Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
Game of the Year 2011

The Escapist Staff | 10 Jan 2012 22:25
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Nominees

Infamous 2

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Schuyler Says: Very rarely do you come across a game with amazing graphics and a fantastic story. Infamous2 covered both of those bases perfectly. The attention to detail puts you right in the action with Cole in New Marais and the story helps bring you further down the rabbit hole that is Infamous 2. While you journey your way from the upscale areas to the slums you have the choice to do vaguely good or vaguely bad, you are equipped to do either. People's lives are in your hands, quite literally in this game, and your decisions can change your experience from anyone else's. The ability to have a genuinely unique gaming experience is possible, which is more that what can said about most games.



Minecraft
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Schuyler Says: Minecraft may have changed the face of gaming as we know it. How many games do you know of that were released in its alpha state and made a profit long before it had ever gone "live". None, that's how many. By putting out this 8-bit masterpiece Mojang has proven that a game's biggest selling point can be the player's imagination. Too often we, as players, are led around, being told where to go and what to examine. When we are given the chance to experience a world on our own we can let a game like Minecraft take us away into our own head. A place where other games are weary of letting us go.



Bastion
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Justin Says: In such a heavy hype driven industry, it might have been easy to miss Bastion, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't at least check out this gem from Supergiant Games. While other games are happy to bash you over the headed with tediously long exposition and cutscenes, Bastion feeds you details about its setting and narrative during play through the use of a gravelly voiced narrator. This alone would have been enough to make folks take note of Bastion, but combined with clever gameplay mechanics, a gorgeous hand-drawn aesthetic and a killer soundtrack makes Bastion a contender for Game of the Year.



Total War: Shogun 2
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Greg Says: Grand strategy games are a hard sell for some players, but Creative Assembly had Sun Tzu on its side. The return to the era of the first Total War game was fitting for this giant leap forward in the series. Managing the growth of your clan's power in a race to conquer or control the islands of feudal Japan is streamlined, and the flavor of each agent such as geisha, ninja or monk was pitched perfectly for the setting. The real time battles between samurai and ashigaru are exciting, especially when the odds are stacked against your pitiful army. The addition of naval combat made becoming a power on the seas important and the influence of Western technology like guns, ships and cannons balanced by the growth of Christianity in your lands made for an interesting - and even educational - gaming experience. Shogun 2 was the best strategy game of 2011.



Deus Ex: Human Revolution
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Steve Says: If all you know of Deus Ex is Invisible War, you might be excused for overlooking Human Revolution. You'd also be missing out on a very original and captivating prequel to one of the best PC games of all time. The new Deus Ex has all the things we loved from the original game. There are crazy conspiracies, challenging philosophical debates, futuristic technology and a thrilling story. On top of all that, it has some of the most open-ended gameplay you'll see in an RPG. Players can use the technology-driven powers to become walking murder machines, invisible thieves or expert hackers, each of which presents remarkably satisfying and balanced challenges. It's a game that asks players how they want to play, and then gives them creative ways to live out their fantasies. What other game includes choices to sneak past a security turret, uss a nearby console to disable it, or simply throw vending machines at it until it stops working?



The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
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Susan Says: It's easy to take Skyward Sword for granted. After all, it's just the latest in a long line of Zelda games, and doesn't really tinker with the familiar formula all that much. But Skyward Sword is effortlessly brilliant, confident in the adventure that it lays at your feet. It's not grim or realistic. There are no moral quandaries or different paths. There is simply a boy fighting the forces of evil to save a girl he cares about. It's that most familiar and simple of gaming foundations - the hero rescuing the princess - set amidst an incredible soundtrack, sharp dialog, memorable characters, gorgeous colors, and most of all, clever dungeons.



Dark Souls
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Justin Says:While not for the faint of heart, Dark Souls secures its spot on this list with detailed mechanics, its chilly open setting and some truly challenging, but rewarding, gameplay. The tagline Prepare to Die is certainly befitting of the experience to come, but if you give it time you'll slowly learn the necessary strategies for success. Combining the timing of a fighting game with the rich statistics of some of the best RPGs gives Dark Souls' gameplay a feeling of something unique in the modern RPG genre. Narrowly rolling under some massive bosses' lethal attack in order to deliver the killing blow in-turn is that much more gratifying when you know you actually preformed it yourself and not a quick-time event.

And our 2011 choice for Game of the Year is...

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