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The Hardware 2.0 Best game of 2011

My favorite game of 2011 … what’s yours?

OK, so what was my all-time favorite game of 2011?

I play quite a lot of games, across a variety of platforms, so I'm starting with quite a list. However, three games stand out.

My most anticipated game of 2011 was undoubtedly Duke Nukem Forever. I had this game on pre-order months ahead of its release, and even a last-minute delay didn't put me off in the slightest.

Then the game was released, and I played it ...

Here's what I wrote about DNF after it was released:

I could say a lot about this game, but it would mostly consist of pointing out what’s wrong with the game. The game is ultimately a first person shooter (and a pretty rough, tedious, linear FPS) that features Duke Nukem. There’s some lip service paid to nostalgia and the heritage of Duke, but it’s clumsily handled and quickly gets on your nerves.

I could say more. A lot more, but it’s all just so depressing. There are a few gems within the game, but almost all of the good stuff is buried under tons of tedium, scripted events and cut-scenes. The graphics are indicative of a game that’s been in development for twelve years, and while I didn’t expect the graphics to awesome, I expected them to be better. The game is hobbled by being a console game shoehorned onto a PC. The map is horribly linear offering little or no replay value (and it’s not like there’s much there in the beginning). You’re only allowed two weapons. And yeah, it’s also pretty offensive, which was to be expected I guess, but the problem here isn’t that it’s offensive, it’s the combination of unfunny and offensive that’s the problem.

But maybe the worst criticism of all I have of Duke Nukem Forever is that it’s a first-person SHOOTER game where you spend most of your time doing EVERYTHING BUT shoot at things.

It's safe to say that Duke Nukem Forever isn't going to be my best game for 2011.

What about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3?

Modern Warfare 3 sold some 6.5 million copies on launch day and grossed over $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours. This was the biggest entertainment launch in history.

I have to admit that I like Modern Warfare 3, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table, it's basically the last Modern Warfare title with a different set of textures and its appeal is mostly confined to multiplayer action as opposed to the single-player missions. While I've nothing against multiplayer games, I do also like a good single-player experience, and Modern Warfare 3 doesn't offer me this.

So it's not Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3? So what game is it?

Without a doubt The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Skyrim is the fifth installment in the The Elder Scrolls series role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The previous release, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, is probably the game I've spent most time playing ever. I had feared that Skyrim might disappoint, but so far that hasn't happened.

The open world gameplay of the Skyrim means that it is way too big of a game for me to try to review or condense down into a few sentences. I can't. I have tried. There's just so much to the game, such a wide variety of missions, so much free will and choice and such a large map that it's impossible to condense into words just how immersive and entertaining this game is.

The graphics are also awesome. OK not so much the character's faces, but everything else - the landscape, weather, the night sky, the armor and weapons - are amazing. Everything is a huge leap forward from where it was when Oblivion was released.

Sure, there are bugs. Horses seem to run up mountains on their front legs, you can kill what is supposedly an immortal horse, my character has had a huge glowing icicle protruding through his head for a while now. On top of this there are the odd crashes and graphics glitches, but none of these are show-stoppers. In fact, I feel like they add a certain charm to the game.

If you want a review of Skyrim, I suggest you head over to Rock Paper Shotgun and read their review.

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