Archive for January, 2012


This past week a ton of rumors have been circling around the web about the next console from Microsoft, but none that created as many waves as the rumor about the next Xbox rendering used games obsolete.  This is still just conjecture, but if this rumor becomes reality the landscape of Video Game retail will forever be altered.

The reigning king of speculation

I have read many opinion pieces regarding this topic and have discussed the idea with some friends/colleagues and most people are 50/50 on the idea.  The bargain hunters who like to score games cheap (usually used) or share games with their friends were completely floored by the notion of one user per game and then conversely you have those who like to support the developers by buying new; ensuring that the money spent goes to creating new titles and keeping people employed.

I too am torn about the idea as I like to save money, but I also like to support the industry that I love so much.  So below I propose some ideas as well as some pros and cons about this potential feature in the next Xbox.

Ideas:

These ideas are some food for thought.

  • XBLA and Indie Games already undertake a similar formula.  Only you have access to them and cannot share or sell them.  A majority of people purchase titles like these and don’t have an issue with it.
  • A lot of people complain about how expensive games are.  Yes they are expensive, but video games are also a luxury and cost more now than ever to develop.  If you can’t afford them then you need to wait till you can.
  • PC Gaming has been doing this for years.  When you purchase a PC game you get a registration code that registers that product to you.  Steam and Origin also offer games digitally and are for use with one person (to the best of my knowledge).  You also can’t trade or sell these games to someone else.
  • If developers are getting all of the money from the purchase of a game there is a good chance that they will make it cheaper quicker.  Think about it; if everyone purchased games brand new developers and publishers alike would recuperate their investment and costs much faster.  So we could see prices drops on either the game or maybe even start to see more DLC for free.
  • Used games are great, but most gamers feel entitled to them.  Like they should be able to get the game cheaper and not have to pay any additional costs.  People also complain about online passes, but don’t understand how much it costs to maintain a server.
  • This might not even mark the end of used games.  The online pass showed that used games could exist, but if you wanted to go that route you would have to pay extra for online functionality.  The same format could be done for an entire game, but it would more than likely cost more and probably even push a used game above new retail price (which kind of defeats the purpose, but the option is still there).

Pros:

How this will benefit the industry and us.

  • The money we spend will be reinvested into the developer allowing them to create either more of what we like or be able to take a risk and develop a new IP.
  • Not necessarily a guarantee, but if consumers had to purchase titles new instead of used we would all hope that we would get our money’s worth.  So more bang for our buck and maybe even greater access to exclusive content and DLC.
  • There will hopefully be a reduction in job layoffs in the industry.  We see far too often that companies are laying off tens or hundreds of people because games either didn’t perform well or that the company didn’t make enough money off a certain property (do to either poor quality or used game sales).  I am not trying to tell you buy anything that comes out to support a developer; the game still needs to be good to you and worthy of your money.

Prevent companies that try new things from losing workers

Cons:

How this could affect the industry and us.

  • Major retailing chains that rely heavily on the sale of used games would be affected greatly. (I.e. Gamestop and kind of Best Buy)
  • Rental services like GameFly that rent and sell used games would be adversely affected and depending on licensing fees might close up shop.
  • No more borrowing games from friends or trading them in popular online forums (I.e. CAG Marketplace, Game TZ, etc.).
  • Online outlets such as Ebay and Amazon that offer online marketplaces for used games would be rocked and could potentially lose a huge number of customers as well as sellers.
  • Microsoft could potentially alienate themselves amongst other hardware developers and inadvertently create an incentive to purchase another piece of hardware pending others don’t follow suit (I.e. Playstation 4 and Wii U).

Dark days could lie ahead for the mega retailer

This is going to be a huge topic of conversation amongst gamers and industry professionals until it is either squashed or confirmed.  It is an important issue and like I said earlier most of us here at TGA are torn on the issue.  With that being said we want to know what you think about this topic.  Do you support it?  Do you think its crazy? Will you buy another console if you can play used games on it?  What ideas, pros and cons do you have?  We want all these answers and more in the comments section so please sound off.  We love your feedback and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

Advertisements

The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations just launched today in North American and European Nintendo E-Shops and I have had a couple of hours to play around with it.  Let me tell you that this might be the new reason to own a Nintendo 3DS.  Resident Evil: Revelations is far and away the prettiest handheld game I have ever seen and it handles just like its console counterparts (which is good or bad depending on what you thought of RE 4 and 5).

The demo puts you in control of Jill Valentine on a mysterious cruise ship (which I believe is where the majority of the game takes place) and Jill’s immediate objective is to regroup with her partner Parker.  Based off of the extremely limited exposure to Parker I think he will be a solid addition to the RE cast and I am excited to see how he is intertwined into the narrative.  Navigating the small part of the cruise ship in the demo definitely gives you a feel for how the game is going to make you play, which is smart or die.  Ammo is very scarce and enemies take a beating before going down so choosing your battles will be the name of the game.  This is true fan service because that is how original Resident Evil games operated, which is why Revelations feels really nostalgic and fresh simultaneously.  This game also has great atmosphere (especially with the 3D cranked up).  There is one room where the floor is covered in fog and the 3D makes it pop and you are just waiting for something to jump out at you (I’ll never tell…).  But it is that kind of atmosphere that makes the game already super eerie which I can’t get enough of (even though it scares the crap out of me).

The controls for the game are pretty solid and are highly reminiscent of past Resident Evil titles (i.e. 4, 5, Mercenaries 3D).  The over the shoulder perspective is back for navigating and the first person view from last year’s Mercenaries 3D has returned for aiming.  The ability to sprint or move faster wasn’t present in the demo, but quick turning is still there (also some dodge mechanic that I am still figuring out).  I hope they add an ability to maneuver faster because during combat I was easily attacked because I was simply moving too slow.  I don’t know if that is being done deliberately to make the game feel more claustrophobic like previous RE titles, but like I said I hope that issue is addressed in the final build.  Lastly I don’t have a Circle Pad Pro so I am unable to comment on whether or not that makes the game control better, but the demo does offer the option for those of you who imported one (comment and let us all know how it works).

The inventory system for Revelations is pretty intuitive with weapons, secondary weapons and items being mapped to the d-pad for quick swapping and use.  You can also use green herbs by simply pressing the A face button which is pretty handy when you are getting dominated (happened to me on my first play through).  One of my favorite additions is an item you pick up midway through the demo and that is the Supply Scanner.  This little device operates pretty similarly to the scanner from Metroid Prime in which it lets you scan the room for items and scan enemies either dead (defeated) or alive (trying to kill you).  The Supply Scanner turns up hidden items in the room that Jill was previously unable to pick up and comes up clutch especially near the end of the demo (mad hand grenades, yo).

When the demo concluded I was left really satisfied.  It isn’t terribly long, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect when the game launches on February 7th in North America.  This isn’t some half ass effort from Capcom and it is something that Resident Evil fans should rejoice about.  This game will appeal to longtime fans as well as new ones and will surely move some 3DS units come early February.  Stay tuned for more about Resident Evil Revelations and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

TGA’s 2011 Game of the Year Awards

Posted: January 17, 2012 by Tim Utley in Editorials
Tags: , , , , ,

First things first; Happy New Year everyone.  All of us here at TGA hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and joyous New Year.  Sorry for us being so dormant, but things got a little crazy around the holidays and I also have been in the process of starting a new job so that has unfortunately taken precedent over the site for the time being.  All that aside we are back and are here to serve up some awards for what we think were the top games of 2011.  There are many categories accompanied by many good games so we will not keep you waiting.  Here are our 2011 Game of the Year awards, enjoy.

Xbox 360 Exclusive

Nominees

  • Gears of War 3
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Winner: Forza Motorsport 4

Why we picked it:

There we not many 360 exclusives this year and while you would think that would make the decision easier, but alas it really wasn’t.  Both Forza and Gears were incredible titles we just felt that Forza 4 was a better game overall.  Forza 3 set the bar pretty high when it released in 2009 and the fourth entry exceeded its predecessor in every discernible category and that is why it is our Xbox 360 exclusive game of the year.

PS3 Exclusive

Nominees

  • Infamous 2
  • Little Big Planet 2
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Resistance 3
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten
  • Socom 4
  • Yakuza 4
  • Killzone 3

Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Why we picked it:

While last year was the year of new IPs for Sony’s powerhouse of a machine; this year marked the year of sequels.  Once again many great titles to choose from, but no game delivered like Uncharted 3 did.  Everything from the story to the jaw dropping graphics and action set pieces set this game part from its fellow PS3 brethren and that is why it was picked as our PS3 exclusive game of the year.

Nintendo Wii Exclusive

Nominees

  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Conduit 2
  • Lost in Shadow
  • Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Winner: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Why we picked it:

This was a really slow year for the Wii, but even with that being said it had a few exclusives to give the system a proper send off.  Not a list of blockbusters, besides the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While not the best Zelda we ever played was a very excellent entry in the Zelda franchise.  The game had charm and a great story to draw in newcomers as well as veteran players of the series and that is why we chose it as our Wii exclusive game of the year.

PSP Exclusive

Nominees

  • The 3rd Birthday
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
  • Patapon 3
  • Tactics Ogre: Let us cling Together

Winner: Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

Why we picked it:

The PSP rode the brakes through most of 2011, but still had a few gems enter its path.  Nothing really blew us away on the PSP this year, but the game that we all enjoyed the most was Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.  This FF mash up has depth and creative design in droves and that is why we picked it as our PSP exclusive game of the year.

Nintendo DS Exclusive

Nominees

  • Pokemon Black and White
  • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter
  • Professor Layton: The Last Specter
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

Winner: Pokemon Black and White

Why we picked it:

Last year we didn’t pick a Nintendo DS exclusive game of the year, but this year we felt it necessary to make a decision and chose a winner.  The Pokemon series might not be respected by all gamers, but here at TGA we hold it in pretty high esteem.  While the other nominees were just as worthy of this distinction we ultimately felt that Pokemon Black and White offered the most robust and complete experience this year on the DS and that is why we chose it as our Nintendo DS exclusive game of the year.

Nintendo 3DS Exclusive

Nominees

  • Mario Kart 7
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Shinobi

Winner: Super Mario 3D Land

Why we picked it:

2011 marked the first year for the Nintendo 3DS and needless to say things didn’t look good for Nintendo’s latest handheld early on.  A major price drop within the first 6 months and not a great lineup of must have games really put a damper on what was supposed to be an exciting time for Nintendo fans.  The last couple months of 2011 really turned the system around and in that time frame Super Mario 3D Land was released and was an incredibly engrossing Mario experience.  3DS has some other notable titles but none that we felt captured our attentions like Super Mario 3D Land did and that is why we chose it as our Nintendo 3DS exclusive game of the year.

Best Multiplatform Game of 2011

Nominees

  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Portal 2
  • Skyrim
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  • Dead Space 2

Winner: Portal 2

Why we picked it:

Multiplatform games are always a tricky beast to tackle when it comes to awards.  Such an amazing selection; which is the case most years and it makes it that much harder to grant just one game with the title of being the best.  To make a long story short we picked Portal 2 because it was the best experience across all platforms.  Skyrim would have taken the title, but certain platforms had issues where as Portal 2 was delivered flawlessly across all and that is why we chose it for our Best Multiplatform game of 2011.

Best Action Game

Nominees

  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Gears of War 3
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Driver: San Francisco

Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Why we picked it:

Variety was the name of the game when it came to action titles this year, and no matter what your preference there was something of note for everyone. But action comes in many forms, and, for our money, Uncharted 3 best delivered on those varieties, giving the highest grade all-around experience.

Best Adventure Game

Nominees

  • L.A. Noire
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Skyrim

Winner: Skyrim

Why we picked it:

This was a good time for gamers to be heroes, with a list of truly stellar action titles, both with returning series and some new blood. But, in this humble fanatic’s opinion, nothing in the world can deliver on the promise of a world come to life like the Elder Scrolls series. Becoming the Dragonborn and saving Skyrim is, without exaggeration, the most engrossing thing I’ve ever done, hands down.  My hat is off to Bethesda for showing us how it’s done.

Best First Person Shooter

Nominees

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Battlefield 3
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
  • RAGE
  • Crysis 2
  • Deue Ex: Human Revolution
  • FEAR 3
  • Homefront
  • Bulletstorm

Winner: Battlefield 3

Why we picked it:

It seems like every year FPS fans get inundated with more shooters they can handle so they either don’t give everyone a fair shake or they just rest on their laurels and jam on the familiar.  This year was no different, but the genre did try some new things that went beyond looking down the sights and clicking the left analog to sprint.  Battlefield 3 offered up an experience that might not have deviated too far from the popular FPS formula, but it gave gamers a second popular option to enjoy.  Lots of great shooters released this year, but none that pushed the bar as much as Battlefield 3 did and that is why we chose it as our First Person Shooter of the year.

Best Third Person Shooter

Nominees

  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Gears of War 3
  • Red Faction: Armageddon
  • Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Winner: Saints Row: The Third

Why we picked it:

Saints Row is up against some pretty accomplished competition, but The Third was able to differentiate itself from the crowd because of its overtly facetious nature and just offered up a unique experience within a relatively saturated genre.  I was skeptical about SR: The Third originally, but having played it extensively I came to realize that the game is brilliant in its design because it doesn’t follow normal conventions, but better yet it mocks them.  SR: The Third is a shining example of what a Third Person Shooter (and sand box) game should entail and that is why we chose it as our Third Person Shooter of the year.

 

Best Sports Game

Nominees

  • NBA 2K12
  • FIFA 12
  • MLB 11: The Show
  • NCAA Football 12

Winner: FIFA 12

Why we picked it:

While none of us here at TGA are huge sports gamers we do recognize that sports games as an important category to acknowledge.  I usually get a taste of every sports game that comes out through a myriad of friends and I usually formulate an opinion relatively quickly (under 5 minutes usually).  FIFA 12 was a game that I had played and at first it felt a lot like last year’s iteration, but after having spent some serious time with the title I came to the conclusion that is was a much better experience.  Every conceivable mechanic was improved and made for a much more interactive and enjoyable simulation.  FIFA 12 is not only our pick for the Best Sports game of the year, but may very well be the best sports game I have ever played.

Best Racing Game

Nominees

  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Dirt 3
  • Mario Kart 7
  • Shift 2: Unleashed
  • Need For Speed: The Run
  • Driver: San Francisco

Winner: Forza Motorsport 4

Why we picked it:

When a racing game gets released, just like a sports game I can form an opinion hastily (but also with better precision, if that makes any sense to you).  So when it came time for us to select our favorite racing game it didn’t take very long to decide.  Forza Motorsport 4 is the epitome of racing excellence.  Like I said earlier this game surpasses and improves upon everything that made its predecessor amazing and nothing else in the genre this year could really hold a candle to it and that is why we chose it our Best Racing game of the year.

Best Puzzle Game

Nominees

  • Portal 2
  • Catherine
  • Professor Layton: The Last Specter

Winner: Portal 2

Why we picked it:

The first Portal changed how gamers envisioned a puzzle game to look, play and feel.  The level of dedication to Portal 2 and production values associated with the title were absolutely amazing and exceeded our expectations.  Portal 2 performed the same feats as the firs, but also did them exponentially better and that is why we chose it as our Puzzle game of the year.

Best 2D Platformer

Nominees

  • Rayman Origins
  • Little Big Planet 2

Winner: Rayman Origins

Why we picked it:

Rayman Origins was an absolute treat to play and offered a great escape from the onslaught of other somewhat homogenized games.  The games art direction rivals almost anything else that out this year and probably the foreseeable future and that is why we chose it as our 2D Platformer of the year.

Best 3D Platformer

Nominees

  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Sonic Generations
  • De Blob 2
  • Alice: Madness Returns

Winner: Super Mario 3D Land

Why we picked it:

Super Mario 3D Land is a shining example that Mario is still a powerhouse of a platforming franchise and is arguably one of the best reasons to own a Nintendo 3DS.  Everything about Super Mario 3D Land was enjoyable and really showcased how 3D needs to be done on Nintendo’s handheld and that is why we chose it for our 3D Platformer of the year (3D in 3D huzzah!!).

 

Best Survival Horror Game

Nominees

  • Dead Island
  • Dead Space 2
  • Dead Rising 2: Off The Record

Winner: Dead Space 2

Why we picked it:

2011 was a pretty light year for Survival Horror, but what was released really gave fans of the genre something they could be scared of.  I originally wanted to select Dead Island, but one thing kept it from beating out Dead Space 2 and that was atmosphere.  Don’t get me wrong Dead Island created it and well at certain points, but Dead Space 2 created it and never let you escape it.  Dead Space 2 always kept you alert and for those who snoozed got a rude awakening by a necromorph.  Dead Space 2 was in your face aggressive through and through and that is why we chose it as our Survival Horror game of the year.

Best Fighting Game

Nominees

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3
  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
  • Tekken Hybrid
  • The King of Fighters XIII

Winner: Mortal Kombat

Why we picked it:

I feel fighting games define a generation just as much if not more so than most other genres.  This year we saw one of the most influential fighting franchises return to its true form and that was Mortal Kombat.   This year’s “reboot” of MK floored us here at TGA with how good it was.  Blood, guts and other acts of gratuitous violence marked the return of MK and we couldn’t be more satisfied with it.  MK performed flawless victories on every other fighting game this year and that is why we chose it as our Fighting game of the year.


Best Music Game

Nominees

  • Rocksmith
  • Dance Central 2
  • Just Dance 3

Winner: Rocksmith

Why we picked it:

As far as we are concerned Music games are a wavering concept that many publishers are straying away from.  The music gaming market became so incredibly saturated that people finally just said “screw it” and stop playing them (at least we did).  Well Rocksmith was able to pull us out of our music gaming funk and give the genre another chance.  Rocksmith isn’t the most revolutionary thing we have ever seen, but it does deserve credit for what it performs well and that is teaching you the guitar interactively and that is why we chose it as our Music game of the year.

Best RPG

Nominees

  • Skyrim
  • Dark Souls
  • Catherine
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Dragon Age 2
  • Pokemon Black and White
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Winner: Skyrim

Why we picked it:

I don’t want to say it was the obvious choice, but it really was.  Nothing that came out this past year even comes close to offering the same amount of content that Skyrim does or will offer in the future with inevitable DLC.  Skyrim has a scary amount of things to do and see and will most likely be ruining peoples’ lives well into this year (and possibly next) and that is why we chose it as our RPG of the year.

Best Story of the Year

Nominees

  • Resistance 3
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Gears of War 3
  • Catherine
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Skyrim

Winner: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Why we picked it:

This is always one category I dread deliberating on because it is almost as hard as choosing the overall game of the year.  The sheer amount of games released this year with amazing stories was completely overwhelming, but when it came down to it we chose Skyward Sword for one particular reason and that was because the story was the most vital component of the game.  The story intertwined within Skyward Sword is very engaging, but it is also what really drives you to push forward.  Some games you push forward for the next fire fight or a huge boss battle, but with Skyward Sword you really push forward for that next piece of the puzzle and that is why we chose it as our Best Story of the year.

Best Graphics

Nominees

  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Gears of War 3
  • Rage
  • Skyrim
  • Crysis 2
  • Battlefield 3

Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Why we picked it:

The folks over at Naughty Dog are among some of the most distinguished game designers in the industry and the proof is Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  Uncharted 3 is a visual masterpiece and nothing that we have seen in recent memory rivals the graphical prowess of UC3 and that is why we chose it for Best Graphics in a game for 2011.

Best Soundtrack in a Game

Nominees

  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Child of Eden
  • Patapon 3

Winner: Saints Row: The Third

Why we picked it:

Audio is just as important as visuals because one compliments the other.  Many games had great sound work, but Saints Row: The Third had great sound work coupled with a kick ass licensed soundtrack that kept the action fast and the relaxation mellow; so that is why we chose it for the Best Soundtrack in a game.

Best XBLA/PSN Game

Nominees

  • Bastion
  • Orcs Must Die
  • Renegade Ops
  • Outland
  • Trine 2
  • Gatling Gears

Winner: Outland

Why we picked it:

This particular distinction was hard for us to agree on (I was all about Renegade Ops), but after careful analysis we decided that Outland was the best Arcade game to release this year for a few reasons.  For one it was both on XBLA and PSN which made it an experience accessible to a wide variety of gamers and secondly the game just kicked ass.  We really liked Outland for its art style, combat mechanics and exceptional platforming controls and that is why we chose it as our XBLA/PSN game of the year.

Best Indie Game

Nominees

  • VolChaos
  • Firing Range
  • DLC Quest
  • No Pain No Brain

Winner: DLC Quest

Why we picked it:

Indie games usually get swept under the rug and most people regard them as trash.  Unfortunately there are an exorbitant amount of really bad Indie Games, but within that ocean of crap lies a few pearls that you should give a try and no other Indie Title we played this year was more indicative of that than DLC Quest.  DLC Quest had the makings of an arcade game on a micro level, but it satirical nature was a blast to experience and offered up a brief yet incredibly enjoyable experience and that is why we chose it as our Indie Game of the year.

Best DLC

Nominees

  • Gears of War 3: RAAM’s Shadow
  • Mass Effect 2: Arrival
  • Dead Space 2: Severed
  • Infamous: Festival of Blood
  • Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand

Winner: Mass Effect 2: Arrival

Why we picked it:

Mass Effect 2 had some truly remarkable pieces of downloadable content and Arrival marked the last piece of content before Mass Effect 3.  Arrival was the starting point for the bridging of ME 2 and 3 and the events that transpired in Arrival left us wanting more and that is why we chose it as our Best DLC of the year.

 

Biggest Disappointment of 2011

Nominees

  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Brink
  • X-Men Destiny
  • L.A. Noire
  • Spiderman: Edge of Time
  • Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
  • RAGE
  • Duke Nukem: Forever
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Shadows of the Damned
  • Homefront

Winner: Batman: Arkham City

Why we picked it:

This year delivered what seemed to be just an immense amount of huge titles (usually every year, but I digress).  The problem with huge titles is that they have huge expectations to live up to and when they fall short we can’t help but feel anything other than disappointed.  The list of disappointments this year is quite grand and most of you probably think we are insane for the titles nominated, but we have our reasons.  Our biggest disappointment this year by a slim margin was Batman: Arkham City.  AC was easily one of our most anticipated titles to release in 2011, but haphazard storytelling and content overload turned what was supposed to be a potential game of the year into just another mediocre sandbox game.  AC isn’t a bad game, but it reached for the stars only to be denied by a pack of disappointed nimbus clouds.  We had really high hopes for the game and maybe that is why we felt so let down by the experience.  So it pains us to say it, but Batman: Arkham City is our Biggest Disappointment of 2011.

Worst Game of 2011

Nominees

  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Duke Nukem: Forever
  • Mindjack

Winner (or Loser, depends on how you look at it): Thor: God of Thunder

Why we picked it:

A game based on a movie was awful, no way.  Holy shit was this game bad.  How something this atrocious made its way to store shelves is beyond my comprehension.  I use Robocop for Xbox as a barometer of awfulness and Thor makes Robocop seem border line enjoyable.  If you have any respect for yourself or just video games in general you should avoid this game completely.  Like Thor’s hammer only he should pick this game up and smash it into a million tiny pieces never to be reconstructed.  That is why Thor: God of Thunder is our Worst game of the year.

Best Game you Never Heard of in 2011

Nominees

  • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter
  • Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
  • Alice: Madness Returns

Winner: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Why we picked it:

EDF: Insect Armageddon is the sequel to another less known title called Earth Defense Force 2017 (which rocks too).  EDF: IA flew well under the radar because this year was absolutely ridiculous with releases and blockbuster titles.  The game is just a blast to play alone or with friends and it is something that you should check out if you are looking for some mindless fun.  The fun factor alone is a great selling point and that is why we chose it as our Best Game you Never Heard of in 2011.

Best Voice Acting in a Game

Nominees

  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Portal 2
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Saints Row: The Third

Winner: Portal 2

Why we picked it:

Wheatley, nuff said.  We are serious; nothing else needs to be said.

Biggest Surprise of 2011

Nominees

  • Bulletstorm
  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  • Driver San Francisco

Winner: Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

Why we picked it:

Skylanders was shaping up to be just another gimmicky kids game to fleece parents out of their hard earned money.  While the game isn’t completely innocent in that regard it still provided an incredible experience for people of all ages.  This game was designed for children, but it also has appeal for teenages and adults as well through humorous dialogue and engaging quests to undertake and that is why we chose it as our Biggest Surprise of 2011.

Overall Game of the Year 2011

Nominees

  • Portal 2
  • Skyrim
  • Dead Space 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

And the Winner is …

Portal 2

Reader’s Choice for GOTY: Skyrim

Why we picked it:

Portal started off as something that was just plugged into the Orange Box to add value, but it did something far more than that.  It took the conventions of puzzle and platform gaming and flipped them upside down and all around and created one of the most special IPs we have seen in the last 10 years.

Portal 2 is the almost perfect realization of what a video game can be.  Our second trip to the Aperture Science Facility was beyond our wildest dreams.  Everything from the brilliant voice acting to the mind crunching puzzles immersed the player in a world that we wanted to be a part of.  I can’t tell you how many of us went through this game time and time again thinking “how could I approach this differently” or just simply replaying a level to laugh at Wheatley’s cunning dialogue.  Everything about Portal 2 far exceeded our expectations and we couldn’t have been happier with the final product and that is why we chose it as our Overall Game of the Year for 2011.

Conclusion

This is our second year doing Game of the Year Awards and it is always a blast sitting down deliberating a year’s worth of gaming over a few short weeks then delivering our results to you our blessed readers.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support and readership; after all we do this for you, so thanks again and stay tuned for another action filled year from TGA.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

TGA’s Game of the Year Awards 2011