Batman: Arkham City is our Game of the Year

Tech-Out conducted a highly unscientific poll of its team of contributors to name 2011′s best game, and “Batman: Arkham City” took the top prize.

Current and former staffers for The Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin newspapers comprised the majority of our panel. We don’t get to cover games full time (I spend most of my days as a business reporter), but we like games and like to share our opinions on which titles are worth playing .

As for Arkham City, here’s what contributor Reggie Carolipio, who also reviewed the title, had to say:

Arkham Asylum resurrected the Dark Knight’s career in gaming in much
the same way that Christopher Nolan’s Batman resurrected his
onscreen legend, and Arkham City delivered even more high-flying
crimebusting and street-level beat downs than its predecessor.
Squeeze in a who’s who of bad guys ranging from the Penguin to
Two-Face, a host of storied side missions, the Riddler, and Arkham
City isn’t so much of a sequel as it is a new chapter in the Caped
Crusader’s career.

We liked other games, too. The runners up are after the jump.

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” came in second place. Reviewer Jahmal Peters championed the game “for obvious reasons.” For more elaboration, check out his review of the game.

“L.A. Noire,” came in as our second runner-up, which finally gives us a chance to be a little controversial. The title put players in role of a 1947 police detective and the developers built gameplay around collecting evidence, asking questions and trying to figure out if characters were telling the truth or lying. Some found the game to be too repetitive, but I admired its ambition, even if it was flawed. Here’s the commentary I attached to my ballot.

In some ways, L.A. Noire is a mess. I almost wanted to downgrade my initial review the more I thought about how much the nonsensical end to the homicide storyline disappointed me. But when the game works, as it is often does, L.A. Noire is beautiful recreation of 1940s Los Angeles and tribute to film noir. The developers’ decision to place investigation and conversation at the core of the game may not suit players who wanted a more action-packed experience, but I liked it and respect the developers’ willingness to take a chance on a game that does not necessarily adhere to mainstream expectations. A more coherent storyline would have made this a clear Game of the Year choice for me.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations earned enough votes to achieve honorable mention status. In the words of former Sun photo tech Tony Maher: “Continued shanking of Templars. Nuff said.”

 

Also receiving votes:

  • Bastion*
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Dark Souls
  • Driver: San Francisco
  • Forza Motorsport 4*
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Minecraft
  • NBA 2K12
  • Portal 2
  • Rayman Origins
  • Rift
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • The Witcher 2

Also received a vote, and not because we’re trolling:

  • Duke Nukem Forever

We’ll let Sun and Daily Bulletin online content manager Kent Salas explain his vote:

I know, I know. I simply like the fact that after close to 15 years Duke had the balls to come back from the dead, many, many times.

I grew up with the Duke Nukem series so I got to relive a little spark of my youth playing this game and yes I agree it could and should have been better with 14 years of development. It was still good to see Duke again with all his cheesy preadolescent violence and humor.

*Bastion and Forza did not quite make my Top 5, and I limited reviewers to five games. That said, it’s my list and I think these games deserve recognition. Call a United Nations observer and complain if you think their inclusion is disrespectful to democracy.