All things considered, it's not really too much of a surprise that the fifth chapter in developer Bethesda's long-running series of sword-and-sorcery has garnered a comfortable position as Shacknews' fourth best game of the 2011. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim once again transports players back to the sprawling land of Tamriel, thrusting them into one of the series' most compelling main storylines to date, set in the beautiful snow-capped landscapes of the world's titular northern region. Few games sucked up as many of our precious gaming hours this year, thanks largely to sandbox design sensibilities and a vast amount of compelling content.
Refinements like a perk-enhanced progression system and grandiose additions such as countless dragons to slay, supplement a rich world filled with seemingly countless optional narratives to explore. We love Skyrim because it's one of those rare games that really lets players choose their own adventure. Thanks to its size and scope, Skyrim is still one of our favorite games to tell stories about (preferably around a fire over some mead and legs of mutton.)
All of this praise comes with a few caveats, however. Skyrim might have made it up higher on our list, had it not been for the different bugs, crashes, and some platform-specific performance issues that gamers experienced (and in some cases, are still experiencing) since the game launched. To put it another way: If you're a PlayStation 3-only gamer, we completely understand if you don't think Skyrim is one of the best games of 2012.
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The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors [here's how it works!]. Last week we revealed our "Honorable Mentions," which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' This week we reveal that Top Five list, with our Overall Game of the Year award being announced on January 20.