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View Full Version : Portal 2 has to be the best game so far this year.



TixyLixx
30-10-2011, 11:36 PM
I wasn't really expecting it to be as I was just thought it would be more Portal, that's great and all but I didn't think it would be a full campaign. When I got playing Portal 2 I realised it is the best written game ever made, it made me laugh so much and the robots have more character than all the humans in any other game I've played. The way Valve animated Wheatley was just amazing, he felt more of a human to me than most games achieve with their human characters.

When you're playing a game like Mass Effect, I just cannot believe their performances as they stand stiff like cardboard while looking dead behind their eyes. Bioware cannot seem to write a believable conversation between characters, it always comes off very cliche and cheesy.

The amazing thing about Portal 2 is as I thought it was ending and I was kinda disappointed at how short it would have been, the game took a massive twist, blew my mind and went on 6 or so more hours. Not only that but then they change the whole game up by making it more of an adventure game with the whole Cave Johnson thing and just keep changing the gameplay and throwing in new ideas that kept it fresh.

I've played lots of other games this year that have just failed to deliver like Crysis 2, Rage, Battlefield 3 (SP), Dead Island etc, Portal 2 seemed like the only one to just deliver 100% so far. I'm hoping the end of the year finishes strong with Batman, Skyrim and SWTOR but I doubt anything will top how Portal 2 made me feel.

Gratz to Valve because I really thought Left 4 Dead 2 was such a disappointment and was kinda writing them off but they delivered. I would go as far to say that Valve created a game that is how I imagine a Pixar movie would play, I really hope Pixar made a movie with these characters.

ZIGS
30-10-2011, 11:42 PM
Some of the environments were absolutely stunning. it's certainly a big contender for game of the year

Stormbane
31-10-2011, 12:25 AM
I think Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is the best game I have played this year. Portal 2 was great but it didn't have that minty fresh innovation taste that came with the original Portal.

Here's hoping Skyrim beats Brotherhood for me.

Basilicus
31-10-2011, 01:32 AM
I agree. Never had a game make me laugh so hard, and I loved the tonal shifts. The puzzles bent my mind in the right way, though I could've done with a few more harder ones toward the end (isn't that always the way, though?) Combine that with a really fun co-op component and I don't see how anything else compares. Then again, I don't play all the new stuff, and I'm waiting for price drops on a number of newer games.

My runners-up at this point would be Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the brilliant surprise A Friendship in 4 Colours (under the Damian Sommer folder in the IGF Pirate Kart).

SirKicksalot
31-10-2011, 01:46 AM
Well I don't like it. I'm only two hours in, but so far I HATE WHEATLEY. His voice and delivery make me mad. And while I'm glad that the game doesn't feel like a giant tutorial anymore, I'm not pleased by how limited the puzzles are. Every room telegraphs the solution, you just have to figure out the order in which to do things and frankly that's not entertaining. I feel like I'm running around doing chores while robots crack jokes around me. It ain't that funny either IMO. I like the parts where the humour comes from the animation or involves objects in the world more than any Glados monologue.

Another thing that rubs me the wrong way is how when you enter a room something happens (debris fall, panels move or whatever) and draws attention to the door. I actually feel that Valve's fabled experiments and testing are detrimental in this case. I wonder what will happen to the next Half-Life, given their comments about focusing resources mostly on the things their testing reveals the player is attracted to. It might very well end up hurting players like me that love to explore the game world.

airtekh
31-10-2011, 01:46 AM
Yeah, Portal 2 is probably going to be my game of the year, I can't see anything else toppling it.

I thought the single player was very well made and the co-op was a phenomenal experience.

Daiv
31-10-2011, 02:03 AM
Portal 2 for pure entertainment value. It pulled me about emotionally in ways I didn't even know a game could. And I've never actually "whooped" out loud like I did during the ending to Portal 2.

However, the game I have played more or less consistently this year has been Spacechem, the music for which is indelibly etched into my brain.

Wunce
31-10-2011, 02:08 AM
Every room telegraphs the solution, you just have to figure out the order in which to do things and frankly that's not entertaining.


What I find interesting, is that pretty much every linear shooter is like this and yet I still get some entertainment value from it. I believe the game could have benefited from more multi-solution puzzles and the "old aperture" parts would have been better between test chambers if it wasn't a case of "look for the white square".

All in all single player had the good story and flow whereas coop had the best puzzles (in my opinion of course). Probably my favourite game for this year as well.

Giaddon
31-10-2011, 02:33 AM
I'm not pleased by how limited the puzzles are. Every room telegraphs the solution, you just have to figure out the order in which to do things and frankly that's not entertaining. I feel like I'm running around doing chores while robots crack jokes around me.

This captures my feelings perfectly. The game is too easy and linear, and you are always staring at a loading screen. It's a well made, entertaining game, but GOTY? What? Are you guys able to erase your memories of the four hours spent holding down the W key along the catwalks through the puzzle backdrops?

vinraith
31-10-2011, 02:39 AM
With PC games, the best game from a year is seldom the best game in the year it was released. Mods, patches, DLC, and expansions have a way of changing the landscape. It wouldn't surprise me at all, for example, if SotS2 didn't end up being my favorite game from 2011, even though it won't be my favorite game during 2011 because it needs patching. Alternately, Skyrim might earn the title after some mods.

As to Portal 2, well, I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually.

Outright Villainy
31-10-2011, 02:40 AM
I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The puzzles weren't too difficult, but the story was really engaging, and frequently hilarious. Plus it has the best ending I've ever seen in a game. The co-op is definitely where you want to go to get some real puzzles though, that's for sure. If you play the co-op you get a much more complete package.

DigitalSignalX
31-10-2011, 03:43 AM
Portal 2 is indeed awesome. I wish some of the puzzles were a bit harder, but that's just nitpicking. The polish at release is almost unmatched with other titles this year. Driver: SF was also pretty good out of the box.

soldant
31-10-2011, 04:01 AM
Spoilers maybe? But I think everyone has played Portal 1 and 2 by now, but if not consider yourself warned.

I enjoyed it. Overall I thought it was a better game than Portal, but I think Portal's character was a bit better. Portal started off as a sterile testing environment with a hint of something sinister, which was opened up at the end. In Portal 2 not only were the puzzles not new for the most part (they're all about portal placement in the end) but we also knew about the facility and knew that the testing was ultimately pointless and didn't achieve anything. It didn't start getting more interesting until towards the end when you got to the old part of the labs. Even then I often found myself just wanting to get through the puzzles to see where the storyline was going, not because I was enjoying the puzzles.

siegarettes
31-10-2011, 04:02 AM
Its a damn good game for sure. I don't see anything topping it. Its simply one of the best written games ever made, certainly the funniest.

I'd say Deus Ex:HR would be the 'serious' counter-point to Portal 2 as far as the quality of the writing is concerned.

Nalano
31-10-2011, 04:31 AM
I'd say Deus Ex:HR would be the 'serious' counter-point to Portal 2 as far as the quality of the writing is concerned.

I think this is the first time I've heard of DXHR being offered as the 'serious' side of anything. The majority of characters in that game were horrifically cringe-worthy. But then, I'm the kinda guy who can't even keep the TV tuned to a sitcom all the way through because I hate the endless reliance of put-downs and humiliation for laughs.

To be honest, the only thing that detracts from Portal 2 for me is Portal. Portal 2 had really big shoes to fill, and ended up at times feeling like "Portal: The Movie." That said, it was a really well-done movie.

As for other contenders, can we just rule BF3 and MW3 out for being 95% BFBC2 and BlOps, and thus not actually new games? 'Course, the flip side to that is, if we ruled out sequels and reboots, we'd end up with a list that kinda looks like

- LA Noire
- Rage

and that's disheartening. So, to be an iconoclast, 'cause squeeing about Portal 2 despite its acknowledged faults seems too easy, I'm gonna vote for Shogun 2: Total War.

Oak
31-10-2011, 05:30 AM
To be honest, the only thing that detracts from Portal 2 for me is Portal. Portal 2 had really big shoes to fill, and ended up at times feeling like "Portal: The Movie." That said, it was a really well-done movie.

That's a fine way of putting it. It's Portal, but it's louder and there's more of it. I have a disorder which makes me think of bad metaphors and run with them, so the way I wanted to describe it in the review no one asked me to write was as a superstructure built atop the original game. Everything memorable from the first is reproduced and amplified: more crazy robots, more crazy narration, more elevators. For good measure, the original ending is reenacted in its entirety.

Valve seem to have eschewed the "less is more" approach that used to define their games, and I'm not wild about the results.

Kaira-
31-10-2011, 05:39 AM
Eh, I thought Portal 2 was horribly mediocre. Jokes that didn't really work, characters trying too hard and so on. Some locations were great, but the middle part of the game (down below) devolved into horrible "find that one place where to shoot portals" 'pixel hunting' after being handheld and guided for 2-3 hours. And the puzzles weren't hard at any point, which was a shame. And well, the single player-campaign was disappointingly short. I wasn't expecting it to be long, but still finishing it around... what, 6 hours perhaps was still a tad disappointing. All in all, I thought it was OK, but not great.

And well, personally, I thought The Witcher 2 would have been my game of the year. Then came Dark Souls, but I don't dare call it my goty yet, as I have to replay TW2.

Nalano
31-10-2011, 05:41 AM
Valve seem to have eschewed the "less is more" approach that used to define their games, and I'm not wild about the results.

I can certainly get behind that notion. I mean, the memes got turned into fully-fledged game entities, which is a great way to kill a meme. Medium esoterica doesn't need the LucasArts Expanded Universe treatment to enjoy and appreciate.

That's always what I hate about things that become popular. They get volumes and volumes of shit explaining things that never needed to be explained, a broken base of fanboys fighting over shit that never needed to be fought over, and generally get run into the ground trying to capitalize on - milk, rather - what a whole host of wildly contradictory sources thought the fans enjoyed outta the original.

In my perfect universe, if you like something, you'll show it the proper respect by investing your efforts in something completely different instead of endless in-universe sequels.


And well, personally, I thought The Witcher 2 would have been my game of the year. Then came Dark Souls, but I don't dare call it my goty yet, as I have to replay TW2.

I was thinking about Witcher 2, and I certainly like it more than DXHR, but RTSs (or RTTs for the pedantic) never get enough love in the GotY box.

TailSwallower
31-10-2011, 05:59 AM
I think the only games that came out in 2011 that I've played are Brink, Dungeon Siege 3, Portal 2 and DE:HR, and so Portal 2 definitely comes out on top for me. The thing is, as much as I love Portal 2, I don't want it to be GOTY because I want us to do better than that, y'know.

Nalano is right, almost all the big releases this year were either sequels or reboots, and it's a little bit depressing.

Mihkel
31-10-2011, 06:27 AM
I would say Witcher 2 because it's the graphically most impressive, very nice story mechanics (massively branching paths), incredibly good replay value, nice combat system and good attitude from the devs + free DLC.

Vexing Vision
31-10-2011, 07:05 AM
Portal 2 is definitely up there this year, but it's got tough contenders with Witcher 2 and the upcoming Batman (well, for PC) and Skyrim. Trine 2 may still steal everything though.

It's been a great year for games for me, both with the big titles and plenty of incredibly enjoyable small low-budget titles.

siegarettes
31-10-2011, 07:14 AM
I found most of the main characters to be interesting and mostly fleshed out, even if they could use more development instead of becoming stand ins for the different philosophies (which became even more obvious during the ending).

The sidequest characters varied, but most of them are nothing fantastic. The overall consistency and quality of the writing was pretty good however.

soldant
31-10-2011, 07:17 AM
I've tried to get into The Witcher and its sequel, but I just hate the characters most of the time and can't bring myself to care.

Vexing Vision
31-10-2011, 08:10 AM
I've tried to get into The Witcher and its sequel, but I just hate the characters most of the time and can't bring myself to care.

That's me with Avadon, which I'd have listed as one of my personal GOTY challengers otherwise.

Skalpadda
31-10-2011, 08:32 AM
Are you guys able to erase your memories of the four hours spent holding down the W key along the catwalks through the puzzle backdrops?

I was perfectly fine with that. Constantly going from puzzle to puzzle like you did in Portal would've gotten really tedious if stretched out for 8 hours. The exposition bits broke up the pacing, let you enjoy the story and gave the whole experience a sense of purpose and character. I can see how it wouldn't be to your taste if your sole reason for playing the game is to overcome a series of challenges, but I think that mindset is fairly rare among gamers these days.

coldvvvave
31-10-2011, 08:33 AM
Dawn of War II Retribution was the best game of the year for me.

Juan Carlo
31-10-2011, 08:40 AM
My favorites so far are "The Witcher 2" and "Avadon." I can't decide between them because I love Avadon for its combat (even if it had mediocre story) and love Witcher 2 for its writing/plot/characterization/world-building (even if it's combat wasn't stellar--although I actually did like it's combat better than Witcher 1 overall). I'd probably say Witcher 2 comes out on top, but I really did love Avadon.

Honorable mentions for biggest, OCD, Achievement Hording, time sucks:

Dungeons of Dredmore
The Binding of Isaac


Honorable Mention for Entirely Imperfect and Flawed game that I nonetheless loved despite its flaws:

Dead Island


Not bad, but terribly, terribly, overrated games:

Bastion (sub-mediocre RPG with a kind of clever gimmick. Don't see what the fuss was about, really, as even the gimmick got old about half-way through)
Deus EX:HR (not an awful game, but I think it has far more in common with "Invisible War" than it does with the original)

Terribly over-hyped game that actually turned out to be pretty good:

Limbo


Best Non-2011 Game that I played for the first time in 2011:

Gothic 2 (fucking awesome. Before this the closest I came to the Gothic series was playing Risen. I thought Risen was pretty good at the time I played it, but Risen is like a shitty expansion pack compared to Gothic 2)

The Mechanical Aggressor
31-10-2011, 08:45 AM
The Witcher 2 is my game of the year so far with DX:HR a close 2nd. I liked Portal 2 a lot, but I never expected it to be my game of the year as I didn't like Portal as much as everyone else seemed to like it. I've also really enjoyed The Binding of Issac, Dungeons of Dredmor, Dungeon Defenders and various other indie stuff this year.

thegooseking
31-10-2011, 08:53 AM
New games I've bought this year would be DX:HR, Alice: Madness Returns, L.A. Noire (on the toybox), Portal 2, Lego Star Wars 3 and Dragon Age 2 (not counting 'smaller' games like Bastion, Frozen Synapse, E.Y.E., etc.). The only one that disappointed me was L.A. Noire (though it's hard to say precisely what I liked about Alice, beyond the art direction), but none of them really feel like GOTY with Batman and Skyrim just around the corner.

But the thread title is GOTY so far, and I have no problem with considering Portal 2 for that.

jezcentral
31-10-2011, 11:18 AM
To me, Portal 2 was the perfect "8 out of 10" game (obviously not a gaming journalism "8 out of 10"). It was polished, solid in every way, funny and fun, but it never grabbed me in the way some others have. Sure, it was a very good game, but it never seemed great to me.

It was good enough that I'd pre-order Portal 3 as soon as it was available, but wouldn't be in my top 20.

Estel
31-10-2011, 11:22 AM
Wait, we're discussing GOTY before the Christmas release window is even nearly over?

ComradePenguin
31-10-2011, 11:42 AM
Wait, we're discussing GOTY before the Christmas release window is even nearly over?

Well GOTY so far and I think now is interesting time to discuss what we've played so far. When it comes to actual GOTY discussions at the end of the year it is always difficult as many of the top games have only just come out so you haven't had much time to digest them. As such now is a good time to discuss the rest without many of the bigger later releases clouding the judgement too much.

Portal 2 would be right up there for me. I really enjoyed it and the pacing was mostly a nice split between puzzle and exposition though the middle underground section did feel it dragged on a little too long. It wasn't terribly hard or challenging but I'm not sure it being so would have helped much. Just frustrated you that you couldn't get on with seeing the story and environments.

All that said I may have to go with Frozen Synapse. I'm not sure it is a brilliant game. The single player is surprisingly good but not really amazing. However the combat is so beautiful that it is probably my favourite if not the best game of the year.

sabrage
31-10-2011, 12:11 PM
Honorable mentions for biggest, OCD, Achievement Hording, time sucks:

Dungeons of Dredmor
The Binding of Isaac
Yup, these were the two that got me. Portal 2 was good, brilliant even, but whereas I feel no real urge to go back for co-op in that game the only thing KEEPING me from playing more Dredmor is the terrifying, compulsive "one more game" mentality it instills in me.

And I mean, really, for me, any game that gets me through my insomnia is GOTY for me.

Giaddon
31-10-2011, 02:31 PM
My GOTY contenders, right now, are:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Witcher 2
Shogun 2: Total War
Dungeon Siege III (yes, really, sorry)

And a game from a one-man studio has the chance to sweep them all away: The Last Crown, if it gets finished this year (and is as good as the first one).

thegooseking
31-10-2011, 02:34 PM
How do we think this year stacks up so far, comparatively?

I think this year is not as good as last year, but better than the year before.

Vexing Vision
31-10-2011, 03:29 PM
How do we think this year stacks up so far, comparatively?

I think this year is not as good as last year, but better than the year before.

To me, last year was more than a bit meh. There was pretty much nothing that I could get really excited about. 2009 saw Batman at least. 2011 is an amazing year - for me - for single-player games, at least. Witcher 2, Portal 2, Deus Ex (still haven't played that!), Space Marine and the upcoming Trine 2, Batman and Skyrim, I think this was one the best gaming years we had in a long time. (Note: BF3 is just not for me.)

2012 is shaping up to be highly exciting in the MMO section, though. Secret World still looks amazing, and while I won't play Diablo 3, I can't wait to see it's effects on the industry.

Hanban
31-10-2011, 03:39 PM
Shogun 2: Total War or Deus Ex: HR for me. I was underwhelmed by both The Witcher 2 and Portal 2.

Thought at first The Witcher 2 would be my game of the year, but about half-way through the game I got really sick of the characters. Not sure what it was about, but I finished the game feeling disappointed.

Best game 2011, that wasn't from 2011 was probably Men of War.

TillEulenspiegel
31-10-2011, 03:41 PM
To me, last year was more than a bit meh. There was pretty much nothing that I could get really excited about.
I'm the opposite. The big titles this year do nothing for me. I'll give nods to Fate of the World and SpaceChem, though.

2010 saw Recettear, Patrician IV, Drakensang: Am Fluss der Zeit, Super Meat Boy, Just Cause 2, Fallout: New Vegas...all games I've happily played to death. DeathSpank and Amnesia were good too.

I'm mostly just hoping Skyrim is decent and heavily moddable.

Wizardry
31-10-2011, 04:07 PM
This year sucks. Nothing good has come out at all. Not even a good indie game. Totally disappointing and a reflection of the games industry.

Smashbox
31-10-2011, 05:18 PM
This year sucks. Nothing good has come out at all. Not even a good indie game. Totally disappointing and a reflection of the games industry.

You're boring.

The ending of Portal 2 left me slack-jawed. What a great game!

Keep
31-10-2011, 06:52 PM
Much as I enjoyed Portal 2,


In my perfect universe, if you like something, you'll show it the proper respect by investing your efforts in something completely different instead of endless in-universe sequels.

is how I'd have rather things played out too.



This year sucks. Nothing good has come out at all. Not even a good indie game. Totally disappointing and a reflection of the games industry.

Yay :D <3 and with rainbows!

Kaira-
31-10-2011, 06:56 PM
I was thinking about Witcher 2, and I certainly like it more than DXHR, but RTSs (or RTTs for the pedantic) never get enough love in the GotY box.

I haven't really followed RTS/RTT-games of late, the newest one I bought was probably DoW II + Chaos Rising. So, are there any RTS games from this year that I should be aware of and have played?

Nalano
31-10-2011, 07:16 PM
I haven't really followed RTS/RTT-games of late, the newest one I bought was probably DoW II + Chaos Rising. So, are there any RTS games from this year that I should be aware of and have played?

The two biggest releases this year were DoW2: Retribution and Shogun 2: Total War.

TixyLixx
31-10-2011, 08:34 PM
I could never like the DoW franchise, Relic just never made me care about 40K story. So I couldn't play it for SP like I played the original Starcraft for it's story, though Blizzard ruined it with SC2 which had such a predictable cliche story. They made a love story that never even existed in the first, they had flirty banter but never loved each other. The MP just felt really boring compared to CoH, which is my fave RTS of all time along with SupCom.

Taidan
31-10-2011, 08:34 PM
For me myself, the biggest and best game of the year would probably be Child of Eden, but apart from that, yeah, Portal 2 and Deus Ex are contenders.

I personally really enjoyed Crysis 2, as well, but that's definitely one of those "Your mileage may vary" titles.

Outright Villainy
31-10-2011, 11:04 PM
For me myself, the biggest and best game of the year would probably be Child of Eden, but apart from that, yeah, Portal 2 and Deus
I personally really enjoyed Crysis 2, as well, but that's definitely one of those "Your mileage may vary" titles.

I've mixed feelings about that game. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was often bored to tears by it, often both in the space of a few minutes. The gunplay was satisfying, and the choices given to you were great, both in terms of mobility/powers and path choice, but the environment got a bit stale in parts, and those god damn aliens, just awful.

Overall though I thought it was good. Good enough to make me interested in checking out Crysis 1 anyway, since I didn't have a pc when that came out.

CrazyEthan
01-11-2011, 03:58 AM
Personally, Batman: Arkham City is the best game I ever played this year!

Patrick Swayze
01-11-2011, 02:46 PM
No. Just no.

Portal 2 was a linear yawn festival akin to Call of Duty except the jumping through hoops was way more literal.

If we're going to talk linear games with Gimmicks™ then I refer you to Red Faction Armageddon. Everything exploded in a mightily satisfactory manner, and it had Spider Robots with Napalm Lasers. NAPALM LASERS. Despite it being a less polished package I actually managed to finish that game, unlike bore-tal 2.

I guess the hype train killed Portal 2 for me; but what's that, funny turrets you say? Funny voiced turrets are so 2007, and far better suited to four hour side projects.

Oh and yeah, Portal 2 ripped off Halo with it's chummy AI companion.

Best games this year for me so far goes to <b>Dark Souls</b> for its meaty combat and <b>Battlefield 3</b> also for its meaty and incredibly visceral combat. Props to DICE for leading on PC for a change too. I've always thought it made sense to make larger textures then whiz them through photoshop for a downsize for the inevitable console version. Guess thats too hard for some folks. Especially iD...

Honourable mentions: DeadSpace 2, Infamous 2, Atom Zombie Smasher, Terrariaraiiarrai and the awesome and lovingly crafted Deus Ex prequel (though I feel this was more a game about fanboy pleasing mechanics than fun.)

Most suckage this year

RAGE for how it gets bored of itself halfway through then just dies on it's arse at the end and spoils a good game, not to mention the joke of an engine. An accidental need for a format and clean windows install got the game working perfectly for me but I feel the pain for everybody else who had or is still having trouble.

Dragon Age 2 for somehow managing to be so much better and simultaneously so much worse than it's fairly above average predecessor. Who knows how a studio with a reputation for decent RPG's managed to fuck up a loot system... but lovely art direction on the characters and their one set of armour. And that cave and that street that THE ENTIRE GAME TAKES PLACE ON.

AMD/ATi also get a call out for the terrific driver support and long lasting hardware yet again.... NAHT!

Ghil
01-11-2011, 02:54 PM
Best game of the year so far? hmmm...The Witcher 2, Batman: AC and Portal 2 are all contender. Chances are though, it's gonna be Skyrim.

PeopleLikeFrank
01-11-2011, 04:27 PM
I'm with Nalano & Keep. Portal was so great that Portal 2 should never have been made. Since Portal 2 was inevitably going to get made, I really do wish they had gone in the direction described in one of the interviews: a completely different setting with no GlaDOS and a different mechanic. (Of course fans are going to demand a return to Aperture & portals, that doesn't mean listening to them is a good idea.)

Since that didn't happen: I thought they did a good job with the game, but with significant flaws. I didn't like Wheatley. At all. The whole thing felt more constrained than the first; I didn't like how every object was nailed down, that puzzles felt more like finding the correct sequence than carving a path, and was constantly trying to break out of the catwalks & such we were constrained to. I was disappointed that there wasn't more relevance to the massive amount of time elapsed, or the intimations that Very Bad Things had happened to the outside world. The whole thing felt like it was too constrained in a familiar setting, while trying just a touch too hard in that setting. Too much 'set piece' not enough mucking about.

For GotY, I'd probably go with DX:HR at the moment. But I am a rampant DX fan. I've not yet played the Witcher 2 (still need to finish the first), and Skyrim is likely going to be good fun despite its many Bethesda-isms.

Drinking with Skeletons
01-11-2011, 05:33 PM
Top 5 Games of the Year (So Far):

1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution--Strong gameplay compensates for weak writing. Maybe not the best stealth-action game ever, or the most open-ended game ever, but the biggest moves in those directions in a long while.
2. The Witcher 2--Extreme commitment to the idea of a branching plot, high production values, and general all-around excellence. Stumbles with the learning curve and the ease with which a player can miss important information simply because the game allows you to complete most quests regardless of what information Geralt has learned (a rare case where a little more player constraint would have made a better experience).
3. Portal 2--Wheatley fell flat for me: annoying and exhausting to be around. Still, more Portal, and definitely a quality experience.
4. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together--Features just as much (maybe more) plot branching as The Witcher 2, has a beautiful soundtrack, is extremely well-written, has genuine thematic depth, and just exudes love from the devs. Easily the longest game on this list (and with a substantial New Game+ mode) it's the rare game that makes a PSP feel relevant and worthwhile. Sadly, the basic gameplay doesn't really offer enough depth or variety to support the tremendous length; it took me from April (when it was released) to October to complete, despite its excellence and not really being longer than a very thorough playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas.
5. Bulletstorm--I'm hoping that either Skyrim or Arkham City will knock this off the list, but it still deserves some praise. The gameplay is rock solid, and the scoring mechanic is, I believe, just as significant an addition to the FPS "canon" as the XP system introduced by Modern Warfare; sadly, I'm sure it's doomed to be ignored by history. It's not really as funny as it thinks it is, and I believe it crosses the line from "satirical" to "earnest" a bit too much.

archonsod
01-11-2011, 07:22 PM
Unless they give it away I won't be bothering with Portal 2. I got the first one free, and still found it as entertaining as putting my scrotum in a blender.

Hard to call a GOTY for myself at this point. Contenders so far - Dragon Age 2, Space, Pirates and Zombies, Wildlife Park 3 and Avadon. If SotS II gets sorted out before the end of the year I suspect it'll be the runaway winner, I'm also expecting great things from Anno 2070 and Torchlight II. Plus of course there's Skyrim ...

Krans
01-11-2011, 10:35 PM
What determines GOTY for me is the game which gives me the most memorable moments - those instants of "oh, that was amazing" that stick with you for months. I enjoyed (and played a lot of) DX:HR, Dungeons of Drednor, StarCraft 2, Magicka, Frozen Synapse and SpaceChem this year, but not only was Portal 2 the most polished and stylish of all of the games I played this year, it also had two or three moments of stunning genius that will stick with me for a very, very long time. In any year, few games manage that, and most years none do.

Krans
01-11-2011, 10:36 PM
This year sucks. Nothing good has come out at all. Not even a good indie game. Totally disappointing and a reflection of the games industry.
I'm glad I'm not you.

Drinking with Skeletons
02-11-2011, 12:39 AM
Wildlife Park 3

Wildlife/zoo sims are, in my mind, a criminally under-explored genre. I wasn't aware of this one, and it doesn't seem to be out in the U.S. (yet?). Care to elaborate upon what makes it so good?

archonsod
02-11-2011, 01:31 AM
Wildlife/zoo sims are, in my mind, a criminally under-explored genre. I wasn't aware of this one, and it doesn't seem to be out in the U.S. (yet?). Care to elaborate upon what makes it so good?

There's a demo of the first three missions on the game's site - http://wildlifepark.deepsilver.de/demo?lang=en

As for why it's so good, if you've played either of the first two (if you haven't you can probably get them cheap with the expansions thrown in) the third is pretty much business as usual. They've tweaked a few things, overhauled the management stuff to make it a little more interesting and dressed it up in shinier graphics (Gamebryo engine I think). Think there's a few less animals in this one (can't recall how many the vanilla 2 had) but there's a few new ones, as well as additional rides/attractions and the like.

If you haven't played any of the series, it takes it's cue from Zoo Tycoon, but being German tends to lean a little more towards the sim end of the spectrum, especially when it comes to the economics.

DarthBenedict
02-11-2011, 04:08 AM
DX:HR for me. I loved the way it subverted a lot of gamey things - when the hostage situation deteriorated after I spent too long looking for every clickable object in Sarif HQ, it made the game feel so much less like just a game. It's so refreshing to see a game which tries to hide the fact that the plot stands still until you step on the right trigger.