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My Utterly Predictable Top Ten Games Of 2011 List

10: Catherine

Catherine was a game whose core gameplay was awful (essentially a very twiddly platform game). And you didn’t care because the game itself was so compelling. Japan is a society that takes adult games seriously (and by that I mean games with mature themes, not Jenna Jameson Modern Warfare 4) and thus we get games like Catherine, which start as a rumination on love and regret and veers into very weird places. Pity about the actual gameplay!

9: Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout 3 was very awesome – as someone who lived in the DC area for a few years it was pretty nifty actually recognizing the post-apocalyptic wreckage of many places I was familiar with,  not to mention just being a great game in general. But it was very much apart from the canon established by Fallout and Fallout 2. Fallout: NV, on the other hand, very much was Fallout 3 in all but name. The only two problems with it: wacky instability when it shipped, and the fact that the timeline has moved so far in the future that Fallout 4 is kind of pointless without some sort of license reboot.

8: Hatoful Boyfriend

Hatoful Boyfriend is a romance simulator where you compete for the attention of pigeons. I don’t need to go any further.

7: Bastion

Lum added Bastion as number 8 on this list. Lum didn’t know what else to say other than it was a really good game and that adding a dynamic narrator to a rogue-like was a work of genius. Thank you, Lum.

6: Portal 2

Like any sequel it wasn’t as OMG WHAT as the original and the gameplay itself started to drag near the end but it still had great writing and the best rant ever put into a video game.

5: Dungeons of Dredmor

Best Use Of Necronomiconomics As A Gameplay Mechanic 2011. This is a very silly game that you should be playing. It’s fun! It’s hardcore! You need the lutefisk for the lutefisk god!

4:  Kaiserreich for Darkest Hour

This will take some explanation. Darkest Hour is a fan-made iteration of the ever-Lum-praised Hearts of Iron 2. Part of its feature set is support for fan mods. The most well-concieved mod for Darkest Hour is a game called Kaiserreich. Kaiserreich postulates a 1936 world where – stop me if I lose you – Germany wins World War 1, the Whites win the Russian Civil War, Communist revolutions overthrow the governments of France (who takes refuge in Algeria) and Britain (who takes refuge in Canada), Hermann Goering sets up a petit empire in the former Belgian Congo Mittlelafrika, Austria-Hungary is finally about to fall apart, the United States is about to be riven in dueling revolutions between the Communists of Jack Reed, the Fascists of Huey Long, and the military coup led by Douglas MacArthur, and Russia can go in any of four different wild directions from a Communist takeover to a Czarist revival. And it works.

3: All The Games I Should Have Played But Didn’t Have Time But Heard Were Really Good.

You know, Dark Souls, Arkham City, Saints Row 3. I’ll get to them. Eventually.

2: Skyrim

Skyrim is the latest version of The Bethesda Game – you know, the one they keep making ever since Daggerfall (trivia: my first foray into games writing was a walkthrough/support site for Daggerfall). This one, they got right. Skyrim really is a non-linear fantasy simulator that is utterly epic in every way and there is almost no wasted space. It really should be the #1 entry in this list and they really are pretty interchangeable at this point.

1: Star Wars: The Old Republic

Yes, the developers and inside baseball commenters will be debating throughout 2012 whether EA has literally moved the barrier of entry into MMO development into the level of small countries’ gross national product with the sheer thunderclap scale of investment that SWTOR represented. But let’s not let that detract from what SWTOR accomplished: storytelling in an MMO that works as the center point of the game. Also, lightsabers. SWTOR is fun. SWTOR is incredible amounts of fun, while redefining what an MMO is. Is it really an MMO when a game essentially is a Star Wars game that millions of people are playing at the same time? Who cares… it’s fun. Games are supposed to be fun, and SWTOR gets that – a point too many MMO developers have forgotten.


  • gx1080

    Fuck, why did I clicked the bird’s link? Whyyyy?

  • Mekhios

    A lot of people want SWTOR to fail. A shame as it is one of the best games (and MMO’s) to be released in the last 10 years.

  • $29593024

    But SWTOR has so many glaring problems with it. It’s like Bioware started making the game and copied everything WoW had done at the time. And then proceeded to ignore everything WoW improved upon over the last 3-4 years.

    There’s so many totally obvious missing features and broken aspects that I think people will begin discovering. Nonexistent customer support, unbalanced crafting and pvp rewards, terrible engine while simultaneously requiring JUMPING PUZZLES, no real LFG system (you can flag yourself as LFG, that’s it), no way to summon group members whatsoever, horribly outdated auction house, etc.

    The list goes on. The storytelling and voice work is great. The actual MMO parts of the MMO are sadly really fucking terrible.

    • Mekhios

      Yes SWTOR has its fair share of issues (as has every other MMO at launch). I reported many of these issues during beta testing. As did thousands of other players.

      The UI needs work, the auction house needs work, and they need to segregate lvl 50’s to their own PvP arenas. There are still some bugs when questing and the main map screen badly needs to be refined.

      Hopefully it is just a matter of time and updates to refine the game. If Bioware is smart they will iron out these issues very soon.

      Is the game playable? Yes very much so. Does it respect Star Wars lore? Damn right. Does it contain half-baked “holiday” events? No and thank god for that.

  • “Utterly predictable” indeed. I am getting so bored of every single top ten list featuring that most over-exposed game of the year.. “Hatoful Boyfriend”.

  • Hatoful Boyfriend es #1

    Also like that Bastion and Dreadmor made the list.

  • Mox

    After the disasters that were Star Wars Episodes 1-3, I swore Lucas would never see another dime from me.  But after having played a friend’s account for a couple hours, I think might have been a bit hasty.  I don’t care how broken it is, for at least levels 1-10, it’s damn fun.  Oh and then I remember midichlorians and Darth Vader screaming to the heavens, and I’m good again.

  • New Vegas came out in 2010!

    • JeremyT

      FO:NV is so good that I’m fine with it time travelling all the way into 2011. It’s also a game that was kind of broken at launch and was really only “finished” in 2011 anyway.

      It’s a shame that Obsidian let that game ship in the state it was in, because as Scott says NV was the “real” Fallout sequel that Fallout 3 just barely failed to become. I hope Bethesda won’t hesitate in letting Obsidian do the next one too; except for the absolutely brilliant opening sequence in FO:3, the “finished” FO:NV is better in every way.

  • Ajeba

    Amongst the College Grads celebrating in Amsterdam group polled, Hatoful Boyfriend is #1 by far.

  • Beene

    Jesus Christ, why did I click on that bird link?  There goes 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.  Granted, it was hilarious.

  • Hyu

    Virtually nobody I know (on Asheron’s Call’s Darktide server) is sticking with SWTOR.  Its gameplay is essentially WoW gameplay, and WoW gameplay is utter shit that moved the MMO genre several steps backward.

    • JuJutsu

      So the Darktide players won’t be sticking around SWTOR. Tell all two dozen I said goodbye and give them my best wishes.

    • Why do you think that the opinions of people on Asheron Call’s Darktide server is in any way relevant to the success of SWTOR?

      That’s a niche of a niche of a niche audience. 

  • Balasarius

    Mind = blown.  Skyrim is probably the best game ever (I’ve been playing games for 27 years).  SWTOR is just a WoW clone.  It’s not horrible, but I find myself getting bored with it already.

  • Aufero

    SW:TOR is a ton of fun if you’re into story, voice acting and running around playing iconic Star Wars roles.  I happen to enjoy all three of these things a great deal, and I’m having more fun in SW:TOR than I’ve had in any other MMO in the last few years.

    If you click past the story stuff, think of every class as its WoW (EQ/DAOC/whatever) equivalent and just want to get to the raiding, you’re going to hate it. 

    And yeah, Bastion was a real eye-opener for me.  Who knew you could turn gameplay that was old ten years ago into something fresh, new and ridiculously enjoyable with a good narrator and a bit of creative visual design?  I grinned through half the game.

  • It’s cool how you call SWTOR the game of the year while “someone” is ripping their customers off.

    It’s the first game I know which will dedcut from your 30 days of playtime you buy with the box while your account is not fully activated due to some broken web (bank account) validators for German customers.

    “They” ask you to buy a time code (http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=25604&page=21 – German) right away after you bought the box.

  • Brask

    Roguelike gameplay is 10 years old?  Rogue is 1980 – that’d be thirty-two.  And the gameplay quite arguably predated rogue.

    Nice to see several roguelikes in the list.  Hopefully Diablo III can make the 2012 lsit.

    • Aufero

      There’s a difference between “old ten years ago” and “ten years old”.   And Bastion isn’t really a roguelike.  It’s not procedurally generated, and it isn’t turn based.

      Dredmor, now – that’s a good roguelike.

  • Brask

    Ah, reading comprehension fail for me!  Thanks for the gently correction, Aufero.

  • MCL
  • Theogrin

    Really, Lum, you didn’t mention SpaceChem, easily the most evil puzzle game known to man?  For shame.

  • SWTOR’s interface almost make me puke.

  • SWTOR looks really good but it’s just so expensive now that I am used to all the f2p games out there.