Game of the Year 2011

Here’s a look back over 2011 with my picks for Game of the Year, Favourite Gaming Moment of the Year, Surprise of the Year, Disappointment of the Year, and most Anticipated for 2012.

Game of the Year | Killzone 3

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Brendan Griffiths

A tough call this year. Looking back throughout the year, I’m going with Killzone 3, which I gave a 9/10 rating back in February. Uncharted 3 and Modern Warfare 3 are very close behind and also solid niners.

Killzone 3 benefits from a huge range of improvements. Such as the tweaked cover system and a great story which provided a great platform for a sinister Malcolm McDowell performance. Stealth sections change the pace at just the right times to balance the action-packed shootouts too. Graphically, the game battered the competition, with the snowstorm being a particular highlight. In a quiet year for the PlayStation Move, the device at least proved it in can work well in the FPS genre. With a Killzone game on the way for the Vita, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it take the handheld’s FPS crown too.

Favourite Gaming Moment of the Year | PS Vita

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Brendan Griffiths

That would be finally getting my hands on the upcoming PlayStation Vita. There are already more promising titles lined up the new console than the old PSP had in its lifetime. It’s all about the second-analogue stick, which handles like a dream. Having played Uncharted Golden Abyss and Resistance: Burning Skies , it’s great to see that the world’s biggest genres will be well represented. The system’s graphics are unbelievably good, not just for a handheld either. Have you seen Uncharted on it? Just, wow! The machine is surprisingly light in your hands too, meaning we won’t have to worry about claw-hands during extended sessions. My only concern is the pricey unique memory cards. Just as all other cards are tumbling in price, Sony find a way to charge £70 for a decent sized one. Opting for a 2G model might be the way forward to save some money on day one next year, February 22nd.

Surprise of the Year | Wii U

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Brendan Griffiths

Nintendo dropping the ball. Twice. Good old Nintendo, creating innovative and crowd-pleasing technology then releasing the same steady stream of remakes and crap. The 3DS has most owners turning the 3D slider down to avoid the eye-twitchingly horrible 3D effects, leaving them with some very dated looking visuals. Sadly, the games just haven’t come yet either. Sure, we’ve had Mario Kart and a new Super Mario game recently, but other than that and a few remakes, it’s dead in the water. Annoyingly, it’ll sell shit-loads this Christmas, thanks to Sony once again saying balls to European money and holding back a hardware release.

The Wii U is frighteningly quiet too. Despite a bit of a botched unveiling at E3, I could see some potential in the device with its tablet controller. With the specs still unavailable though, it’s clear that the machine is a long way off completion, which much be frustrating for developers. With rumours of the new Xbox getting an E3 2012 announcement, Nintendo may have really screwed themselves.

Disappointment of the Year | PSNgate

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Brendan Griffiths

Having to wait until 2012 for the PS Vita is mega-disappointing. The amount of units it would have sold at Christmas, instead of February is obvious to everyone, except the ones that matter. The PS3 got off to a slow start with a similar late launch, but hopefully the Vita’s lower price will give it a better launch.

A Christmas launch would have restored a lot of the negativity after the PSN security breach disaster that saw a complete lack of online capabilities for over a month. I generally favour offline games, but the lack of patches and being unable to review multiplayer aspects of PS3 titles really got on my nerves after a while. A bevy of free games and a month of free PS Plus helped to lift customer confidence though and we’re seeing regular firmware updates to keep our details safe. Hackers had a go at pretty much everyone this year, so the only thing I wish they get for Christmas is a pretty dress for their bitch duties in prison.

Most Anticipated for 2012 | Bioshock Infinite

Game of the Year 2011 | Staff Highlights - Brendan Griffiths

This time last year, it was awful to think that it was going to be over a year until Bioshock: Infinitelanded. Nothing’s going to come close to this next year. Every second of footage oozes more creativity and visual style than anything we’ve seen this year.

As a fan of both Bioshock games, I think Ken Levine has come up with another fantastic setting. After the under-sea depths of Rapture, the floating city of Columbia looks like an incredible place for an adventure through another new civilisation that’s ripping itself apart. Your companion Elizabeth, and her rift-portal powers look set to provide as much, if not more, emotional punch to the story than even the Little Sisters. The story and environment are set to tackle themes of xenophobia, nationalism and domestic abuse, making it more than another A-B, us versus them shooter.

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