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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.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Winner

Skyrim is the perfect encapsulation of what an RPG should be. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is accessible to the player’s whims. Where you go, and who you are is completely up to you. In a landscape where RPG’s are being toned down in an effort to increase accessibility, Skyrim depicts how a current generation RPG can provide an unheralded level of customization in conjunction with a streamlined experience.

Like other games in The Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim puts a heavy emphasis on exploration. Only this time they not only allow you to explore the surrounding world and lore, but yourself as well. In a controversial move Skyrim opted to remove the arch-class types that we have grown accustomed to, in favor of allowing players to instead formulate their own styles of play. Creating a system that not only allows players flexibility in dealing with various problems, but also a greater sense of ownership as each character completes these challenges in their own unique way.

Skyrim further enriches the RPG experience through fully developed and realized quest lines. The Elder Scrolls series has always been known for lush and rich storytelling, but past iterations of the series pale in comparison to the ever present adventures that reside within the land of Skyrim. Via the new “Creation Engine” Skyrim boasts an impressive 350+ hours of gameplay that is jam packed with various quests and characters. Even more astounding is the game's ability to evolve; as players progress through the game their actions will alter the world and characters perceptions around them. Completing a quest may close a door with one faction, but it could also give you the opportunity to join another. All of this culminates in an experience that gives weight to the player’s actions.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Runner Up

The traditional RPG is going the way of the dinosaur. To survive, the role-playing genre has had to become a hybrid, blending stats and hit points with action and smooth controls. It’s fitting, then, that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of our favorite RPGs of the year. Not only is it a prime example of a hybrid RPG, but Adam Jensen, the game’s gravelly voiced protagonist is himself a combination of old and new. Deus Ex has a little bit of some great games, from a dialogue mechanic similar to L.A. Noire to the best stealth action this side of Batman: Arkham Asylum, this is a game that has something for everyone.

The thing that really makes Deus Ex: Human Revolution special is the freedom that is afforded the player. In almost every situation, you have multiple options on how to tackle your next objective. Go the silent and non-lethal approach, hacking terminals to get access codes and insider information, or go in with sheer brute force, crashing through walls and unleashing bullet hell on your enemies. Or maybe you want to do a little bit of both. It’s up to you, and Human Revolution doesn’t limit your options by locking you out of abilities and perks. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore all aspects of the skill tree, which really gives you carte blanche to explore this future dystopia on your own terms. And, while the game isn’t without its graphical flaws, the art direction and architecture make Deus Ex stand out from every other game this year. Eidos Montreal has hit one out of the park with this one, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Mr. Jensen.

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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