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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.


NBA 2K12 - Winner

Even a lockout-shortened NBA season couldn’t keep NBA 2K12 from being the year’s best sports game and, to be quite frank, one of the best basketball simulation games of all time. Drawing inspiration from last year’s uber-successful Jordan Challenge mode, 2K Sports created a new gaming experience that simultaneously plucked at the nostalgia ridden heartstrings of old school ballers and then massaged the new school’s need to prove themselves in the newly created “Greatest” mode. Having the ability to finally pit Bill Russell against Shaq and LeBron against Magic was the source of an immense amount of joy for me personally.

But all this would be for naught if 2K couldn’t also provide a fluid and mechanically sound gaming experience. It delivered in spades, presenting the gaming community with one of the most intuitive and realistic basketball sims ever. Character models have been overhauled since last year’s outing, and movements are so well animated that it’s sometimes easy to forget that you’re playing a game and not just watching one.

New additions to the “My Player” mode and a robust online experience round out some of the features that truly make this game stand out. I’m not one to suggest buying another sports title just a year after an excellent edition in the series, but NBA 2K12 should not be missed by anyone that considers themselves a sports fan.

FIFA Soccer 12 - Runner Up

This year of FIFA improvements were enough to give it a nod as the Sports Game of the Year Runner Up. Since all sports simulations are striving to become the most realistic game in their genre every year, this is not an easy feat. FIFA 12 does the best job of selecting the correct player attributes to each superstar. You can literally tell when players like Messi and Rooney have the ball, since FIFA mimics their movement in distinctive ways. You can see Christiano Ronaldo running like he would, as well as his characteristic kicks on set pieces.

Celebrations are even more robust than years past, where some of your favorite players even emote like they do during the real World Cup. Defending has been made much harder for inexperienced players, so that you have to follow a player, rather than just go up and tackle them. But the best improvement is definitely the dribbling mechanic. You can really make a difference against an inexperienced defender with all of the moves at your arsenal. You just might not get to show off as much, since the matchmaking online has been improved by placing you with more players of your skill level, instead of matching you with random newcomers a lot like last year’s version. Finally online, if someone quits, you won’t lose out on the win like earlier installments.

Overall, the improvements add a depth and difficulty curve to an already great franchise. Harder makes it much better.

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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