And it happened! Awesome! Both of these are great games that I didn't get to until well after the fact, but I'm glad I did.
For Batman: Arkham City, I know I've said this elsewhere (I think in the 2015 thread), but trying the Arkham Asylum demo on 360 got me into not just the Rocksteady Arkham games, but also the Nolan movies. But going from Asylum to City wasn't immediate; it took a while for me to get City, but when I did, I felt irritated it took me so long. Of all the games, City has my favorite story, and having Arkham City split into specific areas of territory for the villains (Joker, Penguin and Two-Face having their own space) really gave off a sense of unique turf in an open city. With each game, the settings have gotten better, and while Asylum gets a lot of deserved of having captivating interiors and being an interconnected 3D metroidvania island, The potential of city just spoke to me more. Another underrated aspect of City is introducing side-stories for more villains to be involved that don't get as much attention like Hush and Deadshot. Getting to play as Catwoman was a nice change up (and the first shot of the game being such a nod to the end is too good). Finally, obviously, the most notable part the City is known for: The top tier boss fights.
Despite how much I enjoy Arkham City, my GOTY for 2011 is Portal 2. The original was a revelation to me and something so good in such a condensed package I thought couldn't be improved. But Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons alone proved me wrong, not to mention the story, and just as excellent, the co-op mode. The writing in this game is probably (for me) top five across all games. GLaDOS being even better really further underscores this. Because she is a potato. I replayed it within the last few months and every aspect of this game holds up exceptionally well. The puzzles are good teases, and introducing the gels and funnels as mechanics just further twisted the perspectives. And yes, because no one really cared as much as I did at the time about Portal 2, I grabbed a second controller and beat co-op by myself. The only thing about the game that is slightly to its detriment is that replayability is dependent upon how long between play sessions you go, giving you enough time to forget the puzzle solutions. Easily a top 15 game of all time.
Again, like Uncharted 3 above, I'm not going to tag everybody (and that would quadruple unnecessary seeing as these are the top two games of 2011 as determined by us), but yeah. High five one and all!
And finally (in terms of what I want touch on, not the post. Sorry for the novel), my list with words about the games that didn't make it.
- Portal 2
- Batman: Arkham City
- Gears 3
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
- (HM) Resistance 3
- (HM) Dissida: Duodecim Final Fantasy
- (Doesn't qualify) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- (HM) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- (HM) Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Ratchet & Clank All 4 One was in the midst of a stretch of R&C games that were not good and to this day it's inexplicable. I credit with trying to make an R&C game with not just co-op, but 4 player co-op, and it just doesn't work. From gameplay to mission structure and linearity to even story itself, All 4 One was a disappointment that hit hard.
I'm not a Call of Duty person, and the Modern Warfare trilogy cemented that. When I saw this game's demo on Xbox's stage, I'll admit it, I was impressed. Enough so I borrowed my father's copies of the first two MWs. This game is whatever, in that the multiplayer was iterative of all that came before it, the campaign was nothing more than very loud and bright set-pieces to escalate an increasingly nonsensical plot, and spec-ops was a, "play it once, and never again" kind of mode. Oh, and the horde mode Survival wasn't compelling either.
Halo: Combat Evolved is a good game on its own, and the graphical upgrade that is Anniversary is a fun contrast with the stark retro graphics of the original. But with the exception of the skulls, achievements, and terminals, the game didn't do anything new. Recency bias speaking, but we've been spoiled the Remakes of the last couple of years.
Lastly, Dissidia: Duodecim is a trip. The ONLY Final Fantasy in which the named main protagonists and villains of all mainline entries interact with one another in a single story. Seeing all the vignettes between all these different characters is fascinating. The gameplay is a learning curve and a 3D free roaming fighter isn't really what one would think when describing a Final Fantasy game, but if enough time is put into the mechanics, you can actually do well. ESPECIALLY if you played the original Dissidia, where you can import ALL of your progress over to Duodecim, particularly because the entirety of the first game is a part of Duodecim. Think of it as like a Left 4 Dead in Left 4 Dead 2 situation. But the mechanics, plus the repetitive nature of fights (as they're all 1v1) in pretty bland environments is the game's biggest detriments. It's like the story was the primary focus while every other aspect of the game was secondary. But to end on a positive note: I'm a BIG fan of many of the character designs, and the box art RULES. The original's was also as awesome, with a reversible cover, one side the forces of Cosmos, the other the forces of Chaos.
Thank you so much for reading any of this if anyone has! Kudos again to Axel and to all participants for making another fantastic thread!