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Game of the Year 2011 - Console Awards

Find out what games of 2011 best represented the current consoles on the market.


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Winner

Sometimes, when considering games in a Game of the Year discussion, certain titles are foregone conclusions. Why, of course The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the top game on Wii. Was there ever any doubt? Beyond the fact that it was an extremely slow year for Wii releases, we are confident that this Zelda not only earns its place as Wii Game of the Year, but it belongs in that hallowed list of top Wii games of all time.

Skyward Sword doesn’t reinvent the Zelda formula, but it takes great strides into updating the core game mechanics. Contextual actions that required a button press in previous Zelda games now happen with a press on the stick. Navigation is made much easier with a better map system and custom waypoints. There’s a pretty robust item upgrade element that can drastically improve your gear if you take the time to do it. And items are far more useful this time around, too. Many of the things that you pick up have a multitude of uses, and much of the fun of navigating the dungeons is found in using these items in creative ways. And we would be remiss in neglecting to mention the excellent dungeon design. Always a staple of the Zelda series, the team has outdone themselves this time around. The levels unfold naturally, with the important items that you find slowly leading you deeper and deeper into the dungeon, and culminate in the kind of tricky bosses that the series is known for.

But the real selling point for Skyward Sword is the motion control. This game finally makes good on the promise made by Nintendo way back in 2006. It took five years and additional equipment (the Motion Plus attachment), but at last, motion controls create a unique and compelling way to play a game that isn’t a collection of mini-games or casual shovelware. The controls work well for the most part. Slashing with the remote gives immediacy to the combat that hasn’t been there before. Each battle takes a little strategy, and even the lowest form of moblins will block your flailing attacks. Even your equipped items utilize the motion controls in interesting ways, enhancing combat and tactics that have been with the Zelda series for over ten years. This all culminates in a game that’s a joy to play during its lengthy quest. This is a must–own for Wii gamers, and worthy of close inspection for gamers that have fallen off the Zelda bandwagon in recent years.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland - Runner Up

First you draw a circle, then you dot the eyes. Add in four players, hammers, swords, hats, ice, enemies, starships, and mini-games, and you have a very enjoyable multiplayer platformer. Kirby's Return to Dream Land is a return to Kirby's roots in video games after several dabbles in other titles, like Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby Mass Attack. With several special power-ups, four players, and dozens of stages, Kirby's Return to Dream Land is a fun platformer with nearly unending variety for people of any age. Worthy of any platforming fan's attention, Kirby's Return to Dreamland is an easy choice for this year's Runner Up for Wii Game of the Year.

Honorable Mentions


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Angelo Grant Staff Writer

12/15/2011 at 01:01 PM

Wow. I completely agree with this one. That never happens with these things. Great job.

Also, and I think I've mentioned this before, I want to play Bastion on the 3DS very, very badly. I might take Jason up on his suggestion and email the devs about that.


12/15/2011 at 05:53 PM

Nice to see Outland mentioned. I loved that game. I need to play more handheld games. Only played Okamiden so far from this year on handhelds. I am still working on finishing it too.

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