Game of the Year Awards 2011
New Game Network staff make their annual selections for the best video games of the year!
Best PC Game
If you are a fan of RPG’s and don’t mind a steep learning curve, PC exclusive Witcher 2 is a game that demands your attention. The plethora of game-changing choices, complex and highly political story combined with the fast-paced combat and immersive world of the Witcher 2 make this a stand out experience and worthy sequel to the first Witcher.
Best PlayStation 3 Game
What the first inFamous established as an original but sometimes unpolished experience, the sequel takes to a new level. The gameplay hasn’t changed much, which is perhaps the sequel’s weakest selling point, but it remains unquestionably fun and that’s more than enough for most. Action has been ramped up with updated animations and devastating Ionic powers, and platforming still feels like a great mix between realistic and superhuman, making it the best PlayStation 3 game of 2011.
Best Xbox 360 Game
It only took two years to make, and yet it offers possibly the best simulation racing experience on the market as of right now. Forza 4 is a deep and engaging title that offers a ton of value, making it not only a great racer, but also the best game this year on Xbox 360.
Best New IP
A successful attempt at something unique, L.A. Noire proves that the adventure genre is far from dead. Though not without issues, LA Noire's unique mechanics and technology make it a great start for a hopeful franchise, which comes recommended to anyone who's tired of today's formulaic action games.
Most Improved Sequel
inFamous 2 is a sequel that improves on the original in most ways. Though not perfect, and lacking any true game-changers, the title's trademark gameplay remains fun, engaging, and helps the franchise push forward towards greatness. With many sequels simply "phoning it in", inFamous 2 shows how to keep a series moving forward with significant strides, pleasing both fans and newcomers.
Most Surprisingly Good Game
Driver: San Francisco is quite simply a stellar reboot of a franchise. Delivering a unique and, most importantly, well executed Shift mechanic helps the game stand out alongside its peers. The arcade racing feels right, the open world is huge and littered with things to do, and though the AI could use some work, it’s nothing gamebreaking. Included online multiplayer options are varied and promise to provide many hours of entertainment. For a title whose concepts seemed odd at best, we couldn't be more thrilled with how the final game turned out.
Best Downloadable Game
Trine 2 is a solid yet simple platformer that succeeds in bringing players into a rich fantasy world. It doesn’t change the mechanics of the original but it adds enough new things for players to learn and enjoy. The beautiful, saturated environments represent some of the best art design for any game released this year.
Best DLC / Expansion
Four maps from BF2 wonderfully reproduced in the Frostbite 2.0 engine with lots of destruction. Most of the maps preserve the structure but the new designs are fantastic too. Some new assignments, new weapons and vehicles are also great. The best part of the expansion though: it was free for everybody with the limited edition. Now that is a great reason to pre-order.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (The Missing Link), Dawn of War II (Retribution), Infamous 2 (Festival of Blood)
Most Disappointing Game
In the end, RAGE feels like a lackluster effort from iD considering the length of the game's development. The inconsistency of the campaign means that you get about 6 hours of high quality shooting and a whole bunch of pointless filler in the form of uninspired side quests, ridiculously easy racing and some basic vehicular combat. RAGE is notable for its great enemy AI and visually varied levels, but it feels bloated and often repetitive.
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