2011 Game of the Year - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Shacknews is proud to announce that our 2011 Game of the Year is The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, from developer CD Projekt RED. Read why we picked it, here!

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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings may be draped in the cloak of a brutal fantasy world filled with monsters and magic, but it offers an interesting reflection of real-world problems. It's a political drama where those in command are governed by fear and uncertainty. It shines light on racism and sexism in ways that shows developer CD Projekt RED is unafraid to push narrative boundaries beyond most games in its class.

Based on the book series from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher 2 goes worlds beyond the 2007 original title in almost every conceivable way (though there is some contention with the game's ending). Combat is completely overhauled--and after a few balance tweaks soon after release, it's satisfying to the point of perfection. The game can be unapologetic in its command for your attention and skill, pushing aside a generation of games marketed to the era of players raised by handholding execution.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was perhaps a game many have missed due to its demanding requirements, but it was (and remains) an adventure of epic scale and scope. It is one of the few games that genuinely offers players a choice. What you do matters, offering players a diverging path that shelves an entire section of the game reserved for choosing another path.

Beyond the joy of slaying monsters and uncovering a major conspiracy as Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher 2 is gorgeous. If your machine can handle it, The Witcher 2 may be the most breathtaking adventure we've ever experienced.

Much like any game--even those we regard as classics--The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has a few missteps; though many of its "bugs" have long since been squashed by the game's developer.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings isn't vast in the same way that Skyrim is. It is often linear in its overall story, though choices made along the way are important to the tale. Linearity is only troublesome if a game's vision is as confined as its environments are and The Witcher 2 suffers from no such flaw. It is focused. It's a wonderful game that you must play (either now on PC or this upcoming May when it arrives on Xbox 360). For these reasons and more, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has proudly been voted as the Shacknews.com 2011 Game of the Year.


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.' Today is our final award, the 'Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year' award.

From The Chatty

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    January 20, 2012 12:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, 2011 Game of the Year - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

    Shacknews is proud to announce that our 2011 Game of the Year is The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, from developer CD Projekt RED. Read why we picked it, here!

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      January 20, 2012 12:01 PM

      Whoa.

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      January 20, 2012 12:03 PM

      Did they fix the patching issue for Steam where it had to re-download most of the game each time?

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        January 20, 2012 12:06 PM

        I think so. I remember hearing some "early adopters" of the Steam version saying that they had to re-download almost all of the game because its files were being reorganized for the new patching system.

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      January 20, 2012 12:04 PM

      Oh thank god. Now I can get back to doing work.

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      January 20, 2012 12:04 PM

      Of course a bunch of console fags would pick this for GOTY

      good choice

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      January 20, 2012 12:04 PM

      YES!!!! Awesome!!

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      January 20, 2012 12:09 PM

      WOOOOOOOOT!!!!!

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      January 20, 2012 12:10 PM

      Like.

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      January 20, 2012 12:11 PM

      Nice!

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      January 20, 2012 12:13 PM

      Lol, I stopped after like 5 hours. The game does a terrible job of helping you learn the combat and magic system, and I didn't care for the overall feel of roll playing experience. Everything felt campy. Quick time combat was just terrible.

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        January 20, 2012 12:20 PM

        My GOTY is Dark Souls, btw. Other than some frame rate issues in a couple spots, it kicks the shit out of any of these pansy goty winners/runner-ups.

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          January 20, 2012 12:40 PM

          Dark Souls is definitely mine, but I fully support Witcher 2 winning 1st here.

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          January 20, 2012 12:41 PM

          I love Dark Souls and it was probably my GOTY too, but you do realize that this complaint:

          "The game does a terrible job of helping you learn the combat and magic system"

          can be applied to any number of things in either of the Souls games, right? They are not exactly known for teaching the player very well.

          That said, I haven't even played either Witcher so ::shrug::

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            January 20, 2012 9:34 PM

            Dark Souls is mine as well... but to be fair I haven't played Witcher 2....... yet.

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          January 20, 2012 5:35 PM

          LOL a Dark Souls/Demons Souls fan complaining about Witcher 2's difficult combat. I find this amusing.

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          January 21, 2012 12:06 AM

          Dark Souls for sure!!!

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          January 21, 2012 10:47 AM

          Your love for Dark Souls ruins your credibility (from my perspective - just my opinion though). I actually laughed out loud when I read the part about how Witcher 2 does a terrible job with helping you learn the combat and magic and then said that Dark Souls was better. Huh?

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        January 20, 2012 12:26 PM

        You realize you just shelved probably the best RPG to come out in the last 10 years?

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          January 20, 2012 12:43 PM

          It wasn't even the best RPG to come out last year.

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            January 20, 2012 12:46 PM

            Yeah that was Xenoblade!

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            January 20, 2012 1:04 PM

            sure it was, nothing else even came close. Skyrim was a fun sandbox game, but the combat and story were weak

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              January 20, 2012 3:31 PM

              ^^^

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              January 22, 2012 1:57 PM

              so you actually think the combat was better in witcher? i could never stand playing witcher 1 or 2 because of its horrendous combat.

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                January 22, 2012 10:49 PM

                Combat in Witcher 1 and Witcher 2 are completely different.

                You didn't like either style?

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            January 20, 2012 1:09 PM

            Go on...

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            January 20, 2012 2:47 PM

            what was?

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          January 20, 2012 3:10 PM

          Ummmm, DA:O would like to have a word with you.

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            January 20, 2012 3:16 PM

            That was such an awesome surprise. It almost brought back what made BG/PST/IWD great. Such a shame what happened with the sequel.

            Bring back an updated version of the Infinity Engine!

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            January 20, 2012 4:59 PM

            Not sure about that. DA:O's choices are almost as bland as its world and story.

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            January 20, 2012 5:35 PM

            DA:O was indeed awesome, but nowhere as immersive, deep, and as TW2. That game's story goes beyond the "save the world" syndrome that most RPG's suffer from.

            It really is an original story that is really complex.

            In TW2 you get the feeling that there is a world outside of Geralt and he just got stuck in the entire ordeal.

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            January 20, 2012 7:56 PM

            da:o was a good game but overall pales to the world,story and characters of the witcher games. the game was bland and soulless in so many ways that it was basically carried by its combat system and baldurs gate nostalgia alone. the witcher was the best rpg since vampires;bloodines.

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        January 20, 2012 12:41 PM

        Try it again, they patched a real nice tutorial system into the game. it really opens up after about 8 hours.

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        January 20, 2012 12:52 PM

        pussy

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        January 21, 2012 3:01 AM

        Sounds like you were just bad it it

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      January 20, 2012 12:14 PM

      I think you meant Skyrim. It's ok, an honest mistake.

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      January 20, 2012 12:14 PM

      Should I play the original Witcher or can I jump right into 2?

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        January 20, 2012 12:22 PM

        play the first one cause it's awesome.

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        January 20, 2012 12:23 PM

        I couldn't get into the witcher 1, the story is supposed to be great but the combat is so damn boring. that said, witcher 2 is my goty

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          January 20, 2012 1:09 PM

          Good to hear, I found the same thing with 1 so guess I'll just skip right to the sequel eventually.

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        January 20, 2012 12:27 PM

        You should totally play the first one - starts off slow and ends with a bang.

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        January 20, 2012 1:06 PM

        I didn't really like one that much and loved 2. I found one too hard and hard to follow. But that's just me.

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        January 20, 2012 1:12 PM

        Play the first, its inexpensive at GoG and Steam, and has an amazing story.

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          January 20, 2012 1:14 PM

          I've owned it for a while, just never got around to playing it

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            January 20, 2012 1:24 PM

            Yeah definitely play it. The intro starts out kind of slow, but if you love mature storylines, lore, and cool characters, its awesome. Just make sure to pay attention to the quest updates at the bottom of the screen, they contain information that your quest log doesn't.

            The Witcher is one of my favorite games and one of the best RPGs I've played. It doesn't hold your hand though, so just anticipate some times where you think you are stuck, but you really aren't.

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              January 20, 2012 1:37 PM

              Any suggestions for stat allocation? I just started witcher 1 and am known for fucking myself over by jack-of-all-tradesing.

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                January 20, 2012 1:45 PM

                Naw, just balance your swords and spend your points, Igni is the best sign when its powered up. By the middle of the game you will have so many talent points coming in you will just be dumping them in random things.

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                  January 20, 2012 1:49 PM

                  Alright, thanks! There seemed to be so many things to choose from I was kinda paralyzed.

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                    January 20, 2012 1:56 PM

                    Yeah I had the same issue when I originally started playing. Then it got to the point where I had everything I could maxed and had bronze talent points just stacking up, so I just started taking random stuff like Geralt takes longer to get drunk, and fist fighting etc etc lol.

                    Anything that makes Geralt a better sword fighter, or more life, or resistances is what I would focus on first, but its not so strict that you will turn him into a pushover.

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        January 20, 2012 6:38 PM

        I've been bogged down in act 2 of W1 for over a year. I am very frustrated at the point I'm at in the game and just don't have any desire to force my way through it. :(

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      January 20, 2012 12:15 PM

      Well deserved, congrats CD Projekt RED!

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      January 20, 2012 12:15 PM

      I really should play this sometime. Have the first one sitting in my Steam backlog from a sale in the last couple months, have yet to buy this one though.

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      January 20, 2012 12:17 PM

      My GOTY as well....well played Shacknews :D

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      January 20, 2012 12:22 PM

      more liek worst game of the year lolamirite?

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      January 20, 2012 12:23 PM

      I respectfully disagree as do my colleagues.

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      January 20, 2012 12:26 PM

      really? better than skyrim? I didnt pick up witcher 2 during the sale cuz I thought I'd be burned out of fantasy rpg after playing skyrim

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        January 20, 2012 12:43 PM

        It's a lot better than Skyrim. I am an Elder Scrolls fan since Daggerfall as well. The Witcher 2 is just a much more solid game all round.

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          January 20, 2012 1:30 PM

          I disagree. I'm a big fan of The Wotcher, but Skyrim is way more entertaining.

          The Witcher 2: 20 hours
          Skyrim: 175 hours

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            January 20, 2012 1:41 PM

            LOL, so more play time = better game? Where the hell did you learn math, or better yet, common sense?

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              January 20, 2012 1:43 PM

              I think it's fair to assume that if someone plays a game for over 100 hours they really, really like it.

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                January 20, 2012 1:49 PM

                This. I put probably 10 hours in to The Witcher 2 and just lost interest. The thing is I really like the first one, and am a fan of the character, and a fan of RPGs in general.

                Skyrim I've easily put 100 hours in before I burnt out, but I'm planning on going back and playing more to finish more quests later.

                So I can't say I agree with it being game of the year.

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                  January 20, 2012 2:18 PM

                  I liked TW2, it was a good game. It's on my top 10 list, just not #1.

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              January 20, 2012 1:46 PM

              how does math factor in to it? If he was using math he would have probably claimed that Skyrim was 8.75 times better than the Witcher. which still supports his argument, and not yours.

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              January 20, 2012 2:02 PM

              Usually, yes.

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                January 20, 2012 2:15 PM

                No. Some games are designed to be shorter, like Portal 1. I'd say Portal 1 was better than Skyrim or Oblivion despite the time I've put into the latter two in comparison.

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                  January 20, 2012 2:26 PM

                  I'm not a fan of the 5-6 hour games that have little to no replay interest. For the $60 I spent on Skyrim vs. the $60 I spent on Portal 2, I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of Skyrim.

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                    January 20, 2012 2:47 PM

                    I know, neither am I usually which is why I tend to stick to large, open-ended games (like X3, which I've easily sunk over 1000 hours into) but time spent on a game doesn't equate to the quality of that game in comparison to games that are not designed to be open worlds.

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                    January 20, 2012 7:42 PM

                    Nobody ever says WoW is their favorite game but they probably spent more time playing that than anything else.

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              January 20, 2012 7:45 PM

              yeah that's a bad metric. The game with the most time played on my Steam is Flatout Ultimate Carnage. It's inoffensive with a lot of tracks to run, but i wouldn't say I liked it better than Portal2 (8 hours?)

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              January 20, 2012 9:47 PM

              Hmmm I'm pretty sure that if your playing it more then its probably more entertaining than something you've played a lot less, just a guess :P

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          January 20, 2012 3:46 PM

          "better" is too loaded of a word. "Different" is more appropriate. The Witcher 2 and Skyrim aren't even trying to be a similar game except in the broadest sense of RPGs.

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            January 20, 2012 3:58 PM

            No, but for measuring the quality of the game, I'd definitely say it was superior.

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        January 20, 2012 4:53 PM

        It's a prettier game with a WAAAAAAAAAY better story. Like, leagues and leagues better.

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      January 20, 2012 12:26 PM

      You have chosen.....wisely

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      January 20, 2012 12:35 PM

      YES. This is the best choice.

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      January 20, 2012 12:35 PM

      It's about to get all brickmatt up in here.

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      January 20, 2012 12:42 PM

      Excellent.

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      January 20, 2012 12:45 PM

      Yay! I like this pick.

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      January 20, 2012 12:46 PM

      I wouldn't have put it in my top 5 for the year, but it was fun

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      January 20, 2012 12:47 PM

      Damn straight. Shacknews knows what's up!

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      January 20, 2012 12:47 PM

      I AGREE WITH SHACKNEWS

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      January 20, 2012 1:09 PM

      Unexpected.

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        January 20, 2012 1:46 PM

        finish it you bundle of sticks and you will probably agree.

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      January 20, 2012 1:10 PM

      Skyrim > Witcher 2 ..... 2 thumbs down

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        January 20, 2012 2:59 PM

        they're both worth playing. GOTY title is just a troll for sites to get attention anyway.

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      January 20, 2012 1:12 PM

      hijack!

      Shack I'm about to start playing this for the first time. Anyone have any tips? What magic and/or abilities are worthless?

      Gamepad or mouse/KB?

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        January 20, 2012 1:16 PM

        Prepare to die, and the abilities in the second one are very different depending on what talent tree you go with. So its hard to say which ones are the best, since its so much more balanced than the first one, where Igni reigned supreme.

        General tips, don't pick up every crafting material you find, just remember the general area, the game gives you tons of materials, so no need to packrat.

        Combat is difficult so make sure you prep with potions, otherwise more hot death. And don't bang anyone with family around, you see everything but Geralts 3rd sword.

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          January 20, 2012 1:47 PM

          Also I found Quen to be the most useful sign, especially powered up.

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            January 20, 2012 1:51 PM

            Yeah I forgot how much I used Quen, it was worthless in the first, but made amazing in TW2.

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        January 20, 2012 1:34 PM

        I preferred the M/KB but the gamepad works well too.

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        January 20, 2012 1:36 PM

        Get the sword abilities that let you roll for 2x distance and reduce backstab damage.

        alchemy tree is really fun

        also keep in mind: you're gonna die a lot.

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        January 20, 2012 6:01 PM

        Play on Hard mode for more enjoyment out of combat. Learn to crowd control from the very start of the game, and do hit-and-runs to pick off weaker guys around the edge of the fight.

        It's possible to spread your points out to get BOTH the magic and sword finishers at the same time, and they both activate at once on the same bar. I did it on one game.

        Overall I get as much Vigor as possible from all the talents that add it. Quen is gamebreaking, the best spell by far. Igni is pretty good. I didn't use the other 2. For combat skills, most are passive bonuses so take your pick to get up to the finisher.

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          January 20, 2012 6:16 PM

          ^^ Agreed on all points.

          Though I did find Axii useful on many occasions.

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      January 20, 2012 1:15 PM

      should be BF3. alice I thought we had something special.

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        January 20, 2012 1:16 PM

        or, more realistically, skyrim. it commanded everyone's attention.. and still does...

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          January 20, 2012 1:25 PM

          It had elder scrolls behind it. TW2 is the better game.

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            January 20, 2012 1:32 PM

            And the Witcher 2 had Witcher 1 behind it. That doesn't matter, what matters is whether it's a better game or not.

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      January 20, 2012 1:19 PM

      WTF not skyrim?

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      January 20, 2012 1:27 PM

      Heh, this is awesome. Props to the Shack Staff.

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      January 20, 2012 1:30 PM

      This was my personal game of 2011 as well. I need to finish some of my backlog so I can go back and replay it.

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        January 20, 2012 1:34 PM

        I'm waiting for the 360 version to come out, as they are going to patch even more content into the PC version at that time.

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      January 20, 2012 1:40 PM

      Oh this entire thing was incredibly silly.

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      January 20, 2012 1:43 PM

      Lol, it's funny how many people are butthurt, or more baffling, actually surprised that Skyrim placed below the Witcher 2. I fail to understand why everyone treats that average game like the second coming.

      Generic sandbox fantasy game that was overrated as all shit places below an actually good game? Unheard of!

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        January 20, 2012 1:46 PM

        Nope.

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        January 20, 2012 3:50 PM

        Listen to yourself. You are the one who can't even admit when both games might be contenders for GOTY. Witcher 2 is the best and Skyrim is shit, no room for middle ground or a close battle.

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      January 20, 2012 1:45 PM

      its my personal goty as well. very nice, i wonder huch much of lobbying alice did and if this was the one game garnett was right about all year long.

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      January 20, 2012 1:45 PM

      Congratulations to virus and the rest of the CD Projekt RED team

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        January 20, 2012 1:47 PM

        Also a special THANK YOU to Xav de Matos and the rest of the Shacknews.com team from the bottom of my heart for not trolling us by picking Minecraft. I would have been banned within seconds of the story being posted.

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          January 20, 2012 1:48 PM

          wasnt minecraft the goty last year?

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      January 20, 2012 1:48 PM

      Damn, that's a really ballsy choice in a year that's filled with easy choices for GOTY. I respect that. Speaking of which, I should REALLY get back to playing this. I loved it to death, but bugs at the time prevented me from playing further (stupid combat inaction bug!).

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      January 20, 2012 1:49 PM

      Well Done Guys, Great Choice...

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      January 20, 2012 1:55 PM

      Thanks for sticking with us (most of you) through this GOTY reveal. We're glad to have ended up surprising you. That obviously wasn't the intention, but it just worked out.

      Also, I should point out that all five of the top five games ended up being games that were also available on PC--and in many cases, offered the best experience (or in The Witcher 2's case, the only experience) on the PC.

      Another thing that just ended up working out, but we're happy it ended up meshing with the roots of this community.

      Also, unless it wasn't clear--I wrote The Witcher 2 GOTY post.

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        January 20, 2012 1:58 PM

        Constructive Criticism: I really liked the way you guys approached things this year, but I did not care for dragging it out over 2 weeks.

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          January 20, 2012 1:59 PM

          Forgot to paste the constructive part, Maybe over a 3 day period would have been better? Honorable mentions one day, then runner ups, then GOTY on the third day?

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            January 20, 2012 2:28 PM

            Something the editorial staff will consider next year. Thanks!

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              January 20, 2012 9:27 PM

              You should tie in a contest where the person who guesses the winning order like a horse race wins something. That would be awesome!

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            January 20, 2012 4:08 PM

            I agree with this man!

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          January 20, 2012 5:08 PM

          Yeah I agree. I have no problem with doing it over a few days, but it just went on a bit too long. We're going to announce the winner now... after this commercial break!

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        January 21, 2012 1:29 AM

        GJ Shugashack!

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      January 20, 2012 1:56 PM

      How many shacknews contributors actually played through Witcher 2?

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        January 20, 2012 2:21 PM

        I played through it once. It was fun, but not GoTY in my opinion. .

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      January 20, 2012 1:56 PM

      screw Skyrim its a buggy laggy mess.

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      January 20, 2012 1:57 PM

      Wow. I approve!

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      January 20, 2012 1:59 PM

      Good Choice! Its a very unique and fun experience that defiantly stands out. I am glad it got some recognition.

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      January 20, 2012 1:59 PM

      Ho-ly shit. Nice!

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      January 20, 2012 2:00 PM

      Man, what a great year for gaming! Deus Ex: HR was a great return to form. Skyrim improved on Oblivion in so many ways I can''t even count them. Batman: AC I've put more hours into than any action game ever. Portal 2 was one of the best and most unique co-op experiences I've had. I've only played enough of The Witcher 2 to know that I like it even more than the first one in every way. All these games are fabulous, and only one of them would be in my top five games of the year!

      On a side note, I've spent more money on gaming this year than all other years combined.

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      January 20, 2012 2:17 PM

      Wow, I am totally shocked that a PC game won game of the year. Didn't see this coming.

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      January 20, 2012 2:18 PM

      The game wasn't bad, but the controls were still a bit awkward. I don't know if I'd call it GOTY worthy, but hey. =P

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      January 20, 2012 2:23 PM

      nice pick guys! i loved this title.

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      January 20, 2012 2:23 PM

      Well done guys, I agree.

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      January 20, 2012 2:29 PM

      Good choice, witcher 2 is a quality game.

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      January 20, 2012 2:37 PM

      Disappointing pick.

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      January 20, 2012 2:45 PM

      This is great to see. It released early in the year and many assumed it would be forgotten about for GotY. I'd have to say this was probably my favorite SP game of the year too, but there was quite a bit I liked on PC.

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      January 20, 2012 2:47 PM

      Is it worth playing through the first one before this, story wise?

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        January 20, 2012 2:49 PM

        read the thread

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        January 20, 2012 2:57 PM

        Of course. It's a great game. I still prefer it to The Witcher 2 to be honest, which is also amazing.

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        January 20, 2012 3:00 PM

        well there's no deep connection even with save game crossover. you should just play the first one because it's awesome too.

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      January 20, 2012 2:52 PM

      This is absolute crap and you should be ashamed of yourselves. The PC version of Monday Night Combat came out this year and should have been the clear choice, but nobody's memory in the gaming press seems to go back that far. I am literally outraged at your entire GotY process if it can allow a travesty such as this to happen.

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      January 20, 2012 2:54 PM

      I respect this outcome.

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      January 20, 2012 3:11 PM

      You have chosen... poorly.

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      January 20, 2012 3:19 PM

      The right choice. Skyrim was fantastic, but Witcher 2 was even better. A well-constructed, story-driven experience that really immersed you in the world more than any other RPG I've played. Congratulations Witcher 2!

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      January 20, 2012 3:29 PM

      You were blinded by the tits.

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      January 20, 2012 3:53 PM

      Summarized 2011 Shacknews GOTY Awards

      GOTY: Witcher 2

      Runners-up:
      1st: Portal 2
      2nd: Batman: Arkham City
      3rd: Skyrim
      4th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

      Honorable Mentions:
      Bastion
      Super Mario 3D Land
      Zelda: Skyward Sword
      Saints Row the Third
      LittleBigPlanet 2

      Article with Similar roll-up: http://www.shacknews.com/article/71890/shacknews-best-of-2011-awards

      Staff Picks:
      Garnett: Shadows of the Damned, Forza 4, FIFA 12, LotR: War in the North
      Steve: Minecraft, Pushmo, Mortal Kombat, Dead Space 2, Iron Brigade (Trenched), Bulletstorm
      Alice: Bulletstorm, Child of Eden, Johann Sebastian Joust
      Ozzie: Infamous 2, Mortal Kombat, LA Noire, Driver: San Francisco, Serious Sam: Double D
      Jeff: Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, To the Moon, Space Pirates and Zombies
      Andrew: ICO & SotC Collection, Gears of War 3, Rayman Origins, LA Noire, Dance Central 2, Outland, Bulletstorm
      Xav: Crysis 2, DC Universe Online, Dead Space 2, Mortal Kombat, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Rayman Origins, Minecraft, Infinity Blade 2, Dark Souls

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        January 20, 2012 3:57 PM

        That sums it up nicely. Thanks!

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        January 20, 2012 3:59 PM

        Interesting.

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        January 20, 2012 4:04 PM

        I think that's a pretty solid GOTY list. I don't agree with it 100% but they did a good job explaining their choices.

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        January 20, 2012 4:07 PM

        Jesus Christ, Garnett needs to turn in his gamer card and buy a strapon for his boyfriend with selections like that. Why would you even ask him if he comes back at you with those games?

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        January 20, 2012 4:24 PM

        no battlefield 3, even on the staff picks? mkay... suuuuuure

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          January 20, 2012 4:35 PM

          Surprised me too.

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          January 20, 2012 4:37 PM

          What does "mkay... suuuuuure" mean?

          I can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't like Battlefield 3.

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            January 20, 2012 4:56 PM

            You picked Bulletstorm as a personal favorite so you obviously don't even know wtf.
            I agree with most of the list though lol.

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              January 20, 2012 5:10 PM

              Some people just don't lilke buttlefield et al. Opinions and arseholes.

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              January 20, 2012 5:23 PM

              yes a game journalist that plays games and writes about them obviously doesn't know what the fuck because they didn't pick your favorite game.

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                January 20, 2012 5:37 PM

                Its not just that, but ICO & SotC Collection? those two games already came out years ago and got their awards. Warhammer 40k? Its extremely boring. Multiplayer is fun for a bit but is also limited and boring....... Infinity Blade 2... yeaaaa that really kicked Battlefields ass.

                Gaming journalism.

                I'm rather confident I'd rate Dirt 3 above any of those. Trine 2 is easily above Infinity Blade anything... Dark souls is mentioned one time?... Dues Ex better than Dark souls? ehhhhhh I dunno about that.

                I'm not just up Battlefields ass. I think the list for the most part is really good, I definitely question some mentions and choices. The eyesore I see is Bulletstorm mentioned several times. That game was so bad I don't even understand.

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                  January 20, 2012 5:51 PM

                  Battlefield 3 is a technical wonder, but a rehash in all other aspects.
                  Space Marine was a new approach to the Warhammer universe and deserves mention for not being another DoW RTS.
                  Bulletstorm introduced some new gameplay ideas instead of being Gears of War 2.5, playing for creativity instead of frags in multi was neat to see.

                  Your opinions don't have to mesh with everyone else on Shacknews or the internet, but shitting on the credibility of the authors over a difference of opinion is pretty lame.

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                    January 21, 2012 10:53 AM

                    I can't really agree with your first sentence. There are plenty of nifty changes and iterative improvements that actually give it a really fresh feel.

                    It's more of the same in some ways but it's also mixed with interesting new stuff that really pushes the game's appeal and quality into the stratosphere, imho.

                    I find myself agreeing with .ka boom.zZz (most annoying name to spell, ever) in being disappointed at Alice's game likes but we're all different and have different tastes, too. It does strike me as odd that she's claimed to be such a diehard PC gaming fan only to miss the big picture entirely on what is probably one of the best PC-specific games to be released in a few years. :(

                    However, I don't agree with the somewhat harsh tone Ka'Boom uses in his post, either.

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              January 20, 2012 6:05 PM

              I am so bored of the type of FPS Battlefield 3 is. It holds no interest for me anymore. Battlefield 3 is good One of Those FPSs, no doubt, but no, not for me. You like it, and that's great--you're hardly alone in that--but I don't.

              My honourable mentions are my "Hey, these things were interesting too!" I listed Bulletstorm because it was fun with some novel ideas, and I was so surprised that I liked it. People saw me groan and grumble about Bulletstorm in the run-up to its launch, based on the marketing and that boring demo, and I wanted to share how wrong I'd been.

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                January 20, 2012 6:43 PM

                you weren't wrong. the dick jokes were juvenile and the game was a snorefest.

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                  January 21, 2012 10:54 AM

                  This___ ^^^ (for the most part - I liked the combat-combo kill system, it was kind of neat, but everything else was just awful).

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              January 20, 2012 7:47 PM

              bulletstorm was fun. I am tired of broshooters

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                January 20, 2012 8:17 PM

                this comment... I don't even know....

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                  January 21, 2012 2:36 AM

                  Broshooters require bros there with you. Pretty sure Bulletstorm was SP only except for some horde-like parts.

          • reply
            January 21, 2012 10:49 AM

            Are you sure you're a PC gaming fan, Alice? ;)

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              January 21, 2012 12:10 PM

              Bulletstorm was a PC game.

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              January 21, 2012 7:58 PM

              I threw my votes wholeheartedly at The Witcher 2! That's certainly a PC game!

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                January 22, 2012 8:10 AM

                Fair enough, Alice. I'm a big fan of yours, so I was really just only teasing!

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          January 20, 2012 4:43 PM

          BF3 is a lot of fun but I think it has a lot of problems too, and there were a lot of better games this year. Personally it would probably fall in my top 5 (probably closer to the bottom of that) but I can definitely see other people not being blown away by it. It didn't do anything particularly noteworthy over previous entries in the series.

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          January 20, 2012 5:47 PM

          It's a good multiplayer game, but if someone isn't into multiplayer shooters then it's pretty bad.

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          January 20, 2012 6:30 PM

          Out of all the games I've played this year, Skyrim and BF3 are easily my favorites.

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          January 20, 2012 6:54 PM

          As a lon time battlefield fan the game just isn't as good as the previous games.

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            January 20, 2012 6:59 PM

            how so? I find BF3 MP is vastly improved. the game changes as you play. the destructibility and vehicles are just incredibly amazing. the gun variety is awesome, loadouts are great, and there's always really good combat.

            where you had stalemates before, BF3 is very dynamic. the only real drawback is the 24/7 metro conquest maps... but I guess on ANY game that has progression,people will want a way to farm XP or gold or valor or whatever.

            it's just so awesome to be a ground pounder and have some ace pilot make a critical strafe run, or some other squad laser lock and javelin kill an enemy tank holding a street.... or just have some motherfucker bring down an entire building, changing the map landscape for the rest of that map's playtime.

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              January 20, 2012 7:00 PM

              As much as I love BF3, I do think BF2142 was the pinnacle of the series.

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 7:36 PM

          I don't think BF3 deserves any awards. Too many shockingly stupid design decisions. Too much basic functionality missing.

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 4:37 PM

        1 dark souls mention? haha what the fuck is this even a gaming website

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 4:49 PM

          I think there were all going for not repeating each other

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 4:52 PM

        No Battlefield 3?
        this list is about as relevant as the front page

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          January 20, 2012 5:05 PM

          This isn't the "Best Half a Game of 2011."

          Multiplayer was brilliant, single-player was not.

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            January 20, 2012 5:27 PM

            I hear Bulletstorm multiplayer was world class lol.

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              January 20, 2012 5:54 PM

              That just shows how bad the BF3 single player was

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            January 20, 2012 5:55 PM

            How was Crysis 2's multiplayer?

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              January 20, 2012 5:59 PM

              I actually liked it. Minority, sure... but it was my "PERSONAL" list you're arguing about.

              That didn't make our Top Ten either.

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                January 20, 2012 6:06 PM

                I'm not really arguing, I see where you're coming from. ;)

                However, choosing to package in BF3's single-player into one's overall opinion is like considering "Saints Row 3's" Whored Mode as 1/2 the game. I look at both as bonus content. Had BF3 only released the multiplayer component, are you saying it would be different?

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                  January 20, 2012 6:18 PM

                  If Battlefield 3 was released as a multiplayer-only focused game--even with a bot style single-player only game, ala BF2--then it would be worlds better.

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                    January 20, 2012 6:28 PM

                    It clearly is. Just look at all the multiplayer-only DLC and lack single-player DLC as one example. Each patch is focused on multiplayer, etc etc. Regardless, you made it clear how you weighed it so that's good enough for me.

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                    January 21, 2012 12:13 PM

                    Explain how removing content from the game would improve the quality of the distinctly separate portion of the game.

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              January 20, 2012 6:00 PM

              surprisingly good

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              January 20, 2012 9:44 PM

              I liked it. Basically the Call of Duty perks formula with a sci-fi edge.

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            January 20, 2012 5:59 PM

            While I agree BF3's single player was terrible (as was BFBC2) you should really rate BF3 on it's multiplayer aspect moreso. I mean, BF3 has been and always will be primarily a multiplayer game, that's what the focus of the series is.

            While I consider it unfortunate that they felt the need to include a single player portion in the last couple of games to try to rake in some customers from the COD franchise, the focus should always be on BF's multiplayer.

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              January 20, 2012 6:00 PM

              argh, accidentally tagging my own posts.

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              January 20, 2012 6:06 PM

              imo when it comes down to it it is just what engaged you the most. BF3 multiplayer is excellent, great sound, great graphics, fun gameplay. but it just doesn't grab you the same way a game like the witcher 2 can. i'm going to stop here because I just realized how dumb it is to compare a modern combat FPS to a 3rd person fantasy rpg

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                January 20, 2012 6:11 PM

                Well regardless of the genre of the game, some are just plainly of higher quality and polish than others and will do a better job of drawing you in.

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                  January 20, 2012 8:08 PM

                  I absolutely agree with The Witcher 2 being BOTY by the way, I just think BF3 should have been given some leniency against its SP campaign.

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                  January 20, 2012 8:08 PM

                  GOTY*

          • reply
            January 21, 2012 10:55 AM

            But realistically, people buy BF3 for MP, so I doubt anyone was really all that concerned at the average quality of the SP (it wasn't bad, certainly, either).

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          January 20, 2012 9:53 PM

          The staff of this site are just disconnected from the chatty folks. They aren't us, they aren't like us anymore.

          They also touch a lot more games than most of us. We have to pick and choose the games we want to play with the dollars we want to spend in advance. Sometimes our judgement of a game is colored by the money we spent. I know I only bought a handful of games at launch this year, and for the most part I loved them despite their flaws because I want my $60 worth from each one.

          But this really this is writers vs gamers.

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        January 20, 2012 5:07 PM

        How mad is everyone here?

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        January 20, 2012 5:51 PM

        I can see why people get butthurt over these lists, when's the last time THE INTERNET held hands in a unified rainbow-circle of agreement? Every gaming site do these lists and personally, I don't care what "wins" any awards but I always pay attention to what is nominated - "the field". That way, I know that if I choose to play ANY of the games under consideration, I have a pretty big chance of liking it - especially if it's a genre that I enjoy. The absence of BF3 from that ENTIRE list is peculiar. I believe each of the Staff members picks are ~genuine but the exclusion of BF3 from all SEVEN lists just raises a red flag on objectivity to me. Since Shacknews/Gamefly is a non-niche, "general" gaming site, they should seriously consider hiring an editor that really plays First Person Shooters.

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 5:58 PM

          BF3 wasn't on this list because it wasn't one of the ten best games of 2011.

          We play shooters. Our opinion just differs from yours.

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            January 22, 2012 3:12 AM

            It should have been in your top 10, especially since I remember Shacknews being a big quake news coverage site back in the day. Multi-player is a huge and extremely important aspect of gaming or have you guys forgotten? To even judge a game like battlefield 3 on its single player is a joke, the single player was obviously just in there as a way to show off the tech and for a bit of fun. Its like judging the Quake series on its single player merits... just silly! : /

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              January 22, 2012 3:42 AM

              That said though, The Witcher 2 was a bloody excellent game, and worthy of #1.

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        January 20, 2012 6:06 PM

        Little Big Planet 2 I thought sucked and I loved the first one. Maybe I needed to play it longer but I wasn't feeling it. I really loved the shit out of the first and used to post about it here a lot. Popped 2 in and it just didnt grab me. I'll try again.

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        January 20, 2012 6:27 PM

        lists are important to me!!!!

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 7:36 PM

        I didn't think the runners up where in any kind of numbered order? Just a list of runners up.

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        January 20, 2012 9:44 PM

        Some interesting omissions which were high quality and/or innovative:
        BF3
        Assassins Creed Revelations
        Dark Souls
        Rocksmith
        Skylanders

        Indie games didn't get much love:
        Terraria
        SpaceChem
        Jamestown
        Binding of Isaac
        ... lots more

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 9:46 PM

          Revelations was an obvious step back on the quality front.

        • reply
          January 21, 2012 12:59 AM

          Agreed on the indie games but BF3 and Assassin's Creed weren't innovative

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 3:56 PM

      Wow. I was in no way expecting this to win.

      Couldn't have gone to a more deserving title, however. Witcher 2 is quite possibly the finest RPG of all time.

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      January 20, 2012 3:59 PM

      Worthy pick! I still don't see why Portal 2 made it to the top of the list, same rehash.

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      January 20, 2012 4:46 PM

      This thread just goes to show how good of a year this was for games. With so many quality releases in vastly different genres it's impossible to please everyone.

      I for one LOVED THE SHIT OUT OF THE WITCHER 2!!! so great pick! :)

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 5:36 PM

      You get the Standing O from me, this game was awesome. Skyrim a very close 2nd.

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 6:21 PM

      Never heard of it lol

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 6:29 PM

      Never played it so I can't comment.

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      January 20, 2012 7:16 PM

      This is clearly an inside job. I can see Alan Greenspa and Larry Summers on the back, laughing!

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      January 20, 2012 7:20 PM

      I'm thrilled to see Witcher 2 receive this award, but man, is this a lame article. The text is almost completely lacking any texture, any nuance, any EXAMPLES other than "uncovering a major conspiracy as Geralt of Rivia," which is grammatically incorrect. I know the game was reviewed already, but you'd think Shacknews would want to paint an evocative picture of its GOTY, a rich description that would make readers who haven't played the game want to jump in. These substanceless paragraphs utterly fail to do that. Every claim should have some detail, some piece of evidence, to give it heft. Instead the article tells us the game is great, but sure doesn't show us. I guess the problem is this: great games deserve great writing.

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      January 20, 2012 7:48 PM

      I didn't beat Witcher 2 because I got bored near the end but I'm glad it won over Skyrim. I think it was better at many things it tried to do.

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      January 20, 2012 8:02 PM

      oh hell naw

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      January 20, 2012 8:13 PM

      Yes!! My GOTY also!

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      January 20, 2012 9:06 PM

      All you fake Witcher 2 lovers can get out. http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=27374802

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      January 20, 2012 9:17 PM

      Awesome, glad to see it on top. Also my GOTY, no question. Yeah, I played Skyrim for 120 hours, but I put a good 70 into The Witcher 2 across my 3 playthroughs, and I absolutely loved every second.

      Other games with moral choices given to the player really need to look closely at this game. It's amazing making a choice that's not even close to being black and white that ALSO affects the story and the world in potentially profound ways. I hate moral choices in most games because it's basically "Do you want to be a totally nice guy or a complete asshat?"

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 9:28 PM

      Controversial choice, but I salute Shacknews for a great pick.

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      January 20, 2012 9:34 PM

      Really great game, much deserved! but... for me BF3 is the GOTY. The multi-player is unmatched on a good PC, too much fun for an old school lan/online pc gamer like myself.

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 9:39 PM

        and Skyrim was just... too easy, sadly. Still fantastic though.

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          January 20, 2012 9:53 PM

          I don't think the Elder Scrolls games have ever been about being difficult or a challenge. Maybe in the beginning, but the point of the game is the story and, essentially, becoming something of a god by the end.

          But I think that's the difference between MP and SP games. I think people generally play SP games for the story and immersion and MP games are more for the challenge.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:00 PM

            This is true, but along with the story I consider a challenge just as important, each to their own. Lack of challenge can sometimes equate to boredom, this is my point. :)

            • reply
              January 20, 2012 10:04 PM

              Even on master... you go and make a few of your own items or enchant things a bit, there goes your challenge. Bethesda should have thought about this more.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:09 PM

            Story? In an Elder Scrolls game?

            The only Elder Scrolls game that had anything even remotely approaching a decent and coherent storyline was Morrowind. Full of political intrigue, full of deceit and two-facedness.

            Oblivion and Skyrim are absolutely pathetic in terms of plotline. They probbaly would have been better not having a main questline in the first place.

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 10:03 PM

        Meh, BF3 doesn't really even beat the old BFs for me. 1942, 2142, BF2 I all had more or the same fun with.

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 10:10 PM

          2142 was the apex of the franchise for me.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:27 PM

            bought it, never played it. I'll just put that down to a new GF at the time I think lol.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:33 PM

            Agreed!

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            January 20, 2012 10:46 PM

            Damn titans were so glitchy but it was still awesome.

            • reply
              January 20, 2012 10:48 PM

              They actually fixed the Titans after a few patches lol.

              They were amazing when used right. I used to love launching people from an APC onto the Titan or skilfully landing a troop transport onto the landing bay and then storming the control room.

              • reply
                January 20, 2012 11:18 PM

                Yeah a big workaround is if the server had no moving Titans - that would slow down the server a lot when people started moving them around. I never had any problems like my friends did though with crashing or lockups on those maps.

          • reply
            January 21, 2012 5:58 AM

            Yes! I loved 2142! Stealth recon RDXing jihad jeeps was so much fun.

        • reply
          January 20, 2012 10:17 PM

          Yeah they where good, but the visuals/effects and sound are what sets this one apart from the rest I think. All experienced on a powerful PC = WIN, for me... anyways.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:23 PM

            Also the fact it has more smaller maps, they're good also.

            • reply
              January 20, 2012 11:19 PM

              See, I don't like that. Metro is just a huge clusterfuck.

              • reply
                January 22, 2012 3:17 AM

                With lots of people yes, with less, its great lol.

          • reply
            January 20, 2012 10:25 PM

            That's the thing, the visual effects and destruction are all nice and dandy...but the gameplay was at its peak during the BF2 and BF2142 era. I've never had so much fun in an MP game as I have with those two games.

            DICE needs to go back and see what people really loved about their games.

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              January 20, 2012 10:29 PM

              BF4 ! :)

            • reply
              January 20, 2012 10:34 PM

              Are you sure about this? I kind of feel like it hasn't peaked yet. The shooting is so much better than past releases. It doesn't feel like i'm sacrificing for the vehicle fun anymore.

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                January 20, 2012 10:45 PM

                I agree that the the actual 'shooting people' has advanced. It does feel like you're actually doing damage now than the old BF weapons which felt like pea-shooters. That said, everything else has been diluted.

                It's like they have tried their damnedest to be the new COD...throwing out any semblance of tactics or teamplay.

            • reply
              January 20, 2012 10:59 PM

              I completely disagree, the gameplay is so alike to those previous installments, yet refined with a good deal more options and styles to choose from. The lack of a single entry from any of the shack writers is really telling of a bit of a disconnect from certain types of games.

              • reply
                January 20, 2012 11:09 PM

                The gameplay of BF3 and BF BC2 is another world compared to BF2 and BF2142. You can call it refined if you want, but call it diluted.

                Tha maps are smaller, there is no commander, no squad leaders, the unlock system is fucking bizarre and the deployment map/UI is clusterfuck compared to old entried intot he series.

                Why can't I click on a control point wit the mouse to give my squad the order to attack anymore? Why can't I tell them to defend, or attack strategic points? Why can't I be a squad leader and actually give commands to the four people following my lead?

                You may call it refinement. I call it fucking dumb.

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 10:30 PM

        I have to second this one. BF3 is where it's at on PC IMO.

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 10:42 PM

      wtf? It's almost like someone wanted attention with a wierd-ass GOTY pick.

      You were right about one thing, it's definitely a game a lot of people missed.

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 10:45 PM

        I'd still like to know: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=27503171

      • reply
        January 20, 2012 10:47 PM

        I know right, if they didn't pick something you liked, then they must be wrong LOL!

        • reply
          January 21, 2012 2:02 PM

          Come on. Stop pretending this isn't an odd pick. Since it's opinion, it's not "wrong".

          • reply
            January 22, 2012 2:18 PM

            It's not an odd pick at all. Have you even played it? It's clearly the best game to come out of 2011. It's not as if it came out of nowhere either, The Witcher 1 was a huge hit so TW2 had name recognition.

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              January 23, 2012 7:00 PM

              "Clearly the best game to come out of 2011".

              I haven't even bothered to check, but how many other outlets gave this their top award? Your statement is subjective.

              In a field of so many stellar games this year with much more brand recognition and exposure, it is not the likely pick.

              That doesn't make it wrong, but it does make it odd.

              Again this is my opinion. Notice how I didn't say your opinion was wrong?

      • reply
        January 23, 2012 11:45 AM

        Weird...?? Clearly you have not played it and are blind!

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 10:45 PM

      I played and beat all the runners up and loved them... well now I have to get this game...

    • reply
      January 20, 2012 11:41 PM

      I can't disagree with The Witcher 2 as GOTY, in fact kudos for going with it. I thoroughly enjoyed Witcher 2, it was leagues above Dragon Age 2, and almost every other RPG that came out this year. Having said all that, Skyrim still gets my GOTY, but Witcher 2 made my top 5 (I probably play a hundred+ games a year).

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      January 21, 2012 12:12 AM

      Got in on Steam on sale during X-mas, def gonna have to pull this one out!! Sad for Dark Souls not getting an honorable mention

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      January 21, 2012 3:08 AM

      I'm shocked this wasn't Skyrim, but great pick. If I had to choose which game I liked more I'd have a really tough time of it.

    • reply
      January 21, 2012 5:21 AM

      How much do you charge for GOTY? Might be interested for my indie game next year.

      • reply
        January 21, 2012 5:34 AM

        All the DLC is free, so feel free to buy it whenever. It's like 30 bucks on Steam.

        • reply
          January 21, 2012 6:31 AM

          I do believe excessus is implying that we were give money by The Witcher 2's publisher in return for naming it our Game of the Year, the scamp!

          • reply
            January 21, 2012 12:29 PM

            Those Eastern European developers have pretty deep pockets!

          • reply
            January 21, 2012 2:31 PM

            This is why they stopped funding the piracy witch hunt! Shacknews needed a payday.

          • reply
            January 23, 2012 8:25 AM

            Exactly :D

    • reply
      January 21, 2012 5:54 AM

      Excellent choice. It was not only fun to play at the time, but the memory of the game has stuck with me many months later.

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      January 21, 2012 10:57 AM

      Good pick!

      I AM, however, disappointed that they missed the boat somehow (bizarrely) on BF3's amazing-ness. It sounds like (from Xav's comments above) that they dinged it too hard for the so-so Single-player. Imho, that's sort of like missing the forest for the trees, unfortunately.

      BF3 is easily one of the best PC-specific games to come out in recent years. It should probably been somewhere in the runner-up list, at the very least. Sigh. :(

    • reply
      January 21, 2012 11:54 AM

      At least it wasn't Skyrim

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      January 21, 2012 1:10 PM

      Good pick for goty

      DXHR should be higher up, 2nd

      batman lower, honorable mention

      Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in top 5

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      January 23, 2012 11:45 AM

      Amazing decision!!!

      I almost forgive the omission of dark souls (THE best game!) from the top ten, Witcher 2 is a master piece.

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      January 23, 2012 12:23 PM

      Well deserved. The Witcher 2 was my GOTY as well :)

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 7:21 PM

      I had a laugh at this. Good one, Shacknews. Wait, you serious?

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 6:38 AM

      Excellent choice for GotY! It's nice to see a game that actually deserves it get it, rather than some generic crud like Skyrim.