The GameArena Survey 2011 Winners and Editor's Choice
The GameArena Survey 2011 Winners and Editor's Choice
The most prestigious awards in all of video games are ready to be passed out, like me at the office Christmas party.* We held a survey to find out what you, the reader thinks is the most worthy Game of the Year across each category - we've tallied the results and we've got them for you now! Join us as I take you on a literary wander through the year that was 2011.
Third Person Action Game of the Year
2011 started out with a bang - Dead Space 2 reminded us that survival horror can still work when everyone else is doing Action Horror - they just had to trick us to make it happen. LA Noire was a wake-up call to the entire world - Australia is rich with talented developers - but will sadly probably be remembered more for the drama surrounding it. inFAMOUS 2 did the superhero thing without a licence for a second time, and people loved it.
It ended with a massive explosion of awesome - Saints Row: The Third reminded us that what makes games great is what makes them so damn different, Uncharted 3 showed us that Nathan Drake is still our favourite Indy parallel, Assassin's Creed: Revelations wrapped up Ezio's story gloriously and Gears of War 3 touched our hearts... in the manliest way possible.
Still, there can be only one winner - and that winner (by an epic margin) was Batman: Arkham City. To take a formula which worked so well in Arkham Asylum and build it into a full fledged free form action adventure title was spectacular - but it was the way Batman married story and gameplay which took it over the line for me.
Batman: Arkham City
Strategy Game of the Year
After an epic 2010 the Strategy Game genre felt a little light this year - but that doesn't cheapen the win of our Strategy game of the Year. Up against titles like Anno 2070 and Tropico 4, Total War: Shogun 2 occupied hearts and won minds with the Total War's classic combination of deep semi-4X management and hardcore tactical combat.
Total War: Shogun 2
First Person Action Game of the Year
No genre displays how spoiled gamers were for quality more than the First Person Action category. Serious Sam 3: BFE showed that you didn't need a huge budget to make it. Duke Nukem Forever - which outvoted SS3 - showed that sometimes simply coming out is enough. Resistance 3 and Dead Island worked hard for the money, Portal 2 gave us exactly what we wanted (more Portal) and Skyrim made a showing in another category... just because it can.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution dropped some jaws with thought provoking social commentary - but at the end of the day the First Person genre came down to a battle between the two elephants in the room.
The console gamer's dream FPS versus the reminder of PC superiority is a fantastic match-up on paper - especially with the weakness in Battlefield 3's singleplayer - but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 couldn't stand up to the voting might of GameArena's glorious PC gaming master race.
Sports Game of the Year
The usual suspects found themselves squaring off once again in the Sports genre. Madden was a no-show and while AFL Live was a decent game it certainly wouldn't be described as 'good'. Fight Night Champion was the only combat sports title available this year - and so once again it came down to 2K's NBA 2K12 fighting EA's juggernaut, FIFA 12 - but the excellence inherent in FIFA's new defending system was too much for a game based on a sport they almost didn't play this year.
RPG of the Year
Xenoblade Chronicles stands out as perhaps the oddest release for this year - a sequel to a game Australia didn't get previously... and a game the US didn't play at all. Other spectacular titles include The Witcher 2, Pokemon Black, the indie effort Magicka and the always entertaining Two Worlds 2 - but it was the end of the year and three RPG heavyweights which fought for the top spot.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword takes third place in our competition, narrowly beaten by the epic and engaging Dark Souls - Junglist's Game of the Year. Neither came close to Bethesda's dragon shouting, chicken killing monster The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - our winner for RPG of the Year.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Driving Game of the Year
This is by far our most closely contested category (barring the Game of the Year category) - the winner and second place were separated by a mere 4.5%. The fantastic Driver: San Francisco and the awesome Formula 1 sat at the back of the pack with Trackmania 2: Canyon, proving that just because I think some games are great doesn't mean everyone else does. Forza 4 turned too sharply out of the last corner allowing DiRT 3 to take the win - but with such a glut of great driving games it was anyone who owns a racing wheel who was the real winner.
Indie Game of the Year
I'm going to be honest here. I can't believe you guys let this happen. This was the year that saw Frozen Synapse drop. This was the year that Terraria came out. Nidhogg is playable at the bloody Mana Bar in Melbourne and it's worth the price of admission alone (the price of admission is free).
For Pete's sake, Bastion came out. BASTION. That quirky game with the awesome narrator, awe-inspiring soundtrack and the old school retro action RPG charm.
But noooooo. You let Minecraft win. No, you didn't just let it win. You made it win. I'm not angry guys. I'm just... disappointed. Go, get out of my sight.
Fighting Game of the Year
Capcom dropped three fighting game titles on us this year and only one of them was actually 'new'. MVC 3, UMVC 3 and SSFIVAE all kicked, hadokened and punched their way onto our screens in Australia legally and yet they all had their spines ripped out by Mortal Kombat, a game you can't buy in this country.
I take back all the nasty things I said in the Indie Games section, you bloody rippers.
Game of the Year - Reader's Choice
And so we find ourselves here. The GameArena Reader's Choice Game of the Year 2011. Dark Souls beat Deus Ex: Human Revolution by a single vote - and neither of them made the top five. Some cheeky buggers wrote-in votes for Star Wars: The Old Republic - a game that won't come out in Australia until next March!
Uncharted won some hearts - but only 10 more than LA Noire - and we're only just now into the top 5. At fifth place was the cute, charming and puzzling Portal 2. You shoot a portal on the moon. A worthy effort indeed. At fourth was Batman: Arkham City, demonstrating that 11.5% of you are bloody legends. Only just ahead of Batman was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a fitting ending to the MW franchise.
The closest competition in the entire survey was between the multiplayer magnificence of Battlefield 3 and the singleplayer brilliance of Skyrim - and with just 3.4% more votes The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim takes home the bacon while flying backwards and bringing dead guests to your wedding.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Game of the Year - Editor's Choice
One of the amazing things about GameArena's reviewing posse is the ridiculous diversity of opinions amongst us - so diverse, in fact, that giving just one game our Editor's Choice almost seems like cheating.
Take rwh, for example. His Game of the Year is the Team Bondi epic LA Noire and it makes sense to me - I know he's a massive fan of James Ellroy books and Noir fiction. Veteran news reporter Limimi has picked Dark Souls as his Game of the Year, probably because he's completely insane. Kozeeii makes an impassioned plea for Skyrim - his thoughts aligning with many of you.
But at the end of the day I'm the one writing this and so I'm the one who gets to decide on the Editor's Choice for Game of the Year. The award goes to Batman: Arkham City - one of the very best titles to come out in years and a truly awe-inspiring piece of work. To find out more details on why, read this spoiler-rific argument for the game.
Batman: Arkham City
There you have it - our 2011 Game of the Year awards, as voted by you our wonderful, wonderful readers. We'll be hard at work over the Christmas/New Years break, updating you with news and Star Wars: The Old Republic diaries. Discuss the results in the comments below, and get ready for next year... it's going to be epic!
* I wasn't drunk, I hyper-ventilated from singing too much Meatloaf in Karaoke.**
** Also I was pretty drunk.
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