Best of 2011 Runner-Up: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

This week Shacknews finally reveals its top five games of 2011. We continue today with the fourth best game, as voted by the editors and staff writers: Bethesda's Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

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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.


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.

From The Chatty
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    January 17, 2012 12:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Best of 2011 Runner-Up: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

    This week Shacknews finally reveals its top five games of 2011. We continue today with the fourth best game, as voted by the editors and staff writers: Bethesda's Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

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      January 17, 2012 12:19 PM

      I can't wait to see the anger about this being third runner-up

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        January 17, 2012 12:22 PM

        no anger. it's a pcish game and the shackstaff are simple consolefags.

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          January 17, 2012 12:26 PM

          You might want to start window shopping for your crow.

          Also, easy with the language, yeah? Let's not go down that road.

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            January 17, 2012 2:55 PM

            What a brickmatt

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              January 17, 2012 3:02 PM

              lol, this meme. apparently everyone on the Shack is either a brickmatt or a sperglord these days.

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              January 18, 2012 6:00 AM

              HEH.

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            January 17, 2012 4:08 PM

            I think that comment is very shackish. True Shacknews spirit.

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            January 18, 2012 3:58 AM

            east with the language!! this is shackflynews, a family website. you fags.

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              January 18, 2012 3:59 AM

              easy. stupid typing

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              January 18, 2012 4:52 AM

              hahaha

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              January 18, 2012 7:16 AM

              I think the rule is profanity is fine as long as it's not directed at another shacker.

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          January 17, 2012 12:32 PM

          lolwut? Either this is very good trolling, or Wolfslice hasn't been coming here for very long. The Shack staff is a very PC friendly crew.

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          January 17, 2012 12:33 PM

          More like this game just really isn't even that good.

          Generic fantasy world with endless generic fetch quests and go here, talk to that guy, do this, standard affairs. It just happens to be a huge game with a LOT of generic crap, so apparently quantity qualifies as quality now.

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            January 17, 2012 12:40 PM

            I guess I should mention that I really liked it though, despite those things. Just, all the hype it has gotten is really depressing.

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            January 17, 2012 12:58 PM

            Personally, I much preferred shouting bears off the tops of mountains and owning the world of Skyrim by my actions than having to watch awkward cutscenes. It's not that I don't like stories in games, but I just don't see what there is left to say in fantasy games. Its all is so cliche that it's nice to see a game that avoided the 10 minute horrible LOTR tribute scenes every time you do a quest.

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            January 17, 2012 2:23 PM

            ugh, "generic"? save that for two worlds or some other game. Elder Scrolls has a fuck-ton of backstory and lore.

            If you don't like it that's your opinion, but don't pretend like they just slapped together some generic fantasy stuff without any thought.

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              January 17, 2012 2:43 PM

              They might not have slapped it together, but quantity of lore isn't a guarantee against being generic. Morrowind wasn't generic by any means, for example, but Skyrim and to a greater extent Oblivion have the very familiar flavour of fantasy medieval Europe.

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                January 17, 2012 3:14 PM

                I really don't want to get sucked into a big argument over this. But to me it seems there is a lot of double standards and bandwagon criticism applied to certain games and certain series.

                Dragon Age, The Witcher, countless other games escape the "generic" accusation even though aesthetically their worlds are no less "medieval fantasy Europe" than Elder Scrolls. IMO people just have it out for certain games that didn't gel for them personally, and they pile on with these repetitive meme-like criticisms.

                I made an embarassing mistake a week ago raging over people talking shit about something I value and I'm not about to do it again. People have their opinions and I'm going to try to not take it personally. Just going to have to agree to disagree.

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                  January 17, 2012 3:18 PM

                  You just broke the Internet with logic...

                  Or maybe you Googled the word Google.

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                  January 17, 2012 4:18 PM

                  Since when does Dragon Age escape the 'generic' criticism? It shouldn't.

                  Witcher gets a pass because it's atmospherically a pretty unique flavour of dark-fairytale mixed with grounded moral ambiguities.

                  Of course you shouldn't take it personally, but it's important to consider opposing viewpoints. Otherwise you just end up living in an information bubble.

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                    January 17, 2012 4:30 PM

                    I'll add to this that I had (am still having!) a good time with Skyrim. It clicked for me, and I like it. That doesn't excuse it from its flaws, though.

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                      January 18, 2012 7:10 AM

                      I'm a fan but I'm no fanboy. I'll be the first to admit the games have significant flaws.

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                        January 18, 2012 8:25 PM

                        Earlier you didn't seem to want anyone to even discuss the game's flaws.

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                  January 18, 2012 4:22 AM

                  I'm guilty of that. But I can't explain how else I remember absolutely nothing from Oblivion.

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                    January 18, 2012 7:14 AM

                    If you did the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood quest lines I bet you'd remember. Apparently Fighter's Guild and Mages Guild were pretty blah.

                    Yeah the best two quest lines were both for stealth characters. It was kind of unbalanced that way.

                    There was a lot wrong with Oblivion (I loved it anyway), but from what I hear (haven't played it yet) they've fixed a lot of things in Skyrim.

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          January 17, 2012 1:00 PM

          PC is certainly my primary gaming platform, and I was one of the Shackstaff who didn't want this to be our GotY.

          Skyrim is undoubtedly an impressive achievement, and certainly a big improvement upon Oblivion, but I found it a little boring. Yes, there's a huge, sprawling world with quests crammed into every nook and cranny--mostly the same quests, in mostly the same generic locations.

          There are some cracking questlines and moments, but I drifted through most of my time in Skyrim on autopilot, especially after I inadvertently 'broke' combat by getting too good.

          All the crafting, all the quests, all the skills, all the caves and all the buildings... they're not interesting in themselves. It's impressive that they're there, but that's not enough.

          Dicking around with NPCs and making unexpected things happening is fun for a while, but the edges of the systems are so clear it soon becomes unrewarding to exploit them.

          And the plot and writing are still terrible.

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            January 17, 2012 1:01 PM

            Not that Skyrim is bad--it's not--but I definitely preferred other games to be our GotY. Good year for video games, 2011.

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              January 17, 2012 1:05 PM

              Hey Alice, why is it so hard to find reviews for games on this site now? It's one of the few original pieces of content left around here yet impossible to get to if you miss the day they are put up and visible on the front page.

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                January 17, 2012 1:06 PM

                I'm not Alice, but I can answer:

                They can be found here: http://www.shacknews.com/tag/review/news

                We're working to make the review show as the first result in that game's specific gamepage.

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                  January 17, 2012 1:11 PM

                  Don't listen, he totes is Alice.

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                  January 17, 2012 1:13 PM

                  They should really be more visible than a generic list in a custom tag URL you have to manually type in. What the heck? Why are they not one click away from the top navigation bar?

                  And searching by game isn't any better, even if they are on the gamepage you guys don't review that many games so it's hard to know which ones are actually reviewed. It'd still be a random shot in the dark until you hit one.

                  Really poor design, they are so hidden I have to wonder why you guys even bother doing them still. I've always enjoyed reading the shack's as they weren't scored like every other shitty game site, but it's almost like the people in charge are ashamed of that now.

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                    January 17, 2012 1:37 PM

                    I agree about the design. I've been wondering for a long time why there isn't an easy to find link on the frontpage to the weekend confirmed podcasts. If you miss the day it's on the frontpage, you have to search for it manually. Seems more difficult than it needs to be. So, a link to reviews would also be appreciated.

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                      January 17, 2012 1:44 PM

                      Weekend Confirmed is always linked on the homepage.

                      http://www.shacknews.com

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                        January 17, 2012 4:12 PM

                        there have been times when it hasn't been there. But more importantly, even if I click on that link, it only goes straight to the most recent podcast. But if I want to look up a previous one, there is no easy way to get to it. Not even from the recent podcast page. I have to search.

                        Searching does provide a nice list though. How come there is no link directly to this list?

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                    January 17, 2012 1:44 PM

                    I'm an editor. I cannot speak to the design.

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              January 17, 2012 1:05 PM

              I too adored Skyrim but there was another game that captured the hearts and minds of the Shacknews staff when voting in our weighed scale system. We're really eager to tell you on Friday.

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                January 18, 2012 5:18 AM

                Finally Bus Simulator 2011 gets the recognition it deserves

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              January 17, 2012 1:57 PM

              How dare you, sir! How dare you, sir! How DARE you, SIR!

              Change your mind yet?

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              January 17, 2012 2:40 PM

              Really I think either you like Elder Scrolls or you don't. Clearly your opinion verges towards the "don't" despite a few acknowledgments. Crytek's games inspire much the same reaction. You like it, or you don't.

              I do wish the "don'ts" for these particular series would spend more time playing other games and less time trying to convince the rest of us that we are mistaken and have terrible taste. Not directed at you of course but there's no shortage of people incessantly proselytizing to the effect that people are wrong to enjoy these games.

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                January 17, 2012 2:49 PM

                Yes, I definitely am one of those who doesn't click with The Elder Scrolls. Nor Crytek's games, though strangely I do adore Far Cry 2.

                Which is why I rarely talk about TES or Crysis--I know loads of people really enjoy them, so me declaring "YOUR GAME IS STUPID" won't be fun for anyone. Actually, it might be fun for me. But I shouldn't, and won't.

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            January 17, 2012 2:11 PM

            I agree with everything you just said

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            January 17, 2012 2:14 PM

            I'd venture that having to play that game as a reviewer would ruin it. It's charm is in being free to and explore and do things *whenever you want to* which is pretty the opposite of playing it to finish it.

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              January 17, 2012 2:25 PM

              I didn't review Skyrim, though. I had no critical obligations whatsoever when playing Skyrim. I barely even mentioned it on Twitter. I didn't finish Skyrim's main quest either, but I did play 63 hours according to Steam.

              I explored wherever I wanted, but rarely found much noteworthy, and I did things whenever I wanted, but I frequently had nothing interesting to do.

              ("If you played 63 hours, you must have liked it!" No, not really. It's easy to read page-turners, listen to the radio, or simply watch television in the same way--passing time. Being good for passing time doesn't scream "Game of the Year!" to me.)

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                January 17, 2012 2:32 PM

                Rushing through to the end of Skyrim would be a worthless way of reviewing it, anyway. I'd dearly hope that no reviewer actually did that.

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                January 17, 2012 6:56 PM

                There must have been something good about it to capture your attention for that long, I can't even force myself to play games I didn't like for 63 minutes, but 63 hours? That is insane. You are a crazy person.

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            January 17, 2012 2:23 PM

            Agreed on all counts. And for all the talk of the new engine (and it is definitely pretty, with the exception of a lot of low-resolution textures), it is clearly just an improved Gamebryo.

            I was hoping they'd learned from Fallout: New Vegas regarding interaction with companions, but no. Enemies don't seem very diverse, either (a few types with different skins), and I pretty much plowed through all of them with the same two or three spells. I didn't really have to be creative. There's no character development of any kind. Marrying NPCs should have been milked for a lot more interaction. I am generally disappointed.

            I think Deus Ex: Human Revolution will be my GOTY, although it's hard to decide.

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              January 17, 2012 2:43 PM

              Have you played Bastion?

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                January 17, 2012 7:17 PM

                I've never heard of it. :(

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                January 18, 2012 10:29 PM

                Yeah, I did. It was underwhelming at best. The narrator gimmick was amusing for a while. It certainly shouldn't be up for any GOTY discussion based on what I saw of it. It's a decent game but nothing exceptional, really.

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            January 17, 2012 2:40 PM

            I wish you wrote more articles/reviews/etc.

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              January 17, 2012 3:08 PM

              Thank you. I keep meaning to write more than news, but have trouble finding a voice and style.

              I usually end up with several pages of dry, poorly-structured prose which I find utterly irredeemable. The only way to improve is practice, but I'm a bit sick of writing so much rubbish. One day, eh?

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                January 17, 2012 3:16 PM

                ONE DAY!

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                January 17, 2012 3:20 PM

                you should fly to the US and join the podcast! Even if it's for just for one episode. And I mean assuming that's cool with the people on the podcast. What better way to help find your voice than become involved in an actual rousing discussion of videogames?!

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                  January 17, 2012 3:28 PM

                  Or just prank call Chris Faylor

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                    January 17, 2012 4:04 PM

                    frankly that would work just as well

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                  January 17, 2012 4:11 PM

                  Have they started rousingly discussing videogames on the podcast now? I gave up waiting for that to happen and haven't listened for a few weeks.

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                January 17, 2012 7:52 PM

                As someone who is fond of your cephalopodiphilia and pip pip cheerio Britishisms, maybe you should just try for the same tone you've taken in defense of your Skyrim's-not-our-GotY stance. Seems to me you've been eminently sensible about it.

                I always wonder why I don't see more of your writing on the front page (other than I don't really read the front page much), or that you seem to be relegated to fluff pieces. So it's not that you're the token Girl Friday, or the token Brit, it's your own damn fault? Tsk, tsk.

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              January 17, 2012 8:00 PM

              Wait. I didn't even notice Alice wrote this. Reading now!

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              January 18, 2012 1:06 AM

              Completely agreed.

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            January 17, 2012 2:40 PM

            And the plot and writing are still terrible.

            Let's forgive the blurfy hurfy nonsense medieval politics and secret prophecies, how about just the random ambient NPC barks? Why would you re-record the exact same lines for female guards as the male guards? I can stretch my own suspension of disbelief to the point that there is one and the same idiotic Imperial guard following me around to every town I go, regurgitating a line about having a dragon fighting cousin, but what are the odds he has a twin sister also in the service who has the exact same halfwit manner of expression and constantly ponders the exact same cousin? I find it difficult!

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              January 17, 2012 2:48 PM

              It's amazing how they put so much effort into their world, but when it comes to basic atmosphere Bethesda consistently fail to consider the most obvious bullshit that you'd think would be common sense.

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            January 17, 2012 2:53 PM

            This pretty much describes why I got bored of Fallout 3, and didn't buy Skyrim. This plus going to the wikia page to find certain rare weapons to replace the terrible ones (sniper rifle that self-destructs itself, ugh), and then ending up spoiling half the side quests by reading the wikia.

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            January 17, 2012 2:59 PM

            waiiiiitttttt.... /channels the force... alice voted for BF3. and in turn I will be marrying her. dibs.

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            January 17, 2012 3:08 PM

            Yeah I pretty much had the same opinion. Most of the quests are just going to a random cave. I just ended up messing around with the ridulous, but fun, AI.

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            January 17, 2012 6:45 PM

            your top vote went to SR3 right? RIGHT?

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            January 17, 2012 9:04 PM

            It was still my GOTY despite the fact that I agree with everything you said.

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            January 18, 2012 4:21 AM

            While I mostly agree with you, I wouldn't use the word "terrible". The writing and plot may not be good, but IMHO it's a bit of hyperbole to say they're "terrible".

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              January 18, 2012 4:42 AM

              I'd stretch to say Skyrim's writing and plot are mediocre for video games in general, but compared to other things-wot-got-words I'm happy with my "terrible" assessment. That's the standard we should hold video games to. We shouldn't excuse dross simply because everyone else is doing it.

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                January 18, 2012 5:34 AM

                Sure, it's no excuse, I just disagree with you and that's fine. I think the dialogue is not that bad (albeit not stellar or anything close to "very good") and the main plot is generally forgettable. I still haven't made up my mind about that being a technical/budget problem or just lack of talent in the writing team (most probably the latter).

                That said, I think the quality of the writing in FNV is MUCH better than Skyrim's.

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            January 18, 2012 5:26 AM

            I have to agree with this. Skyrim is undoubtedly impressive in its depth and scope, but the experience of actually playing it is so overwhelmingly mediocre that I really just couldn't be bothered.

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            January 18, 2012 6:02 AM

            Sponge, so you're telling me that Bulletstorm was your #1 game? ...'cause it's the complete opposite of that!!

            In other words, Bulletstorm 0wned y0 arse in 2011.

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          January 18, 2012 6:50 AM

          Skyrim isn't a PC-ish game in the least, it's a pure consoltard product., just as Bethesda themselves are console fanboys.

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      January 17, 2012 12:35 PM

      Clearly The Witcher 2 is #1 since it's the best game ever made, but what's #2 I wonder?

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      January 17, 2012 12:47 PM

      I personally think games should be judged upon one criteria. That being number of total dragons. I believe I've made my stance clear. Good day.

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      January 17, 2012 1:09 PM

      Wait a minute. DX wasn't #2 and Skyrim isn't #1? Wtf else is there??

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        January 17, 2012 1:13 PM

        I'm guessing BF3 and MW3 will make appearances, but if I had my way the remaining 3 would be some assortment of Portal 2, Uncharted 3, and Donkey Kong Country Returns.

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        January 17, 2012 2:01 PM

        Yeah I'm trying to figure out 1) what they're fucking smoking and 2) where I can get some because those two are the only ones that make sense (BF3 and MW3 sure as hell don't, Dark Souls doesn't except to people that love the Souls games, Uncharted 3 maybe, Arkham City I guess is one of the two).

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          January 17, 2012 2:05 PM

          Portal 2 could be up there, it was a great year for games.

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            January 17, 2012 2:07 PM

            It likely is, but I really can't see Portal 2 going over DX:HR. Not even in a normal year. DX:HR was just too good of a game; even with the extraordinary expectations in place, it still delivered.

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              January 17, 2012 2:11 PM

              Not saying it will be, but it's possible, there's some massive love for that game.

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              January 17, 2012 2:44 PM

              Most people are going to prefer Portal 2 over DX:HR. No encounter is obscenely broken and stupid in Portal 2, which puts it up a few notches alone.

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              January 18, 2012 3:21 PM

              I still haven't played DXHR but Portal 2 was an awesome sequel. It could have been better if it game out of the gate with a set of challenge levels or the community levels thing etc. for some extra longevity. On the other hand the game quickly became absurdly cheap. I have no complaints.

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          January 17, 2012 2:08 PM

          I imagine the remaining games are Portal 2, Arkham City, and BF3, in no particular order.

          If MW3 is on there I guarantee most of the Shack community is going to be mighty pissed. Even as it stands putting BF3 and Arkham City over both Skyrim and Deus Ex is going to be pretty controversial.

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            January 17, 2012 2:16 PM

            Wait. Witcher 2 hasn't been mentioned yet in Staff Picks or Honorable Mentions. That means we have 3 slots left and 4 huge games (W2, BF3, AC, P2).

            Wow, it's hard to imagine but one of those games is going to walk away with not even an honorable mention. Hell, not even a "staff pick" which is less than "honorable mention".

            wow that's just wrong.

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          January 17, 2012 3:31 PM

          BF3 MP absolutely does.

          The SP is generic realistic shooter #85 with the only redeeming factor being the AMERICA, FUCK YEAH of the F/A-18 mission.

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        January 17, 2012 5:29 PM

        Minecraft

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      January 17, 2012 1:12 PM

      What an upset! Things are certainly heating up!!

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      January 17, 2012 1:12 PM

      #2 Dark Souls
      #1 Batman

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        January 17, 2012 3:28 PM

        If Batman isn't #1 I will write a snarky post about the staff on this site!!!!

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      January 17, 2012 1:15 PM

      oh boy here we go. another fucked up list to get hits. :) fourth? hahahaha

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        January 17, 2012 1:28 PM

        My opinion isn't the same as yours therefore its a fucked up list to get hits.

        Honestly I wouldn't put Skyrim at #1 either....it does alot of things....fine.

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      January 17, 2012 1:31 PM

      Now Batman really should get GOTY. It's without a doubt one of the best games I've played for years and comes from a Studio that to my knowledge have only ever made two games. Those being the best Batman games ever and IMO rival all the movies. On a side note, how funny would it be if MW3 got the award?

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        January 18, 2012 5:32 AM

        I think they did one game before that (at least someone mentioned that to me the other day, but I can't recall the title). Batman would have to get my vote as well... fucking awesome.

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      January 17, 2012 1:45 PM

      I'd be pretty disappointed if Portal makes it above skyrim. I dont love skyrim, but jesus, portal 2 was just not that good. It was easy and simple to a fault.

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      January 17, 2012 1:55 PM

      When the number 1 game turns out to be either MW3 or BF3, I am going to weep.

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      January 17, 2012 1:58 PM

      *grabs popcorn!!!*

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      January 17, 2012 2:14 PM

      Dark Souls and Batman I consider better than all the games they've listed so far, so I'm hoping they make an appearance in 2 of the 3 top spots (not sure I care which ones, they're both so good). I could maybe see Portal 2 up there, not Uncharted 3 though. Maybe even an indie game, I dunno!

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      January 17, 2012 2:34 PM

      Oh man this is exciting to me! I really like Skyrim but I think it just has too much wrong with it to win GotY over some of the other (also fantastic) titles this year

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      January 17, 2012 2:43 PM

      So you guys are really just naming the best 5 games of 2011, and then saying which of the five you consider Game of the Year. People here seem to think it's a 5,4,3,2,1 ranking kind of thing.

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        January 17, 2012 2:52 PM

        As explained in the post (linked at the end of this story) we have a top five list. The game listed on Friday is our overall Game of the Year based on a weighed scoring system. Each staff member submitted their personal top five of the year in order and each position on that list is worth a point total. The entire list (including the Honorable Mentions) come from that list of games that have been awarded points.

        Personal lists include games that did not earn enough points to make the Top Ten (Five honorable mentions and the best five games of the year).

        Skyrim earned more points than any game above it on this list: http://www.shacknews.com/article/71890/shacknews-best-of-2011-awards but did not earn enough to beat tomorrow's game. And so on....

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          January 17, 2012 2:56 PM

          tl;dr: It is a 5,4,3,2,1 thing

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            January 17, 2012 2:57 PM

            Or this...

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              January 17, 2012 2:59 PM

              I just want to let you know that I really like the way you're doing this goty series

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                January 17, 2012 3:14 PM

                Thanks. I appreciate it. I find it a little annoying when people accuse us of hunting for hits when these features typically don't really get traffic. Some people see the headline and skip it. That's fine. We honestly just wanted to have THIS happen, which is to say have people dedicate their time having a conversation about one specific game in chatty every day.

                Also, and I've said this before, even if we posted each of the games in one day it would be the same amount of hits.

                This way, we're just keeping the conversation in one thread per day rather than have it spread out across a number of threads in one single day.

                I wish we could just tell you all what our top three is right now, but we want to give every game their moment in the sun.

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                  January 17, 2012 3:24 PM

                  Really my only concern with this whole thing was that Skyrim was going to get goty, which I pretty strongly disagree with. So seeing that it got today's title has made me much more excited!

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                  January 17, 2012 4:38 PM

                  Well, given what's *not* on the list, there's at least two we can guess at (B:AC, and Portal 2).

                  The third I'm guessing is likely Uncharted 3, but you could surprise us...

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                  January 18, 2012 10:31 PM

                  I quite like the way you're doing it too. And nope, not saying that to curry favor. Though I will be a bit perturbed if Bastion were to win it. :D

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        January 17, 2012 2:53 PM

        You're a little late. There seems to be very little "freaking out," which is great.

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        January 17, 2012 2:54 PM

        In fact this makes the rest of the unannounced list more interesting. Everyone expects Skyrim because it has already won so many awards. But now Batman: AC, Portal 2, or Dark Souls can possibly land on the list. Maybe something completely different.

        Looking at what was already announced, they're all solid picks, really. I haven't played LBP2, though!
        http://www.shacknews.com/article/71890/shacknews-best-of-2011-awards

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      January 17, 2012 2:53 PM

      talk about a slow burn. it's January 17th, why isn't this wrapped up yet?

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        January 17, 2012 2:54 PM

        It wraps up on January 20.

        We announced we were doing it this way a while ago.

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          January 17, 2012 4:53 PM

          YOU THINK I READ THE FRONT PAGE YOU SCOUNDREL?!

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            January 17, 2012 5:11 PM

            don't worry, it'll be posted in the chatty as well 2 days after someone else has already made a thread about it.

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      January 17, 2012 2:59 PM

      Dark Souls, p0rtal 2, Uncharted 3. I dunno what order, but I'd guess:

      'Best of' Second Runner-Up: Dark Souls.
      'Best of' First Runner-Up: Uncharted 3.
      Shacknews Game of the Year 2011: p0rtal 2.

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        January 17, 2012 3:00 PM

        oh wait Batman...duh. Now I just don't know...ahah.

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          January 17, 2012 3:31 PM

          Dark Souls is out as it appeared on a personal favorites list.

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        January 17, 2012 5:29 PM

        I'll be surprised if Portal 2 is named as a GOTY. Besides awesome voice acting, it does nothing better than P1 IMO.

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        January 17, 2012 7:02 PM

        [deleted]

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      January 17, 2012 3:04 PM

      hahaha. Well I was wrong. Good on Shacknews to not follow the hype.

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      January 17, 2012 3:12 PM

      I'm so outraged about this horse shit right now I'm on the road headed to the Shacknews' satellite office in Pomona, CA to punch someone from the editing and journalism dept. right in their stupid face.
      ===============================================================
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        January 17, 2012 3:17 PM

        Punch the shit out of our satellites.

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          January 17, 2012 3:21 PM

          SO MUCH GAME-OF-THE-YEAR-RELATED ANGER RIGHT NOW!!
          ===============================================================
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          • reply
            January 18, 2012 4:16 AM

            Do mods get awesome signatures now? I WANT ONE TOO TO SHOW OFF MY PC

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      January 17, 2012 3:23 PM

      skyrim jobs ^_^

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      January 17, 2012 4:07 PM

      From the games that have already been mentioned in staff picks and honorable mentions, it would seem that the top 3 are (in no particular order) likely Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, and Uncharted 3.

      Of course, The Witcher 2 is a possibility as well.

      Of the games that have not yet been mentioned though, Serious Sam 3:BFE ought to be in there somewhere. Nothing quite like a mini-gun with full ammo to make you feel invincible. ;)

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      January 17, 2012 5:09 PM

      3rd............. now unless it goes dark souls and witcher 2 i will be disagreeing...!

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      January 17, 2012 5:28 PM

      Hey. Hey.

      HEY.

      Skyrim was my GOTY but I respect the fact that it wasn't yours.

      WHAT NOW, SHACKNEWS EDITORIAL STAFF??!!

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      January 17, 2012 6:12 PM

      I think Skyrim is still my GOTY. Dark Souls is the only contender and perhaps should win on grounds of bringing real innovation to the single player RPG genre. I'd like to give it to BF3 and it would win on grounds of technology but gameplay wise it's still missing a few things from chain of command, more persistence, even toys like user controlled naval ships. BF3 is great but I think it still too similar to BC2 and not a true sequel to BF2.

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      January 17, 2012 7:48 PM

      There are too many people in this thread I don't recognize.

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      January 17, 2012 8:35 PM

      Skyrim is an amazing game in many ways, but once you get into the real meat of the game, there are so many bizarre decisions on the gameplay design side.

      Examples:
      How certain things do not scale at all, making them utterly useless. Best example of this are the weapon specific perks like Hack and Slash. Each one allows you to dump up to 3 perk points into them, but because they don't scale, they literally do absolutely nothing by mid-level -- especially on the harder skill levels.

      NPC's have no skills, so they gain little to no benefit from wearing armor, so the mace skill for bypassing armor is useless as well.

      Other things that are broken due to lack of scaling: Werewolf form (so increasingly underpowered as you level that it is never worth invoking), Destruction magic (or so I've read), the entire armor system, etc.

      To elaborate on my mention of the armor system, there is a hard cap on total armor rating (~560ish iirc). Making daedric armor serves no purpose other than aesthetics once you get your smithing skill high enough.

      Because the game doesn't rely much of this information to the player, it is nearly impossible to avoid these mistakes without reading wikis. I went on a wiki to try and figure out why hack and slash seemed to have zero effect on enemies.

      I think many of my complaints actually spring from a common thread: anything above normal skill level was not taken into consideration for scaling and balancing. The issues definitely go beyond that though.

      Way too many of the available perks and spells are pretty much just useless filler with next to no actual benefit. Also I don't understand why the game doesn't let you know which books are skill books, and what skill they will infer by reading them. Gaining a level in a skill I will never use seems counter-intuitive to the whole leveling process.

      The forums and wikis are pretty rife with analysis about what is useless and could be improved, and not just random armchair designer theorycrafting, but actual good input based on things that have been found to do literally zero damage, or don't infer any benefit.

      Skyrim is a titanic leap over Oblivion in every way imo. I hope Bethesda takes criticisms like this to heart and puts some serious focus on each core gameplay system to make the next Elderscrolls even better.

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        January 17, 2012 10:45 PM

        I'm not surprised. So much stuff, they are bound to mess up on some of it.

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        January 17, 2012 10:55 PM

        Skyrim is a titanic leap over Oblivion in every way imo. I hope Bethesda takes criticisms like this to heart and puts some serious focus on each core gameplay system to make the next Elderscrolls even better.

        I don't think you have much to worry about there. Even just looking at Morrowind to Oblivion to Skyrim Bethesda had made fantastic leaps each time, sometimes drastically changing how the mechanics functioned. As is expected, however, each time they make these big changes there is plenty of opportunity for things to be fine tuned and taken to the next level.

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          January 17, 2012 11:28 PM

          I agree with you. I've played through ever ES since Daggerfall (never played Arena), so I've seen the progression. I just always worry that after each round of awards and accolades that they might stagnate and not look as deeply into existing gameplay mechanics that need improvement. Of course they knocked it out of the park with Skyrim in fixing the major flaws of Oblivion, I just hope the trend never stops. Definitely one of my favorite developers of all time.

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        January 18, 2012 3:55 AM

        I'd love it if they made the gameplay more than a means to an end next time.

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        January 18, 2012 5:43 AM

        Typical sadly for recent TES games.

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      January 17, 2012 9:34 PM

      lol

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      January 17, 2012 10:43 PM

      I didn't even have to play skyrim to know that it is GOTY

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      January 18, 2012 6:46 AM

      It's very generous to consider Skyrim a runner-up, to be honest.

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        January 18, 2012 6:47 AM

        ... Considering that the series has become so casualized and the gameplay is so bland.

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      January 18, 2012 8:30 AM

      Certainly a good game but not quite GOTY material. Combat is still a bit clunky, companions getting in the way of fights and dialogue scenes, and the storytelling is lacking due to unexpressive animations. I was also quite disappointed with the College quest line, making the entire situation sounding cataclysmic but only ending in a small boss fight.

      The game feels like it's always on something like 6. There are some pretty neat moments, but there are never any really really high points and lows that really separate some moments apart from each other. If it did that, I'd give Skyrim a 2nd chance.

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      January 18, 2012 9:36 AM

      It is disappointing to see Shack give Bethesda a free pass for repeatedly making shoddy games.

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        January 18, 2012 10:22 AM

        By not putting the game in their top three I would say they did anything but give them a free pass.

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