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This week, Zero Punctuation runs down the top 5 best and worst games of 2011.

Transcript Edit

So, another year has disappeared wailing into the yawning gullet of the Sarlacc of time and only the one issue remains: who the hell drank my last two Mercury ciders? I know I left them in your fridge - I was gonna drink them the next time I came around, you fuck! Oh yes, and also, like a long-sighted window dresser, I need to figure out my tops and my bottoms.

Just to clarify a couple of rules, my top five and my bottom five will be restricted to games I actually reviewed this year. It may be true that the Green Lantern tie-in game eats its own frozen turds for dinner or that Dark Souls gives free blowjobs to high school students, but I can't get passionate about anything that didn't waste a week of my life. Secondly, strange as this might sound, these rankings are based on the subjective amount of fun I personally had with each title and not by how many five-star ratings were showered on it by publisher-approved journalists who all secretly wish they were dead.

[Windows 3.1 startup sound at ever increasing pitch]

Fifth Best: A perfectly-assembled cheese sandwich on fresh-baked bread

At number five on my list of 2011 games that are good comes a title that has featured on quite a few others' "Best of 2011" lists, and so its presence here can largely be attributed to peer pressure: Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls Another One. An epic dragon genocide that is admittedly a bit glitchy and broken, but it's kind of endearing for it, like a puppy accidentally pissing in its own face. I place it here to communicate to the industry in general that organic, open-ended, face-pissing gameplay is still preferable to being passed from setpiece to setpiece like the prison bitch.

[Burp at ever decreasing pitch]

Fifth Worst: A piece of toast with what you believed to be Vegemite but which turns out to be a skidmark

Number five worst is a game from very early in the year that probably feels relaxed and secure in the knowledge that everyone immediately forgot about it, but I've never been above putting the boot in: MindJack. A succession of square rooms populated by characters who couldn't have reached any level of decent characterization if they had a rocket-powered stepladder. Its sole innovation was the ability to possess other people in the battlefield, a feature which only served to illustrate that absolutely no one was having fun.

Fourth Best: An attractive barista who remembers your name and preferred beverage

Now, moral choice systems are, as mechanics go, right up there with the button that makes your character stick his thumb up his arse, but InFamous 2 demonstrated the best way to handle a moral choice system that you're stuck with: pack that shit in! As well as being an engaging sandbox adventure, InFamous 2 actually provided an incredibly satisfying and appropriate ending. well, endings. And in today's "eyes on the long-term pay packet" industry, I respect that a lot. Of course, if they do go on to make an InFamous 3, I'm going to retroactively take this award away and give it to Minecraft or something.

Fourth Worst: Misjudging the distance between your thumb and the blade of a paper guillotine

Red Faction Guerrilla wasn't even the greatest game in the world, so when its sequel makes you go "what the fucking hell happened?", then you know new depths are being plumbed. With a plot that felt like it had dropped half its cue cards and peeled the other half off a homeless man's back scabs, and the trademark destructo-physics reduced to a carnival sideshow, Red Faction Armageddon slips comfortably into the heavily stained underpants of fourth place.

Third Best: Upending a bucket of kittens onto your delirious smiling face

Getting back to the non-underpants list, number three is the token independent entry that must be included to maintain my pretentious game journalist cred. Bastion, which I persistently referred to incorrectly as The Bastion in my review. Guess no one will be dancing with me at this year's pretentious game journalists' ball. But anyway, it's a superlative example of how to mix gameplay and storytelling, combining intense isometric combat with a voice narration that will send rivulets of something shameful running down your thighs.

Third Worst: Shitting the bed while your girlfriend's over

I don't get why video games have trailers. Films have trailers and games have demos! That's how it works. You need to be able to play a bit of it to get what it's about. Any game trailer, especially ones that don't show gameplay, are basically two minutes of a publisher soaping their ballsack under carefully arranged mood lighting. Thanks again to our number three worst game for reminding us of this. Dead Motherfucking Island. Great trailer, boring, glitchy, horribly designed game. And just because I like the smell of my own farts doesn't mean I want to spend three hours in a sewer level.

Second Best: Shitting the bed while your girlfriend's over and discovering she's into that

Well, I warned that this game was probably going to end up here, and it most certainly has. Driver: San Francisco. "Surprisingly good" doesn't do it justice. It would have been surprisingly good if I'd gotten through it without slumping forward and nodding off with the analog sticks jammed up me nostrils. But its innovative car-hopping mechanic ensured a constant gameplay flow as smooth as a syrup enema, and the good writing is the rectal cork that seals the deal. Some people who are into driving games say the physics are bit crap, but speaking for people who aren't into driving games, I had great fun with this driving game, so shut your face!

Second Worst: Failing at cunnilingus so badly that your tongue gets stuck in the ensuing frosty atmosphere

No retrospective of 2011's shittier moments would be complete without a mention of the legend-making disappointment that was Duke Nukem Forever. Thirteen years these guys were building an eighty-foot jizz cannon in their backyard, and they invited everyone around for its first discharge only for it to tip forward and dribble yellowy spunk over everyone's shoes. A symbol of '90s shooters reduced to two weapon slots and turret sections, more breathtakingly misogynistic than the Boston Strangler.

Best Game of 2011: A roller coaster that terminates at the end of a rainbow

So here comes the final, devastating spurt directly into the new year's open mouth, my game of 2011. Now, some might say my choice is a predictable one, but I failed to give its predecessor any kind of official game of the year award even though it badly deserved one, so consider this an act of penance on my part. That's right, it's Valve's second orifice penetration simulator, Portal 2. Despite the single-player being a bit flabby and directionless and lacking in really meaty puzzles, let's face it: even the dodgiest Portal game stands head and shoulders above most of the dross that comes out. Speaking of which!...

Worst Game of 2011: Being cockslapped by your own herniated bowel

Interestingly enough, the crown of greasy brambles and throne of compacted garbage to be awarded to the worst game of 2011 are in this case two crowns, and perhaps some kind of chaise longe affair, because I can't decide which creepy, masturbatory, lead you by the nose, flimsily justified violence upon vastly inferior enemies, open-quotes "realistic" shooter with a three on the end I despise the most, Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3. I don't hate them because they're poorly made or fail in what they set out to do, I hate them for what they represent. Modern Borefare and Twattlefield not only show that people should stop making realistic shooters but also make a convincing case that people should stop existing generally. And perhaps we should save time, form a big circle, and on an agreed signal all cap the person to the right.

Oh, happy new year, by the way.

AddendaEdit

Have a nice apocalypse: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Maybe next I could released a Halloween themed video on Guy Fawkes Night

And not one of you shitheads got me a present


ScreenshotsEdit

Top 5 2011 3

Films have trailers and games have demos

Top 5 2011 4

I hate them for what they represent

Top 5 2011 5

Happy new year

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017

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