TSA’s Top 100 of 2011 Recap: 1 – 5

This is it. The culmination of our Top 100 of 2011 Recap might not have the natural suspense that the original Top 100 did and it might not be the end to such a herculean task as the original list, but we’ve seen twenty articles that have succinctly rounded up the progress of so many titles that captured our imagination enough for us to tell you about them back at the end of last year.

We started this running feature four weeks ago with the aim of looking back at what we were excited about and seeing where we are with those games now and we’ve enjoyed that chance to reminisce. We’re glad you came along with us. Now, let’s get on with the final post and see what’s happened or is happening with the last five of our most anticipated games we thought would be released in 2011.

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5 – Dead Space 2

It’s notable that EA’s triumphant resurrection of a flagging survival horror genre was such that this sequel made it into our top five. Perhaps the dizzy heights it reached in our chart had much to do with the fact that it was scheduled for release so soon after we voted coming, as it did, towards the end of January.

Our review gave the sequel a fantastic 9/10, stating that “for those of us that adored Clarke’s first adventure this sequel represents everything we could have wished for: it’s bigger, better and more beautiful but without straying from the core principles that mapped out the former.”

Everything about Isaac Clarke had been given a bit more polish than the previous game, which was already no slouch in the looks department. I felt that it was less scary and relied a little more on the jump shocks than the first Dead Space but it also did a lot to improve upon certain aspects that needed a bit of attention. It’s fair to say that we were correct to be excited for this sequel, we’ll just have to try to keep January’s best release in mind at the end of the year when we’re compiling another list of TSA’s favourites.

4 – ICO/Shadow of the Colossus Collection

When a couple of PlayStation 2 games, from 2001 and 2005/6 make it onto a list comprising of our most anticipated titles for 2011, you know they’ve got to be something a little bit special.

ICO was not a particularly strong commercial performer when it first launched in 2001. The themes and feelings it played on were something slightly alien for the medium which was to have, as its major success stories for the year, Grand Theft Auto III and Halo: Combat Evolved. Beside games about the rise of a criminal powerhouse and the resistance of an alien invasion, dodging shadows while trying to guide a kidnapped girl out of a castle seemed a little bit too conceptual for many.

ICO was heralded by many critics though and saw a European reprint five years later when its spiritual successor, Shadows of the Colossus, was released. That second game from Team ICO was slightly more traditional in the sense that it had colossi to act as bosses and not so much mystery about it. It was still more of a critical hit than a commercial one but if the buzz around the HD re-release is anything to go by, both games could do a little better at market this time around.

3 – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

It is a testament to the quality of Uncharted 2 that we were so keen to get our hands on this third instalment. With little more than a few rumours and some release cycle assumptions, we voted en masse to ensure that a game we had merely assumed would be released in 2011 was this high up on our list.

Between voting and publishing, we’d seen a trailer and heard a subtitle, which only served to increase our anticipation for what we still assume will be one of 2011’s most accomplished storytelling feats in gaming.

In short: Uncharted knows how to tell a story. Naughty Dog knows how to make a great looking game (Uncharted 2 is still unrivalled in the looks department on consoles as far as I’m concerned) and Sony knows that this is their banker for the holiday season. No matter what else can go wrong, they’ll always have Uncharted.

2 – The Last Guardian

If ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were so high up in the list, The Last Guardian deserved to be a little higher. We know that Team ICO are capable of incredible things, and we know that The Last Guardian is going to utilise everything in the PlayStation 3’s considerable box of tricks. This game very nearly made it to the top of our list by virtue of a gameplay video featuring a young boy and a weird bird/cat creature and the simple fact that we were keen to see anything that Team ICO could put out.

As we edge ever closer to the release of The Last Guardian, information about it is still fairly thin on the ground. We don’t mind that though, the game has been pushed back to 2012 now and we have no doubt that it will make our list for next year too.

1 – Journey

And then there was one. Journey was a huge surprise in our top spot, with this being the first many had heard of the title at all. We’ve always had a rather large soft spot for thatgamecompany though, with Flow and Flower ranking highly amongst many of the TSA staffers.

Journey is still forecast for this year, though a firm release date still evades us. We’ve played the beta though, and various staff members adored that. Even after having played it, explaining what Journey is about remains tricky. You wander through the deserted ruins and flowing sands of a barren landscape, activating a series of switches to solve the area and move on. That sells the experience short though: Journey is more about the exploration than the discovery.

Add to that the silent, anonymous assistance you can receive from other people via a random online cooperative element and we think you’ll agree that Journey is set to be one of 2011’s most interesting games.

It was a surprise when it appeared at number one on our list back in December 2010 but now everyone has heard of Journey and we’re still looking forward to it just as much.

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40 Comments

  1. Man, I cannot wait for Journey.

    Having played the closed beta, my excitement has skyrocketed. Such a breathtakingly lovely game, soothing as you like and visually astounding. It’s easily my most anticipated game this year.

    Just, wow.

    • Watched half a trailer today and had to switch it off it was soooo lovely. I wanted to experience it at that precise moment and couldn’t so I closed the tab! :-)

      Uncharted 3, too, has me changing my underwear with every trailer I see. The quality of the top five should be incredible but I can’t help but think it’s even higher than we could ever have hoped for.

  2. the single player in Dead Space 2 was so tense and sometimes terrifying. Loved every second playing it. The Uncharted 3 Beta was a lot of fun thanks to split screen online, and can’t wait for it. Not really interested by the others, not even journey :/

  3. After watching some of the Journey footage I am still at a loss how it placed at number1 but then again I might feel differently and actually play it myself. Still, Uncharted3, Resi4HD and Batman: AC definatley get my votes for the top 3 this year.

    • I know what you mean about Journey. It’s hard to put your finger on it.

      I think the reason why it featured so highly was a combination of our love for thatgamecompany and the fact that we know it’s going to be trying something very different. Uncharted 3 will be amazing but it will be like Uncharted 2 with a little bit more of everything. We know what to expect. That notion that we’ll get to experience something unlike anything else is rare.

      • “That notion that we’ll get to experience something unlike anything else is rare.”
        I must admit that is a big draw for me when it comes to games. I’ve lost count how many FPS’ and Adventure games I have played over the years. Occasionally I just want to play something a little differnt. Its certainly why I am crossing every finger that Catherine gets released over here put it that way heh

      • A PAL publisher for Catherine has already been confirmed:
        http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2011/07/22/catherine-finds-a-pal-publisher/

      • You sir have officially made my day :D

      • I think it says good things about TSA that this list wasn’t dictated by money and hype. Of this top 5 Dead Space 2 and Uncharted 3 are big-budget but the others have an ‘indie’ feel to them. Dead Space 2 is excellent, of course, and I’m sure Uncharted 3 will be. Good list, good recap!

    • In all honesty dude, to really appreciate Journey, you would have to see it in person or play it yourself. It’s immense.

  4. Great to see DS2 there…love that game (and have the Platinum)! It didn’t even need the multiplayer, which was a bit rubbish/unbalanced in my opinion. Would have liked some more DLC like Severance. Also perhaps co-op missions instead of MP would have been nice!

    Very much looking forward to all of the other 4!

    • “(and have the Platinum)! ” You mean you conquered Hardcore mode!? I have nightmares about the bloody trophy lol!

      • It was the most tense experience ever!! If it helps….my first save was in the church, just before the “thing” with the long arms chases you and gets sucked out into space. (Damn thing nearly killed me when you first meet it in the church). Second save was after the Solar Array part where you crash through the building. Then final save was at the begining of chapter 13 where the digger thingy crashes through the wall. I did it without dying once so was pretty lucky that I never had to repeat anything. My advice: upgrade Stasis and Force Gun…I only used the Force Gun later on. Then on the last boss use the Force Gun for the little dudes, then the fully upgraded Contact Beam (you can kill it within 30 seconds or so)! Good luck :)

      • Edit: I mean the Force Gun was all I used later on!

        Also, don’t even carry other weapons otherwise the Necro’s will drop ammo for the other weapons you are carrying, which you won’t be using. Mind you Contact Beam can be carried as the Ammo can be sold for a lot of cash/credits to buy more Force Gun ammo or Health Packs! So many sweaty palm moments!!

      • Good tips :) I found myself really struggling with the final couple of chapters on my first two playthroughs so I tried to keep a couple of saves put aside for those final moments. As a result, when I died I went back multiple hours of progress. I’ll get it one day but with so many games coming out soon I have been putting it off lol!

      • Yeah, time is the most annoying thing. I don’t get to play too often so what concerned me was spending all the time I had to attempt it, then dying – so achieving nothing!! The Hand Canon is well worth it though and make Zealot really easy!

        XBox gets an additional save around chapter 7 when you change discs – lucky!

      • Yeah I started attempted Zealot after finishing the game once and was completely overwhelmed so I’m hoping to complete Hardcore, get the hand-canon, storm Zealot and finally get my Platinum. May even check out the Severed DLC while I’m at it too :)

      • You definately should, it’s all good! Now I must Platinum DS1!!

  5. No Zumba?

    • What a surprise !

      (Notice sarcasm)

  6. Still haven’t finished dead space 2. Preferred the first so far. Liked it more when Isaac was silent. I would have placed Portal 2 higher, (at number 1) but thats just me. I am looking forward to 4,3,2 & 1 of this list though. They’re looking fantastic. But is it bad that two remade games feature so highly, when there are new games coming out? Suppose it’s just testament to their awesomeness.. SOTC in particular, for me, I loved it, and I always felt sad killing a Colossus, in a way that no other game made me feel sad about killing something. Greatest impulse buy ever.

    • I’m the same with Dead Space 2, only played an hour or two and it’s sitting neglected on my shelf. Loved the first one though.
      TLG is possibly my most anticipated game ever and Journey, Ico/SotC and UC3 are also well up there!

      • I got DS2 the same day as Killzone 3 so after about 20 minutes play time i never went back to it. I played it through in 3 days 2 weeks ago and it was fantastic. I’d definately recommend giving it a go.

  7. As much as I’m looking forward to many of the titles in this list, Journey is def top of my most anticipated list.

  8. Four weeks, eh? Flew past!

  9. My top 5 would have included Dead Space 2 and Uncharted 3, then probably Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3 and Batman Arkham City.

    • Replace MW3 with inFamous 2 & that would be my top 5 too! :)

      • Oh yeah, Infamous 2! Ok, move MW3 to number 6!

      • Replace Arkham City with Mass Effect 2 then mine would be the same as yours Forrest.

      • Good shout.

        Mass Effect 2 would feature in my top 10, but i wasn’t as much in anticipation of it, as i hadn’t played Mass Effect (& in fact knew quite little about it other then other people saying it was fantastic).

        However, i absolutely loved Arkham Asylum, so was positively dribbling when Arkham City was announced (apart from being a bit confused by the name at the time of course!).

  10. No.2 is the reason I bought a PS3; really looking forward to 1 and 4 as well. Still only played the demos of Uncharted 1 and 2, really must get them.

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