How fitting that for my last contribution to Joystiq's Game of the Year list, I should learn the bitter sting of having my number one choice not breach the Top 10. LittleBigPlanet 2 improved upon the original -- already one of my favorite games of all time -- in every conceivable way, offering one of the most user-friendly, charming UGC systems in gaming history. There is nothing I've thought of that LBP2 wasn't able to create, and that includes a level about interstellar poultry abduction.
Child of Eden came out of nowhere to become one of the most memorable games I've ever played, and -- in my humble opinion -- the first killer app for Kinect. It would have been enough to have a new Mizuguchi opus, complete with a stellar soundtrack and profoundly beautiful visuals; but the Kinect really gives the player the opportunity to be absorbed by those elements, which is an experience I won't soon forget.
I have been playing this game for about two weeks, and am absolutely terrified by how much more time I'm likely to sink into it. For the first time, I'm actually invested in the character of my MMO character -- not just his stats. BioWare made a huge gamble introducing so much storytelling into a medium known for its inclusion of options to skip all the storytelling. Luckily for them, that gamble paid off.
You need to have this game on your smartphone/tablet, and then you need to have three friends, and then you need to have them download it, too. It's dirt cheap, and it's the most multiplayer fun you'll ever squeeze out of your cell phone.
Had a good 15 hours been shaved off of this bloated adventure, it easily would have placed atop Joystiq's list of 2011 standouts. Still, even with the backtracking and inane sidequesting, Skyward Sword offers one of the most memorable campaigns in the franchise's history, alongside razor-sharp motion controls that could serve as a fitting swan song for the Nintendo Wii.
It adhered a little too closely to the structure of the last game in the franchise, which just so happened to be our 2009 Game of the Year. Though that fact made the campaign as a whole somewhat lackluster, Uncharted 3 had some exquisite moments which highlight Naughty Dog's truly insatiable appetite for destruction.
That multiplayer is still pretty tight, you guys.
For reasons beyond my comprehension, Fruit Ninja Kinect has become the go-to party game during social gatherings at my humble abode. Maybe it's because the game is simple, competitive and, due to the randomness of the fruit and banana power-ups which turn a low-scoring run into a legendary run, infinitely playable. Maybe it's because my friends just hate produce.
See: Fruit Ninja Kinect, only replace "cutting fruit" with "shameless dancing." It should come as no surprise that Dance Central's already preposterously fun formula would be exponentially improved with the addition of simultaneous multiplayer. Just make sure you have enough room between you and your competitor, lest the term "Dance Battle" become disturbingly accurate.
Joystiq has revealed its 10 favorite games of 2011. Keep reading for every writer's personal, impassioned picks in Best of the Rest roundups.