The Average Gamer

Our Games of the Year 2011

2011 has been a phenomenal year for games with plenty of huge sequels released, as well as loads of originals like LA Noire and El Shaddai. We’ve had new platforms launched; the 3DS and the *cough*Xperia Play*cough*. With iPads, iPhones and Android phones seemingly everywhere now, we’re absolutely surrounded by opportunities to play. Still, we all have our favourites and some of the team have picked their Games of The Year from this year’s releases.

Nick S

I love games that draw me deep inside their virtual world. But I want to be challenged and awe-inspired too. This year, for me, Batman: Arkham City was just that game. Gotham City has never looked so good (or should that be bad?) with its rotten and depraved Arkham City prison at its heart. You have total freedom to explore every part of the city right from the start. More importantly you feel like you are Batman, flying around solving crime and beating up thugs. Batman: Arkham City is videogame escapism at its best.


It was a tough call, but Dead Space 2 is my pick, and started the excellent gaming year of 2011 perfectly. This superb, third person survival horror action shooter was not put down until finished. It’s one of the those games that has you on the edge of your seat, wondering what is round the next corner, or what is going to pounce on you next. The plot is excellent, and has a protagonist in Isaac Clarke that we care about, and now see a lot more of his face, too. Some truly superb gaming moments are in this title, and now it is below £20, I would recommend it to anyone.


Oh Lydia. Why do you vex me so with your standing in doorways and general getting in my way? Don’t you understand I have flowers to pick, dragons to chase and mammoths to run away from?

2011 is all about Skyrim for me. Nothing has come as close to a gaming obsession since the giddy days of World of Warcraft being released. If you want a deep RPG with strong overtones of skull smashing, nicely counterbalanced with cooking and needlepoint then buy it.

I lied about the needlepoint.


My Game of the Year is Shadows of the Damned. It was a very close call between this and InFamous 2. While a lot of people will be plumping for Skyrim and the other blockbusters, SotD was the first game in a long time brave enough to do something different. Straight from the insanity of Suda 51, it may not have had superlative shooting mechanics (straight from Resi 4, as it was the same developer, and I loved that style anyway) but the story was so balls-out crazy that it was a joy to play.

It was set in a brilliant and vibrant world, I had a blast, and was more memorable than most games this year. plus it came with more dick jokes than an entire series of Two and a Half Men. Johnson has to be one of the greatest sidekicks in gaming history, transforming into the “big boner” for an unforgettable moment.


In a year that’s brought a crapton of great games, only one was truly mind-blowing for me. That is The Witcher 2, a solid RPG with great characters, fantastic environments and some truly epic set-pieces. Frankly, any game that features a working ballista is going to be high up on my personal charts. The clincher for me is the impact that your in-game actions have on later events. Kill a son and you may have to face his mother later, but not in the way you might think. Absolutely the best game I’ve played in years.


When I considered what crowning component my ‘GOTY’ for 2011 needed, I quickly concluded that it wasn’t the unmatched graphical prowess of Uncharted 3 or the unbridled scope of Skyrim. Instead, and quite simply, it was the unparalleled fun found within the city limits of San Francisco that sealed the deal. Where waking up from a coma is but a green light away.

Driver 2 spun out 10 years ago and I haven’t a particular affinity towards the series. Hell, I haven’t enjoyed a driving game since NFS: Underground 2, so why does Driver: San Francisco find itself plaguing my mind at every opportunity? Because it changes everything.

Built on a foundation of ridiculous cinematic blockbuster moments, with a gentle but insistent throwback to 70’s cop shows thrown in for good measure, its only concern is laying down surprise, suspense and a pure intent long lost from driving games… it also captures the heart and tone of a beautiful city perfectly and weaves a pretty fantastic soundtrack into the mix. Hear my words: You can’t go far wrong with Driver: San Francisco.


Game of The Year… only one? It’s really difficult to say. If I went by time played then it’s clearly Rift. I really did enjoy it, but more because of the friends I have in the game rather than the game itself. If I go by what sucked me into playing and dreaming about it then it’s a close call between Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Skyrim.

Skyrim is great, but so buggy I’d say it’s not finished yet. Now DX:HR had a fantastic story line which drew me in and I spent all my spare time playing it. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was clearly my GOTY for 2011. Now Debbie, give it back already, I want to play the DLC :P


I’m a veteran of Battlefield 3, playing the series since its inception across every incarnation and when *that* beta was released I was destroyed. I was ready to give up. I shouldn’t have worried. While the recently released Return To Karkand maps have shown some of the limitations of BF3’s originals and the console player limit is severely restrictive, the game keeps delivering.

Every advantage can be neutered, every tactic countered while the destructive terrain and collapsible buildings keeps every round fresh and new. It’s an orchestral affair, with battle ebbing and flowing constantly, and I love it. I love it dearly and I can’t wait for the next generation of consoles and the chance to play with 64 players again in its inevitable sequel.

Nick L

I had little trouble choosing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as my Game of the Year for 2011. Not only is it one of the finest games on sale this year, it’s a milestone in the RPG genre. Bethesda has crammed everything they’ve learned about RPGs in the last decade and placed it on show for all to see.

It’s a master class in quest-based gaming, putting head-honcho World of Warcraft on notice. Taking you on a journey from stunning panoramic vistas to the darkest dungeons, I’ve poured hour after hour into this thing and hardly scratched the surface but I’ve loved every one of those hours. If you play any game from 2011 make sure it’s this.


Dark Souls was, without doubt, the most immersive game I played all year. From the opening cut scene, through to the final boss, it had me gripped, enthralled and quite often exasperated.

From Software created a living, breathing game world that sat in the forefront of my mind for most of October, and often crossed over into my dreams. From the load-free open world, to the sublime online elements and the often terrifying boss encounters, Dark Souls oozed class from every pore, and proved to be a more than worthy successor to Demon’s Souls.

What was your top game of 2011?