Another year is over, and what a year it has been for gamers! With so many top quality titles released during the calendar year of 2011, it was quite difficult narrowing things down to a mere ten, but after much deliberation we have finally decided on the official Click Top 10 Games of the Year 2011. As with this list every year, we urge you to bear in mind that this is simply our opinion. Don’t bother getting in touch with us complaining that we’ve left out something you loved, because we clearly didn’t love it as much as you did, but then again that’s our prerogative isn’t it? By all means though, send us on your top ten list of the year; we may even publish some of them down the line!
So back to the business at hand then... this has been a real vintage year for gamers on all formats, with plenty of top quality titles available in almost every genre. Whatever your tipple, you were very likely spoiled for choice in the last twelve months, which is never a bad thing.
Given the success of first person shooters over the past few years, some of you may be surprised that our list doesn’t contain a single FPS title – to be fair, that’s something that surprised us too when we looked back over it. When you consider the quality of both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, their omission from our list will no doubt raise a few eyebrows, but they simply couldn’t contend with the other titles in the list for our money.
Other notable absentees include Gears of War 3, Dead Space 2, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Football Manager 2012, Shift 2: Unleashed, inFamous 2, Deus Ex: Human Revelations, Batman: Arkham City, Killzone 3 and Child of Eden. Throughout the next few pages, you’ll be able to check out some of the titles that didn’t quite make the list, but which we still feel deserve some attention from the gaming public
So whether you’re looking to have your memory of the year refreshed, or simply want to keep your eye out for a few top quality titles you may have passed over earlier in the year, we hope that you’re going to find plenty in our annual review to keep you entertained.
With 2011 behind us, and with it the somewhat tepid launch of the first in a new generation of consoles with Nintendo’s 3DS, it’s almost time to start looking forward to 2012, where we’ll be able to get our hands on the PlayStation Vita, the Wii U, a plethora of fantastic titles and maybe, just maybe, we might get the first tidbits of information about the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles... In fact, we’d bet our bottom dollar on it!
So let’s get down to business as we give you the Click Top 10 Games of 2011 list...
10) Alice: Madness Returns (PS3, Xbox 360 & PC) – Electronic Arts
There’s usually at least one inclusion on these lists that surprises people, and we’re willing to wager that Electronic Arts’ return to Wonderland will fit the bill this year. When we reviewed it originally in June we were gushing with our praise. For some reason though, it seems like the majority of the rest of the gaming press disagreed with us. The game fared okay when the averages are tallied up for the year, but we stand firm in our opinion that the follow on to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice is one of the most enjoyable title of its ilk for years.
Sure the combat might get a little bit samey in places, but the fact that the world is so beautifully crafted with a visual style that just keeps getting more impressive as you progress, along with the wonderfully twisted sensibilities of the game means that you get drawn in deeper and deeper the more you play.
The fine mix of platforming, adventuring, side quests and puzzles tends to be quite reminiscent of simpler days gone by. There’s a distinct “no-nonsense” feel to the whole thing, with EA going back to basics in order to let the game world itself take centre stage.
The story is every bit as dark as its predecessor, focussing on the life of Alice following her first trip to Wonderland, and her relationship with her real world psychiatrist whose sinister intentions become apparent right from the start, before being unravelled in a surprisingly mature and shocking finale.
09) Rayman Origins (PS3, Xbox 360 & Wii) – Ubisoft
Platform games may well have their golden days behind them but the stunning Rayman Origins from Ubisoft goes to show that there’s more than a little life in the old school side-scroller yet. From your first moments with Origins, you'll find yourself taken aback by just how good everything looks. The switch to high definition over the last decade means that developers can now push out graphics that are every bit as detailed and vibrant as some of the more enjoyable cartoons from days gone by.
Unlike many platformers which focus on speed and reflexes, like Sonic and even Mario, Rayman Origins is an altogether more pedestrian affair in terms of pacing. Rather than testing your reaction times over and over, this game forces you to think about your next move. Those of you who missed out on the glory days of the 16 bit era may find things a little bit too slow at first, but once you have adjusted to the rhythm of the game, you'll wonder just what the fascination with speed in the last few years has been all about.
In order to keep things fresh, there are also some thoroughly enjoyable shooter style levels where Rayman rides around on the back of a mosquito, gunning down dozens of enemies along the way, and a few surprisingly nifty underwater levels. On a personal level, we often find that underwater levels tend to be a little dull most of the time. The reduced response of your character to your inputs tends to grate more than challenge, but here it's all been handled expertly and, for once, these levels actually turn out to be more fun than frustration.
08) FIFA 12 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, PSP & DS)
Ah FIFA... one thing you can be sure of every August is that the EA Canada team will once again blow you away by delivering a worthy annual update to a title that had been widely lauded as the “best football game ever” just twelve months previously. Quite how David Rutter and his team do it is beyond us, but the fact that they can churn a FIFA out every single year, which blows everything else out of the water, will be met with no complaints from us.
There are plenty of people who are quite indifferent to this years’ FIFA, due mainly to the sweeping changes introduced to the defensive side of the game but, for us, a little bit of practice and a lot of patience will see you rewarded with the ultimate football game ever made.
It might be difficult to adapt from the previous controls, but it’s worth the long, hard slog. If you don’t have it, get it, and if you do have it but found the changes too much to get your head around, give it another chance.