So we finished our fighting and while it didn’t get too ugly there was still some serious controversy. Nonetheless we have settled on our 2011 CalmDownTom award winners, and here they are. Well done games!
If you want to hear the whole thing, check out the podcast as you read the list!
Best Online Multiplayer
- Battlefield 3 Most of us played this and loved it. Console and PC versions were very different though
- Modern Warfare 3 Solid, they didn’t ruin anything and the Spec Ops mode is even better.
- Killzone 3 Still surprisingly fun with its changing modes, but again nothing groundbreaking.
- Homefront Some neat spins on the basic Battlefield format, but the game engine was creaky.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Some may criticize its lack of ambition in original gameplay, but it takes a brave dev to go up against Blizzard and WOW.
Winner: Star Wars: The Old Republic!
There was a lot of skepticism about this huge gamble from EA, but Bioware pulled it off and created a finely crafted and well put together MMORPG. Of all the games on the list, this is the one we had most fun playing together and attracted the most excitement amongst our writers.
Best Indie Release
- To The Moon Lovely wee story, very whimsical and the very definition of Indie.
- Minecraft Is this still Indie? It certainly was, but 2011 may be remembered as the year that Minecraft changed gaming forever.
- Bastion Full of charm and the love-him or hate-him narrator.
- Terraria Much more than just 2D Minecraft. This is how you make a game influenced by Notch’s masterpiece without ripping it off.
- Trauma A great idea implemented with original gameplay.
- Frozen Synapse Turn-based strategy, but done differently from all the others. Quick, brutal and brilliant.
- SpaceChem Brilliant and involving strategy title with the most obscure setting.
- Magicka Another breakout hit, original controls and concept and filled with ridiculous pyrotechnics.
In truth nothing else stood a chance. It was a category of amazing games and the Indie scene was strong this year, but no one could deny the game that changed how we look at blocks of dirt.
Best Mobile/Portable Release
- Quarrel DX A great word game from Denki, that was a long time in the making.
- Groove Coaster A great rhythm game with some bangin dance tunes.
- Dizzy POTYF A nostalgic treat.
- Pokemon Black and White Still going strong.
Winner: Quarrel DX
Well done Denki. You crafted an enjoyable mobile experience with all the joy of Scrabble and rude words.
- Duke Nukem Forever Nothing need be said.
- Rage Great guns but painfully dull gameplay.
- Space Marine A missed opportunity. Repetitive, intentionally retrograde combat.
- Ports(!) Not a simulated port paradise. Included on this list because of Pandash’s hatred of the game.
- DC Universe Online How not to do an MMORPG, and an example of why subscription based MMORPG’s are dying or dead (Old Republic free to play by March I say!).
Winner: Duke Nukem Forever
It was tough to judge this as most of us thought Duke would be bad, but we didn’t expect it to be THAT bad. More than ten years of disappoint when into this game.
- Dance Central 2 Improves on the original in all important ways.
- The Gunstringer Funniest game of the year?
- Just Dance 3 Very underrated with brilliant production throughout and a lot of fun.
- Child of Eden Rez but with nature instead of computers. Better with a control pad.
- Zelda: Skyward Sword: Young Link finally makes motion controls make sense.
Winner: Zelda: Skyward Sword
Never bet against Nintendo. They finally show all other developers how to make use of their own console.
Best Original IP
- Shadows of the Damned Creative superstars come together and make this quirky but fun title.
- Bulletstorm A brilliant combo gameplay style damaged somewhat by terrible characters.
- LA Noire Ambitious gameplay and a wonderfully written story combined with revolutionary animation.
- Dead Island Much better than anyone expected it to be, a kind of Borderlands with melee weapons on a beach.
Winner: LA Noire
For revolutionary tech, great storytelling and an original structure as well as innovative gameplay, this was the clear choice for best new IP.
- Shadows of the Damned The best musical composer in games writes his Magnum opus (in my opinion).
- Minecraft So peaceful.
- Skyrim So Epic!
- Rayman Origins So…. Funky!
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution It sounds like the future.
Winner: Shadows of the Damned
Just go listen to the soundtrack now. GO! Akira Yamaoka at his very best.
Most Unexpected Success
- Driver: San Francisco No one expected this game to be as brilliant as it was.
- Mortal Kombat 9 Not just the best Mortal Kombat game, but maybe the best fighting game of all time.
- Dead Island Although early buzz suggested this game was going to be remembered for nothing but its trailer, it turned out to be great in its own right.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution We all hoped it would be as good as the original, but few thought it would be better.
Winner: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
No one expected this to be as good as the original, and early buzz was negative. It was a huge surprise to find that not only was this game good, but it was one of the best of the year. Turns out that being a cyborg is still brilliant.
- Cave Johnson His personality permeates Portal 2 and rivals the genius of Glados.
- Johnny Cage His lack of self-awareness and complete douchey-ness makes him legendary.
- Rucks The Kid did good, and so did he!
- Garcia *Fucking* Hotpsur Mainly nominated because that’s how his name is always said.
Winner: Cave Johnson
The best writing in a game this year produced many great characters, and Cave Johnson was just one of several great personalities in Portal 2.
- Battlefield 3
- Trine 2
- Rayman: Origins
Winner: Trine 2
We threw this category in as we went along as it was an oversight to miss it out in the first place. As we had all just seen Trine 2, many for the first time, we were blown away and struggled to think of anything that looked better this year. A worthy winner!
CalmDownToms Game of the Year
The Nominees for the big one are:
- Portal 2
- LA Noire
- Skyward Sword
- Mortal Kombat 9
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Arkham City
Winner: Portal 2
While Skyrim was loved by many here at CalmDownTom, it was hated equally. Because of this, tactical voting became a factor as many of the team tried to ensure it didn’t win. As a result Portal 2 swept to a worthy victory and is CalmDownTom’s game of the year. Full of great writing, brain twisting puzzles and a brilliant story arc, it would be a worthy winner any year and with so many great games out in 2011 it has done doubly well. Well done Valve, and well done Portal 2!