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Game of the Year 2011 - Genre Awards

Find out what games of 2011 best represented the nine most notable genres in gaming.


Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Winner

Even when you’re one of the biggest game developers in the world, you can make some bad calls. This year has been a string of bad calls for Capcom, including the release of not one, but two versions of the third Marvel vs. Capcom game in less than a year. It’s a good thing for Capcom that they make such great games, then, as we here at PixlBit have decided to overlook that little snafu and award Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 the title of Best Fighting Game of 2011. It takes a great game to not only get us over the sting of double dipping, but narrowly beating out the triumphant return of Mortal Kombat. UMvC 3 brings the A game, though, and it deserves its place atop the pile of fighters we’ve had this year.

It had been about ten years since Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and in that time, the game had achieved a legendary status among hardcore fighting game fans. There were hopes that the series would make a return, but would a polygonal “vs.” game be able to replicate the speed, precision, and overall insanity of the previous games in the series? The answer, as you may have guessed, is a resounding yes. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 maintains that signature element of turbo-charged fighting goodness that Capcom brought to the arcades in the late 90s and early 2000s. There’s a plethora of aerial combos, team attacks, and Hyper Combos to master, and finding that perfect team that clicks for you is half the fun. In addition to the normal insanity that the series is known for, you can now unleash the X-Factor mode, which gives you a massive boost in attack power, speed, and even regenerates your health. This is a last-ditch move that increases in duration if you are down to your last fighter, and adds that extra bit of strategy to the organized chaos.

With a staggering roster of 48 characters (plus more coming as DLC), you would be forgiven for thinking that UMvC 3 might be lacking in the visuals. Thankfully, you would be wrong. This is a gorgeous looking game, taking cues from the inky, sketched look of Street Fighter IV and running with it. The backgrounds are astounding, and the screen fills with so many particle effects, hit flashes, and combo counters that it can all be a little daunting to the new player. This iteration adds 12 characters over the first version of MvC 3, and they are welcome additions. Players finally get their dream of bringing Phoenix Wright out of the courtroom and into the fighting arena. Characters like him really shine with the amount of detail that’s gone into the animation for the roster, and it’s a joy for Capcom and Marvel zombies alike. Capcom may have made a misstep by releasing two versions of this game in such a short period of time, but you can be sure that this is a robust fighting package.

Mortal Kombat - Runner Up

The new title in the Mortal Kombat franchise had a lot to prove. After the previous game added DC characters and removed the "mature" fatalities, the gimmicky mini-game gameplay and watered down mechanics resulted in a game that was less than stellar. As a matter of fact, publisher Midway went out of business soon afterward. Picked up by Warner Bros Interactive, Ed Boon and the developers at Netherealm Studios decided to get back to basics, Christina Aguilera style.

The story went back to the saga during the first three games, 3D gameplay was replaced with 2D and blood and gore was back in. Oh man was it back in. The moment you see Noob Saibot’s Make a Wish fatality move, you knew they had some sick bastards creating this game. Of course, the blood and guts is just a flashy way to pull you into the in deep story mode and satisfying combat mechanics. Combos are easy to start, but hard to master and fighting game junkies will be rewarded just as much as the nooblet learning to throw a freeze ball. Simple but deep controls enable you to win with just punching and kicking, but there’s potential for combos and special moves. No matter which way you play, the fighting is incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Add a big roster of characters, an entire crypt filled with extras to unlock, and strong online play, and you’ve got one of the best fighting games of the year.

Honorable Mentions


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Angelo Grant Staff Writer

12/14/2011 at 12:37 PM

Were it up to me, I would only swap a couple runners up with their 1st place winners. I'd put Gears 3 over MW3 easy.

Also, while I appreciate Radiant Historia getting some love, where the hell is Dark Souls?


12/14/2011 at 01:03 PM

I'm happy as hell Portal 2 won best puzzler. Catherine was good, but I felt Portal 2 was a much better game...the online co op is the most fun I've had playing online with anyone. I have to agree with Angelo though....Dark Souls didn't even get an honorable mention. Why's that?

Julian Titus Senior Editor

12/14/2011 at 01:11 PM

Dark Souls is one of those games that sadly went under our radar. Not that we don't agree that it's a worthy game, but I don't think anyone on the staff has played it yet. I'm still trying to get back to Demon's Souls for my Travel Log series.

Nick DiMola Director

12/14/2011 at 01:15 PM

We each voted for our top 3 in the genre and Dark Souls only placed on 2 people's lists and that was in the 3rd place position. As such, it wasn't really enough to get a mention. I think it's one of those cases where it's been a year rich in RPGs and it's a game easily overlooked when considering your 3 favorites of the year. Disgaea 4 was also omitted for similar reasons.

Truth be told, I was pretty surprised it didn't get a bunch more votes.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

12/14/2011 at 01:16 PM

Ah. Well hopefully hiring new staff should sort that out in time for next year. It's a niche game, so I can understand why not everybody played it.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

12/14/2011 at 01:17 PM

Yea it's tough this really was one of the greatest years in gaming EVER! So unfortunately that means that there was just not enough spots to represent all of the great games that came out this year.But in honesty having to many great games to choose from is a pretty awesome predicament to have.

Vic Roman Staff Alumnus

12/14/2011 at 01:28 PM

Dark Souls, if only I had been here earlier haha. I have been raving and ranting about that game since it's release, and was raving about Demon's Souls up until the day of Dark Souls release. I'm definitely a bit sad it didn't make it on this list, but this game was so jam packed of quality titles that the masochistic Dark Souls was bound to be left behind. It's personally one of my top 3 games of the year though.


12/14/2011 at 02:49 PM

it's all good fellas, not mad atcha. Disgaea 4..another wonderful title that I didn't give enough attention to. Glad it's in my Q...though I may just wait for a price drop and pick'er up for keeps. That game's easily playable for 100+ hours.

Vic, I knew you'd have something to say on SOULS. It's shaping up to be more fun than Skyrim, for me.


12/14/2011 at 04:34 PM

This is really reminding me how many games I need to play from this year still. I'm leaning towards Uncharted 3 over Zelda at the moment, but have not finished Zelda yet, so I have to wait and see. Still need to play Dead Space 2, Rayman, Kirby, Layton... ahhhh! Hopefully I will get to some of these games soon.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

12/14/2011 at 04:59 PM

I have 30 games in my backlog, but I checked last night and noticed that only 9 of them are from this year. I played and finished a lot more games this year.

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

12/14/2011 at 08:09 PM

Nice job on this one guys, it was great seeing everyone come together to make this.

Rob Ottone Staff Alumnus

12/14/2011 at 09:26 PM

Like Julian, I, too, have a 30 game backlog. Thankfully, I love myself too much to put "Dark Souls" on that list.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

12/14/2011 at 11:18 PM

Oh, Rob, it's not that bad. Check out my Demon's Souls Travel Log. It doesn't hurt nearly as much as people say.

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