Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
The Not Quite Best Games of 2011

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 17 Jan 2012 12:00
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Urgh. I'm by no means surprised anymore by the accusation that I'm automatically biased against certain genres, properties and developers, but being accused of being automatically biased against shooters after naming MW3 and BF3 as my worst games of 2011 is certainly a new one. Especially since shooters seem to be the only thing I play these days. You know why I hate the two specified realistic war games? Because they're horribly written and the gameplay is so dull and repetitive that it puts me in a fucking trance. And I'm pretty sure that's not a sensation that pitched do-or-die war battles are supposed to evoke, so there you go.

Anyway, time to round out 2011 in Extra Punctuation as well as its foulmouthed audio visual sister, so time for the honorable mentions. I have to admit, deciding on my tops and bottoms and where they all ranked was surprisingly difficult, because a lot of the games were just plain mediocre. And I know I say that every year, but apparently even more so. Looking over my videos of the year I found myself going through a lot of the games and coming up with valid reasons for putting them in either the top or bottom list, which would've been weird.

Still, we have to start somewhere and it might as well be with Minecraft, which I very nearly put in my top list but decided against doing so after much consideration. Not because I didn't want to put two indie titles in my top list or because it's slightly debatable whether or not Minecraft actually "came out" in 2011, but because it feels unfair on the other kids. I mean, games. Something like Resistance 3 might put thousands of man hours into making a directed, entertaining experience and Minecraft only had to procedurally generate a planet out of cubes and leave the rest to us. I'm still dubious about whether or not Minecraft should even be classified as a "game" by today's definitions, or to award it for being fun when it's fun in the same way Lego or a piece of paper and some crayons is fun. So don't think I precluded it for being worse than any given game in my top 5 but because it should probably live in some other list for creativity toys and golden penis simulators.

Since I just now gave it lip service I suppose we'd better move onto Resistance 3, one of the few standouts of Shooter Season 2011, although it is highly possible that I only like it so much because I played it alongside Gears of War 3, which was a sweaty execrable pile of used gym shorts. But it did have a nice variety of environments, weapons and set pieces that called to a better time for shooters without feeling like an actual physical step backwards, if you see what I mean. It was another possible candidate for the top 5, but got nudged out a bit by a worrying incongruity of character and basically ripping off Half-Life 2 a whole bunch. On reflection perhaps I should have kept it in so people wouldn't start saying I'm biased against shooters (seriously what the hell).

While we're somewhat on the subject let's also remember Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was also a game. This specifically was the title I couldn't decide if I would place in a top list or a bottom list for the year, if I was ranking every single game in order of quality it'd probably sit right in the middle. On the one hand, it was nice to see because it had a level of complexity, decent stealth, and a plot that felt it could tackle some deep themes, but then again, the RPG elements were a little sloppy, Adam Jensen was just a little bit too hard to take seriously with his Neo voice and integrated sunglasses, and it's impossible to get past those horrible boss fights and terrible ending. It's like opening the door to greet an old friend and engaging him in stimulating conversation for a few minutes before smelling alcohol on his breath and looking down to see his old chap dangling forlornly from his open fly.

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