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Game of the Year 2011

Andrew Barker's Awards
5) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)
Turn-based strategy RPGs aren't released all that often, so it's an especially momentous occasion when they're as good as Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. The great, multi-path story aside, the addictive and highly strategic gameplay of Tactics Ogre is what will keep you coming back for more. With vastly different battle locations and a huge variety of different unit classes to recruit and choose, you could sink over 100 hours into Let Us Cling Together without even breaking a sweat. This game is not a pushover though, not even close to it. Conquering the game will require serious thought and real strategic skill.

4) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
After all the amazing reviews, I had extremely high expectations going into Skyward Sword. Is it the best Zelda ever? No, but it's still an amazing game that shakes up the formula to make it feel fresh. I think we're all still surprised how well the motion controls work too. Wielding Link's sword feels completely natural, and using motion to control certain pieces of equipment and Link's Loftwing is a far cry from the gimmicky nature of earlier Wii titles. With Link's newfound acrobatic skills, the ability to upgrade equipment, and more, Skyward Sword is the (sadly) lone example of what games for the Wii should have been.

3) Pokémon Black & White (DS)
There are really only two gaming series I don't think I'll ever be tired of: The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Pokémon Black and White may not be the most innovative games of the year, but they refine and improve the classic Pokémon formula further than ever before. The addition of brand new Pokémon is always exciting, but the new attacks and battle animations brought you closer to your Pokémon friends than ever before. Let's not forget the massive, sprawling Castelia City either. Triple battles might have been overkill, but Black and White stand out as the best entries in the series yet. Who else can't wait for 3D Pokémon!?

2) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
It's no secret that Ocarina of Time for the N64 is my favourite game of all time. When I heard about the remake for 3DS I was excited, but hesitant. I really could not see how Ocarina of Time could be improved. Funnily enough, I couldn't have been more wrong. The upgraded graphics and extra detail added to the world made it an absolute joy to explore all over again. The 3D brought me into the world of Hyrule like I never could have expected, and the gyroscope controls were a joy to use. I take my hat off to Nintendo and Grezzo for their fine work.

1) Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland (PS3)
After playing Atelier Rorona, my expectations for Totori were pretty low. I would never have imagined that this beautiful game would blow me out of the water as it did. Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland may not have the most epic of RPG plots, but its heartfelt story, adorable characters, and surprisingly addictive gameplay made it a no-brainer for my top pick of 2011. With a huge world to explore, hundreds of items to craft, and multiple endings, I have a feeling I'll still be playing Atelier Totori for many months to come.

Overall Awards
Traditional RPG Action RPG Graphic Adventure Strategy RPG Indie RPG Downloadable RPG Mobile Downloadable Content (DLC)
And the winner is...
Best RPG of 2011
Editors' Picks
Abraham Ashton Liu Andrew Barker Dave Yeager Derek Heemsbergen Dennis Rubinshteyn Eric Farand John McCarroll Kimberley Wallace Kyle E. Miller Liz Maas Mike Salbato Neal Chandran Robert Steinman Stephen Meyerink


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