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Game of the Year 2011

Liz Maas' Awards
4) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)
As far as strategy RPGs go, I have largely kept to the Fire Emblem series and Shin Megami Tensei offshoots, somehow depriving myself of any Tactics Ogre, Ogre Battle, and Final Fantasy Tactics-type SRPGs. When Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, originally an SNES game, was announced to be getting a PSP remake, I finally became curious, especially after seeing the beautiful graphics. The game is by no means short, and I have yet to complete it, but the characters are interesting and playing the game reminds me why I love SRPGs in general.

3) Dark Souls (PS3/360)
Because for some strange reason I never got around to picking up Demon's Souls, I didn't want to miss the boat this time. I love a challenge, and I play games on hard modes when I think I can take it, but nothing prepared me for the abuse Dark Souls put me through. Progressing may have often been trial and error for me, but the gameplay is one of my favorite types. You have to think and pay attention to all sorts of details, any mistake can turn out fatal, but when you so much as a defeat a boss, the rewarding feeling is something else. Now perhaps I can get back to this game to finish it, and one day, Demon's Souls too.

2) Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3/360/PC)
In any year when I wouldn't have played my actual #1, Eidos Montréal's first title would have won my top spot, but it still remains one of my favorite gaming experiences in a long time. Adam Jensen's tale of global conspiracy may have borrowed from all over the map, including Blade Runner and Robocop, but it still managed to stay true to its Deus Ex roots, and Michael McCann's wonderful score added another dimension to the game's cyber renaissance setting. DXHR was by no means perfect, but my lethal build made the maligned boss fights less of an issue, and my bigger problem was that the game actually came to an end. Thankfully, Eidos has hinted that they are not finished with the Deus Ex series.

1) Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
With neither a PC nor an Xbox 360 at the time, Mass Effect 2 didn't pique my interest until sometime after its PS3 port was announced. The fact that we PS3 owners had only a 20-minute interactive comic to replace the original did little to dampen the experience that was Mass Effect 2, and all of its DLC which was included (except Arrival). It didn't take long to show me why this was our site's Game of the Year 2010, between the diverse characters, the beautiful galaxy map (and music) that will make any astronomer immensely happy, and the ability to create your own Shepard both cosmetically and personality wise. Why yes, I may have had a little too much fun with the morality system. All that 2010 hype didn't disappoint – ME2 is easily one of the best games I've ever played.

Biggest Letdown
The 3rd Birthday (PSP)
Beautiful graphics and ominous music could not save this one. This was not the Aya Brea we knew from the PSone Parasite Eve games, and as much as I don't mind shooting things, the gameplay became incredibly repetitive fast. And the worst part: what on earth were they thinking with the story?

2011 RPG That I Wish I Played In 2011
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC)
Lacking a PC, I couldn't play this anyway, but everything I've seen and heard makes me all the more excited for the 360 version this spring.

Best Non-2011 Game That I Finally Played In 2011 Because Mass Effect 2 PS3 Does Not Count (Tie)
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (DS) & Assassin's Creed II (PS3/360/PC)
Both tell their stories very differently, but very well. 999 kept the suspense meter cranked, while ACII allowed me to explore the wonderful Renaissance-era Italy.

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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