Error! Not Found’s Top 10 Games of 2011 (And More!)

We’ve thought long and hard. Here are our very democratic picks for the ten best games of 2011.

#10 – Gears Of War 3 (Epic Games, 9 points, voted 4th in tie)

Microsoft doesn’t have many exclusive triple-A titles to its name, but this year, one definitely stood out. Gears of War 3 provided an epic conclusion to Epic’s epic epic. After two very “dude bro” instalments in the Gears of War series, Gears of  War 3 takes a more serious look at what is going on in the world of Sera. With even more players available for co-op this time around, there is double the fun to be had in the campaign. The multiplayer also got a makeover with smoother games, progression unlockables, and new modes. Horde 2.0 and matchmaking make this a game worth returning to. – Ryan McGinley

#9 – Saints Row: The Third (Volition Inc., 9 points, voted 3rd in tie)

Saints Row is not the perfect game. It has its shares of problems. It may not be the most technically sound game that released in 2011, but, for me, it has one advantage over any other game this year: it is by far the most fun. In a year with plenty of games focusing on a serious story, such as L.A. Noire and Deus Ex, Saints Row brings me back to what got me into gaming in the first place; the ridiculous amounts of fun you can have while playing them. With great writing, great set pieces, and great co-op support, Saints Row more than earns its spot on our top 10 list. – Ryan McGinley

#8 – Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games, 9 points, voted 2nd in tie)

Try as I might, I couldn’t conjure up a single flaw for this game. Visceral did an excellent job at improving on what was already a stand out game by adding new weapons, tweaks in characters, and the introduction of a new atmosphere. And yet in doing so, they managed to remain true to what made its fans fall in love with the franchise in the first place. I may have not played Skyrim or Arkham City, but as far as I’m concerned, Dead Space 2 wins my game of the year vote. Hands down. – Cayci Phillips

#7 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 9 points, voted 1st in tie)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution offers quite a unique experience out of all the games to release in 2011. While not allowing you the complete freedom of Skyrim or the tightly focused gameplay of Modern Warfare 3, Human Revolution instead presents focused levels with multiple ways to achieve the end goal; as a result, Human Revolution delivered a thrilling adventure that made player choice an integral part of the game. Whether it be through stealth, fighting, or hacking, Deus Ex: Human Revolution largely succeeds at making every path interesting and fun in its own right. Accompanied by an excellent cyberpunk aesthetic and complex conspiracy story, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is as easy a sell as, well, Deus Ex. – Matthew Milewski

#6 – Rayman Origins (Ubisoft, 10 points)

Michel Ancel, often lauded for his stellar work on the cult classic Beyond Good & Evil, has delivered what might be his most satisfying game to date on all fronts; art, gameplay, music and tone. Rayman Origins is positively bursting at the seems with charm. The platforming is meticulous and precise but never truly frustrating, and the addition of 4-player cooperative play is welcome. The game looks fantastic, especially running at 1080p on the PS3 or Xbox, and the music is delightfully catchy and varied. All of these things combined make Rayman Origins my favorite pure, 2D platformer since the days of the SNES. Truly marvellous. – Evan Tognotti

#5 – L.A. Noire (Team Bondi, 13 points)

Sure, the gunplay is alright at best. Yes, I let my partner drive most of the time. But despite that, L.A. Noire is one of the best games of 2011. The facial capture technology is impressive. Character faces are the most accurate I’ve ever seen in a game to date. However, the story and atmosphere in L.A. Noire is what takes the cake for me. Detective Cole Phelps’s journey through the ranks of the LAPD was more exciting than anything else I experienced that year. While far from perfect, the inspirations from adventure games and film noir create a highly entertaining package that everyone should experience. – Clint Prentice

#4 – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo, 13 points)

I’ll be the first to tell you how Ocarina of Time is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ll also tell you how Eiji Aonuma (lead designer for most 3D Zeldas) has nearly ruined my affection for this once stellar franchise. In spite of this, I’m always happy to be proven wrong. And in the case of Skyward Sword, I humbly shut my contrarian mouth.  Everything here fires on all cylinders. The dungeon design is the best of any Zelda. The motion controls are flawless. The main theme is perhaps my favorite in the series. And it’s all wrapped in a lovely, simple story about a boy saving a girl, who, you know, happens to save the world along the way. It’s the best 3D Zelda of all time, the second best Zelda of all time (behind A Link To The Past), and my personal game of the year. – Evan Tognotti

#3 – Portal 2 (Valve Corporation, 21 points)

Portal is one of the greatest acheivements in the short history of video games so far, so naturally expectations were astronomically high for the sequel. Enter Portal 2, where perhaps the most amazing thing the game manages to do is meet most of those expectations. With a single-player campaign featuring extremely memorable characters and puzzles (and a damn fine soundtrack), as well as a co-op campaign that delivers more intense puzzles for players seeking a challenge, Portal 2 is an absolute joy of a game. It’s doubtful that the game will ever be appreciated as much as its predecessor, but comparisons aside, Portal 2 is a damn fine time. – Matthew Milewski

#2 – Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios, 23 points)

I’ve been tasked with explaining why I picked Batman: Arkham City as my Game of the Year for 2011, in a year full of Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim, and Uncharted. I could talk about how the writing and voice acting is stellar, or how the combat makes me believe that there can be peace and justice in this world, or even just how amazing and fun it is to get around the city, but I’d like to focus on one moment about a quarter of the way through the main story, and I promise to keep this as spoiler light as possible. Let me paint the scene for you: you’re in the Gotham City Natural History Museum, where Penguin and his goons have set up shop. You need to get to the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin’s operating center, but there’s a huge, ice-covered area of water in front of you. No problem: just get on one of the smaller chunks of ice and use your Bat-Claw to navigate the frigid waters. At some point, you might turn on Detective Vision, and notice all of the bodies that seem to be at the bottom of this aquarium. Turning back to normal vision, you are almost to your goal. Then, suddenly, a great white shark breaks through the ice and starts attacking you. Now, I know that this alone is pretty fantastic, but so what? Batman jumps back to shore and has to find another way around, right? Nope. Instead, the game has you (as Batman) punch the killer of the deep in the face as many times as you can. After about five or six punches, the shark realizes, “Oh wait, I’m messing with the GODDAMN BATMAN. I should go!” And it does promptly leaves you alone, recognizing the Caped Crusader as the top of the food chain that is far below anything Bruce Wayne would ever need. Also, there might have been fireworks going off and strippers cheering you on in the background; I don’t really remember all the specifics of this awesome moment that clinched Arkham City as my Game of the Year. When Skyrim makes you punch a dragon into submission, then we’ll talk. – Will Keane

#1 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks, 32 points)

A few weeks before Skyrim released, I was one of the few skeptics. I was unsure of how the first demo we all saw for Skyrim could turn into something I would love as much as Oblivion. It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith in Bethesda; I was just worried they wouldn’t be able to recreate the magical, slightly campy experience that was Oblivion. Much to my excitement, I had as many, if not more wonderful feelings while playing Skyrim. And better yet, seemingly everything had been improved. – Ben Textor

(Don’t go yet! Follow us onto the next page, where editors break down the games they chose for their personal top 10 that no one else did. Also! Editors explain why they think a game that made it into our top ten should not be there)