2011 VGAs – The Anjel Syndicate Staff Pick the Best Games of 2011

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With the Video Game Awards airing tomorrow night on Spike TV, the Anjel Syndicate Staff have decided to share with our readers, our picks for the games we thought were the best of 2011. We only used a portion of the categories featured at tomorrow night’s award show, but we chose the ones that we thought were the most important categories.

Jessica “Allahweh” Brown – Review Editor

Studio of the Year – BETHESDA
Best Shooter of the Year – GEARS OF WAR 3
Best Independent Game of the Year – MINECRAFT
Best RPG of the Year – ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
Game of the Year for 2011 – ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD
Most Anticipated Game of 2012 – THE LAST GUARDIAN and GUILD WARS 2

Jessica’s Top 5 Picks for 2011

  • MINECRAFT –  Minecraft has evolved into one of the most unique PC gaming experiences I’ve ever seen, and the sheer amount of mods produced by the fans and the creativity they’ve come up with blows me away nearly every day.  Even just exploring the randomly-generated worlds in Minecraft can prove to be a wonderfully fun experience.  I think it will prove to be the type of game that will age very well and will see some incredible mods and official improvements in the years to come.
  • THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD –  I’m always partial to the Zelda games, and while I think the formula has been done before in recent games, Skyward Sword makes unique use of the Wii Motion Plus and presents us with another fascinating tale in the Zelda universe.  There are many plays on older puzzles and themes and enough new things to make the game stand out in a class all its own.  Zelda to me has truly proved reason enough to own a Nintendo console.
  • THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM –  There’s not a whole lot to say about this game that hasn’t been said before.  The thing that really makes it stand apart to me is how the developers managed to create a vast, sandbox-like world that actually captures the look and feel of an MMORPG while being an “offline” game.  The world is so open and vast, the NPCs and the story are so interesting, and it all works to draw you into a game that you could play for hours on end.
  • TERRARIA – Terraria is a unique experience for me.  The developers seemed to take the basic idea provided by Minecraft and InfiniMiner and turned it into a classic 2D gaming experience.  What I really love about Terraria though is that it captures the feel of games from the 16-bit era, and even if you didn’t spend any of your time in the game building structures you could have a great time exploring the deep caves and dungeons and fighting a wide assortment of enemies.  It’s a truly unique game that is well worth the low price.
  • INFINITY BLADE I & II –  The Infinity Blade games are rather different than most I’ve played, and yet they are hands-down miles above most games on iOS.  The premise of the first game was rather simple, but the depth was almost unbelievable and the graphics were right on-par with some of the PS3 and 360 games out now.  The sequel is simply amazing and truly builds off of the style of the first game while providing an RPG experience like none other on iOS.  Both games are reasonably priced and I think any iPhone or iPad owner is missing out by not owning both of these games!

Mike Charves  – Staff Writer

Studio of the Year:  Bethesda
Best Shooter:  Battlefield 3
Best Independent:  Minecraft
Best RPG:  Elder Scrolls – Skyrim
Most Anticipated:  Star Wars – The Old Republic
Game of the Year:  Elder Scrolls – Skyrim

 Mike’s Top 5 Picks for 2011

Elder Scrolls – Skyrim
Battlefield 3
Batman Arkham City
Mass Effect 3
Portal 2
 
Warren C. BennettSenior Editor
 
Studio of the Year – Mojang,  A company that was formed on the basis of the sales of an Alpha. Defying the odds, they are being prepped to release two new products.
Best Shooter – Dungeon Defenders,  Although it might not be technically classed as a shooter, you do do a lot of Shooting in the game. A tower defence action/rpg hybrid, there are many times where the action overcomes anything else in the game.
Best Independent Game – Minecraft, A game that just keeps on giving. Simple in execution but complex in design, this is a game that will be remembered long after most games of this gen are in the great dustbin of history.
Best RPG – Elderscrolls V: Skyrim, This game has already garnered a cult following, a hit youtube song, and many great videos just featuring foliage from the product. Bethsoft has one upped itself and delivered a product that seems to be more revered even than the mighty Morrowind.
Most Anticipated Game – Guild Wars 2, An MMO that is set to tilt the genre on the side. Arena.net has looked at what makes MMOs exciting and has refined everything about them. This includes crafting, fighting and exploring. If they can pull this off and combine it with the “Buy the Box, play free forever” approach of the original Guild Wars, they will have a hit on their hands.
Game of the Year – Minecraft,  An Indie phenomenon that just keeps on getting bigger. Although most of the games on this list will be beaten and uninstalled within a month, Minecraft will stay around for the sheer variety and fun that it has to offer.
 
Warren’s Top 5 Picks of 2011
 
  • Minecraft – A creative game that is well executed.
  • TES V: Skyrim – An Open World RPG that ups the bar set by other games in the genre.
  • L.A. Noire – Bringing back the idea of Adventure gaming to the masses, melding it with a gritty story and awesome animation.
  • Terraria – This game takes the idea of Minecraft and turns it on the side. A 2D mining and crafting game, it also has a healthy dose of adventuring and a reason to explore. Great game.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic – An MMO that has is tightly focused on Narrative and Story. Although it won’t be loved by everyone, this game has proven that story can be melded with a Massively Multiplayer game. It will pave the away for future MMOs to take this concept and refine it even further.

Tiffany Toms – News Editor

Studio of the Year – Bethesda Game Studios
Best Shooter – Battlefield 3
Best Independent Game – Bastion
Best RPG – Elderscrolls V: Skyrim
Most Anticipated Game – The Last Guardian
Game of the Year – Batman Arkham City and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Tie)

 Tiffany’s Top 5 Picks for 2011

  • Elderscrolls V: Skyrim – 300+ Hours! Now thats what I like to see in my RPGs! Bethesda took the series to a whole new level by giving the gamers so much more to do. No longer are you locked into a specific class, customize and play your character the way you want to play. Graphics are utterly amazing and have an MMO look and feel about them. Bethesda not only showed us that the quality is there, but also the quantity of things to do. The game is so addicting that you don’t ever want to stop playing. Skyrim will be the game to beat for RPG of the Year!
  • Batman Arkham City – THE BEST BATMAN GAME EVER! Rocksteady Studios showed us, the gamers, how a real Batman game should look, sound, play and feel. I don’t think anyone could have done a better job making a Batman game and I can’t wait to see what Rocksteady Studios decides to tackle next. This game has one of the best endings I’ve ever seen in a video game. The game not only gives you a great main story, but lots of involved side quests from ones that require you to use your brain to ones that have you using your brawn. A wide variety of Batman villians and characters round out this game and are used well in their storylines.
  • Dark Souls – And I thought Demon Souls was worth the $60 price tag! When From Software and Namco-Bandai said “Prepare to Die” they meant it! This game is so frustrating because you will die a whole lot, but that is what makes the game so utterly fantastic. The game forces you into combat perfection while paying careful attention to your surroundings, and making each and every victory that much more fulfilling. This is definitely a game that you will be playing for a long time because you will need to take periodic breaks from it to avoid wanting to smash your controller to bits.
  • Mortal Kombat – The newest entry in this long lasting franchise made me love Mortal Kombat again! I was one of those players who has played every entry in this franchise and have been disgusted with some of the changes and features that were added to past games. NetherRealm Studios took us back to the way a Mortal Kombat game should be played. Not only did they add some new features that were nice additions, but the made sure that whether you were a returning kombatant or a new one, you knew the lore of the fighters and the MK universe. Mortal Kombat made me love fighting games again and even the DLC was a nice touch to the game.
  • Catherine – Catherine was the game that reminded me why I am such a fan of Atlus games. This game not only added a new twist to the video game world that we haven’t seen much before, but it was fun feeling challenged throughout the game. This game is totally different than any other game on the market, it is intellectually stimulating and offers a surreal storyline. The anime style of the graphics and the adult storyline is something very appealing and fits perfectly with the game. Catherine is not a game for everyone, but its definitely a game that puzzle lovers and unique gamers will enjoy.

David “AnjelusX” Slauenwhite – Owner/Director of Anjel Syndicate

Studio of the Year – Atlus, I know that sound weird for me to say, but they stepped out of their comfort zone of North American releases. While Catherine isn’t the most amazing game of all time, it was different, and these days different isn’t that common so for a studio to throw the dice on a title like this makes a big statement in my book.
Best Shooter – Bulletstorm, This was a tough call for me as there were a lot of really good options out this year. That said, I had the most fun playing Bulletstorm out of any of them. Yes a pvp mode would have been fun as hell and it might not have been the best shooter made. 2011 was all about how much fun I had playing whatever I was playing more than how beautiful, how solidly made, or how compelling the story a game had, I wanted to have fun. Bulletstorm delivered hours of fun for me so good I give it the top shooter honour this year.
Best Independent –  Atomic City Adventures, Yes I know how everyone is in love with Minecraft but that one just didn’t hit home with me for whatever reason. I was leaning towards Lucid, but at the end of the day, like with most of my choices this year I have to go with the fun I had, and driving around in Atomic City had that. Not to mention the look and feel of the game itself from the mixed blend of genres found in the stylings of Atomic City, to the story work that I look forward to seeing more of, I was most impressed by ACA.
Best RPG – Radiant Historia – Another year full of big rpg (or quasi-rpg, yes I’m looking at your North American developers) and there is a slew that most people will pick. For me though, I have two that I really enjoyed but I have to pick one so I’m going with Radiant Historia from Atlus. This JRPG gem on the DS appeared early in 2011 and with it’s time jumping, story fixing, grid/combo combat, and those anime visuals we’ve come to love form Atlus, it was by far one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on the DS. Honourable mention however goes to Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny from Natsume.
Most Anticipated Game – The Last Story (Mistwalker)(Wii), Xenoblade (Nintendo/Monolith)(Wii), Lime Odyessy: The Chronicles of Orta (Aeria Games/Sirius Entertainment)(PC MMORPG) – I don’t have a single most anticipated title for 2012, but here’s just a couple that comes to mind straight away.
Game of the Year – Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword – As if I really have to explain that, there are a lot of games that really nailed 2011, but Link + Zelda = Win in my book.
 
David’s Top 5 Picks of 2011
 
  • Catherine – It dared to be different, and it was, and I loved it.
  • Tropico 4 – I love me some good ole Resource Strategy games, and Tropico 4 made my heart feel super happy.
  • LA Noire – Gritty Detective story done Rockstar style? Please sir, can I have some more?
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Is it just me or does Zelda keep getting hotter and hotter?
  • Gears of War: 3 – In the world of shooters, I might have had a grand silly time with Bulletstorm, but Gears 3 also provided me with all the shootery I could ask for along with some story that was interesting and kept me playing while other shooters just didn’t pull me into their worlds.

So what do you think of our picks? Do you agree or disagree with any of these? Well let us know what you think were the 5 best games in 2011 in the comments below!

Also, don’t forget to watch the 2011 Video Game Awards on Saturday, December 10th at 8PM EST/7PM CST/6PM MST/5PM PST on Spike TV! (Check your local listings for channel number)

Tiffany
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1 comment for “2011 VGAs – The Anjel Syndicate Staff Pick the Best Games of 2011

  1. Warren C. Bennett
    12/10/2011 at 4:21 AM

    I think this gives a good over view on how different the tastes of the various AS staff are, heh.

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