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PixlBit's 2011 Supplemental Awards

Just when you thought awards season was over...

Winner – Portal 2

The original Portal was a simple affair that didn’t offer much beyond its wonderful single player experience.  When it was announced that Portal 2 was coming, many gamers simply imagined a more robust and fleshed-out single player game with perhaps a few other bells and whistles to boot.  Even when we were well aware that the game would come equipped with a co-op mode, few gamers could have predicted that it would end up being the game’s main attraction.

The usual, tired approach to co-op is to plop a second character into the single player campaign.  Some developers will create a small amount of special co-op missions, which usually amount to a decent distraction at best.  Valve did neither of these things and instead devised a co-op that not only rivaled the core single player game, but surpassed it so much so that the marketing and the game’s box art featured it as the main event. 

It all worked this way because Valve didn’t treat co-op as an additional feature, they treated it as part of the core experience.  By having the single-player and co-op experiences complement each other, the player is almost forced to play through both to get the full scope of the game.  And instead of competing with each other, players were forced to actually work as a team to make their way through GLaDOS’ seemingly never-ending array of tests and trials.  In 2011, Portal 2 not only provided an excellent co-op experience, it set the bar for those that would follow.

Honorable Mention

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01/19/2012 at 07:39 PM

These types of awards are always fun. Surprised Uncharted 3 didn't win best graphics (though I played BF3 on PS3). Would have picked either Rayman or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet for art direction. I agree with a lot of these picks though.

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