2011 brought us a lot of great video games. So many, in fact, that many are being lost in the shuffle or edged out as people struggle to compile their lists. This happens. When crowning a game (or games) with the “best” title, runners-up are bound to fall by the wayside. The problem is, there are just so many close calls this year, plenty of games are being left out. That’s why I’ve created this list of The Other Best Games of 2011, to honor those who I feel aren’t being honored enough. Some of the titles I’ve included have gotten recognition around the web, but not enough.
Shadows of the Damned
With games like Killer7, Fatal Frame IV, and the No More Heroes series, it’s that Suda51 possesses a unique mind. He managed to knock it out of the park once again with Shadows of the Damned, which combined excellent shooting mechanics with fun, macabre humor. While it wasn’t revolutionary, it was more than solid, and provided one of the most enjoyable rides of the year.
Publishers always release their heavy hitters around the end of the year, to capitalize on the holiday season. A byproduct of this is that when writers sit down to work on their “best of” lists, all of those titles included in that big holiday wave are fresh in their minds. I’m not saying being released in May hurt L.A. Noire’s chances, but it certainly didn’t help. Sure, the PC version was released in November, but its initial splash was long gone. L.A. Noire found its way onto some lists out there, but for what I consider to be one of my most memorable gaming experiences of all time, it deserved to be on a lot more.
This almost didn’t make my list because, to be honest, it is getting a decent amount of recognition. But again, it’s not enough! Michel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpellier made absolute magic with Rayman, not only producing a platformer as good as the classics but better than most of them. They introduced the current generation to a quality of gaming that has been dead for some time. Not only is Rayman Origins a masterpiece of a game, it’s a remarkable achievement.
Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 arrived in January of this year, the worst possible release month for end-of-year recognition. And yet here I am, recognizing it, because it creeped its way into my memory and will forever haunt me. Kudos to Electronic Arts for fostering some original IPs, which led to the stellar Dead Space and its even more stellar sequel. Sci-fi horror is my favorite genre of everything, and I simply can’t get enough of Isaac Clarke and his ongoing battle with the necromorph menace.
As someone who couldn’t be less of a fighting game fan (that title goes to our Michael Kwan), I absolutely loved Mortal Kombat. And I wasn’t even good at it! Sure, nostalgia played a large part of it, but the ninth entry in the Mortal Kombat fighting series was also a damn good game. And I’m far from the only person who thought so, which is why I was surprised that it didn’t make it onto more lists.
There were other games I thought to mention, such as Terraria and Minecraft (which finally saw an official release this year), but where would it end? It would end in madness, I’m pretty sure. 2011 was a great year for videogames and I’m saying that based off of the games I’ve actually had a chance to play, there are still plenty that I haven’t, and 2012 is going to bring even more great titles.