Best and Worst Games of 2011

This year was stellar for gaming!  Great hits released for nearly every genre, every platform, and every style of play.  To begin our roundup of 2011, we want to share the games we feel were the best and worst or most disappointing this year.  These are games we played and we’re weighing them on our own personal scale, not by how they were received by the majority.

Best Games of 2011

KEEN:  Battlefield 3 – BF3 almost made it onto my list of most disappointing games because of several issues (UI and performance being on the top), but I had to put it on my list of best games because of the fun I’m having and what the game represents.  When a lot of games went the way of console ports, BF3 brought a huge boost to PC credibility.  BF3’s multiplayer is a ton of fun and it’s never been easier to play with friends via the new Battlelog, a love it or hate it new feature (I love it).

KEEN:  Skylanders – I absolutely have to give Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure my vote.  The brilliance of combining cross-platform compatible toys with video games, and actually having the video game be fantastic is reason enough for Skylanders to be recognized.  The adventure mode has depth as you progress and upgrade your individual Skylanders.  Co-op increases the enjoyment.  Take your Skylanders into battle mode and fight them.  Even take them to a friend’s house and YOUR Skylanders are there with you even if your friend has a different plaform.


GRAEV:  Batman: Arkham City – Probably the closest we’ll ever have to a big open-city Batman.  This game let me do everything Batman can do.   Akham City is a great example of how sequels should be made.  When making games, you should keep all the good things and expand upon them instead of taking things away.  All the great things from Arkham Asylum were included, but bigger and better.

GRAEV:  Dark Souls – It’s hard, which is a rare thing these days!  There’s a feeling of accomplishment when I progress and take down bosses.  Although primarily a single-player game, Dark Souls offers a multiplayer experience that enhances the single-player experience.   Players can go into other people’s games and help with bosses or go for a more pvp aspect by invading enemy players worlds to steal their souls.  Dark Souls offers a unique experience.

Worst or Most Disappointing Games of 2011

GRAEV:  Skyrim – Even though I enjoyed Skyrim, and played through twice,  it was disappointing to me in many ways.  Bethesda is taking the franchise in a direction I don’t like, into a more streamlined and action game approach which diverges from what made Morrowind great.  Certain things bugged me more than others.  Bethesda removed all of the stats from the game, changed the level up process, removed spellcrafting, magic feels incredibly underwhelming, and the addition of dragons was neat at first but quickly became repetitive and lost the ‘wow factor’, making the cliff racers from Morrowind look good.


KEEN:  Brink – I expected so much more from Brink.  It was supposed to be a thrilling new approach to the team-based shooter experience, but it ultimately fell flat.  The maps are too underwhelming with balance issues.  The gun play wasn’t there, either.  Looking back, this is one of the few games I would say gave me buyer’s remorse.

KEEN:  Rift – The second game which I felt buyer’s remorse over was Rift.  I wanted to love this game; I tried.  Despite having disappointing PvP, it’s the PvE that killed it for me.  I couldn’t get past how generic and repetitive the quests were and how “blah” the zones felt.   I couldn’t get into the story and ultimately I was never attached to my characters.  I couldn’t bring myself to reach the max level.



  • Good list K&G…I love all of your points but feel you really missed out on a great endgame for Rift…the raids were a lot of fun.

    Right now I’m frustrated by TOR, with both the graphics and combat. I dunno…I don’t think what I want from a mmorpg is that strange but why is it that only pre-Cata WoW and pre-f2p lotro have been able to provide it?

    Maybe I need to read books again or just play console games. I’m tired of being disappointed that’s for sure.

  • Gotta disagree with Graev on Skyrim. It’s one of my favorites. I am still slowly working my way through it as I take jaunts from the main questline all the time.

    I do somewhat agree on a couple of points. I’m on the fence about how they removed the stats and changed leveling. I was disappointed at first, but now not so much – it was kind of just extra fluff, kinda fun fluff, but still.

    Another thing I will agree on is the dragons. I have a tougher time with Draugr Deathlords than dragons. They are far too easy to kill.

    I’m not sure what you mean about more “streamlined.” I guess it certainly did make it easier to go from one step to another in quests than previous games, but, like I said, I haven’t even finished the main quest yet. A friend of mine is well over level 35 now and hasn’t even touched the main questline. He is just having fun doing missions as an assassin and is apparently the head of the thieves guild now. I loved the larger side-quests, like the civil war line, that can you break off and jump into to do something different from the main questline.

    I also like the fact that it has a bit more action than previous games actually. It by no means is a very large divergence in my opinion, as I still can spend several hours digging around exploring the nooks and crannies of a dungeon without much action to speak of.

    I’m taking it slow with Skyrim, but I imagine I will be enjoying it for many more months.

  • I also strongly disagree with Graev on Skyrim, I have spent 35 hours with the game & am not even an hour into the main quest. The Dark Brotherhood questline is a blast.

  • I used to play Skyrim like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee, not an uncommon occurance actually…

  • I’d have to disagree on Rift. I had six excellent months when I played virtually nothing else, I have three level 50s, on in the high 40s and several more in the 20s and 30s. I’m still subbed and likely to remain so indefinitely. The only reason I’m not playing as much as I was is because of the plethora of other excellent MMO choices available and the lack of hours in the day.

    Zone design in Rift is top quality in my opinion. The level of detail is astounding. The game is an absolute dream for explorers. Quests aren’t mold-breaking, it’s true, but the quality of the writing is at the upper end of the range for MMOs and some of the set pieces are very well done. I laughed many times.

    I suspect that for the substantial number of people who found Rift unsatisfying and who were hoping for innovation and originality there may be few traditional MMOs coming along any time soon that will please you any better. The form is settling down now and there will be a lot of iteration. It’s going to be like movies or novels – producers will play safe and stick with what they know. For those of us who just want more of the same, though, the future looks good.

  • My list of best games is Deus Ex and Skyrim, way ahead of anything else.
    Loved Rift and my favourite MMO so far but of course I could not be bothered beyond 50 having done 6 years of WoW Raiding.

    SWTOR I’ve already lost interest in because combat is so dull, PvP is the worst I’ve ever seen and really it feels like a SP game with MMO elements. I might complete my “Free Month” but already finding myself playing plenty of other games rather than logging in.

    From the Indie Stables I got Orcs Must Die for about £2 and completed this excellent little game the other night.

  • @Intruder: “SWTOR I’ve already lost interest in because combat is so dull, PvP is the worst I’ve ever seen and really it feels like a SP game with MMO elements. I might complete my “Free Month” but already finding myself playing plenty of other games rather than logging in.”

    Exactly. And I’m stunned. I’m playing Rift or even Plants v Zombies before logging in. And here I thought TOR was going to be 2 yrs.

    Just goes to show, you never know.

  • @bhagpuss: Can’t agree that future MMOs will just be regurgitations of WoW like the current crop. Guild Wars 2 looks to to be a very different game and appears to address many of the annoying issues in WoW alikes that are all too obvious to many of us. So if those innovations are a success it’s likely to trigger a big change in the next generation of MMOs.

  • Tend to agree that Skyrim was a bit disapointing – for me mainly because it’s so nearly completely awesome. Wandering around in Skyrim’s open world can be one of the most immersive experiences in any game. Bethesda get all the big things right, but fail massively when it comes to attention to detail – viz the dreadful UI, poorly paced difficulty curve etc.

  • For me, Battlefield 3 was the best and Brink was the worst game of 2011. I had many expectations for Brink, but when I started playing it was just sad. On the other had BF3 rocks!