Tech News on G4

G4 Canada's 2011 Game of the Year Awards

Jan 31, 2012

By John Powell, Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

back to -|- Tech News index -|- John Powell column archive -|- Send Us Your Feedback

 

2011 was a stellar year for the video game industry. While the quantity dropped slightly due to projects being delayed or bumped, the quality of the material released into the marketplace was amazing. With so many fantastic games, it has been very difficult to narrow the field down to the best of the best but we have here at G4.

Below are our personal picks for the best and worst of 2011. Congratulations to all the winners for a job well done.

GAME OF THE YEAR

John Powell's Picks
Game of the Year 2011 Winner: Batman: Arkham City.
Runners Up: Dead Island, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Honourable Mentions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, Gears of War 3.
2011 was all about big, bold adventures played out in expansive interactive settings. The game I kept coming back to and couldn't put down was Arkham City, although the highly underrated Dead Island was a very close second. An improvement in every way on Asylum, Arkham City drew you in immediately and with so much to do, so many appearances by many Batman mainstays and the inclusion of the Catwoman campaign, it was well worth the coin shelled out.

Game of the Year 2011 Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Rayman: Origins
Runners Up: Mortal Kombat, Shadows of the Damned
Honourable Mentions: Bastion, Forza Motorsport 4
There was a time when video games were all about nothing more than fun, and Rayman: Origins embraces fun like it's going out of style. From the gorgeous environments, to the genious level design, to the memorable soundtrack, to the characters themselves, this game could put a smile on even the most jaded 21st century gamer. Challenging and hilarious all at the same time, Rayman: Origins deserves nothing less than top honours in 2011.

BEST AUDIO

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, L.A. Noire.
War never sounded so good and so darn loud. This is atmosphere at its finest.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Shadows of the Damned
Honourable Mentions: Bastion, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Rayman: Origins
How do you make a game go from "terrifying" to "I'm-going-to-pee-my-pants-I'm-so-scared"? By getting Akira Yamaoka of "Silent Hill" fame to score it. Subtle and in-your-face all at the same time, the whispers, bangs, and of course the soundtrack made SotD a treat for the ears.

BEST GRAPHICS

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Honourable Mentions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Batman: Arkham City, L.A. Noire, Gears of War 3.
The vastness and detail to all the settings and subtle nuances of all the characters make Skyrim a true work of art.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Forza Motorsport 4
Honourable Mentions: Rayman: Origins, Dead Space 2, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
You don't have to be a car lover to appreciate a sunset washing over Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California as your picture-perfect Bugatti Veyron flies by at 100 mph. Turn 10 Studios paid insanely close attention to detail to make the fourth entry in this series a feast for the eyes.

BEST MULTIPLAYER

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: Gears of War 3
Honourable Mentions: Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Dead Island.
Not only was it a truly satisfying conclusion to the series but the expanded multiplayer was extraordinary.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Uncharted 3
Honourable Mentions: Driver: San Francisco, Battlefield 3
Just like its predecessor, Uncharted 3's multiplayer component took a backseat this year to the cinematic campaign, but there is plenty to love about the online portion of this title. Superb maps, fantastic game modes, and cool upgrades made Uncharted 3's multiplayer as addictive as anything released in 2011.

BEST STORY

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: L.A. Noire
Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Portal 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Gears of War 3.
An intense and enticing journey made even more alluring due because of the realistic character portrayals and the twists, turns in all of the storylines. L.A. Noire was vivid and splendid storytelling.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Honourable Mentions: Bastion, Resistance 3
Nintendo managed to tweak the "save the princess" formula just enough to make Skyward Sword a triumph in the story department. The character development is wonderful, while surprises last right up to the end. And we wouldn't blame you if you shed a tear or two - it's that emotional. Kudos to the Zelda team for another memorable entry in the series.

BEST CHARACTER

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: L.A. Noire - Detective Cole Phelps
Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (The Dragons), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: (Yuri), Portal 2: (Wheatley).
Voiced marvellously by Mad Men's Aaron Staton (Ken Cosgrove on the series), the plight of police detective Cole Phelps made L.A. Noire such a compelling experience.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Shadows of the Damned - Garcia Hotspur
Honourable Mentions: Bastion (The Kid), Impa (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
Hotspur shows more character in his five syllable name than most video game leads do through the course of a 20-hour campaign. The man is a tattoed, gun-wielding maniac who spews some of the best one-liners we've heard in years. He can be taking down a massive beast with a horse head one minute, and showing off his Hot Boner (it's a gun!) the next and sharing sex jokes with even the most immature preteen. What's not to like?

BEST DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Old World Blues - Fallout: New Vegas
Honourable Mentions: Halo Reach (Anniversary Map Pack), Mass Effect 2 (Arrival).
An entirely new journey adding so much to the original.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Freddy Krueger - Mortal Kombat
Honourable Mentions: Halo Reach (Anniversary Map Pack)
It took just about everyone by complete surprise when Netherrealm Studios added one of the coolest horror movie characters ever to its Mortal Kombat lineup. The "cool" factor was there, but Freddy was a great addition in his own right, with some really neat moves that could confound even the toughest Mortal Kombat player.

CONSOLE AWARDS

Game of the Year 2011 BEST XBOX 360 GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Batman: Arkham City
Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dead Island, Gears of War 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Great range of quality titles this year.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Rayman: Origins
Honourable Mentions: Bastion
No gimmicky add-ons for this game - just a controller in hand and a smile on the face.

BEST WII GAME

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Honourable Mentions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Rayman Origins, Conduit 2, Xenoblade.
Not its strongest year but the Wii still had a lot going for it and is looking to have a strong 2012.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Honourable Mentions: Kirby's Return to Dreamland
It may not be the best Zelda game ever, or even in the top 5, but it's still well ahead of most games released in 2011, and certainly the ones released on the Wii.

BEST PS3 GAME

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: Batman: Arkham City
Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Portal 2, Resistance 3, L.A. Noire, Dead Island.
As with the 360, Sony's marvel is still going strong with an assortment of games for everyone.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Honourable Mentions: Resistance 3
A movie-like campaign that really showed off the power of the PS3, while the multiplayer was (is) still something worth playing for many, many months after the release date.

BEST PSP GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Honourable Mentions: MLB 11: The Show, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
A bygone system barely noticeable in 2011, still, there were a few quality titles to be had.

BEST DS / 3DS GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Super Mario 3D Land
Honourable Mentions: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Mario Kart 7, Pokémon Black and White, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
One of the true innovative breakthroughs in 2012 and a very undervalued system. Here's hoping for a big push in 2012, the 3DS sure deserves it.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Super Mario 3D Land
Honourable Mentions: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Kirby Mass Attack
Nintendo knows how to take advantage of its hardware, and that was clearly proven with this Mario platformer. Besides the tight controls, the 3D effects were something to behold.

BEST PC GAME

Game of the Year 2011 John Powell's Picks
Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Honourable Mentions: Dead Island, Batman: Arkham City, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, L.A. Noire, Minecraft, Portal 2.
No other game pushed a PC's capabilities than Skyrim.

BEST KIDS GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Honourable Mentions: Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, Pokémon Black and White.
An imaginative treat for kids that took platforming in a whole new direction with its innovative gameplay and accessories.

BEST SHOOTER

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Gears of War 3
Honourable Mentions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, F.E.A.R. 3, Resistance 3, Crysis 2.
An emotional and explosive end to the Gears of War saga.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Bulletstorm
Honourable Mentions: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Resistance 3
Finally - a first-person shooter that manages to do something different with the genre. The SkillShot system adds a genuinely addictive flavour to Bulletstorm, making it more than just a mindless shooter that you never touch again after the end credits roll.

BEST ACTION GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Batman: Arkham City
Honourable Mentions: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dead Island, L.A. Noire.

Game of the Year 2011 BEST SPORTS GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Forza Motorsport 4
Honourable Mentions: WWE 12, Fifa Soccer 12, Fight Night Champion, NBA 2K12.

WORST GAME OF 2010

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Duke Nukem Forever
Dishonourable Mentions: Alice: Madness Returns, Call of Juarez: The Cartel.
After 15 long years of development, this is what we get? A humiliating piece of work with awful graphics and terrible gameplay.

Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Call of Juarez: The Cartel
Dishonourable Mentions: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Describing the faults with the latest Call of Juarez game would require approximately a month's worth of time, so we'll just say that there is almost nothing redeeming about this racist, boring, glitchy hunk of junk. Terrible.

BEST PUZZLE GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: Portal 2
Honourable Mentions: LittleBigPlanet 2, Catherine, Back to the Future: The Game, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game.
It is not only the best puzzle game but one of the best games of 2011 and most satisfying.

Game of the Year 2011 Daniel Barron's Picks
Winner: Stacking
Honourable Mentions: Chime Super Deluxe, Tetris
Who would have thought a game featuring matryoshka dolls would be so darn fun ... and would make you think so much? Double Fine's delightful downloadable game was oodles of fun, plain and simple.

BEST ROLE-PLAYING GAME

John Powell's Picks
Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Honourable Mentions: Dragon Age II, Dark Souls.
Is there any other choice? Nothing comes close to the all-encompassing RPG experience that is Skyrim.

 
  Related Articles
· Get G4
· G4 Press Release Index
· Interact
· Advertising Information


About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.