It seems unlikely that any current front-runner for Game of the Year will endure; the fall lineup is almost guaranteed to produce the ultimate winner. But then again, who knows? We've seen some pretty amazing titles already…
For the record, we really love a lot of them. I just adored L.A. Noire and I believe it might be the most innovative production of the year. Killzone 3 was a definite triumph, even if it lacked a bit of that KZ2 "wow" factor. And a recent PSXE poll showed the reader GotY favorite for the first 6 months: inFamous 2 . Another game that rocked. Lastly, let's not forget the sports world, where MLB 11: The Show absolutely reigns supreme in the realm of simulators.
But our pick for the current GotY 2011 front-runner is the ingenious, addictive, and hilarious Portal 2 . It's not quite as flashy as other games. There aren't any huge explosions or blood. It's not an endless graphical tour de force. And for the record, I am not a gigantic Valve fan, and I can't imagine why everyone is so enamored with that downright archaic Source engine that feels like a 1998 throwback. But it's plenty forgivable in Portal 2 because it isn't a shooter, and the mechanics work perfectly. The control is exactly as it should be and besides, the amazing puzzle design and fantastic voice performances carry the day.
As I said in the review, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game is the following: puzzle titles can be iffy; the pacing is so important, and it can be difficult to get just right. But just about every last puzzle in Portal 2 is presented so unbelievably well that you discover the solution bit by bit. You take your time, attack the problem from a variety of viewpoints and eventually, you will reach your goal. Some will stump you, but most take just the right amount of time to solve. You're never overly frustrated and the satisfaction upon successful completion remains high throughout. The aforementioned voices are a huge bonus, too; gotta love those characters!
Anyway, it may be a strange choice but that's how we see things so far. Of course, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception , Assassin's Creed: Revelations , Batman: Arkham City , Battlefield 3 , and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still have to toss their hats into the ring…among others. 😉
Related Game(s): Portal 2