GWJ Conference Call Episode 272

Conference Call

Our Favorite Games of 2011!

This week Shawn, Elysium, Julian, Cory, Lara, Rob Borges and Rob Zacny chime in on their favorite games of 2011!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

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Most of the games mentioned:

Ghost Trick
Orcs must die
40K Space Marine
Mortal Kombat
Magicka
Bastion
Men of War: Assault Squad
Dragon Age 2
Portal 2
Shadows of The Damned
LA Noire
RAGE
Batman: Arkham City
Frozen Synapse
From Dust
Sword and Sworcery
Driver: San Francisco
Dead Island
FEAR 3
Saints Row The Third
Dragon Quest VI
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
BattleField 3
Uncharted 3
Gears of War 3
Red Orchestra 2
The Witcher 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Forza 4
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Assassin's Creed Revelations
Rocksmith
Dark Souls
Skyrim

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Wheee that was a long one! Too many great games this year, clearly. Putting the rundown as a spoiler in case anyone wants to be pleasantly surprised (it's also rather tl;dr). No real spoilers, but if anyone hasn't played Uncharted 3 and are maintaining a zone of silence, they may want to skip 01.16.18 - 01.16.44.

Spoiler:

00.01.50 Lara's hipster game of the year. Yeah, you probably haven't heard of it.
00.05.50 Sean Sands. Of course it's a game that has orcs in it
00.07.15 Cory--Even Jon Stewart would question his choice
00.09.04 Certis reaches back to the depths of early 2011... ta-daa!
00.10.53 Rabbit expounds his love for the taciturn narrator genre.
00.14.22 Certis sells me on a WW II game. I thought I was done with those!
00.16.43 Lara could have made a baby in the time she has spent on this one. (Her words!)
00.23.25 Rabbit compares this game to Chinese food. Because it's everywhere you go?
00.25.09 Cory doesn't feel like talking about the extent of his love for this boner of a game.
00.27.41 Certis wanted to love this investigatory thriller. But it just wasn't meant to be.
00.29.48 Elysium whimpers in RAGE over his disappointment with this game
00.30.59 Cory is despondent over this game, then gets bataranged.
00.33.42 Lara offends the Internet with her frown upon this RPG.
00.35.39 Getting out the last of a few smaller ones before hitting the biggies
00.37.22 Rob and Rob talk their year in games
01.02.10 Back to Certis and crew for their favorite out of body driving experience
01.03.40 Certis loves loves loves the co-op on the game set on an island that's dead
01.04.01 Elysium fears the number 3 for some reason
01.04.48 Elysium also appreciates this exuberant, whimsical sandbox brawler.
01.05.15 Lara likes the latest in this classic line of JPRGs.
01.06.10 Cory conflicted about this sequel to the best game ever created
01.09.52 Rabbit brings up the huge elephant in the room--that one he tried to bring up way too early! Jeez man.
01.14.43 Lara goes the opposite of esoteric with this prime choice
01.18.03 A few more decent ones Elysium doesn't want to get left behind
01.20.54 Certis liked playing this trilogy-making co-op
01.21.11 Rabbit played tons of this co-op favorite
01.21.50 Certis enjoyed this dick-in-a-vice hard game.

zzzz ok I'm in my afternoon post-lunch daze. I think they're still talking about games. Probably.

01.34.16 Certis' top game of the year! Bright Heels?
01.37.07 Elysium's choice is the low hanging fruit, boy is it ever.
01.39.56 Lara's favorite game of the year? No of ALL TIME. She also gives some runner ups.
01.41.38 Rabbit's is... an iPad game! What is this Sorcery!?
01.42.43 Cory and his damned shadows

Great way to close out the year!

If anyone has the show hosts' picks in a list, I'll include them in the community GOTY voting.

If Rob and Rob made their own show, I would listen.

Dark Souls is definitely my game of the year. At 28 years old, I tend to try and identify everything a game is doing behind the scenes, but this was a game where I had a sense of wonder for dozens of hours, and games just don't do that for me anymore. I sure hope they make a 3rd- I'm going with "Desperate Souls"

Just wanted to congratulate the GWJ crew on a truly fantastic format for an end of year games roundup podcast. The show never dragged and giving everyone their say on 2-3 games made for a fun listen. Even really enjoyed the letdowns of the year! So thank you for such an awesome podcast!

All-in-all I would have to vote 2011 the best year of games for me in a long long time.

Thank you GWJ crew for another year of top-notch podcasting.

I think I would have loved Magicka had I gotten into it multiplayer when it was the new shiny. As it stands now, I'm not sure I'll ever have the opportunity to play in the manner it was intended, unless I can find some other folks who also missed the boat the first time around it to play it with fresh eyes.

coppertopper wrote:

Just wanted to congratulate the GWJ crew on a truly fantastic format for an end of year games roundup podcast. The show never dragged and giving everyone their say on 2-3 games made for a fun listen. Even really enjoyed the letdowns of the year! So thank you for such an awesome podcast!

All-in-all I would have to vote 2011 the best year of games for me in a long long time.

Quintis wrote:

Thank you GWJ crew for another year of top-notch podcasting.

Thanks guys!

imbiginjapan wrote:

I think I would have loved Magicka had I gotten into it multiplayer when it was the new shiny. As it stands now, I'm not sure I'll ever have the opportunity to play in the manner it was intended, unless I can find some other folks who also missed the boat the first time around it to play it with fresh eyes.

I bet there's a ton of folks out there who haven't given it the time it deserves or just got it during the Steam sale.

Sadly I still don't own LBP2 (I looooove LBP, floaty controls and all), but I was under the impression that they put in an option to turn off the old controls and use newer ones. Was it still too floaty?

Anyway, have a happy New Year! Make lots of promises you'll break.

For as much fun as my sons and I found LBP1, LBP2 just didnt inspire the same interest. Last year, it even seemed like a new tradition had been born as we downloaded community holiday levels one after the next and had a blast during some end of year timeoff.

This year, we popped in LBP2 into the PS3, after some time it had just been sitting, in hopes of rekindling the same pre-Xmas fun, but it ended before it began.

I know that LBP2 certainly has all the bells and whistles that should make it stand head and shoulders above the original, but for us at least something was missing or the formula had changed. I think maybe, somehow it got a bit more complicated. Maybe there was a simplicity or directness to LBP1 that appealed to us, or maybe we just enjoyed LBP1 enough that we were effectively done with it. I'm really not sure.

Great show! I always look forward to the end of the year con call you guys put out. I don't participate in the forums as much as I used to but the con call has been a continuing highlight of my week since I joined the site years back. Here's to many more years of joyous podcasting action!

Certis wrote:
imbiginjapan wrote:

I think I would have loved Magicka had I gotten into it multiplayer when it was the new shiny.

I bet there's a ton of folks out there who haven't given it the time it deserves or just got it during the Steam sale.

I probably count as not having given it the time it deserves, but that's because I kind of bounced off of it.

Ironically, the thing that struck me as most distinctive about it is also the reason I never really got into it -- the control scheme. It's the first game in a long time that asked me to develop that much new muscle memory.

Ironically, the thing that struck me as most distinctive about it is also the reason I never really got into it -- the control scheme. It's the first game in a long time that asked me to develop that much new muscle memory.

i had the same issue until I tried it with an Xbox 360 controller. Spell type selection is a breeze to do instead of a game stopper (when trying to do that AND wasd to move on a kbd). And speaking of gamepad+PC, switching to the controller with Skyrim was a revelation.

coppertopper wrote:

i had the same issue until I tried it with an Xbox 360 controller. Spell type selection is a breeze to do instead of a game stopper (when trying to do that AND wasd to move on a kbd). And speaking of gamepad+PC, switching to the controller with Skyrim was a revelation.

Playing an Elder Scrolls game with anything but keyboard and mouse still seems wrong to me, but I'll give Magicka another try with a controller.

Though that may have to wait until I've finished Bastion. I'm finding it every bit as good as everybody said it is.

You guys are blind in your reverence for Deus Ex. I, and many friends, have tried to play through it, having enjoyed other older games, and so much of it just feels archaic. The years have not been kind to it, except for in the eyes of its cans.

I think Rage got a bit of the short end of the stick in this. He said he was only 2 hours in, and that there was nothing to do in the wasteland except go from point A to point B. Personally, once you get to Wellspring, the wasteland is anything but barren. There's quite a few areas to explore, tons of bandit cars to destroy, and lots of Authority drones to bash.

I just played through 70 hours of Skyrim and realized I was enduring lockups and wandering around doing tons of dull quests, and hadn't even really pushed the main storyline forward much. I finally had most of the lockups taken care of (by completely disabling all autosaves) then hit a reboot bug. That was a bit of the last straw, so I decided to go do something entirely different.

In contrast to Skyrim, Rage looks great. It's open enough to give me a few options of what to do without inundating me with 40 different tasks and locations I could go. With Skyrim sometimes it feels like I'm just screwing around, while with Rage I feel like I'm accomplishing something... The graphics look as good as Skyrim but run far, far smoother on my PS3. I like that it's more linear than Skyrim to keep me on track, but not as confining as something like Uncharted 3.

I'll probably go back to Skyrim once I beat Rage, but it's definitely a good change-up from what I've been doing for the last month.

(It didn't make my top 5 games of the year, but my list is of games I beat in 2011 rather than ones that come out in 2011.)

You nailed my thoughts on Rocksmith so thoroughly I registered just to comment. I feel like I'm really getting something out of my console, not just logging time in a game. I can't play much yet, but I'm on my way to learning all new things. Last month, my husband and I became Ubisoft's bitches: he bought AC: Revelations on Black Friday and played it through the month; I got Rayman Origins and am still amused by the game's antics; and we both started playing Rocksmith. I'm looking forward to whatever Ubisoft decides to do with Rocksmith. I'm fairly confident there will be tweaks, and I'd like to see a full bass mode, too.