Staff Favorites 2011: Xav's picks

The Shacknews staff takes a moment to recognize some of the team's favorite titles that didn't quite crack our overall 'Best of 2011' awards. First up is senior editor Xav de Matos with his favorites.

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Crysis 2 Crysis 2 was, and remains, a phenomenal game. Though I had some problems with the game's narrative, it was a gorgeous experience that I enjoyed playing through. It's a shame that the title suffered greatly at the hands of pirates. Developer Crytek certainly deserves your money as a developer that continuously attempts to push the boundaries of any platform the company's titles land on. My preferred platform was PC (obviously, let's not kid ourselves) but the game was still impressive on console... and don't even get me started on how much fun the multiplayer can be. This is one you should buy if you missed it.

DC Universe Online from Sony Online Entertainment Austin

DC Universe Online I've never been one for MMO titles, but DC Universe Online captured my attention from day one. The combat was more third-person action in the vein of an Infamous than your standard point-and-click affair, and I sunk a ton of time into it on both PC and PS3. It also does an amazing job of leveraging the complete DC universe, featuring the popular and obscure. Since launching it has gone free-to-play, so make sure to give it a shot.

Dead Space 2 from Visceral Games

Dead Space 2 If you don't like the Dead Space series then you're not invited to anymore of my cookouts. Dead Space 2 sacrificed scares from the original for crazy action, but it's still one of the most impressive games I played in 2011. Multiplayer never caught fire with me, but the single-player's over-the-top Hollywood set pieces really made it a treat to play. (Side note: Dead Space 3, you need to bring back the insane bosses from the first.)

Mortal Kombat from NetherRealm Studios

Mortal Kombat The team at NetherRealm did something special this time. Sure, I actually liked MK vs. DC (haters, shut it!), but this is Mortal Kombat the way it was meant to be. Gruesome, hardcore, and a wealth of treasures to unlock. Buy it, play it, love it.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet from Michel Gagne and Fuelcell Games

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet There were no shortage of "Metroidvania" style games this year, but Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet was probably my favorite. The game's art and music are sublime. It is a short adventure, but it's one I enjoyed every minute of.

Rayman Origins from Ubisoft Montpellier

Rayman Origins Play it for ten minutes. That warm, tingling sensation you feel? That's you smiling like a child. It's so stunning and such a treat that it could have easily made the official Shacknews list, but it seems that a lot of people are passing the game's release by. Do yourself a favor, buy it or rent it immediately. Like Beyond Good & Evil, I anticipate Rayman Origins will be the classic we all hope gets a new installment at Ubisoft in a matter of years.

Minecraft from Mojang Specifications

Minecraft If there's one disappointment I have it's not playing Minecraft sooner. The game is amazing in so many ways. It's the perfect example of indie ingenuity and community adoration. Forget what you think it is, because Minecraft will surprise you.

Infinity Blade from Chair Entertainment

Infinity Blade 2 "It's just Super Punch-Out" some people tell me when I bring up Infinity Blade. "Oh, it's just like that game you absolutely adore except mature and beautiful? How dare they!" It may not be the best mobile title of the year (Sup, Jetpack Joyride?), but it's one of the most impressive. A lot of new content, branching paths, and a new upgrade system to obsess over? I'll take it!

Dark Souls from From Software

Dark Souls It may disappoint hardcore fans of Dark Souls to learn the game did not make our overall list; however, it is a game I think the staff could come around on. Once you accept the game for what it is, flaws and all (namely my personal issues with its controls), you're introduced to a vicious world where preparation is akin to godliness. There is no holding your hand here. It's as brutal as you want it to be. Didn't think ahead? Well, that's your fault now isn't it? It's a difficult game for me to love but it's an easy game for me to respect, and for that I give it a nod of appreciation. Other favorites in 2011: Jetpack Joyride (see above), Uncharted 3 (my review explains all), Bulletstorm (my review explains all), Gears of War 3 (my review explains all)
"You forgot..." Let us stop you there! This week we're revealing the Shacknews 'Staff Favorites,' which are titles that didn't quite make our 'Best of 2011' list. This week we'll also be revealing our Honorable Mentions, games that almost made our 'Top Five of the Year' (those are coming next week). If you see a game on this list, it means no amount of arguing, hair-pulling, or crying was enough to get it to be featured on our overall 'Best of' list. Let's agree to disagree! Despite that, these were great games in another stellar year of gaming.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 9, 2012 2:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Staff Favorites 2011: Xav's picks.

    The Shacknews staff takes a moment to recognize some of the team's favorite titles that didn't quite crack our overall 'Best of 2011' awards. First up is senior editor Xav de Matos with his favorites.

    • reply
      January 9, 2012 2:41 PM

      ewww Dark Souls. You can talk about flaws all you want, but the game has entire systems and mechanics which are floating around and unexplained to the user. Frustration is not a game mechanic.

      Otherwise I dig your list. Wish Dead Space 2 got some more love. I think most of the complaints I've seen have to do more with an ambiguous difficulty setting then with the actual gameplay. To many folks didn't think they would enjoy playing on casual but that's the setting that had me loving the game. DCU Online was great for the time I had to put in to it. I had more issues with Sony while I was playing it then I did with the game's creators.

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        January 9, 2012 2:43 PM

        Bad thing about DCUO is that the game started to really get good just before the Sony hack. Then SOE shut down the server. I just forgot about the game by the time it was back online. (Obviously, this isn't a fault of the game, but it stinks that it happened.)

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        January 9, 2012 4:55 PM

        "entire systems and mechanics which are floating around and unexplained to the user"

        what game are you playing? there is nothing in the WHOLE game that isnt timing based, or reaction time based. You block, you attack when there is an opening. All traps are clear if you look, all enemies have specific attacks that can be easily avoided once you understand them. ehhh.. but some people see shadows on the brightest day, others enjoy the wonder of a great day.

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          January 10, 2012 3:42 PM

          I have one word for you. Kindling. What is it? I don't know there's nothing in the game or its supporting documentation to tell you.

          Humanity? I got some. What's it for? No one knows. Unless I went onto the internet to figure out. I mean the documentation doesn't even do you the service of providing a link to a wiki or something.

          Meh on that game. Meh on it.

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      January 9, 2012 6:26 PM

      Nice list Xav. I'm happy to see DCUO getting some love.

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      January 9, 2012 7:36 PM

      I thought Crysis 2's multiplayer for the PC was full of hackers?

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        January 9, 2012 7:58 PM

        It was ruined from day one and only got worse as time went by. I've never played a game where hacking was so rampant, blantant, and pretty much unstoppable. About all they did to counter the hacks before I gave up on it altogether was implement a broken vote kick system no one would use.

        And because the hackers were easily bypassing the shitty gamespy authentication, they pretty much had free reign. Would be interesting to see what the state of the game is today, there must be a few servers that are heavily moderated with admins using rcon and tools if any players are left.

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          January 9, 2012 8:04 PM

          It's a damn shame too, because when it worked, it was pretty awesome.

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      January 9, 2012 8:01 PM

      DCUO? crysis 2? ooooookay

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      January 9, 2012 8:09 PM

      "This week we're revealing the Shacknews 'Staff Favorites,' which are titles that didn't quite make our 'Best of 2011' list."

      So Dark Souls didn't make the list eh? :(

      Well, it was an embarrassingly good year for gamers, so some stuff was bound to get left out. I can forgive that. Once.

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        January 9, 2012 9:21 PM

        I'll have to see the final list before forgiveness is dished out.

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      January 9, 2012 9:00 PM

      Rayman Origins is probably my GOTY. It's the only game I'm going to 100%. So much charm in that game.

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      January 9, 2012 10:29 PM

      Well done Xav...good list

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      January 9, 2012 10:36 PM

      Pretty good list, but I don't recommend getting Crysis 2 this late in the game. MP is probably all jacked up (a pity, it had some excellent gameplay) and SP isn't worth the current price.

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      January 9, 2012 11:46 PM

      Disappointed with the choices but each to their own, of course. I liked Crysis 2 and DCUO being on there. :)

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      January 10, 2012 10:05 PM

      'Shack staff' are officially the only people in the world with a positive thing to say about Crysis 2's multiplayer.

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      January 12, 2012 6:46 AM

      This is going to be embarassing.

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      January 16, 2012 9:10 AM

      I tried Minecraft. The only surprise it held for me is the mystery as to why it's so popular. O_o

      It's basically Legos for adults. Never was in to Legos.

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      January 17, 2012 7:34 PM

      Nice mention of Dead Space 2 mate! I agree we need more crazy bosses from the first game but I did enjoy the pacing throughout the 2nd one. I always compared the first to Alien and the second to Aliens..more on action less on the main baddies and more focus on the regular enemies.

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      January 19, 2012 12:50 AM

      I just can't believe that dark souls wasn't on the overall list, seriously gotta question you guys for that! You all clearly need to play more of it, as an overall package of brilliant, design, mechanics and well thought out ideas it's unravelled not only this year but for the last few.

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      January 19, 2012 5:00 AM

      Hooray for Dark Souls!

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