About games and gaming thereof!

2011: NGD’s GOTY

I sure do love me some acronyms.

You know, for awhile I was all but certain Deus Ex: Human Revolution was going to win the prize for my Game of the Year (the value of that prize being somewhere in the negative zone). I loved that damn game. I even said it was better than the original Deus Ex.

But looking back on it, I think I may have jumped the gun. DX:HR had far more refined and functional gameplay than DX1, especially in the stealth department. I still stand by that statement. It also had a fun hacking minigame and a shockingly interesting and intuitive persuasion system. But on the whole, I just feel like it wasn’t quite as memorable as DX1. HR does pose some very interesting questions surrounding the concept of transhumanism, but DX1 had a myriad of ethical dilemmas and a wonderfully complex web of conspiracies, and I still rate the ending as the best ending of any game ever, and a perfect example of how to do the whole Big Ending Choice trope correctly.

I think the reason I loved DX:HR so much was because it’s such a perfect fit for me that I sometimes wonder if Eidos Montreal made the game specifically for me. It’s a stealth/shooter RPG set in a cyberpunk dystopia where you get to jump abnormally high, backstab unsuspecting guards, and wear a badass coat. I honestly can’t imagine anything that would be more appealing to me personally, except maybe if it also featured space pirates or ninjas. But it seems like nobody else liked the game quite as much as I did, and I guess that’s fair enough. Maybe it wasn’t that amazing.

But hey, you know what was kind of amazing? Bastion. A brilliant independent action-RPG with a virtually unprecedented art style and method of storytelling, one that presents a thoroughly fleshed-out world and an engaging, sometimes heart-wrenching narrative while rarely interrupting the flow of gameplay. This game took a lot of risks and played with a lot of big ideas, and it’s refreshing to see how well it sold and how much acclaim it received.

Honorable mention goes to Portal 2 and Skyrim. They were both great, if for very different reasons, but I think Bastion deserves the pedestal today.

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11 responses

  1. I completely agree with that choice. Bastion is the game of the year for me too. A great experience all around.

    December 25, 2011 at 6:53 AM

  2. Falcon

    Kid sees a man all excited about something.

    Kid decides to check it out.

    What this, seems that man is all excited about Bastion. Well the Bastion is pretty amazing ain’t it.

    Kid just smiles and nods approvingly.

    Kid also pulls out his scrap musket and taps it gently, informing anyone around that they’d better get the Bastion, or he was gonna have… words.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    • JPH

      You know what I like most about this comment? I was referred to as a man.

      December 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      • Falcon

        My apologies then!
        I coulda sworn, well it doesn’t much matter. I meant no offense.

        December 27, 2011 at 5:49 PM

        • JPH

          Oh no, you’re correct. I am a man. It’s just that I’ve become so accustomed to being called “kid” or “boy.”

          December 27, 2011 at 10:01 PM

          • Falcon

            Ha! Well that’s fair enough. Though in Internet terms I give the man/ kid distinction less on age, and more on ability to coherently articulate a point. So congratulations I suppose, a relative stranger is formally granting you the title of man. Any further comments referring to you as kid or boy are to be referred to this post for corrective action.

            December 28, 2011 at 2:28 AM

            • This exchange has done wonders for my faith in mankind.

              December 29, 2011 at 3:54 PM

              • JPH

                Glad I could help.

                December 29, 2011 at 10:45 PM

  3. Niryain

    I do agree with you. Somewhat. Bastion is by and far my ‘Indie Game of the Year’, for all the reasons you outlined. My ‘AAA Game of the Year’ though would have to be The Witcher 2, if only because it was one of the only western RPGs of the year to have good writing, gameplay mechanics, and a choice system that’s like the opposite of what Bioware’s taken to using. And yes I’m making a distinction between Indie and AAA because I don’t feel like being decisive. They’re both excellent.

    December 29, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    • JPH

      By the way, would you recommend The Witcher 2 to somebody who didn’t really like the first one? I’ve heard that the gameplay is better and that it cut out that stupid collectable sex card business, but TW1 was too repetitive and dreary for me.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      • Niryain

        It’s definitely a lot more.. Concise, would be the word… Than the first Witcher. There are only like six or so ‘Do Witcher work – Kill Monsters’ type quests in the entire game, and they all have special bits to them which put them above the first game’s fifty ‘collect shit that drops’ quests. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome, really. Most quests are for plot advancement or have significance to them.

        And, yes, the number of sexual encounters has been, well, drastically cut down, but again they all ‘mean’ something. No more trading cards either.

        Thematically? It’s the Witcher-verse. The tone is somewhat similar to the first game in that respect.

        December 29, 2011 at 5:35 PM

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