My top games of 2011

I love the story mode, and think EVERY fighter could use one just like MK’s. It’s a well told schlocky movie with a tutorial for a bunch of the games characters and many of the situations. Cutscenes flow into gameplay and back without any seams. Voice acting is good, the story makes (some) sense, etc. In some ways the story mode is alone why I love the game so much, because many recent fighters have solid gameplay, but only MK had me coming back excited to play the story mode.

And the use of avatars in online matches… perfect. Rating fights, throwing tomatoes and giving thumbs up (among many other actions, some of which needing a cheat code to use) felt great and gave players watching the match something to talk about themselves while watching, and that’s just great. Come on Capcom, you NEED to match this by Street Fighter V.

Bastion: I went from not digging the Kid’s walk cycle to becoming entranced by the combat and gushing about Bastion at work for weeks. The game is a fairly simple hack n slash game, but that simplicity along with a very well-tuned and versatile combat engine and the thing EVERYONE talks about, the unique story telling via narration, all mad Bastion one of my favorite experiences all year.

Stacking: Just as I forgot that Ghost Trick came out in 2011, I also forgot that the excellent game that is Stacking was released as well. I had some Microsoft points saved up specifically for Hard Corps Uprising as I had played it at the 2010 E3 and thought it was pretty damn fun.
But then I started playing Stacking, and the amazing silent film presentation mixed with Russian dolls as both an animation style AND an all new gameplay mechanic involving “stacking” by jumping into bigger and bigger dolls to solve puzzles (reminding me of Space Station Silicon Valley [N64]) had me hooked to the point when the option to unlock the game came up, I had almost completely forgotten about Hard Corps Uprising (sorry guys! I bought it in December though!) and I hit accept without hesitation.

Stacking is a game everyone should play as it’s full of whimsy, style and great puzzle based gameplay while also simultaneously living in a vibrant yet self-aware world populated by these Russian dolls that you can interact with, play tricks on and create other such mischief.