplay they evoke.

  27. Vandelay says:

    DOW2: Retribution had one of the best campaigns of any strategy game? Okay, there isn’t really that much competition, but it all felt rather bland to me. Maybe it was just having played SC2′s campaign not that much beforehand, but even RUSE’s very simple affair kept me entertained for longer. The repetition of the levels between the races was all a big disappointment. It certainly didn’t compare to the original DOW2′s campaign.

    Agree with everything you say on Brink though. The mix of apathy and complete fabrications about how the game plays just leave me rather baffled and disappointed. There were definite design mistakes, such as a terrible unlock system, maps not being quite big enough and team sizes being too small to make splitting the team that viable, but nothing that couldn’t have been fixed with updates that could only come about with a health player base.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I dont think Retribution compares well as a “Strategy” game, because it isn’t one. If we judge it as the Tactical ARPG the single player game has become in DOW2, it comes off much better. It provides an exciting campaign and a lot of different class/race/group mix/loadout options for distinct gameplay experiences to replay it with, like good ARPGs.

    • Xocrates says:

      Indeed, the position that Retribution’s campaign is among the best is kind of baffling. Mostly because it doesn’t really work for most races, which makes it feel kind of lazy.

      If you’ve played through it once with one of the few races it works for, I see why one can get that idea, but I have friends who hated the game because they had the misfortune of picking a race for whom the campaign didn’t work.

      No to mention, that you had stuff like the Tyranid campaign where the upgrades/gear was so broken that me and said friend were doing it on the hardest difficulty by essentially doing attack-move.

      Mind you, the fact that the campaign even works at all for all races is commendable, but given the end result I would probably have preferred if they just did the Space Marine campaign so they could finish the plot they had going.

    • Arathain says:

      Retribution’s campaign was disappointing in some ways and awesome in others. The levels themselves were a bit meh, especially in their linearity, and of course it’s a bit sad that there weren’t any missions specific to each race.

      However, it’s the best WH40K toy box there is. The unit variety is excellent, each created with Relic’s characteristic love and attention to detail. The hero characters in particular got stupidly powerful as they leveled up, and were a joy to use in their over-powered silliness. The degree of choice you had in how you approached the levels was great.

    • vecordae says:

      Retribution was a horribly flawed game. I’m pretty sure that Amberly Vail was blond and I see no reason why they edited Ciaphas Cain so heavily. I don’t recall the man ever getting a horrible face wound at all. Still, it was nice that they included Lord General Zyvan Von Gravalax and noted huckster and backtalker Sassy Jurgen in there, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

  28. Ricc says:

    This picture of Horace is just adorable! That’s my new desktop background now. :)

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Adorable? Isn’t he having a post-christmas lunch fart out of his stomach because he has no end with which to complete said task?

    • vecordae says:

      Fact: Horace’s digestive tract is endless and, as such, will always have room for more gas.

      Second Fact: Horace only has four legs, two of which exist only in potentia. What you are seeing there is actually his torso cramping from all the sitting about he was doing.

      Third fact: I often have trouble determining facts from my own inscrutable fancies.

  29. wodin says:

    I found this year to be poor game wise with alot of anticlimax.

    Funny enough though it’s not normally my thing I loved Bulletstorm as the trick shot thing added that extra something to it.

    Did you miss out Combat Mission beyond Normandy?? If so naughty naughty as it was my wargame highlight of the year. if not give me a slap for mot remembering everything due to xmas over excess.

    SPAZ is another big miss I think you made. Far better than Zombie Atom smasher. Also did Echelon game come out aswell, was that in your list? good old school RPG.

    • Starky says:

      My opinion could not be more in opposition, frankly I think 2011 was the best gaming year in all of gaming history so far.

      Both mainstream and indie – just title after title of amazing quality – too much for any one person to play in a year.

      Normally a year gets 3-4 outstanding games and maybe a dozen good ones – this year it is more like a dozen outstanding ones.

  30. Dominic White says:

    Dead Space 2 was a fun game, but it started out ‘unsettling’, then became completely non-scary, and by the end it was a comedy. If you just focus on upgrading the spear-lightning-rifle-thing gun through the whole game, it eventually becomes so powerful that it can one-shot the only upgraded Brute enemy in the game.

    And it has some of the cheapest ammo in the game, so you can be carrying around 200 shots, easy. Those poor, poor Necromorphs. They never stood a chance.

  31. daphne says:

    Ya, I had predicted Bulletstorm to be in the final 24 right after its WIT, but clearly Rage had eclipsed it by the time the revelations rolled around. Aww!

  32. jaheira says:

    Dragon Age 2 would have been on my list, other than that they pretty much nailed it.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      DA2 was on one of my lists as well, along with Stronghold 3, Duke Nukem Forever, and Sword of the Stars 2.

    • jaheira says:

      Good sarcasm suede. Seven thumbs up.
      Have they fixed SotS2 yet?

    • vecordae says:

      @Jaheira

      It’s getting there. Still getting at least a patch a week. Most of the features are in now, though it doesn’t seem that they are all balanced yet. I haven’t played it much in the past month and a half, though.

      My initial prediction based on the state of its release was that it would need another two months of constant work to be release-worthy (where it’s about now) and another month of patching before the systems were properly balanced. So, I’d give it another month.

    • jaheira says:

      @vecordae

      Thanks man. That was helpful.

  33. gnodab says:

    I am sorry. I’ll have to spam this thread, the error message was just to funny. Also it is kinda on topic because it is my GAME OF THE YEAR:

    HTTP Error 21
    503 – Service Unavailable
    An Interactive Fiction by Horace The Endless Server Technician
    Release 1 / Serial number 110707 / Inform 7 build 6E72 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/12N)

    HTTP Error
    You are standing at the entrance to Castle Shotgun. The gates are securely locked, with an unappealing sign on the front. The sign reads “Whoops! RPS is having a bit of a wobbly. Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!”

    To the left of the gates is a large opening in the wall, which Jim is leaning into. John is perched on a small rock nearby, while Alec and Tim are standing on the other side of the gates. A pile of magazines is scattered in a corner.

    You can see Jim, John, Tim, Alec and a Refresh Button here.

    >examine john
    John sits hunched over on a stone at the foot of Castle Shotgun’s walls, head in hands groaning to himself. There are several empty rum bottles nearby, one of which appears to have an Asda logo on it.

    >look at pile of magazines
    You grab a magazine at random. It’s the latest issue of Your Cat magazine! You’ve read this issue at least four times though, so you put it back.
    You notice an old copy of Amiga Power in the pile.

    >grab Amiga Power
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >take Amiga Power
    You reach for the magazine, but as you touch it it disintegrates in front of your eyes. In its place are the feet of a man. That man is Kieron Gillen. He smiles down at you.

    >kneel bevore Kieron Gillen
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >kiss Kieron’s feet
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >scream at Kieron for abandoning us
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >sigh
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >talk to kieron
    You open your mouth but the words fail to come. Without speaking, Kieron’s voice echoes inside of your head. He mentions something about Thief. Everything is right with the world.

    >smile at kieron
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >unhappy programmer
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >dance
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >recognise!
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >stand up
    But you aren’t in anything at the moment.

    >stare at kieron
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >look at kieron
    Kieron’s figure is hard to make out, as his very flesh appears to emanate a glowing white light. He floats approximately two inches off the ground, and is wearing glasses which, when peered into, appear to reflect visions of the future and past.
    He still looks a bit like Jason Statham though.

    >steal his glasses
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >make him join your party
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >offer him a smoke
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >sigh and go back to the rps remainder
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >i reckoned
    I only understood you as far as wanting to take inventory.

    >that is not very far, but alas very wrong
    You seem to want to talk to someone, but I can’t see whom.

    >i was talking to you
    I only understood you as far as wanting to take inventory.

    >ah, yes. good old text processors. i have no idea why you became obsolete…
    You seem to want to talk to someone, but I can’t see whom.

    >go back
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >punch john
    Violence isn’t the answer to this one.

    >but it would be fun
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >look at john dissappointed
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >talk to john: you know you ARE wrong about limbo. it’s a pretentious ball of suck.
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Yes, it must be the… no, unless it’s the… Hmm.”

    >are you searching for eve?
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >hallo?
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >may i help you?
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >jim?
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >tap jim on the back
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Of course, it could be the, uh…”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “It’s never the… well, except that one time when…”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Yes, it must be the… no, unless it’s the… Hmm.”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Of course, it could be the, uh…”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “It’s never the… well, except that one time when…”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Yes, it must be the… no, unless it’s the… Hmm.”

    >talk to jim
    Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

    “Of course, it could be the, uh…”

    >OMG jim got stuck in a time loop!
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >primer
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >talk to john
    John looks up. “Hmm? No, I didn’t lock us out. We’re just having a bit of trouble with Horace. We’ll have it working again in a tick.”

    He resumes nursing his headache.

    >of course you did
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >remember you are the “funny” one
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >and a bad healer
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >alec?
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >look at alec
    On closer inspection, Alec appears to be gluing bits of Warhammer 40k model armour to his shoulders and chest.

    Alec clears his throat and tests out his Librarian imitation. It’s not bad.

    >talk to alec
    Alec seems a bit involved with sticking plastic armour to himself to reply. It’s probably best to leave him alone when he’s arming up, anyway.

    >look for quins
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >look for adam smith
    You can’t see any such thing.

    >look at tim
    Tim is standing on a small outcrop, binoculars in one hand, looking out eastwards. Unfortunately, east of here is just the M4 corridor, but east is the direction heroes look in, as evidenced by his stony glare.
    He takes a deep breath. “I love the smell of Bath in the morning.”

    >so all heros are muslim? Hah, I knew it. We win!
    You seem to want to talk to someone, but I can’t see whom.

    >or heros look east to fend us off… Well, in that case you’re all a bunch of racists!
    You seem to want to talk to someone, but I can’t see whom.

    >uncomfortable silence
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >wow. so threads even derail if you are alone in them…
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >must be some internet sorcery.
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >emerging
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >or procedual generating
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >OMG i am an AI!?!
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >well it is getting kind of silly…
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >But my game of the Year! and best ever ERROR, even better than dragons falling from the sky.
    You seem to want to talk to someone, but I can’t see whom.

    >though you did forget poor quintin
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >and new-non-quintin: the invisible hand, as well as TB
    That’s not a verb I recognise.

    >
    Links / Information:

    Unscheduled Maintainance. We’ll bring the forums back as soon as we can.
    Try the forums again later
    Error page powered by: Parchment
    Some numbers decipherable only by Horace: 1537855712, 503

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Hey! I’ve been spamming threads with it as well! My GOTY too! High five!

      I mean, seriously RPS, why didn’t it even make its way to the runners up? Where’s your goddamned nepotism, man?

    • Thermal Ions says:

      We obviously need some more unscheduled maintenance so that the rest of us can experience this GOATEE contender.

  34. Demiath says:

    Maybe I’m just easily manipulated, but in my experience Dead Space 2 contained by far the most emotionally effective video game narrative of 2011. The disappointing ending to the Nicole-centered story arch may have been predictable, but I was genuinely moved by the Isaac/Ellie part of the plot and really wanted things to end (comparatively) well for them. Just about the only two things reviewers have had to say about DS2 is that A) it’s a solid action game and B) it’s not actually scary, but for me the emotional payoff is much more noteworthy than those rather basic facts about the game.

  35. Vinraith says:

    Still no love for Sanctum. :( It’s funny, because RPS pointed me to the game, though I think that might have been Quinns and perhaps that’s the problem. I’m a little baffled by Anno 2070′s total absence as well. Maybe you guys haven’t had time to play it? It has been a crowded release season.

    I wouldn’t expect to see love for Pride of Nations or Distant Worlds: Legends, but I’m compelled to mention them because *I* think they’re big deals this year.

    Edit: SPAZ, Six Gun Saga, and Rock of Ages too.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I liked Sanctum well enough, but I enjoyed Orcs must Die way more. It just felt more visceral and the traps felt more effective. I think Sanctum deserves real respect for its level design though. The hidden surprises are pretty neat.

    • Vinraith says:

      I found Sanctum to be vastly more strategic and thoughtful. Orcs Must Die was fun for a few minutes, Sanctum’s been fun for about 50 hours. YMMV of course.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      There was no greater scoffer at Orcs Must Die than myself. I believe the game was made for co-op, found its exclusion baffling, and still do.

      But once I actually played it, there’s no denying the fact that it’s simply a blast, beginning to end, for as long as it lasts, that is. Perhaps the short nature of the game works in its favor. I enjoyed it far more than Dungeon Defenders, which I though I would like more because of co-op and ARPG-like progression. I guess fun is still king.

      The problem for me is one of longevity or value. Once you’ve gotten your 5 skulls on each map in normal difficulty, which you can do quite quickly, without co-op there’s really nowhere to go with the game. The “Nightmare” difficulty becomes an entirely different game, and not one I enjoyed as much. Nightmare mode removes the set up times you had to carefully consider where to place defenses, and so the game becomes wholly twitch and less strategy. I would have preferred simple scaling of enemy challenge and mix, while still allowing you to better consider how to use your tools. The game ended for me at that point, the appeal lost.

      For a bargain bin game, it’s great. I’d be hard pressed to recommend anyone buy it even at its relatively low, full indie price. There’s just not enough there, though what is there is very entertaining. A more substantial sequel with co-op would be about the best thing ever.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ll give you that OMD is better than Dungeon Defenders, but that’s not saying much. I think Sanctum’s spoiled me for this kind of game by being exactly what I want, any game without complex geometric pathing is never going to be able to touch it in my eyes.

  36. Faldrath says:

    I know RPS isn’t really a place for racing/sports games, but it would be nice to have some acknowledgement for games like F1 2011. The fact that we finally have a decent (I know, far from perfect, but still very good) F1 game for the PC again should be celebrated, after almost a decade without one.

  37. johnpeat says:

    Just one thing on the “what games should be considered” and Frozen Synapse thing…

    It’s all fine and well to invent an arbitrary rule about “when you could first pay for it” but it needs to make sense and your decision doesn’t UNLESS you considered FZ in your 2010 roundup already??

    If you didn’t consider it in your 2010 list then it should be in your 2011 list – end-of.

    Rules are meant to stop unfair things happening – not actually make them happen (e.g. pushing a game into a vacuum when it comes to considering it’s worth).

    • Unaco says:

      Just one thing on the “rules” thing…

      RPS have an endless Bear as their mascot. Physically, spiritually, philosophically endless.
      The Hivemind once created a clone of itself and sent it to Activision for upbringing… it became Dave Tosser.
      Scoring used to take the form of Optimus Prime thumbs up or down. Even that is gone now, and a games score is a complex product of the number of word used in the WIT, the number of comments on the WIT article containing non-English words, and the time of day, in Estonia, when the article after the WIT is posted.
      They’ve never finished a Game Diary series. Ever.
      There is a ‘pendant bus’ for goodness sake, that regularly comes round to take away all of the annoying pendants who come in and clog up comments with their pendantry.

      In short… I don’t really think RPS and the Hivemind are that concerned about rules. This isn’t the UN. It isn’t a court of law or a Government forum. It doesn’t have to be fair. So what? Frozen Synapse didn’t stand out enough to be in the main list of 24 Games of the Year. No one is going to die because of this ‘great injustice’… it won’t send the moon hurtling towards us, it won’t raise Go-jira from the seabed, it’s not going to kickstart the next Ice Age.

    • Unaco says:

      “If you didn’t consider it in your 2010 list then it should be in your 2011 list – end-of.”

      Also. Remember. Horace. End-of nothing. There is no end.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Rules apply, except when they do not apply.

      “Rules are meant to stop unfair things happening.”

      I am not familiar with this definition of rules.

      “They’ve never finished a Game Diary series. Ever.”

      I think Quinns finished the Minecraft one.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Adam finished his Sengoku diary. Admittedly by losing, but still, he finished it properly.

      Also, Unaco, it’s easy to say that “No one is going to die because of this ‘great injustice’…”. But look at that list of 24 games: Is there really no game which, if absent, would cause you to complain and/or accuse RPS of devilry/injustice/witchcraft/whatever?
      One thing might lead to another, and the frustration over not having one’s GOTY on the RPS list might cause one to start World War 3 some years down the line. IT’S IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.

    • Lamb Chop says:

      Better pack me away on the bus, but damn those pendants and their pendantry. And don’t get me started on a mullet that gives you neck lice.

      Execution of this joke was poor; bobbled it a bit.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      You fuckers! I finished all my solo diaries and only bailed on one of my group ones.*

      KG

      *AI War, which I wrote the first part but found it too much effort to actually organize everyone to play again. Though it begat the Quinns Needs Iron running gag, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

    • nemryn says:

      I think you mean ‘pedant’, Unaco, not ‘pendant’.

      And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a bus to catch.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You don’t count, Kieron, you turncoat.

    • lurkalisk says:

      To be fair, Frozen Synapse was never really released, it just… Is.

  38. MajorManiac says:

    To me 2011 has been the best year for computer games that I can (accurately) remember. Plus RPS is the best most brilliant place to read about them.

    Thanks for all the enjoyment both from the Writers and Commenter’s. You all deserve a big hug. Right time for some more merry juice.

    • vivlo says:

      especially the pun series comment threads ! though i’m kinda sad i can’t participate in those, because i don’t have a good english enough.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Vivio.

      Don’t punnish yourself for it. I only know one language and not very well, at that.

  39. DOLBYdigital says:

    Red Orchestra 2, Dungeon Defenders and SPAZ seem to be 3 games missing in the follow-up list.

  40. mod the world says:

    I would have chosen completely different games!

    • Unaco says:

      How different? Console games? Card games? Board games? Drinking games? The Games People Play? Games released 10 years ago? Games that won’t be released for another 10 years?

  41. Arathain says:

    Good job on all those really excellent games. Jamestown is the most obvious omission for me. It’s really good, and is a lot of fun co-op.

  42. Urthman says:

    Magicka really deserves to be on the calendar. It’s really an amazing achievement to come up with a genuinely new approach to spell casting in video games and have it be as fun and entertaining as Magicka is.

    Frantically typing QFASA and DSSRR and ESFQA feels more like real spell casting than anything else I’ve done in a video game.

    And it looks really great, especially for an indie game.

    • Vinraith says:

      Very much agreed. It’s also, by far, the funniest thing I’ve played this year.

    • Thants says:

      I feel like I’m crazy because I don’t hear anyone else mentioning it, but the click-and-hold-to-move instead of click-to-move controls drove me crazy. It’s so much more clumsy than the standard for this type of game.

      If they fixed that one thing, I’d have a lot more fun with this game.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I had a ton of fun playing Magicka in co-op! Up to the point that it broke, at least. Now that’s a game that had a great sense of humour. I even laughed at the “KHAAAAAAN!” reference!

      The trailers were amazing, too! I think we need a separate entry just for the trailers.

    • Sassenach says:

      I loved that it eschewed a character progression system except in very limited ways, it was great having freedom to experiment. I can imagine a different design choice whereby you recieved elements staggered throughout the game, which would have been much worse but unsuprising design. And it was funny. I’m not sure it was the best game of the year but it was certainly the most pleasantly suprising.

      Both Brink and Red Orchestra 2, each failing to some extent compared with expectations, included character progression which ended up simply increasing a players power. Brink was particularly disappointing (whereas the Red Orchestra 2 incident was just stupid) as interviews prerelease suggested they had a better idea whereby it was lateral progress that would gradually open up harder abilities to use while starting the player off with the greatest basic power. On release it turned out to divide the player base and discourage changing classes without offering much diversity.

      Why do I need to play a game for 10 hours before I can do these things? It’s alright in singleplayer where is can be explained as rationing content, but in a multiplayer game where you can contend with people at radically different progress levels it’s awful.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Magicka’s is a game whose great strengths do not cover up the serious and endemic problems. It would be a value at the price and should be at the top of the list if its technical problems did not actively encourage you from playing it. And they broke single-player in the recent update by removing heal.

    • Wisq says:

      Wait, they WHAT? No heal? What is this I don’t even …

    • LionsPhil says:

      Assuming Batman means discorage, I sadly must concur. Magicka was an outstanding game absolutely knobbled by crap implementation, and not even in the overambtious Troika sense. The game design and scope was bang on; it just needs some competent programmers to spend some time fixing the bloody thing, especially the netcode. Instead we get more hat and robe DLC. :/

    • InternetBatman says:

      Whoops, that was dumb. I cut my comment way down and then didn’t change that. Yeah, they practically removed heal from singleplayer. The problem is that they only balance for multiplayer, and they wanted people to stop healing themselves so heal is still effective on your allies, but only negligibly so on yourself. Seriously. Now the healing staff practically doesn’t work on you but works great on your enemies.

      They tried to balance around this by giving you a fairy that gives you one resurrect per checkpoint. Since their checkpoints are stupidly placed in single-player, it makes the game fairly hard right from the start. Also, the shields degrade at the same rate in single-player as they do in multiplayer, which can be gotten around if you use rockshield, but unfortunately that makes you even slower than a normal shield.

      I get that the game is designed and balanced towards multi, but I have yet to be able to play with a single friend. So yeah, I love broken games with good potential normally, and originally I thought it was a bargain for the price, but the game is absolutely preventing me from progressing through poor level design and system crashes (I’m at the stupid yeti level which is abysmal solo.)

    • Vinraith says:

      While it does sound like they’ve borked the single player balance, I really take issue with the “broken” business. Magicka was broken when it was launched, and for a few months afterwards. By the time I played through it in co-op in May, though, it was completely solid. Unless they’ve subsequently introduced bugs, I’m not sure the complaints are current or fair.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oddly enough, I’d dispute “broken” singleplayer because it has never been even remotely balanced to be playable that way. It demands long chunks of big no-deaths soloing. You can’t break something that didn’t work in the first place.

      But the multiplayer is finickity enough (having fun? suddenly, massive lag! having fun? someone crashes to desktop and can’t rejoin a game in progress! trying to restart the fun? surprise, half the machines can’t see the other half now) that it’s hard to get friends to put up with trying to get through the campaign that way. I still haven’t been able to finish the bloody thing.

  43. Akike says:

    I love that cute bear picture!

  44. Hindenburg says:

    No Dark Souls?

    What a shame.

  45. stahlwerk says:

    What’s on the other end of that femur, John?

    that is, if there actually is another end to it…

  46. vivlo says:

    doesn’t English Country Tune deserve a word or two ? it’s indeed a llittle, short and peculiar game, but has such a unique atmosphere and gameplay ! i enjoyed it in kind of the same way i enjoy a Portal game.

  47. pertusaria says:

    I’d tentatively ask why Gemini Rue didn’t get an honourable mention, but I’m not very far into the game, so I could be missing out on several things that are wrong with it. I remember RPS raving about it at some stage.

    • JFS says:

      It was a good game, in fact, a very good one. I’d say it was overshadowed by a lot of other games, who were simply awesome, so that “very good” didn’t suffice.

  48. Thants says:

    I’m convinced that people who say Dead Space 2 isn’t scary are playing it on easy with the sound off. Because that’s just silly. It’s not the deep, psychological scary of a game like Amnesia, but if you didn’t find it at all scary you’re not playing it right or you’re dead.

    • Dominic White says:

      Correction: Dead Space 2 STARTS scary. Then it becomes mildly unsettling at best. And then your standard, cheapass fallback weapon gains the ability to fire instantly lethal explosive electric rocket spears and the game becomes a gore-splattered comedy. Oh, what’s that Mr Invincible Stalker Miniboss that’s meant to be pressuring me during the final act? You keep exploding every time you see me? Well, that’s just what happens to everything that looks at me now.

  49. Frantics says:

    Oh man anyone else been blowing people up in saints row 3 this is the funnest shit ever. :)

  50. kimadactyl says:

    I for one am pretty glad Brink failed for it’s shocking sexism alone. Oh no we forgot to put women in, you might gem them if you’re lucky as a DLC? Please.

    Nice roundup!

    • Dominic White says:

      Funny how ‘not budgeting for an entire second set of character art, models, animations, voice-packs and more’ is sexism now. I mean, there’s a whole lot of things that you could call sexist, but budgetary constraints on a multiplayer shooter (I’m fairly sure Enemy Territory only had male character models, as does… oh yeah, Team Fortress 2!) isn’t one of them.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Don’t feed the tedious PC trolls, gents.