Game of the Year 2011

Kimberley Wallace's Awards
5) Dragon Age II (PS3/360/PC)
Most people I know were disappointed with Dragon Age II. I get it: the overused environments weren't exactly a selling point. But, since I never found myself in one environment for too long, it didn't bother me. When I think back on this year, my experience as Lady Hawke was memorable, and, more importantly, the characters who took the journey with her will always hold a place in my heart. Even if you hated everything else about Dragon Age II, there's one character who just couldn't keep you from cracking a chuckle: Varric, a consummate storyteller with a silver tongue that has a barb for every person. Maybe it didn't live up to everyone's expectations, but it's still one of the better games I've played this year.

4) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
If there was one game to get for the 3DS this year – this was it. Ocarina of Time made me realize just how ahead of its time it really was... but developers still aren't replicating its finer points as much as they should. With varied environments, new enemies around every corner, and a world that's impossible not to explore, it challenged me to think and was fun while doing it. It simply has that classic game design that still holds up today alongside its spartan-yet-memorable story. With the few 3DS changes, it still manages to touch the soul. Less is more for Ocarina of Time, and that's not a bad thing.

3) Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten (PS3)
This is the game that made me love strategy RPGs again. Not that I stopped, it's just that there have been so few of them lately. Disgaea 4 did exactly what a new title should do in series: up the ante. Everything was executed with precision, including the fact that it tapped into online play wonderfully. What I appreciate most about Disgaea 4 is that it never tries to be more than what it is, and it's also not afraid to refine rather than completely alter gameplay systems. Plus, who can deny the charm and quirk of the series? Not only does it challenge, but it also provides plenty of laughs along the way. Now where's my Prinny costume?!

2) Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)
When I think back to the games this year that best offered me that idiosyncratic experience that I crave, Ghost Trick tops the list. With its charming characters and puzzles that constantly kept me on my toes, I can't deny what a darling this game was for me. Even if there were moments of frustration, it paid off in the end. I just have many fond feelings that still bring a smile to my face when I think of the kooky characters and their dialogue. What I'd like to see? Can we please have a Missile spin off? You know if you saw Missile at a shelter you'd come home with the little pooch.

1) Bastion (XBLA/PC)
I always tell people Bastion is an experience for the soul. It's hard to articulate what makes the game what it is – words don't really do it justice. How many XBLA titles can you actually say affected you deeply? For me, that's Bastion in a nutshell. The game took me to places I never imagined it would. Call it the writer in me, but the constant narration was an absolute blissful experience. Best of all, this game has one of the most spectacular soundtracks of all time. It's been months since I've played the game, and I still find myself humming the tunes in my head. The Kid's journey meant quite a bit to me, and it just didn't get any better than Bastion this year.

Most Trippy Experience
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (PS3/360)

Horror at its Finest
Corpse Party (PSP)

Best Dialogue
Catherine (PS3/360)

Best Edge of My Seat Moments (Tie)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) & Resistance 3 (PS3)

OMG Moment
Dragon Age II DLC - Mark of the Assassin (PS3/360/PC)
Felicia Day is on the game screen with me!

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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