ADAM MERRETT - UK PR Manager, Capcom
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Square Enix)
I’ll be honest, at first when read about Deus Ex I thought I’d hate it. Shoot me as you will, but I didn’t enjoy the original that much, I thought it was too ambitious – it didn’t encapsulate me enough to keep me playing (blame it on my youth, maybe). However, the depth and breadth of this game kept me hooked start to finish. In the first play-through I did every side mission I could. Admittedly I didn’t always fully carry them out – curiosity sometimes got the better of me, whether it was reading someone’s e-mails or sadistically wondering how I could execute people. Prime example, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could kill Ning with the fridge in her apartment (in the Rotten Business quest). The answer is yes, yes you can.
Throughout playing, it’s a joy to not be subjected to a linear approach; and one that works well. Sometimes when I play, I want to approach the mission with the agility and stealth of a Ninja, but then sometimes, I wanted to run in and shoot people in the face with a shotgun. The best thing is that providing you do it well, you’re rewarded for either approach. I think this is what enticed me to play it in as much depth for a second time round. On the second play-through I admittedly wisened up as to which augmentations to buy, as often I felt the need to get the fun ones rather than the necessary upgrades. I almost cried several times trying to perform top security level hacks with my mega-powerful torso and arms but rubbish hack level. For the pure enjoyment and entertainment this gave me from start to finish – on both run-throughs - it deserves game of the year.
Forza Motorsport 4 (Microsoft)
This was certainly the most addictive game of 2011 for me. My housemate often became miffed that I’d pie him off for the evening to go and play Forza 4 in my room. See the thing is, all I meant to do was have a couple of races in my new SLR I had just won, but hey, I’ve almost gotten to Driver Level 34, so maybe I could do just one more race. Or maybe two more. Before I know it, it’s midnight and I’m on Driver Level 38. Damn.
For me personally, this trumped over GT5 because yes, you can go into crazy intricate tuning and details with your new favourite car, but if you can’t be bothered, it doesn’t make you. GT5 to me was more of a racing MMO. You couldn’t just have a quick 30 minute spin, you’d have to go through a thousand and one options and menus first. Forza 4 kept the sophistication AND all the fun of racing a 1,000BHP Ferrari for me. It also seemed to understand that different people have different crushes, mine being a Lamborghini, but for other maybe it was that 10,000,000 CR old school Ferrari. Either way, it captures a driving simulator perfectly and deserves its spot at number two.
Super Mario Land 3DS (Nintendo)
I have a secret, a dark secret - I LOVE MARIO. I’m proud of it. Although most won’t admit it (and pretend they don’t), if you’ve played Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World etc, you can’t help but have a soft spot for the fat plumber. It’s not the hardest game in the world admittedly, but still, it took around 25 hours to get to 100%. Sometimes linear games are a winner for me, I don’t always want to be immersed in infinite options and story direction, I like my hand to be held every now and again, and with Super Mario Land 3DS, it seems the logical title to hold my hand. If it wasn’t for the levels that come after world eight, I probably wouldn’t be including it in the top 3. Or even the top 30. However, I was more than overwhelmed with the addition of new challenging levels – the integration of the likes of cosmic Mario is a great idea. I played this on the tube into work, and for that week, rather than smack the fat commuter next to me with my copy of The Metro, I wanted to hug him. Maybe it was the music from the Ghost World, maybe it was the discovery of the additional levels? I don’t know, but somehow Nintendo has done it again for me.
Honourable Mentions: Unchartered 3: Drake's Deception, Zelda: Skyward Sword, LA Noire, Deus Ex, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Dead Space 2 to name a few. However, they’re not on the podium, they get the wooden spoon compared to these: