2011 Retrospective

1 : Anonymous2021/03/07 17:34 ID: lzve1f


Since 2011 was 10 years ago (2021 – 2011 = 10), I thought it’d be a good idea to reflect on what is considered one of the best years in gaming – I’d personally consider 2011 to be the peak of AAA gaming. Since AAA development cycles 10 years ago were half of what they are today (see this interview with Uncharted 1-3 director Amy Hennig), and live service games were a lot less common, we also got a greater quantity of AAA games than we do now. And while the indie scene was still blooming – 283 games released on Steam in 2011 versus 8290 games in 2019 – there were still a lot of high quality indie games that released in 2011, and the average quality of an indie game on Steam and the three consoles at the time was higher than it is now.

A lot of things were happening in 2011: the release of both the 3DS and the PS Vita (Japan only for the PS Vita, 2012 for the West) were technically the start of the eighth generation. Furthermore, the 3D gimmick was big around this time, particularly in movies, and the 3DS allowed you to see these effects without the need for glasses. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 also supported stereoscopic 3D in a lot of their major titles in the early 2010s, with Killzone 3 and Gears of War 3 being some notable examples from this year.

Sony’s PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect had released the year prior, and Nintendo’s Wii Motion Plus in 2009. Motion controls were a frequent hot topic on message boards, and Sony and Microsoft steering down this path halfway into the seventh generation made gamers fear for a much gimmickier future in gaming. Free to play games were beginning to take shape on PC and mobile devices but wouldn’t really come to consoles until a few years later. World of Warcraft was still dominating the MMORPG space, though the controversial Cataclysm expansion had released in December 2010.

Skylanders was the first major “Toys to Life” game and would inspire several other Toys to Life releases, including Nintendo’s very own Amiibo in 2014. There was also a resurgence of local multiplayer in AAA games in 2011, including some of the biggest games of the year: Portal 2, Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, etc.

I’ll be going through the list of games released for each of the major platforms with a little description for each. Keep in mind I haven’t played every game on this list but did a little bit of research for the ones I was less familiar with. This post is going to focus on North American release dates – even just 10 years ago release dates varied a lot more than they do now. Even Pokemon had separate release dates for each region 10 years (up until Pokemon X/Y in 2013, after which every mainline game has had a single international release date).

Since the PS Vita only released in Japan in 2011, I’ll just leave this list of the 26 launch titles for the PS Vita in Japan.

Multiplatform AAA Games

Dark Souls – The spiritual successor to 2009’s PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls would expand its audience to many more platforms and would eventually spawn a whole subgenre titled “Soulslike” – nowadays it’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t multiple Souls inspired games every year. Dark Souls also took the level-based nature of Demon’s Souls and instead introduced a more open progression of levels. Dark Souls has become synonymous with difficult games, and although I think it’s a bit overblown, it’s easy to see why people think the series is so difficult: it’s a AAA game that allows you to get lost, doesn’t outright explain every mechanic, allows other players to invade your world to impede your progress, etc.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – This game still remains highly influential in the RPG genre nearly a decade after its initial launch. The game would go on to spawn many DLCs and ports, but despite its many bugs – particularly on the PlayStation 3 – it would become the mainstay of open world RPGs. It’s notable on PC for its modding scene, and its cultural influence, particularly on the Internet, can be seen in the many memes its spawned over the years: from “arrow to the knee” jokes to “like Skyrim with _____” to “you can play Skyrim on your fridge.”

Rayman Origins – After an eight year hiatus, Ubisoft brought Rayman back to the delight of many and won many accolades in the process. The game was 2D, a lot faster paced, had 60+ levels, and featured four player local co-op. Rayman Origins and its 2013 sequel, Rayman Legends, are still seen today as some of the best 2D platformers of all time.

Sonic Generations – It could be said that Sonic Generations was the last good 3D Sonic game. It was a celebration of the series’ history, featuring both 2D and 3D levels from previous games in the series. Through some time warp shenanigans, 2D Sonic and 3D Sonic worked together to thwart the plans of Dr. Eggman. Sonic Colors had released the previous year exclusively for the Wii, and it was thought that this might be a golden era for 3D Sonic games. Sadly no 3D Sonic game has matched the acclaim of Sonic Generations since, so it still remains the gold standard (though of course we had 2017’s Sonic Mania as the best 2D Sonic game possibly ever).

Portal 2 – The original Portal was packaged together with a number of other Valve games in 2007, but Portal 2 was a complete package that stood on its own, with a much longer campaign and a separate co-op mode that could be played in split-screen or online.

Dead Space 2 – Dead Space was very much a 7th generation series. EA has since seemed to drop the series, but between the main trilogy, its three spinoff games, and five comic books/novels between 2008-2013, it was a major discussion piece at the time. The sequel to the first game performed just as well as the original but replaced a little horror with a little more action. A lot of people didn’t like the direction Dead Space 3 went, so the second one (technically the third if you count Dead Space: Extraction) could be viewed as “the last good Dead Space game."

F.E.A.R. 3 – F.E.A.R., like Dead Space, was another trilogy that existed for the 7th generation of consoles but died off soon after. The game allowed two player local co-op for the main campaign, and a local competitive multiplayer mode for up to four players. F.E.A.R. saw a free to play online co-op entry in 2014 on Steam, but it shut it down just months after its release and the series has been dormant ever since.

Crysis 2 – This was yet another seventh generation shooter series that died off after its third entry. Despite the first game being used as a benchmark for PC performance back in 2007, the sequel expanded its audience to console gamers (though the original did release for consoles three years after its initial release). Crysis 2 also feature an online PvP mode.

Deux Ex: Human Revolution – Deus Ex was the first game in the series since 2003’s Invisible War. It was both a prequel and soft reboot taking place in 2027, 25 years before the events of the original game. Despite skepticism during its development, the game received high praise from critics and fans alike.

Batman: Arkham City – The new wave of Batman games beginning with 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum would spark a rebridled confidence in video game tie-ins. Arkham City expanded the scope of the series with an open world and introduced dozens of hours of more gameplay. This was well before “open world fatigue” – open world games were still novel during this time, so Arkham City was better appreciated for its incorporation of an open world.

Alice: Madness Returns – After 10.5 years, fans of the cult classic American McGee’s Alice finally got a sequel. This told the story of Alice recounting the events of the day of the fire that took her family’s lives. The game came packaged with the original on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. EA marketed it as a horror game much to the ill wishes of American McGee.

de Blob 2 – de Blob 2’s gameplay revolves around painting objects to bring a city back to life. The original de Blob was exclusive to iOS and the Wii, but the puzzle platformer expanded to the other consoles with its sequel. In addition to its split-screen party mode, deBlob 2 also introduced two player co-op to the main campaign, with the second player controlling a “helper” much akin to Super Mario Galaxy’s co-op.

Bulletstorm – Serious shooters were the flavor of the day back in 2011, but Bulletstorm took a less serious and more arcady approach to its action. The developers even released a free to play 20 minute parody titled “Duty Calls” that mocked the popular gun metal gray corridor shooters like Call of Duty of its time.

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – Marvel vs. Capcom 2 released 11 years earlier, so the announcement of a sequel in 2010 produced a lot of excitement. With such a long hiatus, newer characters from both universes were introduced into the series for the first time, like Viewtiful Joe, Virgil, and Frank West.

Mortal Kombat – This was technically the ninth installment as well as a reboot for the series. It performed better than the last decade of new entries in the series and brought with it the 300 Tower Trials. These were a series of mini-games and fights strewn together, sometimes altering the gameplay in significant ways.

L.A. Noire – This was a neo-noir detective game with real time facial animation set 1940s Los Angeles. The player would make dialogue choices in the game when interrogating suspects, and there were also action sequences.

Dirt 3 – Dirt 3 ditched the “Colin McRae” in the title and just became Dirt with this entry. This off-road racing game featured 98 courses, a career mode, and online play.

Catherine – This was Atlus’ weird game of the year. A man is torn between two love interests – Catherine and Katherine. The game featured a combination of social simulation, platforming, and puzzle solving.

Battlefield 3 – Battlefield 3 was one of the best looking games out there at the time. Battlefield 3 was unique for the series in that it introduced an online co-op mode, in addition to the single player campaign and online competitive/versus multiplayer mode.

Rocksmith – Guitar Hero and Rock Band were still pretty big franchises around this time. Players could used a real guitar for this game.

Just Dance 3 – Ubisoft continues to make Just Dance games, but Just Dance seemed to be at its peak popularity during the Wii era, though the games were also available on the other two major consoles of the time. Just Dance incorporated motion controls to dance to the beat of the music.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – This was the finale to the Modern Warfare series. Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg claimed that Modern Warfare 3’s release was the largest retail release in the industry’s history. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s certainly very believable.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – This was a linear action RPG with split-screen co-op. The game takes place at the dawn of the Second Age and follows a different cast of heroes from the original trilogy, and allows players to choose who they play as.

Dragon Age II – Dragon Age II wasn’t loved as much of the previous game or the one that proceeded it, but Dragon Age II still performed well in spite of adopting a more hack and slash approach to its combat system. In terms of black sheep in video game franchises, Dragon Age II is a cut above the rest at least.

Homefront – This was a FPS that received quite a bit of hype but ultimately failed to live up to expectations despite receiving decent reviews. The game takes place in 2027 with a united North Korea and South Korea that has invaded and taken control of parts of the U.S. The game was banned in South Korea and generated some controversy for its subject matter. Homefront also feature online multiplayer.

Dead Island – The success of this game’s trailer actually pushed the release date ahead of schedule. The development team hired more people to cash in on the hype, but the actual game had little to do with the trailer and received middling reviews when released.

Duke Nukem Forever – Duke Nukem Forever spent 15 years in development before finally releasing to extremely poor reviews in 2011. Gameplay aside, the game was also considered offensive for its portrayal of women and spawned an online petition with 7500+ signatures asking Walmart to remove the game from store shelves.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – Skylanders kickstarted the “Toys to Life” genre in 2011 – Disney Infinity, Nintendo’s Amiibos, and Lego Dimensions would follow in the subsequent years. The franchise had a new entry every year from 2011-2016. By February 2015, the franchise had exceeded $3 billion in sales, and by 2016, the franchise had sold over 300 million toys, and Skylanders had become the 11th biggest console franchise of all time. With a lack of new releases its influence has fallen considerably, but Skylanders was hugely popular in the early to mid 2010s.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Saints Row the Third

Driver: San Francisco

Shift 2: Unleashed

Need for Speed: The Run

AAA PC Exclusives

In 2011, Steam hadn’t yet been the one place to go for every PC game (of course this has also changed in the last couple of years). None of the games listed below appeared on Steam until some time after their initial release.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings – This was one of the few cutting edge PC exclusives of its time (it would release on Xbox 360 a year later). The series hadn’t yet gone open world, instead focusing on a more linear narrative. The Witcher 2 is actually the first game I know of to have elements of it inspired by a Souls game – Demon’s Souls from 2009.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Repbulic 1 & 2 were single player RPGs developed by Bioware released in 2004 and 2005 – The Old Republic expanded the series into the MMORPG space. This was back when every MMORPG was competing for that World of Warcraft spotlight. While it didn’t quite meet expectations, it still received great reviews. It eventually went free to play a little over a year later and continuous updates improved the overall quality of the game.

Age of Empires Online – This was to be the original Age of Empires IV but instead went down a different path. This iteration probably isn’t remembered as fondly as others on the list, but it represents a big publisher’s early dip into the free to play space. The servers for the game only lasted until July 1, 2014 before they were shut down – less than three years after its initial release.

Total War: Shogun 2

PlayStation 3 Exclusives

Sony’s studios emphasized multiplayer in their titles a lot more in the latter of the PlayStation 3’s life, even including it in titles that games that are traditionally solo experiences, like inFAMOUS 2, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, and later God of War: Ascension (2013). Sony’s 2011 line-up included a great mix of single player, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer games, as well as a few PlayStation Move games. Of the 9 non-PlayStation Move games listed below, 6 of them included local multiplayer and 9 included online multiplayer.

LittleBigPlanet 2 – This was a big evolution of the original game and introduced a number of mechanics that expanded what could be done with the level editing tools. Like the previous game, this one would receive a large number of DLC packs, but unfortunately some of them – like the Marvel Level Pack – were removed a few years ago due to licensing expirations. The marketing really wasn’t a lie this time around, it truly went from “a platformer game” to a “platform for games” with the wide array of different tools at your exposal, including the addition of tweaking physics, cut-scenes, Sackboys, and even changing the camera perspective.

MotorStorm Apocalypse – This was the last major entry in the series (a spinoff released a year later) and made for a great trilogy of racing games on the PlayStation 3. The game featured both online and split-screen multiplayer, as well as number of different vehicle classes: dirt bikes, ATVs, buggies, monster trucks, big rigs, etc. The courses would be altered from apocalyptic happenings as you raced through them. The developer, Evolution Studios, is now defunct so this series might be gone for good.

inFAMOUS 2 – This continued Cole’s story from the first game and was set in Louisiana. The sequel also brought with it a unique online sharing mode that allowed for some small customizable levels. inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood would also release later in the year as a small scale standalone title.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – While Uncharted 3 didn’t outdo the overwhelming critical reception to the second game, it still performed very well and featured a lot of content: the single player campaign, split-screen online multiplayer, and its co-op mode. Uncharted 4 would abandon the split-screen and co-op mode.

Resistance 3 – This marked the last major release in the Resistance series. It featured online and local co-op and an online multiplayer mode. Resistance 3 brought back the weapon wheel and health packs from the first game, as many felt Resistance 2 borrowed too heavily from Call of Duty.

Killzone 3 – After the long wait for Killzone 2, Killzone 3 released just two years later. It featured local co-op and an online multiplayer mode. The online scene introduced classes with different functions. Killzone 3 also dropped the weight and heft of the guns from the second game and introduced stereoscopic 3D functionality.

SOCOM 4 – From 2002 to 2011, SOCOM had ten games released between Sony’s consoles and handheld. SOCOM 4 was the second SOCOM game on the PlayStation 3 and the last entry in the series released since. In addition to the online multiplayer mode the series is known for, the game also featured a single player campaign.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One – This was a top down platform game that could be played with up to four players online or locally. It allowed players to choose their character: Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, or Doctor Nefarious.

MLB 11: The Show – Believe it or not, this game was actually released for PlayStation 2 as well, and also PSP. It also featured two other gimmicks of its era – stereoscopic 3D and PlayStation Move functional for the Home Run Derby mode.

PlayStation Move Ape Escape, PlayStation Move Heroes, & EyePet and Friends – We can’t forget the motion controls of this era. Unfortunately none of these games performed well and people saw the crossover of Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper as a wasted opportunity in PlayStation Move Heroes.

Xbox 360 Exclusives

Microsoft seemed to push its seventh generation gimmick, the Kinect, more than Sony pushed the PlayStation Move, especially later in the generation. While we never did get to see Milo, Kinect would see a number of games built around it beginning with its launch in November 2011. I’m not going to go through all of them, but here were a few notable ones from 2011: Kinect Sports: Season Two, Dance Central 2, Kinect Fun Labs, The Gunstringer, Rabbids: Alive & Kicking, Rise of Nightmares, Microsoft Kinectimals Now with Bears, and Child of Eden (not exclusive).

Gears of War 3 – Gears of War 3 was to supposedly wrap up the series into a neat little trilogy. We of course know better now, but regardless, Gears of War 3 retained its high pedigree for the series. Gears of War 3 would also introduce a fun novelty to its time – Stereoscopic 3D.

Forza Motorsport 4 – Forza Motorsport 4 was the first Forza Motorsport game to include Kinect functionality.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition – This was a remake of the original 1 years after its original launch. You could switch back and forth between the graphics of the old and new version of the game on the fly. This version also featured Kinect functionality via voice commands for video navigation, in-combat directives, and environment-scanning.

Kinect Disneyland Adventures – This was one of the better reviewed games built around Kinect (73% on Metacritic). It featured an open world play style with mini-games to engage in Players could also customize their own character.

Wii Exclusives

Nintendo was winding down the Wii generation in 2011 and showcased the Wii U at E3 2011. The Wii got a few multiplatform games like Rayman Origins, de Blob 2, the Lego games, and a bastardized version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Modern Warfare 1 had received a demake port the same day Modern Warfare 2 was released for other consoles, and Modern Warfare 2 never saw the light of day on the Wii. In addition, there were a few shorter AA games that would probably be downloadable only games for a smaller price if they were released today. Some examples include The Kore Gang, Lost in Shadow, Go Vacation, Fishing Resort, and Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – This was the first console Zelda game since 2006’s Twilight Princess. It used the Wii Remote Plus. Releasing halfway into the Wii’s life, few games really utilized the Wii Remote Plus, which was an add-on for the Wii Remote that improved the motion controls.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land – Kirby shed its yarn aesthetic and returned to a style more reminiscent of Kirby 64 in 2000. This game had four player local co-op and allowed players to play as many other Kirby characters, and it also had a separate mini game mode.

Fortune Street – This was a crossover between Mario and Dragon Quest characters. It was like a fusion of Monopoly and Mario Party, though it didn’t feature any mini games. Featuring a number of boards from both Mario and Dragon Quest, players are challenged to play real estate and stock markets to win.

Mario Sports Mix – Originally released in 2010 in Japan, Mario Sports Mix made its way to the West in early 2011. Mario Sports Mix featured four sports: basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and hockey. This was the third Mario developed by Square Enix, after Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario Hoops 3-on-3. In addition to the traditional cast of Mario characters, there were a few of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest characters as well. As with many later Wii games, the game gave you the choice to play with or without motion controls. The game received mediocre reviews overall.

Conduit 2 – High Voltage Software was a studio that wanted to bring more mature experiences to the Wii, like the ultimately canceled The Grinder and the Conduit games. If you followed the seventh generation hype train, you would know about the first The Conduit game – a sci-fi FPS exclusively developed for the Wii, released in 2009, that’s ultimately been forgotten about in the test of time. Given the middling reviews of the first game, Conduit 2 didn’t receive nearly as much hype and scored roughly the same as its predecessor. Conduit 2 included a single player campaign, online multiplayer, and added split-screen multiplayer, which was not in the previous game.

Wii Play Motion – As Wii Play featured a number of mini-games centered around the capabilities of the Wii Remote, Wii Play Motion did the same but with emphasis around the Motion Plus attachment. It also expanded the number of mini-games from 9 to 14, but in my experience nothing matched Wii Tanks from the original game. It received mediocre reviews overall.

AAA Local Multiplayer Games for Consoles

A lot of AAA games in historically split-screen-heavy genres – namely racing games and FPSs – dropped support of the feature at the beginning of the generation and allocated resources towards online play for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This was especially damning given that these consoles weren’t entirely backwards compatible and the indie scene hadn’t really taken off yet (indie games are a huge source of local multiplayer games in today’s market – see my post here).

It should be noted that the Wii was a great system for local multiplayer from the beginning and end of its life, and a lot of its marketing revolved around local multiplayer games, similar to Nintendo’s marketing today. That said, the second half of the generation saw a lot more AAA games incorporate local multiplayer, and 2011 was the best of them, in my opinion. Several of the series that introduced local multiplayer in the second half of the seventh generation ended up removing the feature at the start of the eighth generation, such as Uncharted 3 (2011) to Uncharted 4 (2016), Killzone 3 (2011) to Killzone: Shadow Fall (2014), and Far Cry 3 (2012) to Far Cry 4 (2014) – these series each have only had one entry with split-screen multiplayer, all around the same time as each other. There were a lot of options from this year alone. Since I already covered them earlier in this post, I’m just going to list them below.

LittleBigPlanet 2

MotorStorm Apocalypse

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Resistance 3

Killzone 3

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

MLB: The Show 11

Gears of War 3

Forza Motorsport 4

Portal 2

de Blob 2

Mortal Kombat

F.E.A.R. 3

Just Dance 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Rayman Origins

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

Driver: San Franciso

F1 2011

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Fortune Street

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics

Mario Sports Mix

Wii Play: Motion

Conduit 2

[Yearly sports games, including the notable NHL 10]

Indie/Small Scale Games

Terraria – It’s hard to believe Terraria released 10 years ago and is still receiving updates – I really can’t think of too many other indie game that has received updates for that long. Terraria originally released just for PC and was referred to as “2D Minecraft” a lot more when it first released, but it’s since been ported to a number of different platforms, has received a number of updates, and has carved out quite a legacy for itself.

The Binding of Isaac – This came from one of the creators of Super Meat Boy, Edmund McMillen, which received universal acclaim the year prior. The Binding of Isaac came out well before the wave of roguelites/roguelikes we see today, and with many new updates, it still remains one of the best around.

To the Moon – To the Moon tells the story of two doctors fulfilling the last wish of a dying man using artificial memories. This is probably the most notable game using the RPG Maker game engine. Funnily enough, there are no RPG elements to speak of – the game instead focuses on its narrative and solving puzzles for the gameplay.

Bastion – Bastion was developed by Supergiant Games, the same developer behind Hades. Bastion shares some similarities with Hades, but it’s a shorter adventure with no roguelite elements. Bastion had the unique twist of a man narrating your actions in the game, as if he was telling a story.

Trine 2 – Trine 2 is a physics-based sidescrolling action platformer featuring three player local co-op. You used the powers of the three different characters – the wizard, the thief, and the knight – to navigate each level. Trine 2 performed better than the first game and delivered a pretty unique experience back in its day.

Ms. Splosion Man – Ms. Splosion Man is a sequel to 2009’s 2D puzzle platformer Splosion Man. The main campaign can be played in local or online co-op for up to four players, and there is a separate campaign designed around the co-op experience. Solo players can still play the co-op mode by controlling two characters in what is termed “2 Girls 1 Controller.”

Outland – Metroidvanias were coming back to life around this time, and Outland was an early example of this. It’s primary mechanic was switching between blue and red energies to overcome obstacles and barriers, similar to Ikaruga. It featured online co-op for the whole campaign, and a separate co-op mode with challenges built with two players in mind. The developer behind Outland is currently working on Returnal, due in April 2021.

From Dust – This came from Ubisoft Montpellier (totally not indie but small scale) and was one of the few console entries in the “God Game” genre. Players would control certain types of matter in real time and would help save a nomadic tribe.

Minecraft - Minecraft technically released in 2011, after first being available as an Early Access title in 2009.

DS Games

Although the 3DS released the same year, the DS would still be supported long after the 3DS thanks to its extremely high sales.

Pokemon Black/White – This technically came out in 2010 in Japan, but Westerners wouldn’t get their hands on it until 2011. Pokemon Black/White expanded the roster to 649 Pokemon but only allowed you to capture the 156 new ones until you finished the game. It would be the last mainline 2D Pokemon game.

Kirby Mass Attack – This title played a bit differently from most games in the series, although the Kirby series is no stranger to new gameplay mechanics. Kirby Mass Attack was a Lemmings-styled platformer, with the player using the stylus and touch screen to play the game. Using up to ten Kirbys on screen at once, the player could send commands to the Kirbys, or use them as projectiles.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective – First released in 2010 in Japan, Westerners first got play one of Capcom’s more unusual games in 2011. This was directed by Shu Takumi, the creator of the Ace Attorney franchise. Ghost Trick was an adventure game that had you controlling a dead man named Sissel, who would use his ghostly possession powers to save lives.

Aliens: Infestation - Developed by Gearbox Software (Borderlands series) and WayForward Technologies (Shantae series), Aliens: Infestation was a Metroidvania with an interesting permadeath mechanic – the player controls one marine in a party of four, and if that one dies, the player then plays as a different marine. The player loses the game if all four die. The development team created 20 unique characters with game’s dialogue carefully rewritten 20 times for each of the characters, to give some emotional investment to each one of them.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter – This was first released in 2009 in Japan, and in 2011 Japanese players already had their hands on the sequel, Miracle Mask. These games were a big part of the seventh generation, seeing eight releases between 2007 and 2013. Since then, there’s been just one title released, in 2017.

3DS Games

The 3DS was released for $249.99 USD in Q1 2011 in NA. The 3DS was a novel concept at the time as it allowed you view games in 3D without the need for those pesky glasses. While the 3D effect was abandoned on 3DS games in later years – and Nintendo even introduced a budget 3DS called the 2DS with no 3D capabilities – at the time it was a fun novelty. It also introduced AR (Augmented Reality) and the eShop to the wider market. While the DSi technically introduced the eShop, it was the 3DS that made it standard for the generation. The 3DS wasn’t selling so well for its initial five months, and so the price was slashed significantly, down to $169.99. Early 3DS adopters received 10 NES games and 10 GameBoy Advance games on the 3DS as compensation for being early adopters. These games were only ever available for early adopters only.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – If you wanted to play Ocarina of Time at more than 20fps, this was the way to do. This was a full fledged remake and not a port, and it introduced many quality of life improvements in addition to the 3D effect.

Star Fox 64 3D – Star Fox 64 3D added more dialogue between missions, gyro controls, and a new “3DS Mode” that adjusted the difficulty and objectives of the original game. There was also a four player battle mode, though this was only through LAN.

Super Mario 3D Land – Previous Nintendo handhelds outside of the original GameBoy had mostly hosted ports or remakes of older Super Mario platform games, but the 3DS would bring with it an entirely new title, one that was 3D in both senses of the word.

Mario Kart 7 – This may just be seen as another Mario Kart game in a long series of games, but at the time, this still produced a lot of excitement. With this entry, players were able to customize their vehicles with different kart frames, wheels, and gliders. The game also introduced the hang glider and underwater sections.

Nintendogs + Cats – Despite the high sales figures of the series, this would be the last Nintendogs game for what has now been an entire decade. Previous entries only included dogs, but – inspired by his own pets ability to get along and the Disney film The Incredible Journey – Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to make a game with both species of animal.

Pushmo/Pullbox – Possibly the single biggest downloadable only 3DS exclusive to come to the system, Pushmo (Pullblox in Europe) came at a time when there weren’t a lot of small scale games. It’d probably be viewed as an indie game, but this was actually developed by Intelligent Systems, the same people behind Paper Mario, Fire Emblem, and Advance Wars.

Studio Closures

Unfortunately every year is greeted with a number of studio closures – it’s easy to forget them over time, so let’s take a look at some of the ones that went away in 2011.

Black Rock Studios – Pure, Split/Second – Although both Pure and Split/Second received favorable reviews on Metacritic (low to mid 80% critic average), its parent company Disney Interactive Studios decided to close the studio – after having reduced the size of the studio just a few months prior – likely due to the poor sales of Split/Second. Split/Second ends with a “To Be Continued,” and while the initial phases of the sequel had been worked on, it’s likely it didn’t get very far in development given that it was canceled in December 2010, while the original had released in May 2010. This video talks about the canceled sequel.

Bizarre Creations – Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars, Blur – Blur and Split/Second were two arcade racers that released within a week of each other in May 2010 – in addition, Red Dead Redemption released the same day as Split/Second and a week before Blur. As a result, Red Dead Redemption stole much of the spotlight and the two arcade racing games ate into each other’s sales. Like Disney with Black Rock Studios, Activision also decided to shut down the then 17 year old studio. Bizarre Creations released a video retrospective of their work.

Team Bondi – L.A. Noire – Team Bondi was a source of controversy in 2011 shortly after the release of its one and only game that took seven years to make. Former employees criticized the long working days and managerial style that resulted in high turnover, and The International Game Developers Association launched an investigation into the studio as a result of these interviews. Team Bondi also left or incorrectly listed 130 L.A. Noire staff members in the game’s credits and later developed a website called “L.A. Noire Credits” that gave credit to the previously uncredited. At the time of the studio’s closure, Team Bondi owed over $1 million Australian dollars to 33 staff members. Despite the studio’s closure, a definitive edition of L.A. Noire would be remastered for eighth generation consoles.

Blue Tongue Entertainment – The Polar Express, de Blob 1 & 2 – This THQ studio mostly produced games based on movies and TV shows up until de Blob in 2008. The studio was closed down under a restructuring and realignment plan by THQ.

Kaos Studios – Frontlines: Fuel of War, Homefront – Despite a lot of hype surrounding Homefront, the game received mediocre reviews and parent company THQ suffered a 26% stock drop shortly after the game’s release. Most of the studio was transferred to THQ’s Montreal studio, which was now developing the Homefront sequel. THQ filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and was later acquired by Ubisoft, while the Homefront sequel was developed by Crytek UK.

THQ Studio Australia – The Last Airbender, Megamind: Ultimate Showdown – Yet another THQ closure in 2011, THQ Australia had an eight year run and developed mostly games based on popular Nickelodeon TV shows. AT the time of their closure, they were working on an The Avengers video game.


Hope you enjoyed looking back on some of these games. The market was a bit different back then – stereoscopic 3D games, motion controls, a prominent handheld market, etc. Many games from back then still remain impactful today, most notably Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Portal 2, Terraria, and The Binding of Isaac. Others you probably haven’t heard about in awhile but are great all the same. It also featured some great experimental games from larger developers as well, like Capcom’s Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Gearbox Software’s and WayForward Technologies’ Alien: Infestation, Ubisoft’s From Dust, THQ’s de Blob 2, and Intelligent Systems’ Pushmo/Pullbox.

One thing I like better now is that every game that comes out for a Nintendo console essentially doubles as both a handheld and console game. Even up until a few years ago there were handheld exclusives that people wanted on consoles (Mario Party: The Top 100 from 2017 is a notable example that was 3DS only). As someone who prefers playing on consoles and doesn’t have as much of a need for handhelds, I also personally like that Sony’s studios are all focused on making games for the PlayStation 4 & 5, and resources aren’t being spent on the PS Vita. The biggest thing I love though, is the explosion of the indie scene and having much more of them on consoles now.

One thing I liked better back then were more finite single playe

" class="reddit-press-subreddit-link" target="_blank" rel="noopener">
-op experiences from AAA developers. There’s a lot more bloat now in single playe" class="reddit-press-subreddit-link" target="_blank" rel="noopener">
-op AAA games now, so thank goodness we have the indie scene to fall back on. Although it is important to note that many people complained about 10 hour $60 single player games back then, so there’s no appeasing everyone. On one hand we get a lot more bang for our buck now, on the other it seems studios like Naughty Dog will never be able to reach the output of past generations given how long development cycles are now (four games for PS1, PS2, PS3, three games for PS4, possibly less for PS5), even with longer console generations.

Where were you in 2011? What do you think of some of the games looking back? What about the market did you like better back then compared to now? What’s better about games today? Were there any games listed here that you hadn’t thought about in awhile?

2 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:42 ID: gq4fbbo

This is a really great write up and gave me a good amount of nostalgia.

I don't know if you want to be technical, but Minecraft officially released in 2011 as well after being in public development since 2009

ID: gq4mwbx

Oh yeah, Minecraft was one of the first Early Access games back in the day - the concept was still kind of new. I guess Minecraft could fit in either year depending on who you ask.

3 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:29 ID: gq4df1h

I always remembered 2011 to be the GOAT of video game years, but jesus, i never realized it was THIS stacked.

How did this even happen?

ID: gq4izgv

I don't want to say which year is stronger than which year but, looking within the last 10 years, I think 2013 was a really good year too.

ID: gq4end1

ehh, 1998, 2007 and 2017 are still stronger imo. But it was a great year

ID: gq55ywu

2010 is the goat.

Mass effect 2, halo reach, black ops 1, red dead 1, fallout new vegas, bad company 2, ac brotherhood, scarcraft 2, god of war 3,

ID: gq4qote

There have been a handful of years like that but I thought most of the mega stacked years were more recent than this.

And damn...Nintendo was SLACKING that year. Skyward sword is one of the weakest installments in the Zelda series (still a great game, but comparatively?) being considered by some as adjusted for it's times the least interesting mainline console Zelda release.

The other games were either largely not interesting or gimmicky motion control proofs of concept that needed some serious gameplay additions.

ID: gq5bk34

They decided to create all this stuff as I finished university

ID: gq50twk

It's interesting to see differences in taste, I'm looking at this list remembering how weak I though 2011 was

ID: gq56rd5

It was also one of the most stacked years in anime, interestingly enough - madoka magica, fate/zero, stein's;gate, HxH, etc., etc.

ID: gq5sla9

End of a major console lifespan. Games booming

ID: gq6tggv

Yeah the decade peaked pretty early

ID: gq6ux55

One of my all time favourite games Dark Souls came out in 2011 but on the whole I'd say it wasn't a particularly remarkable year.

ID: gq4uxu4

Idk I see like, 4 good games.

ID: gq4t849

It's really not. A lot of those games were either not great on release or aged horribly. I think history will find (rightly) that the 360/ps3 gen was one of the most useless in gaming. The inventiveness of yesteryear gave way to safe bets. Portal 2 and Dark Souls areall-time classics, ghost trick is inventive, Catherine is old-school AA weird, nothing else released in 2011 was really interesting even if it was "good". I could go the rest of my life without ever thinking about skyrim again.

4 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:40 ID: gq4wi4m

I remember Skyrim being bigger than life itself at this time. It's become a bit of a meme now but when it came out, it was without a doubt a must buy game.

ID: gq6s48v

If you were a long time Elder Scrolls fan you were kind of expecting a stripped down Nordic Oblivion and that's what we got. Anyone that knows Bethesda knew that the dynamic quests and dragons were going to underwhelm.

That said I talk to casual gamers every now and then that consider it the greatest RPG ever, it's just that kind of game. At the core of it it's still an Elder Scrolls game that's more accessible.

ID: gq6yras

I actually took a month off work to play it. When I emerged at the end, I was semi-hallucinating and noticing plants from the game world IRL, and sometimes I'd imagine quest markers too.

ID: gq8bsed

I often think about general opinion of Skyrim today vs then. After a few years, mainstream opinion seemed to shift to highlighting its flaws, but you only have to watch reviews from the time to remember how hyped everyone was. It will certainly always have a place in my heart.

5 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:12 ID: gq4jrg0

No mention of the massive PSN hack that April? To me that was such a defining event as a ps3 owner back then. Could be the fact that I had just finally gotten a ps3 the previous fall, but it still sticks out so much when I think back to using a ps3 as my primary console. Weeks of no multiplayer was such a bummer, and there was so little communication from Sony at the time. If I’m remembering correctly, out of the blue one day they put up a site that let you change your password and then hour by hour, day by day, the psn was slowly brought online across the US and then the rest of the world. I was living in Argentina at the time so it took a while for it to reach us, but man, the feeling of relief when it did was immeasurable. Obviously, I wish it had never happened, and I wouldn’t blame people if it shook their trust with Sony for a long time, but looking back, with big ol’ rose tinted glasses, I do feel a slight pang of nostalgia for the sense of community and celebration as people finally returned online.

ID: gq4l6wa

You're right, I should have gone into that. I remember it pretty vividly - Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, and SOCOM 4 had all came out the day before the hack and all had pretty substantial online components. Outland was supposed to release the following week but was pushed back to June on the PS3 due to the hack, while 360 users got it in April as was originally intended.

The free games they handed out were nice. Didn't really make up for it in most people's minds, but at least online play didn't cost anything on the PS3.

ID: gq4vk8d

My God, I remember that hack because the frustration from not being able to play COD made me install Steam and play Half Life for the first time. It gave me my first PC gaming experience.

I would build my first pc 2 years later and now I pretty much only play on there.

ID: gq4x4kv

The 2011 hack was the reason why I beat Portal 2 about 6 times in the span of a month.

Such a fantastic single player experience to come out at the right time.

ID: gq500ff

Right, this is actually what made me use my Xbox more ever since. I had both at the time but with PlayStation down the Xbox became my daily user ever since. The hackers charged my credit card $1000 at the time which luckily was cancelled and PlayStation gave a year of PlayStation now and free games but it was too little too late for me but I eventually got a PS4 a few years after it’s release

ID: gq5fgc8

As someone who rarely plays online that was great for me, I didn't really care about the outage and at the end I got 4 or 5 free games

6 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:35 ID: gq4ebv9

I personally still think either 2007 or 2017 would be the peak of AAA gaming, but after reading I this I gotta give 2011 a lot more credit. The trifecta of Skyrim, Dark Souls, and Witcher 2 in particular set the tone for WRPGs/action RPGs for years to come, and there are still many series I considered to have peaked with their 2011 titles, like Human Revolution, Arkham City, and Forza Motorsport 4. 2011 was a year where a lot of ill advised AAA trends were running amok, and I still don't think a third of the games you listed are good in retrospect, but there were a lot of gems if you knew where to look.

ID: gq4xte1

I'm so confused by where this love for 2017 came from. I wasn't as into gaming then as was or am now but looking back it doesn't seem nearly as strong as 2007 or 2011. I've played a fair bit of the games that came out that year like Nier, Injustice 2, RE7, Hellblade, and played bits of odyssey and breath of the wild but the whole year feels filled up with games that are good to great and not great to incredible. EDIT: Also I'm a bit spoiled by 2018 which completely reignited my love for gaming and had me playing more than ever with God of War, Spiderman, Monster Hunter, and Smash.

ID: gq7n8ij

2011 was the peak of 'online passes', where if you didn't buy it new, you had to pay for a keycode to play online.

I'm mighty glad that it didn't stick, though the current live service/MTX trends may have come as a result of its failure.

7 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:23 ID: gq4u00o

Funny how Skyrim is probably still the most relevant today out of all of them, to put it into perspective just how popular it remains today it has a consistently higher player count on Steam than Cyberpunk 2077 (by about 10k). With about a 35k peak daily player count.

Both an ode to the game itself and to how extensive & easy modding support is wonderful for a games longevity. I'll forever be miffed that CDPR never released the promised modding tools for TW3.

ID: gq5i293

People also forget that Skyrim is one of the games that truly transcended gaming. It's fame spilled into the non-gaming space. For many Skyrim was theit first game ever, for some of them even the only game. Skyrim musical theme got so famous that even non-gamers recognize it.

Skyrim was casual in the best meaning of the term - it managed to attract non-gamer audience while being attractive to hardcore gamers as well.

ID: gq5bpc2

Skyrim’s game of the decade for me, and might just be my favorite game ever. Just so many great memories with that game. I liked cyberpunk but honestly I found it worse than fallout 4, and fans love to hate on that game.

ID: gq6ds0l

I guess I should probably get around to playing that...

ID: gq6j00b

Not Dark Souls?

8 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:00 ID: gq4i2zi

Battlefield 3 is what i consider to be the peak of console fps games. I might be blinded by nostalgia but playing bf3 on xbox were perhaps some of the best time i had on console (including halo reach and the friends i made along the way).

ID: gq4pm1s

BF3 after school was the shit, Cant believe that was 10 years ago now.

Its easily the best Battlefield game imo.

ID: gq58ewe

I remember you needed to install the HD textures on a 360 that was wild. Conquest was neutered by the player count though.

ID: gq4vxtb

That game consumed me and made being in crutches much more tolerable. I remember being proud of my top 100 world ranking for knife kills.

No wonder my parents thought I was a loser lmao

ID: gq4vuxb

‘Peak of console FPS’

24 player count limit compared to 64 on PC and an average frame rate of 25.

ID: gq5dy2f

BF4 for me, but still BF3 was really good. Hope they can get back the magic of those two with the next battlefield.

ID: gq6vnuy

Maybe you should try out Venice Unleashed. I haven't got around to it yet personally, but it looks interesting.

ID: gq7ii8g

Man I was so addicted to BF3 (on PC though). I was all hyped for Skyrim ever since the first teaser, but when it came out I barely found the time for it because I wanted to unlock a new scope or grip for my favorite assault rifle.

9 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:16 ID: gq4bgef

I forgot 2011 was a banger year for games I missed out nearly everything since I was a middle school kid at that time. Now I came to appreciate games such as Catherine, Sonic Generations, and Portal 2 (still haven't beaten it yet). Hell, 2011 also gave us amazing fighting games like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 that's still hype to watch and brought in the best roster in the series tbh for including Vergil, She-Hulk, Phoenix Wright and so many more. Along with UMvC3, SNK blessed the year with the console release of KOF 13 with the best 2D sprites of the series (nearly bankrupt SNK) and having similar max mode special cancels like what kof 02 had to lead up into hype combos if you have the execution to pull it off.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:01 ID: gq4i3rh

You didn't mention "The Last Story" in the Wii exclusives (sure it only came to the USA in 2012, but the first release date should could, and that's 2011).

ID: gq4mfqs

I played through The Last Story and enjoyed it quite a bit. For this post I only included games released in North America in 2011. Though in retrospect I should've mentioned Operation Rainfall (no room now due to the 40,000 character limit), as there seemed to be a lot more region locked games that Nintendo of America didn't want to localize initially during the Wii/DS era.

11 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:08 ID: gq4rxei

Man, this post makes me feel so old. No idea a lot of this stuff discussed in this post is 10 years already. Isaac, To The Moon, Terraria... wow. Crazy to reflect on that.

12 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:59 ID: gq4hvb1

This is a stellar post! Great write-up. You've made me appreciate a year I hadn't otherwise given much thought to.

2011 felt more like a local maxima to me—a strong year in a weaker era. It definitely didn't surpass years like 1998 or 2001 for me personally, and I'd even rate years like 2017 higher.

At the time, I had all three major consoles, but I wasn't buying into the hardware peripherals Sony and MS introduced to compete with the Wii. The DS had impressed me enough that I was down to try the 3DS version, but really I was just killing time until Animal Crossing: New Leaf came out the following year. This was also the point when I pretty much stopped going to the PC for AAA games and started using it exclusively for indie content.

Credit where it's due: I had a lot of fun with Little Big Planet 2, and Dark Souls should go without saying.

ID: gq4o8ho

Thank you! Those were my two favorite games from 2011 as well, as I was a big fan of both their predecessors, and those games felt one of a kind at the time. I loved the community element of LittleBigPlanet - I remember going on LittleBigPlanet-specific forums to exchange levels and read tips on how to improve level creation. Both games were great sequels and iterated on their previous entry in all the right ways.

ID: gq6228x

Yeah the demographic is really showing in this thread. 1998 - Half Life, Metal Gear Solid, Zelda Ocarina of Time, Star Craft, Baldur's Gate, XenoGears, and Parasite Eve.

That's pretty solid, and covers a lot of different types of gamers which is a hard thing to do.

13 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:16 ID: gq4szi9

I can’t edit the post due to the 40,000 character limit, but for ROM hacking fans, I just want to add that Skelux’s Super Mario: Star Road released in 2011 as well. Anyone familiar with Super Mario 64 ROM hacks understands the impact of this game on the ROM hacking scene - it was the first full fledged 130 star adventure with level design on par with the base Super Mario 64.

The Super Mario 64 ROM hacking scene is better than its ever been with easier to use tools and several large scale ROM hacks releasing each year, but even after all these years, Star Road is still widely considered #1 by the community.

Super Mario 64 is the most widely hacked game as well, so Star Road is especially notable. I’ve played through it multiple times and highly recommend it!

Edit: Another fun thing about 2011: Jagex brought back the Wild in RuneScape after initially removing it in 2007.

ID: gq6mb2r

Super Mario 64 is the most widely hacked game as well

Wasn't it Super Mario World? I remember rom-hacking for that game was huge, and in a way inspired the release of Super Mario Maker.

14 : Anonymous2021/03/07 17:56 ID: gq48hpp

Thank for this wonderful post, I never realized just how many amazing games actually came out in 2011. Easily the best year in gaming.

ID: gq550x3

Same, 2011 wasn't really my best year in gaming new releases-wise, but it's my best year in gaming because it was my most active year playing, my favorite games of all time, TF2 and Garry's Mod, were also at their prime in 2011 too.

ID: gq4hlmd

2004 would like a word.

15 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:53 ID: gq4ydwj

I don't know.. I look at that list and I see a lot of sequels that were worse than their predecessors and a bunch of games that just didn't hold up. I mean there's two absolute bangers, with Dark Souls and Portal 2. Two of the best games ever, in my opinion, but apart from that, a lot of titles I'm relieved are a thing of the past and were merely a phase.

Like Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, Arkham City, Dragon Age 2, Battlefield 3... certainly not bad games, by any means, but not a welcome change either, in my opinion. And I think they show quite well what my problem was with this time. Because yeah, those games aren't bad, but I also don't think they are very interesting. DS1, Crysis 1, Arkham Asylum, DA:O, Fear 1, GoW 1&2, MW1 and maybe even 2 and arguably even Witcher 1 were more interesting games to me. And I don't think it's just a novelty thing. A lot of franchises went towards more streamlined action and lost a lot of the character that the games from the mid/late 00s had. Everything suddenly was colorful and cinematic and "cool".

Sure, there are some fantastic games from that era, but mostly I remember it as dull and uninspired. I'd much rather be stuck in the late 90s or 2000s than in the early 2010s. And I think gaming has mostly changed for the better again over the past years. Or maybe not.. ask me in another decade.

ID: gq5wjpt

Witcher 1 was fucking awful. Storywise and all pretty good but the gameplay sucked ass. Streamlined action? Nah. A lot of newer games don't even feature action and are successful (Death Stranding for example). Civ sequels have always been a straight up improvement imo; new features, less cluttered menus etc.

Most Nintendo IPs also improved over time A LOT. Odyssey's gameplay was absolutely phenomenal, BotW was probably one of, if not the best, game in my life (if not for games like Doom Eternal...).

Regarding your stance on the early 2010s: It's what you make of it. The Uncharted games felt like huge movie experiences, Skyrim was not just all action but a lot of other things as well (it was kinda rough though - no real cutscenes. A plus imo, as those kinda break the immersion if done wrong). I know many disliked Fable 3 but I absolutely adored it! A lot of fun little mechanics amd details like the transforming weapons, though butchered by its online-"features"...

But I get your sentiment: Many sequels don't try to do new things or explore new ways the gameplay could be mixed up (looking at Assassin's Creed for example). But The Witcher 2 was a straight up improvement, as I felt combat and a slow start ruined the first game for me. I still kinda agree with you: Developers mostly did what was considered a "safe" move: Recycle as many old assets as possible... 2013 was when I think that position shifted more significantly again.

I'm glad the past few years, since like 2015 we haven't had too much of that anymore, apart from CoD and some others...

ID: gq6k24o

Arkham City was every bit the masterpiece as Asylum was and brilliantly improved on it’s gameplay mechanics.

16 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:25 ID: gq4lo1l

I was in college 2011, I still remember going to the midnight release for the mortal kombat/portal 2 launch and was fun to see folks from each fan base interact lol. Spent the rest of the next few weeks playing the ever-loving fuck out of Mortal Kombat lan parties.

17 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:26 ID: gq531xx

Personally I think 1998 (Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Half Life, Grim Fandango, Starcraft, Gran Turismo) was far more influential than the games from 2011.

18 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:53 ID: gq4psch

MMO too, i remember this year was the high mark for Runescape and i guess LOTRO too before succumbing to microtransaction and WoWized content.

19 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:15 ID: gq614wv

WWE 12 was released in 2011. It was a rebrand from the Smackdown versus RAW series and used a new engine named "predator engine" that was also used in future games like WWE 13, 2K14, 2K15 (last-gen), 2K16 (last-gen) and 2K17 (last-gen).

WWE All Stars was developed by THQ and was the last WWE game to be released on the PS2 and PSP.

FIFA 12 introduced a new UI, major changes to the gameplay like tactical defending, precision dribbling and got an engine upgrade. FIFA 13 also had the same UI as FIFA 12.

PES 2012 introduced a new UI, improvements in areas such as AI, speed, animation, and physics. PES 2012 and 2013 are one of my favorite football games.

Street Fighter 3 3rd Strike Online Edition developed by Iron Galaxy was released for PS3/X360 on their digital storefronts. It had a new UI, a new training mode, graphical and sound changes and featured GGPO rollback netcode for online matchmaking. It is the best version of Street Fighter 3 in my opinion.

Top Spin 4 by 2K was the last Top Spin game we got. It still has the best tennis gameplay in my opinion.

Shift 2 Unleashed developed by Slightly Mad Studios was a sequel to the 2009's Need for Speed Shift. It was the last game developed by Slightly Mad Studios before they began developing the Project CARS series.

Temple Run was released for iOS devices in 2011.

Bodycount by Codemasters was released in 2011. It is considered as a spiritual successor to EA's 2006 video game Black.

Need for Speed The Run was released in 2011. It was the last NFS game to be developed by EA Black Box. They were the developers of Underground 1,2, Most Wanted, Carbon and ProStreet.

ID: gq6hi3t

Thanks for the write-up on some of the games I missed! Not sure I remember Bodycount - didn’t realize Black had a spiritual successor.

ID: gq6mv85

I remember that people started playing pes again after everyone abandoning it with the new gen and moving on to Fifa. The downfall of PES was such a bummer and seeing it come back up made it hopeful that we could go back to PES again. I was playing both PES and Fifa until PES2015 came out where I started playing PES only. But from PES2016 onward it's been such a mess that I have stopped checking them out.

Fifa 12 also changed a lot from 11 so this was one of the years that it wasn't a roster change.

20 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:02 ID: gq4iact

The Binding of Isaac "remake" is getting an expansion at the end of the month, which is kind of crazy. I've put a lot of time into both the original flash game and Rebirth.

21 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:50 ID: gq5lclm

Whenever someone mentions "best year in gaming" 2015 always pops into my head straight away, but this post has overwritten that from here on in.

Portal 2 is still probably my favourite co-op game to date. I remember buying a PS3 copy and getting a free copy on steam (steam was also integrated within the PS3 copy iirc, my fuzzy memory isn't picking up if you could actually cross-play between the two platforms).

Skyrim. The mod support this game has is second to none. At the time it looked fantastic as well. I know Bethesda games don't really get a good rap these days, but I loved this game. To this day I still listen to the soundtrack as background noise while reading.

Dead Space 2 was a fantastic sequel to a brilliant first game. One of, if not the best horror game of the past decade.

BF3 was a great game for me. After being burned out on CoD after playing the shit out of Cod4, w@w, mw2 and BO1, BF3 was my sanctuary. I credit Bad Company 2 and BF3 with pulling me out of my CoD trance, and BF3 specifically I credit with bringing me into PC gaming whole-hog. My first 120fps experience was with BF3 on Kharg Island. I'll never forget that. It was like looking outside through a window after playing most of my games on PS consoles. The countless hours I spent on 64 man TDM on Noshahr Canals; the CQ games on Seine Crossing; the Rush games on Metro. The DLC's were great too. I actually spent money on a server containing my favourite maps after the DLC's came out. I don't think I'm old enough to have experienced the classic BF games in their (or at least I didn't have a PC at that time, I'm 25 for reference) but the experiences that BF3 gave me were similar to what I've read from other people who rave about BF2.

Dead Island was a game me and my friends played the shit out of in co-op. A zombie game among other great zombie games we played like w@w zombies, Dead Rising, L4D. Laid the groundwork for another fantastic game in Dying Light which we also played the shit out of in co-op. Fingers crossed Dying Light 2 lives up to its predecessors with all the shit the dev team has gone through, with Dead Island 2 being a pretty much dead game already at this point.

ID: gq5rif3

I’ve just recently discovered Bf3 rush and it is so much fun. Now I know why people rave about the game. The maps, the modes, the guns they are all fantastic !

22 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:00 ID: gq4qqjf

You know, I always find it hilarious that Sony tried to do more multiplayer titles, but then their online network was hacked and subsequently shut down for an entire month in 2011 which resulted in the death of SOCOM 4 sadly.

2011 was an insane year thinking about it.

23 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:17 ID: gq51qqh

Missing a write up on Driver San Francisco which is the last game is the Driver Series and also one of the best racing campaigns. The way gameplay elements are woven into the narrative and the details like the hundreds of different characters you can have conversations with when jumping into their cars and the details like Hearing your characters heartbeat in the hospital when zooming out with the map and when He discovers he’s in his mind and things start freezing during the final chase is fantastic. Such an underrated game.

ID: gq7zkrs

Yes Driver SF! I completely forgot that also came out in 2011. I loved that one - probably the best Driver game of them all, which is weird because before release I was really worried it would be awful.

24 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:44 ID: gq55lo3

Great post but your blurb did Dead Island dirty. It's still a decent game even if it had a tone shift from the trailer.

ID: gq60vhu

Thanks! I edited Dead Island's description to give it a little more credit, as it wasn't a disaster like Anthem or anything.

25 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:06 ID: gq6cvpp

It's wild that Dark Souls, Skyrim, and Portal 2 all came out in the same year. Honestly, all three are possibly in my top 10 fave games.

Not to mention Uncharted 3, LBP2, and Infamous 2. Holy hell, what a year.

26 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:24 ID: gq6jz6x

Great post, but two nitpicks:

The Witcher 2 was initially PC-only, but was later ported to the X360 in 2012 Dirt 2 was the first game to be released without Colin McRae’s name following his death in 2007.
27 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:17 ID: gq4kfit

I was just saying to someone how 2011 was number one! Great post. Dark souls is the best game ever made imo. 2011 was a legendary year to be a 15 year old with an Xbox

ID: gq6uk09

it was a good year but probably wouldnt make a "top5 years for gaming". 1998 is number 1 no doubt.

28 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:59 ID: gq4qkuc

I met with people who are moaning that 2010s where bad years of gaming. Microtransactions, lack of new ideas, horrible maded indie games, predatory corporate capitalism and scandals.

I guess they wrong in some ways. 2010 gives to us many amazing things and bad ones too.

29 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:10 ID: gq50qox

This was the year I got into modern gaming, albeit at the end of the year. I was 17 and just bought a 360 on Black Friday and had no idea what games to get since I wasn’t familiar with most franchises. The guy at GameStop recommended Assassin’s Creed Revelations since it had just come out and I said “why not?”. I had no clue what was going on in the story outside of the romance plot, but the presentation on the game blew me away. It was like playing a movie and I had no idea games were this cinematic and immersive. I played that game like every day for months. It’s not very long but I was still discovering side quests and figuring out that your Assassin recruits could have unique quests and the renovating mechanic, etc. I ended up buying the rest of the series throughout 2012 and hyped myself up for Assassin’s Creed 3 like crazy. Even though the series has been a rollercoaster, there’s still a special place in my heart for it. I’ve still played every game in the series minus Valhalla which I will get to once all its content is released.

30 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:40 ID: gq551h6

Man, I can't believe LA Noire was released in 2011, it seems like yesterday. One of the best games I've ever played. There's a lack of quality AAA Noire games, only Mafia series comes to my mind.

31 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:02 ID: gq6cede

Just want to say that people who write professional quality articles like this and post them here for free are total MVP's. Lookin' at you OP.

No ads, no subscriptions, no bullshit just good quality work.

32 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:42 ID: gq6tvm3

2011 was amazing but i think it's due to the average age of redditors but most people mention the best years being in the 2010s. i still think the best year for gaming, at least the most influential year of them all was and will probably always be 1998. you can arguably make a top10 video games of all time just with games from that year and it would be a solid list. there has never been a year like it since and i am confident i can say this without just being nostalgic, here's a list from that year:

ocarina of time

half life

metal gear solid

final fantasy tactics

star craft

baldurs gate

gran turismo

resident evil 2

fallout 2

and lastly you could add banjo kazooie, spyro or tekken 3. there was also xenogears, rogue squadron, rainbow six, thief, unreal, mario party, suikoden 2, grim fandingo and some others. not to mention, pokemon red and blue released outside of japan

33 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:31 ID: gq4v5l5

This is why /

will always be better than /. On the latter, you'll see a post of a screenshot from one of these games with the title, "Does anyone remember this gem?" But here we have a post that goes in depth about a great year in gaming that actually sparks interesting discussions. Thank you for your post.

ID: gq5kmjp

I wouldn't get too high on your own farts. A lot of

revolves around the same gaming circle jerks as . It's just the moderation format prevents much of the riffraff from ever hitting the top.

Well thought out posts are few and far between.

Edited a word.

34 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:30 ID: gq4mcrm

2011 will always be my favorite gaming year for a lot of (nostalgic) reasons. Battlefield 3 was absolutely amazing and got me hooked on the series continuing to be my favorite game to this day. Infamous 2 was the first game that really got me interested in playing my PS3. I also played a lot of 3DS titles this year before falling off of the console in favor of the Vita in 2012. And honestly I always forgot Littlebigplanet 2 happened. That game had the best community of creators ever. I still am awaiting dreams multiplayer in hopes of it getting the game to pickup in popularity. Oh and Skyrim...I’ve bought the game and played it for more times than I’d like to mention. Other notables were definitely portal, Batman, and modern warfare 3. I’m surprised I never got around to playing skyward sword or binding of Isaac at the time.

35 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:41 ID: gq4woe6

remember when one would trade in games after playing them for only a couple of weeks to get the new latest game? because that's how common new games were.

Now we have to wait years for what we used to wait just days for....

I'll give an example.....

Oct 2007: The Witcher, Manhunt 2, Guitar Hero III, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Folklore, The Orange Box, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Battalion Wars 2....just to name a literal few for just the month of October in 2007.....

Oct 2008: BioShock, Fallout 3, LittleBigPlanet, Fable II, Dead Space, Far Cry 2, Saints Row 2, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Dynasty Warriors 6, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, World of Goo....again just to name a fraction of games that came out that month only......

Need even more evidence at how few games are being made these days? look at the ps3 exclusive library and compare it to the ps4 library, warning though it is depressing.

ID: gq55m9b

Bioshock came out in 2007 not Oct 2008, just to relish the power of 07 a bit more.

ID: gq7xfof

Games were shorter and less expensive to make back then. And the AA space was still alive (although starting to fail.. PS2 generation was its peak).

Luckily the indie space has taken the torch of the AA space and we are getting more and more high quality indie games. More people just need to play them, but unfortunately the very lengthy AAA games take up a lot of time now.

36 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:23 ID: gq4u111

Yessir! I've always shared the same opinion. To me 2011 was the year of the 3s. Not to mention Assassin's Creed Revelations, TDU2, Saints Row The Third, not one but two NFS games in Shift 2 and The Run, GT5 Spec 2.0, and our first look at GTA 5 was in 2011!
Edit: grammar

37 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:57 ID: gq57iv0

Wasn’t la noire recently made into a VR game?

38 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:46 ID: gq5e9kj

Jesus, that's a lot of information. 2011 was a good year.

It's also hilarious how Duke Nukem Forever's DLC is so much better than the main game.

ID: gq6mfti

It actually got DLC? Thinking back I'm amazed I even finished playing through the trainwreck of the main game, even more amazed anyone would think to add more of it.

39 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:39 ID: gq63sko

I’m disappointed not to see Lego Universe or the closure of Play Well Studios on the list, both happened on 2011.

In all seriousness though this is an incredible write-up.

40 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:49 ID: gq6gwnn

Thank you for reminding me that it literally was the best year of videogaming of my life, and hasn't been topped since. Dark Souls alone has changed the way I play games.

41 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:02 ID: gq6r807

As nostalgic I am about 2011, lets not forget that era was plagued with paid DLCs splitting the player base, broken launches, a goddamn ONLINE PASS to be able to access multiplayer on physical games to curb resales and godforbid you have to format your playstation then pay $10 just to access multiplayer on your CD which you own.

42 : Anonymous2021/03/08 12:30 ID: gq7c31b

Where was I in 2011? Oh yeah, trying to find a use for the pendant in Dark Souls. Good times!

43 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:54 ID: gq4h4lz

I feel like 2011 was a big year, but a bit hollow. There were a ton of major releases (more than I remembered, wow) but so many of them felt disappointing compared to other entries in the same series. There were diamonds in the rough too, for sure, but overall it was the tipping point where consoles felt like they were holding back games.

From this year on, people would wait with bated breath for new consoles and not receive them for two more years. I think 2013 ended up being far more fulfilling than 2011 as a result, as it became a "best of" for the outgoing generation and a welcome introduction of a new one.

ID: gq51cdu

Reading the list I was stuck by how many of the games released were sequels that I'd rate worse than the previous games.

ID: gq4shwj

Yeah honestly 2011 wasn't that great. Arguably the biggest events that year were the 3DS release and Minecraft's official launch. But for the PS3/360/Wii consoles, the biggest year indisputably was 2007.

44 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:05 ID: gq502x8

When people mention 2007. You guys keep forgetting about Shadowrun 2007,


45 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:46 ID: gq4op3w

I still want a Bulletstorm sequel damnit! Everything was so damn good, the story, acting, set pieces and gameplay were so fun, plus it’s just so beautiful looking. It’s my favorite FPS ever made and nothing will top it.

ID: gq5o15b

Did you try out the Outriders demo? I am seeing bits of that humor shining through.

46 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:24 ID: gq5bdru

Skyrim is probably game of the decade for me. It’s not perfect but it’s still damn good and it’s insane how influential it’s been. Of course it didn’t invent open world games but its mix of open world + RPG elements really set the stage for what AAA games would become by the end of the decade, with franchises from the Witcher to Assassin’s Creed using the formula. And on a personal note, Skyrim was the first real “mature” game I got into so huge nostalgia factor for me.

I also think Deus Ex HR is highly underrated and one of the best RPGs of the decade. Loved it when I played it. Haven’t played the sequel but I heard it was a bit disappointing unfortunately.

And finally, Black and White is the best pokemon game. Sorry 😛

47 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:30 ID: gq7426b

Possibly unpopular opinion, but it's sort of incredible that there's so much agreement here on 2011 being not just a good year - don't get me wrong, it was a good year - but the "best" year for AAA gaming titles. Really, we're looking at Dark Souls (Big!), Skyrim (Huge!), Portal 2 (Amazing!), and... then a bunch of "good enough" sequels to more famous games/franchises. Oh, and LA Noire, which is only remembered for its facial mocap and how atrocious its dialogue system was. Peak AAA gaming? More like peak cashing in on successful AAA franchises.

Crysis 2? Dragon Age 2? Modern Warfare 3? Skyward Sword? Infamous 2? Uncharted 3? These all are all judged in reference to their predecessors. None of them are "the game you talk about" when you talk about the franchise.

But then F.E.A.R. 3 and Duke Nukem Forever? Fucking really? The year gets negative points for that trash.

And then in the other direction, Witcher 2 looked good at the time, but would be blown out of the historical importance waters by Witcher 3.

So, if you weren't really into Dark Souls or Skyrim, it's a bunch of stuff that gets outshone by entries in other years. Seriously, go look at the critically acclaimed games from 2009. Even 2010 blows this list away with wider genre scope in its acclaimed titles - Civ V, Starcraft II, RDR, ME2, Halo: Reach.

Honestly, with Binding of Isaac AND Terraria AND Bastion AND Minecraft (!!) releasing all in the same year, I feel like the better claim is that 2011 was peak "Indie Renaissance."

ID: gq7gixz

None of them are "the game you talk about" when you talk about the franchise.

Well Uncharted is a continuation of what precedes it without much gameplay innovation besides multiplayer. The story and set pieces are more interesting. Coincidentally, Skyward Sword is similar, the origin story of Link and Zelda is more interesting than the game where the story takes place. And the core gaming crowd wasn't kind to motion controls/sensing. It would be really unfortunate if Nintendo doesn't fix SS in the HD version, this is their one last shot to give the game's story justice.

48 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:44 ID: gq4x3ou

Funnily enough I have a rather love-hate relationship with 2011 in particular. The reason being that there were two back-to-back massively disappointing releases for me, and in fact that was the very last time I bought games that I regretted buying soon after (for full price on day one too!), so it really sticks out in my memory.

Those two games were Ace Combat Assault Horizon and Modern Warfare 3. The former was the main installment where my favorite series went completely off the rails (except the gameplay being rather on rails is the main issue with the game) and we wouldn't get another proper Ace Combat until 2019. The latter had severe issues in its multiplayer on top of a forgettable campaign, and having been touted as a return to the style of CoD4 after the balancing mess that was MW2, finding out that the multiplayer in MW3 was essentially unplayable for me due to a bizarrely flawed networking implementation (players would get an advantage from intentionally adding latency to their connections) was a huge disappointment, and to this day I consider MW3 to be the worst game in the series.

But at the same time, we also have games like Forza Motorsport 4, which is probably my favorite racing game of all time. We have Dark Souls, which may not be my favorite game in the series, but it's undoubtedly a classic and my introduction to FromSoft's amazing works. We have Battlefield 3, a game that certainly had its rough spots (particularly on console) but still gave me hundreds of hours of fun and it's one of my more fondly remembered multiplayer experiences. All in all, definitely a year of highs and lows for me.

49 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:45 ID: gq4x9zz

I absolutely loved the middle of ps3- 360- wii life cycle. So many great games and the industry innovating what games could be. It wasn’t until towards the start of the next gen cycle that things started to turn sour, but I could be viewing with nostalgia glasses. I’m not sure if this new generation will be much better, but I think these big game developers might be starting to rethink their strategies.

50 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:57 ID: gq4yyzn

I am quite sure that the difference between the amount of games released in comparison to 2011 and 2019 was because somewhere in between that time, steam changed up their strict policy on what can go on steam. Back in the day it was actually rather exclusive platform. Steam them selves took up curation of titles and certain developers would pay a hefty price to get on it. Steam would take a large initial fee for a game to be put on it, but the overall cut from profits was much smaller than it is now. Afaik nowadays you don't have to pay jack for putting up a game on steam, but the % of profits is larger due to that....and also, steam basically opened the door to anyone, and only curators are players and really bad press.

51 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:21 ID: gq52eiu

I've always looked back on 2011 as probably the best year of my life, and having all these amazing games just made it even better. I still think 2011 is my personal favorite year for games. There hasn't been a game from that year that I didn't like.

52 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:29 ID: gq53g4x

That's a very cool retrospective. Wouldn't you be interested in doing that for all years until 2020 to have an entire decade?

53 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:30 ID: gq53l82

I remember this year vividly. Twas a great year and I remember being too many games to play/want. I also remember failing a semester of college playing these games. Good times.

54 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:54 ID: gq56zpc

Just started my first Skyrim playthrough on my PC since playing at launch on Xbox 360.

With the proper mods, this game absolutely holds up. Still one of the best RPG experiences out there.

55 : Anonymous2021/03/07 21:58 ID: gq57nhk

I still play Battlefield 3. Easily one of the best MP titles of all time.

Also, if you're like me and you really miss shooters from the Half-Life era, Conduit 2 does a great job of that. I recently played it for the first time when catching up on Wii titles that I missed. It really is a great shooter. The first one was, okay. Second one was much better.

ID: gq5ruf2

Where do you play BF3 on?

I downloaded it on PC a couple months ago and it seemed dead

56 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:01 ID: gq580dj

Part of the reason it feels so strange to realize this was an entire decade ago is that (aside from the DS/3DS entries) there isn't that much difference between these games and today's. Squint at a random in-game screenshot from Witcher 2 and AC: Valhalla and see how long it takes you to figure out which one is ten years older. Mechanically speaking, there isn't anything today that couldn't be done back then.

57 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:19 ID: gq5anuu

This was the year I got to use my brand new ps3 and I had a fuckin blast with it. Skyrim, Arkham City, and MW3 were my regular games. I remember that point in the year when PSN got hacked and I couldn’t use my stuff for about a month, so I got Infamous for free.

58 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:23 ID: gq5b7pg

What a year, literally like 25 games on that list that I have played and really enjoyed.

Both LA Noire and Skyrim are in my personal top 10 games of all time and Arkham City and Dragon Age 2 (super underrated) are in the top 25. Catherine, Deus Ex Human Revolution and Dark Souls aren't far off that list either.

59 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:24 ID: gq5bauy

I was lightly rolling my eyes when you said 2011 was one of the best years in gaming (2017 is my personal favorite) and then I actual read the write-up and that year was STACKED. That is an insane amount of releases; I was playing on every system thinking about it in retrospect. Skyrim, Dark Souls, Skyward Sword, Dead Space 2, Pokemon, Marvel vs Capcom, Old Republic, Uncharted 3 were just a few of the titles I played. The nostalgia is hitting me deeply with this post; definitely one of those years where I remembered how much I loved gaming (I was in high school during those years).

60 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:03 ID: gq5g6r5

Everyone loves Skyrim. I find that interesting because the combat lowkey sucks, it had a bunch of bugs, and it has some holes that kill the believability of the world. But I still love Skyrim. The atmosphere and lore is like nothing else... And when you let your mind take you away Skyrim is extremely enjoyable. They really nailed the art, music, and overall style of the cold north of Tamriel.

Makes me happy just thinking about it :).

61 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:06 ID: gq5gjz5

Split/Second was a pretty cool game. Gratuitous and SO MUCH MOTION BLUR. But a good game to waste time on.

Man, this was a big year gamewise and I hate that it was fully ten years ago. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

62 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:11 ID: gq5h2is

LotR War in the North was a fun game. I played it with my GF a we had a great time. Too bad it was taken down because of some licensing bullshit. We wanted to play it with a friend of ours and it was gone by then...

63 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:22 ID: gq5iali

I spent a LOT of time gaming 10 years ago. Dead Island was amazing imo and while it was repetitive and buggy it was fun as hell with friends.

64 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:23 ID: gq5ide9

Dude. I remember this like yesterday. I was 19 and Xbox was all I knew. Dead Space 2, Splosion man, Dragon Age 2... Good times man...

65 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:29 ID: gq5pp4a

Great list, but the mention reminds me, did anyone else hate Saints Row 3? they took the quirky San Andreas clone that I knew and loved and turned it into black ops future meme warfare. the games couldn’t be more different

66 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:32 ID: gq5pyrx

For me 2011 is the golden year of Steam and maybe even PC gaming. Being primarily a console gamer at the time I was unaware of whats happening in the PC space and especially Steam until one day my PS3 copy of Portal 2 came with a Steam key for the PC version of the game. The great PlayStation network outage then caused me to check out this Steam thing and boy was it amazing.

2011 had a major Valve AAA release with Portal 2. TF2 was at the peak of its popularity and more importantly free 2 play and Steam sales will were still amazing with discounts due to Valve and publishers still trying to figure it out. Then we also had two primarily pc titles releasing which ended up popularizing the platform a lot with Skyrim and Terraria. Outside of Steam the Minecraft hype was also picking up more and more with the Beta release and road to 1.0.

Overall 2011 is imho the year that cemented the return of PC gaming to the mainstream.

ID: gq6n1yj

I vividly remember getting Portal 2 on PS3 myself. I didn't immediately redeem the Steam key since I just saw it as a nice value-add, started playing through on console. Then... the network hack happened. I was looking forward to the novelty of playing an actual cross platform coop experience, but figured hey, I can just play it on Steam RIGHT? Nope.

The key couldn't be redeemed without syncing to your PSN account, which required your PSN account to be online, at the time of the longest network outage in its history. I didn't have the spare cash to buy a whole second copy and figured the thing would blow over in a day or two. When it took literal weeks I'd missed out on playing through the coop first time with any of my Steam friends.

We did try to go through it together after PSN finally returned online, but having one of us already knowing all the answers really sapped the fun out of the experience and we kinda gave up on it :/

Still one of my all time favourite singleplayer games, but will forever be tarnished as a result of that damn network hack.

67 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:34 ID: gq5q65x

Fantastic write up! Incredibly minor correction, but Deus Ex was already on consoles. Invisible War was on Xbox.

ID: gq60zez

Thank you! Looks like you're right. I edited the post - thanks for the correction!

68 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:37 ID: gq5qkck

One small correction: SOCOM 4 was not the first game of the series for the PS3 as SOCOM Confrontation, an always online multiplayer game, came out in 2008 before that. I remember that it came bundled with the official Sony wireless Bluetooth headset, not like the Gold or any of the over-ear ones but like a little phone speaker you'd put in one ear to hear voice chat and talk through. It was pretty nifty, I bought the game pretty much just for that accessory and got some decent use out of it for a few years.

ID: gq61202

Now that you say that, I do remember that. Appreciate the correction, I've edited the post.

69 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:50 ID: gq5s09y

Damn, MVC3 came out a decade ago?

I'm not huge into fighting games but that one is probably my favorite game in the genre. I loved how crazy the combos could get

70 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:34 ID: gq5wo9v

I still play Mario Kart 7 online to this day. Totally forgot it's been around for almost 10 years now.

71 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:38 ID: gq5x6dr

I remember people in 2017 saying how 2007 was the best year People In 2011 saying 2001 was the best

It's all subjective and games take a long time to fully absorb, unlike movies which are alot easier to explore fully.

72 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:52 ID: gq656k4

The 'memberberries are strong with this post, but it's really true, 2011 was an absolutely crazy year in AAA gaming, especially for me as I didn't get a PS3 before 2010 and my teenage ass only played War for Cybertron until the PlayStation servers shut down for a whole month and I had to try out some single player gamers instead. Started out with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, then Prototype, both of which I got Platinum for real fast. I tried a bit of both Assassin's Creed and Red Dead Redemption too but then the servers came back on and I got Infamous for free, which I absolutely loved, so I bought the sequel on day 1 and literally completed it that same night. I needed more superhero shit in my life and got Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I also almost completed in just one day. I remember the absolute bliss of playing Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood, Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect 2 all for the first time in the span of about a month. Absolutely iconic.

73 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:20 ID: gq681vq

2011 is one of the all time great years in gaming. It belongs next to some of the other all time greats (1998, 2004, 2007).

74 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:29 ID: gq68zau

This was a lot of fun to read through. It's pretty incredible, there are about half a dozen games on this list that if you asked to me to compare any two, I would think they were at drastically different times in my life. It was a busy year I guess.

75 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:42 ID: gq6adi5

I feel like 2011 was the year I switched completely from Xbox to PlayStation. I had both at the time but after Gears 3 I think I just moved completely to being a PS gamer. Great write up OP.

76 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:14 ID: gq6dmwz

Ah the good old times. Games were so good back then. There were many memorable games that are still fresh in memory. Compare it to today and there are hardly any different or memorable games.

Also 11/11/11 -- the day my favorite game ever released!!!

77 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:35 ID: gq6fj9j

Pfft, no way, Deus Ex:HR only came out a few years ago-ohhhhh noooo....

For real though that game is so goddamn good, as you've shown here 2011 was absolutely crammed with amazing releases, but Deus Ex:HR is one of the few games that just...I don't know, it really stuck with me and has such a "classic game" feel. Not that it's retro or old but just that it felt like something special when playing it.

It's a shame the sequel was gutted for that shitty Avengers GaaS crap. Human Revolution deserved better, even now I'll occasionally catch Elias Toufexis voice acting in something and instantly think "JENSEN!". Man, I really need to go back and replay it, it's been a long time.

78 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:29 ID: gq6kcpy

It truly blows my mind how many games were released in 2011 that are still in the public consciousness

79 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:42 ID: gq6ldog

I got goosebumps reading through your list of absolute bangers. Great post with one major flaw however. You see, prior to the release of Skyrim the game that was definitely most talked about and got an official release that year was Minecraft.

Playable since 2009, but only started to take off in 2011. I've been playing it in alpha when the website proudly proclaimed "nearly 20k people bought this game!" in september 2010, so it was fairly small back then. But 2011 oh boy. Youtube was full of it and so were multiplayer servers. That year it got it's official release as a hard copy, console release and the biggest update to date with the "end" with the final boss and villagers among other things.

Let's also not forget League of Legends first worlds tournament at Dreamhack took place that year. Paving the way for the most popular esports of all time that would elevate the medium as we know it. 10 years later no other game could even dream to compete with this yearly event.

With Darksouls, Portal 2, Skyrim, 1st LoL Worlds and Minecraft 1.0 2011 is by far the most stacked year of all time for years to come.

80 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:26 ID: gq6oq3c

I started uni in 2010 and I had a 360 and PS2 but I had pretty much stopped gaming when 2011 rolled out. I played a bit of Fifa and Mortal Kombat with my friends on local coop but that was it. I barely even kept up with gaming news so I didn't know what games were releasing. Suddenly everyone was posting arrow to the knee memes everywhere. There were pictures of cat men in armor. I found out all of these memes were from Skyrim. I tried getting the 360 version but the shop I went to didn't have it so I picked up the PC version. The first time starting it up and playing it was just fucking magical. There you are getting beheaded and a dragon showed up. I hadn't seen any of the trailers and didn't know there were dragons in the game. The game immediately puts you in the middle of the dragon attack and I was so excited. Skyrim reignited my love of games. 10 years later, I still go back to this game every now and then, just for the nostalgia. People call it shallow and it certainly is but it still has one of the most charming and magical game worlds out there and you can get immersed and lost in the world.

81 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:53 ID: gq6ulzh

Interesting post, thanks, clearly one of the better years of my 40+ year gaming life!!

I would argue against Dark Souls being considered AAA though on release. I mean it was definitely not an indie game but it had a relatively small budget. It spawned an incredible legacy but that doesn’t make it AAA.

82 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:00 ID: gq6v08b

It's insane looking back at this list how many of these games are some of my favourite games... Skyrim, Minecraft, BF3, MW3, Uncharted 3, Portal 2, Dead Island. The amount of hours I've poured into those games alone over the past decades...

83 : Anonymous2021/03/08 09:26 ID: gq709w1

Sure was a long write up to say Dark Souls and Skyrim came out that year and would go on to be two of the most influential games of the past decade.

84 : Anonymous2021/03/08 09:55 ID: gq720p2

Anything between 1995-2010 is the gaming golden age for me.

But there absolutely has been some good games released between 2011-today. Just nothing that I have as many nostalgia memories for.

85 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:17 ID: gq739sg

This reminded me I still haven't done the main quests in Skyrim and I played it like 6-8 hours a day the first few weeks.

I still have no clue what the story is even about, I just messed around, explored and hoarded cheese.

86 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:31 ID: gq743nv

Bulletstorm is still one of the best linear shooters I've ever played. And I still feel like it's underrated even now.

87 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:39 ID: gq74kfx

I find the comments on Arkham City's "more hours of gameplay" a little funny, as the main quest of the game is far shorter than Arkham Asylum. It uses the side content as a way to pad out the main story. It's very well done. But I've always been disappointed in that City is only 5-6 hours long if you ignore all optional content.

I'm failing to see what about The Witcher 2 is inspired from Dark Souls?

And Star Wars: The Old Republic is great, especially if what you enjoyed about KOTOR and KOTOR 2 was the stories. Not only do you have 1 great Old Republic Story, you have 8, and each are as compelling as the last.

88 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:43 ID: gq74tvr

Ghost Trick is still one of the greatest games I’ve ever played, can’t believe that was 10 years ago!

ID: gq74ulh

Apparition gull is still one of the greatest games i’ve ev'r did play, can’t believeth yond wast 10 years ago!

I am a bot and I swapp'd some of thy words with Shakespeare words.

Commands: !ShakespeareInsult, !fordo, !optout

89 : Anonymous2021/03/08 14:29 ID: gq7octr

Mortal Kombat was the most hyped I'd ever been for a game up to that point. I remember it came out during my 8th grade Srpring Break, so me and my cousin played through the entire story in one sitting

90 : Anonymous2021/03/08 15:22 ID: gq7v172

Great Retrospective, one note I would add thats not as well known. Portal 2 on PS3 was one of the first AAA implementations of Cross Platform play. The game let you play cross platform between PC and PS3. It also had Crossbuy, where if you bought one version, you would get the other for free.

91 : Anonymous2021/03/08 16:04 ID: gq80uca

No love for 2001 here eh? That was an amazing year for games - on the PS2 alone we had Final Fantasy X, Gran Turismo 3, Silent Hill 2, GTA 3, Jak and Daxter and Metal Gear Solid 2. Defining year for the PS2 IMO. Also Xbox launched and gave the world Halo, spawning one of the most popular FPS series of all time

92 : Anonymous2021/03/08 18:53 ID: gq8ow8v

Errr, don't think Dark Souls is AAA. In fact, not a single Fromsoft game until the upcoming EldenRing is considered AAA. The company never had the stuff nor the budget. You may say Dark Souls 3 can be consider AAA, but I'd say it's maybe AA at best.

93 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:04 ID: gq4imnn

yeah, I still remember 2011 as an especially legendary year. I think 2007, 2011, 2012, and 2017 were massive years for gaming. But 2011 was probably the biggest. Skyrim has been done and redone and memed to death at this point, but I think people forget how momentous it was at the time.

Lots of genre-defining/paradigm-shifting games.

ID: gq4l5x2

Skyrim and Dark Souls alone make 2011 stand out, to incredibly influential games on the same year, and I don’t even like Skyrim that much.

94 : Anonymous2021/03/07 18:59 ID: gq4hw5h

Definitely did not read the the whole post but skimmed through the games. I appreciate the effort, a lot of nostalgia in here for me as I first got into gaming in 2010. I remember watching a whiteboy7thst video on the crysis 2 beta and falling in love with the game. Even Homefront was legit one of the most fun shooters of all time.

Maybe people will disagree with this sentiment but man gaming was so much better back in the day because there wasn't expectations. You just bought the games and had your mind blown each and every time. Not sure if thats a product of the times or just me being a kid but I miss that feeling a lot.

95 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:05 ID: gq5n2fh

How is everyone forgetting that 2011 was the year eSports got big with Valve announcing a MILLION DOLLAR prizepool for the yet to be released DotA 2.

Whatever you think about the game this was the starting pistol for the global eSports scene we see today.

96 : Anonymous2021/03/07 17:51 ID: gq47rr5

The beginning of the end if you ask me,or at least of the golden days of the 7th console generation while the PC was getting lazy ports and consolized entries of otherwise PC main titles.Plus it was right before the Games as service/loot box/dlc by the dozen extravaganza.Many developers genuinely believed the PC as a gaming platform was absolute and completely focused their attention on the consoles.

So the 360 and PS3 while had some very visually impressive titles released they really started to show their age performance wise,some later entries ran at like 20 fps at best. I would gladly invite everyone to boot up a copy of Crysis 3 and Uncharted 3 on the PS3 and be amazed at how they ran.

Indie titles were the ones that really got to shine from that point on.

97 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:45 ID: gq4olr5

Thank you. You have people saying that 2004 was the best year ever due to Half Life 2 and Halo, or 2015 because of The Witcher 3, or possibly even 2017 due to games like Resident evil 7 or Sonic Mania (big touted return to form games that I both thought were pretty damn mid) but I have and probably always will say that 2011 was the best year ever for gaming. It gave me Little Big Planet 2 and Skyrim, 2 of some of my favourite games EVER, along with the massive shopping cart of games you've listed here.

ID: gq4vc8d

Dude MMO's are live service games, the end game from Ultima online in 1997 and everquest in 1999 was to service the fuck out of every game, STEAM was released in 2004. DRM == part of the long term plan to back end every piece of software.

The people in this thread know nothing about business or silicon valley tech companies, they've been trying to make hardware + software drm to get rid of ownership of our PC's for 20+ years since the rise of the mmo scam of the late 90's. Ultima 9 was cancelled to work on Ultima online (aka live service game).

See here real AAA PC rpg's were cancelled/rebadged to get rid of game ownership:

MMO's, DRM and live services == the same thing, to get rid of game ownership by programming games in a client-server way.

Hardcore gaming peaked in from 1990 to 2005, before internet penetration allowed companies to steal games by sticking an mmo sticker on the front to fool the computer illiterate masses.

The MMO market moniker was part of a long term strategy by the game industry to undermine game ownership.

98 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:24 ID: gq5ihys

2011 is undoubtedly the best year in all of gaming. It’s actually insane, as you’ve laid out really well

ID: gq5xbcz

I'm still saying 2007. BioShock, Assassin's Creed, Modern Warfare, Mass Effect, Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Uncharted, The Orange Box, ...

99 : Anonymous2021/03/07 19:11 ID: gq4jmui

To be honest I disagree with the notion that any previous year was the peak of AAA gaming, personally every year is the peak of AAA gaming.

Last year I god Doom eternal, animal crossing, TLOU2, ghost of tsushima, crusader kings 3, Half-life Alyx, FF7 Remake, Persona 5 Royal, snowrunner and many many more, that's the peak of AAA gaming!

This year I get the next god of war, ratchet and clank, Hitman 3, little nightmares 2, super Mario 3D world, persona 5 strikers, Humankind, loop hero, valheim, it takes two, monster hunter Rise, oddworld soulstorm and many many more, that's the peak of AAA gaming!

ID: gq4y2ya

Last year I god Doom eternal

All of id softwares games from 1992 to 2004/5 had level editing and modding. That stopped with the rise of mmo's and drm, once they had control of the software they sold the stuff we used to have for free and in abundance back to us.

Go have a peek at how things used to be before the computer literate masses got internet and pooched everything buy buying stolen videogames. Steam was a reaction to the success of ultima online in 97 and Everquest in 99 demonstrating the average gamer is stupid at computers, you never buy a game you don't own or control if you don't want abusive practices.

All the things modern gamers hate were pioneered by the mmo generation since once they had control of the software the long term strategy was to back end every game since the industry had abundant evidence that the average gamer is stupid.

100 : Anonymous2021/03/07 20:25 ID: gq4uddy

man rewatching that dead island trailer, people didnt like that game? i remember it being pretty fun(besides the sewers).

101 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:19 ID: gq5v21f

Great write up and very good year. Definitely not the peak though. 2017 has that on lock, it’s stacked. There hasn’t been a year so since 1998 and 2007.

ID: gq5vv0w

Strange how different views one can have on this. For me, 2017 is the weakest one out of the last 5 years. Preferences probably play a big role here, but what games from 2017 did you enjoy the most?

102 : Anonymous2021/03/07 22:31 ID: gq5ccel

I’ll forever stan 2009 above all else. MW2, L4D2, AC2, uncharted 2, ODST, Arkham asylum, demons souls, borderlands, infamous, prototype, sims 3 yeah 11 year old me was on cloud 9. In fact those first 4 I’ll forever consider the best of each of their respective franchises


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