Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

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Mark Barley unleashes his thoughts and musings on who the contenders are in this year's Game of the Year awards, and tries to figure out who has the best chance.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution


Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

This game from Square Enix reminds me so much of Batman: Arkham Asylum itís almost creepy. Similar stealth gameplay, same dark atmosphere, both developed by a smaller studio (Rocksteady Ė Eidos Montreal) owned by the same greater powers, both released with cautious hype, both delivered well beyond expectations. I know a lot of gaming publications would have loved to give Arkham Asylum the award in 2009 but did not want to because Sony and Naughty Dog were pushing Uncharted 2 so hard. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a GREAT game that brings a number of different genres together but probably doesnít have quite enough staying power being released right before the true Game of the Year release season beings. Perhaps Eidos Montreal will bring us a sequel that keeps the ground foundation the same but improves on the original so much you wonít have a choice but to award it (hint: thatís another game further down on this list).

Human Revolution has a Metacritic average review score of a 89, and while thatís not the greatest score for a Game of the Year contender itís one of those titles that snuck up on everyone, in a good way. Iím going to give it a higher chance of garnering some GotY votes simply because it was a critical success when everyone had questions about it pre-release.

Chances: 20%

Battlefield 3


Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

DICE and EA have really given Infinity Ward and Activision the great big ďsuck it!Ē sign when it comes to war-time shooters with Battlefield 3. This is the first time that the Battlefield franchise has really been a legitimate pick to be a better game than Activisionís yearly spectacle of the Call of Duty franchise. Built around the Frostbite 2 gaming engine, Battlefield 3 is really looking to push boundaries and make heads explode both virtually and in reality. Look for EA to push the shit out of this one with Modern Warfare 3 being released only two weeks later. It will truly be the war of war-time shooters! YayÖ Yeah, while BF3 might be a great shooter itís not GotY material in any way shape or form. It will garner the attention sure, but really, when was the last time EA won anything?

The early review consensus by Metacritic has the game at an 85, itís terribly low score for a heavily pushed EA title and a title that really had high hopes of blowing Activisionís Modern Warfare 3 out of the water. Not looking good. Iím giving it a higher-than-I-should-chance just because it will sell well and EA is marketing the game like a champ.

Chances: 30%

Assassinís Creed: Revelations


Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

Oh Ubisoft, how you cram religious assassins down our throats while giving us flawless gameplay and a cool story to boot! Assassinís Creed: Revelations looks to conclude our never-wavering protagonist Ezioís story while possibly introducing nothing new. Could there be a better formula for winning a Game of the Year award? Now, as you can probably tell Iím not the biggest Assassinís Creed fan but even I will give a nod of approval to the conclusion of hugely successful storyline. Donít think for a minute that Ubi is done with the AC franchise, there will be another new one next year and the year after that and the year after that and the yearÖugh. Iíll probably be writing the same exact synopsis in 2022 for another AC title. Screw writing, Iím going to archive this bad boy, chance a few words, reword a few sentences, copy and paste, and boom youíve got your Assassinís Creed: Doctrine of Never Dying Assassins game review.

The Assassinís Creed franchise as a whole has an average of an 88 review score on Metacritic, Ubisoft never seems to have a legitimate chance at the Game of the Year award because the field is just plainly better. Nothing has changed. Releasing in a vastly crowded November, Revelations will likely be an excellent game but will be overlooked because everyone is preoccupied with Uncharted 3, Skyrim, or Modern Warfare 3.

Chances: 10%

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

Ah, the other Battlefield gameÖwait a minute? Itís a different game altogether? Iíll be a son of a bitch. Infinity Ward is going to be looking to wash the bad taste of Modern Warfare 2 out of our mouths with this third instalment, and from everything Iíve seen of the game so far look intriguing. Thatís not an endorsement though. Itís an Iíll-wait-and-see-what-everyone-else-thinks-about-it-first-before-I-form-my-own-opinion approach. Yes, I will allow, on occasion, the masses to form my opinions for me. Wannafightaboutit? Activision has really ditched their single-player efforts that made Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare such a great game in favor of multiplayer. Thatís not an entirely bad thing but itís not a great thing either when your single-player campaign isnít worth a damn and causes more negative publicity than positive. Really Activision, you thought that shooting up a Russian airport with an American operative was a good idea? Bah! Was it fun? Sure. Rebellious? Maybe. Good idea? Nope. Hopefully Modern Warfare 3 wraps up the story nicely and paves the way for future Call of Duty titles to win some Game of the Year awards for themselves.

The Modern Warfare titles, with the Call of Duty franchise, have been very well received (MW2 holds a 95 Metacritic review average score) and I donít expect Modern Warfare 3 to be any different. The game will sell millions of copies and will likely hold the number one spot on the online charts for month stacked on months. It has a very good chance to garner some votes for Game of the Year.

Chances: 50%

Gears of War 3


Game of the Year 2011: Who Is In The Lead?

The serious darkhorse on this entire list may be the least talked about title for Game of the Year consideration. Epic Games really created a masterpiece of gameplay, storytelling, and multiplayer all wrapped into one title with Gears 3. Like Deus Ex, Gears of War 3 doesnít have enough steam to maintain the momentum the carried throughout the month of September and into the early parts of October. If they had an ďAlmost Game of the YearĒ award, this one would win hands down. Dom, Marcus, and the crew really sold me on the whole muscular-thugs-have-hearts-too thing. Itís a shame that Gears of War 3 will probably never quite get the recognition itís deserving of.

Gears of War 3 has a higher chance to get some votes for the award than I think it should have, mainly because voters will be sentimental towards it. Itís the conclusion of a trilogy of an over-arching storyline that brought emotional highs and lows. It has a Metacritic average review score of a 91 which is extremely high for a third title in a trilogy no matter what it is. The lasting impression of the Gears of War brand will garner votes in its favor.

Chances: 40%