In 2011, we returned to Aperture Science in Portal 2, finished what Lawrence of Arabia started in Uncharted 3, preserved Gotham’s sanity by donning Batman’s cape and cowl, flung more Angry Birds at underprivileged pigs, took to the court with basketball’s greatest legends in NBA 2K12, wielded the Infinity Blade again, and so much more.
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Wow, what a year for video games

Narrowing such a great year to just five games wasn’t easy, but somehow I endured. These are my personal picks for the top five best video games of 2011. There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to picking the best games; it’s just opinion. These are the games I loved most. Your list will likely differ -- and I hope you’ll offer your picks in the comments.

But Where the Hell Is…?!?!

Before you dive into the list, you should be warned that this list will likely not include games you feel are among the best of 2011. What can I say – there’s only room for five! Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, Infinity Blade II, Rayman Origins, NBA 2K12, Forza Motorsport 4 and probably a dozen other games could have made this list, but did not. My excuse: Those games weren’t as good as the five on this list (in my mind and heart, at least).

#5 FIFA 12

A few years ago EA revolutionized football (AKA soccer for the Yanks) games with true 360 degree player control. FIFA 12 revolutionizes, well, the FIFA series. It takes what we’d come to think of as the best possible football experience and made it even better with a new physics engine, pinpoint player movement, and redefined defensive controls.

We’re in desperate need of help launching a worthy FIFA wiki. If you’re a football nut and want to help, hit me up!

#4 Dead Space 2

Remember this gem? It came out way back in January and stuck in my memory all year. The events of the first game (religious fanatics build a mystical monument that spams a derelict spaceship with necromorphs) have fractured poor Isaac Clarke’s little mind. Now he’s got to deal with the very real possibility that he’s going insane while combatting necromorphs (who are spamming a derelict space station because some religious fanatics thought that worked out swell the first time). Oh, and there are exploding baby necromorphs. ‘Nuff said.


#3 Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Dragons are dicks. That’s pretty much what I learned in my time exploring the massive world of Bethesda’s Skyrim. Of course, I’d be a little cranky too if my entire species had been dead for millennia and I woke to find everyone had spent the last few hundred years talking crap about me and my relatives. Skyrim is big, beautiful, and fun. The only thing holding it back is some pretty old presentation (people speaking with their backs to you, poor camera angles on slow-mo kills, almost no animation during most dialogue scenes). That’s really what holds it back for me, keeping an otherwise amazing game behind two others.

#2 Portal 2

The first Portal was a fun, quirky little puzzle game made memorable by its gnarly villain, GLaDOS. It lasted a couple of hours and didn’t have much depth to the story. But hey, it was a low-priced option and one fifth of the amazing Orange Box collection. The sequel is a full-fledged and fully realized retail release worth every cent. Hilarious, challenging, engaging, innovative, and amazing – Portal 2 is leaps and bounds better than the original and will be tough to top… except by my #1 game of 2011.


#1 Batman: Arkham City

I’m a little obsessed with the [[w:c:batman|Dark Knight]. I have just about every Batman graphic novel ever published. Yeah, I’m a Batman geek. And Arkham City satisfies all my geek cravings. The story, which shoves the criminally insane inmates of Arkham Asylum and the sane but still criminal inmates of Blackgate Prison into an enclosed city, has a few good twists and a shocking ending (please don’t spoil in the comments). What lands Arkham City at the top of my list, though, are the Riddler Trophies.

thumb|300px Scattered across the city, these trophies offer some intriguing challenges to collect. And the 400 trophies/riddles in the city feed into a larger game of cat and mouse between Batman and the Riddler. I’m obsessed with those trophies, which would not be possible if developer Rocksteady Studios hadn’t created a beautiful city worthy of exploration. I love this game. I’m still playing it. I want more.

Your picks

Now that you know what I think, it’s time to voice your own opinion. Give me your top five picks either in your own blog post or just by shouting out in the comments.

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