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Alex: Top 10 Games of 2011

10 ~ Mortal Kombat

I never thought I’d have fun with a fighting game since my good friend Anatek beat the living shit out of me at almost any of them. Then I played Mortal Kombat.

Having never played a Mortal Kombat, and only hearing stories of its absolute, crazy-storied antics from the Giant Bombsquad, I had an idea of what to expect, but the final product was way better than anything I could have dreamed up.Its only when you see Noob Saibot rip some one in half, or when you see Sonya Blade split a man down with just her legs that you truly see the beauty of Mortal Kombat. Also, set this baby up at a party and everyone is having fun, because its not too hard that players can’t jump in, but not to easy that it doesn’t take skill to master.
Overall, I’d say Mortal Kombat is fun for all the family!

9 ~ Gears of War 3

This spot was honestly an even toss up between Gears and Dead Space 2, and the reason that Gears took my list was because of its multiplayer.

The times I had some of the most absolute best time, online, this year, was in Gears of War’s Beast and Horde modes. There is nothing quite like being a giant berserker and absolutely thrashing anyone in your way, or taking down a brumak with your buddies in Horde mode.

If you love co-op, at all, then Gears is probably your best bet. You have full four-player co-op for the campaign, and like I said, Beast and Horde mode. Definitely my favorite co-op game of the year.

8 ~ inFamous 2

To me, inFamous was one of those underwhelming games. I had high hopes for the sequel and I wasn’t let down. inFamous 2 is easily my favorite action game of 2011, because it has all the right ingredients.
You have a funny, and cool main character, an annoying sidekick who is still okay in my book, and superpowers. inFamous 2, like Batman Arkham City, gave me the feeling of being a super hero where other games try, but fail. Within the first couple of hours you’ll be blowing things up, lighting monsters on fire, and traversing the city like its second habit.

I know the game didn’t sell well, so if you’re still on the fence, please go out and get it. Its fantastic.

7 ~ Catherine

Catherine. What do you say about a game so crazy? Catherine was the first game I ever went ‘halfsies’ on, splitting it with my friend Alex (female). We then played through the whole game together, her as a female perspective, and me as a male. That sparked some of the funniest conversation when those questions of judgement came about, and it gave an awesome perspective into the game.
Besides just the awesome environment I had when playing Catherine, the game also contains some of the best puzzles ever. I hated them at first, but after I mastered them, I fell in love. From the story side which was basically like watching the weirdest anime ever created, to the great puzzles that challenged you in new ways every night, Catherine is one of those ‘one-of-a-kind’ games that you’re only going to see once every few years.

6 ~ Bastion

Bastion blew me away from beginning to end. As I said in my review, stories just don’t get told as well as this one is, and its a heart-wrenching story at that. A game that has such a great style, such interesting characters, an incredible setting, and an ending that makes immediately boot it up and play again, is a rarity today.

A story, told as well as this one, deserves to be remembered for a long time, but I’d say the narrator, Rucks, who is the device by which the story is told, is really one of the most important accomplishments that the game makes. Narrators in games are now something that you’ll see appearing way more often, I think.

SuperGiantGames is a developer that I think has more promise right now than any new developer ever has before. With their very first project, they hit the ball out of the park. I can only fathom the amazing things they’ll do in the near future.

5 ~ Dark Souls

I didn’t get a chance to play Demon’s Souls until this year, and goddamn did I love it. It kicked my ass, I kicked its ass, and I loved every second of it. Dark Souls then went from an “eh, it looks cool” to a day-one buy.Man… I thought Demon’s Souls was tough. Dark Souls is just sickeningly difficult. This game will make your mom cry way more than the terrible ads for Dead Space 2! Never before have I been beaten down to the ground, gotten back up (still optimistic) and then getting absolutely destroyed again… And then came back for more.


I don’t know who has the bigger problem, Dark Souls, or me. Either way, I’ve never loved having my ass kicked more.

4 ~ Portal 2

I don’t think writing has ever drastically jumped out to me as why I love a game so much, but Portal 2 was different. I was very down on the game before launch. Portal was okay, it was kind of funny, but it didn’t blow me away like it seemed the rest of the internet had been. Then, I just sucked up my pride, and bought Portal 2.

Not only did the puzzles entertain me, the characters did. If it wasn’t for the characters and the tale behind Aperture Science, I don’t think I’d really care about Portal 2, but Cave Johnson, Wheatley, and the always lovably GLaDOS make it all better.
Also, when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade, burn lives goddamn house down!

3 ~ Batman: Akrham City

Its hard to explain how much Batman Arkham City is exactly my kind of game. From the amazing and very enhanced combat, to the way new areas feel like Zelda-dungeons, to the fantastic comic book story, Batman really hits all my sweet spots.
Plus, the cast of voice actors and characters that make up the comic book city are all great, and each have the own stories that are told very well. Plus I feel like all the characters get their story told well.
I loved Arkham Asylum, and I knew as soon as they showed off Arkham City, it was time to get excited. Its hard to improve upon a game in just about every way, but I’d say Rocksteady puts forth a damn good effort.
Also, my favorite beginning of a game all year, with Portal 2 in a close second.

2 ~ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is my frist trip to Tamriel. I never got to close Oblivion Gates, or journey through Morrowind, and whether or not that’s a good thing, I can say that Skyrim kind of knocked me off my feet. I knew I’d love it, but I didn’t know that the character advancement, the leveling system, and several different ways to play the game would really push me to keep playing.

I played Fallout 3, I had seen this style of game before, but Skryim is different. Its that formula, but hit in all the right ways. Where Fallout, and I’m assuming Oblivion lacked, Skyrim has in fistfulls. Bethesda really gives the game that keeps on giving, and after seeing the super interesting DLC for Fallout 3, Skyrim’s DLC for 2012 will have me quivering in my dragon-scale boots.

Also: Dragons.

1 ~ The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Zelda. Yeah, Zelda is my number one. Yeah, I guess I’m a fanboy, I guess I am a Zelda lover, and I guess that makes this kind of expected, but that doesn’t make Skyward Sword any less fantastic from bottom to top. A Link to the Past really made games for me. After sitting around late into the night and watching my brother play that game, Zelda will always hold dear to my heart.

Skyward Sword was #1 on my “Most Worried About” list, right next to Mass Effect 3. Then, I played it. Yeah, its a slow starter, and yes, there are tedious things they throw at you in the game, but so are half the games that come out now. Skyward Sword has some of the best controls of any game I’ve ever played, and they’re motion controls. Well how about that.
Also, the game features the best and most creative dungeons in the series, and story where there were actually characters, not cardboard cutouts, and I actually gave a damn about what was happening. Also, the you get to see how the Master Sword is made. Hell yes.
Zelda will forever be my favorite series at heart, and Skyward Sword shows that maybe the series is headed in a newer, and much improved direction. I’m excited to see what Aonuma and Nintendo will do with the series from here on out.There is no doubt: Zelda Skyward Sword is not only my favorite game of all year, its also one of my favorite games of all time.



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Author: Alex O'Neill View all posts by
Alex is the Editor-in-Chief, overlord, and overall master of Irrational Passions. He loves Zelda, Persona 4 Golden is his favorite game ever, and he is going to write for some day.

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