Padinga’s 2011 Game of the Year Awards: XBox 360!

As we enter 2012, it is time for that yearly tradition gamers treasure: arguing about the best games of the previous year.  Over the next ten days, the Padinga crew will be sharing their favorite games over a variety of different categories.  These categories have been designed to force our wonderful staff to pick only one game each, meaning many great games will be left out in the cold.  We do this for two reasons: 1) to provoke thoughtful discussion in our comments about the games we forgot, and 2) to cause Mecha to have a heart attack.

Hit the jump for the first day, our picks for the best game to be released on the XBox 360:


Gears 3 managed to maintain the classic formula without getting stale, and added a bevy of new features that now feel indispensable. Exactly what a threequel should always be.


It’s not been a great year for the 360, in terms of exclusives. When the highlights of your exclusive-based year are Kinect games like Dance Central 2 and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, there’s not a lot to go off of. Rise of Nightmares was an incredibly ambitious game, but just fell short in execution, and so we are left with non-exclusives.  Before I go further, let me explain the lack of one major exclusive: Gears 3 was a great shooter… if you like over-the-top light-on-plot manbeefslab bulletfests. This is where it starts to get tough, because in terms of non-exclusives, we had a hell of a year. In the end, I have to go with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim improves upon its predecessor in every way, turning a series known for its cult following and deep fantasy-lifestyle-simulator RPG gameplay into an accessible, bad-ass, mainstream juggernaut. Who wouldn’t want to fight a horde of dragons while battling your way across the frozen wastes using your chosen method of murderology? I know I do, and have spent many, many hours doing so thus far. If you haven’t picked this game up yet on your platform of choice, you are doing yourself a disservice.


With the addition of two person dancing, new songs, and the ability to import the soundtrack from Dance Central, Dance Central 2 proved there’s actually a reason to own a Kinect.



After the stumble of the Gears 2 campaign, I was a bit worried about Gears 3 and its ability to wrap up the story.  Turns out those fears were unfounded, because Gears 3 was the perfect combination of the prior two titles.  Combine the campaign with one of the most fully featured and satisfying multiplayers to emerge this year, it becomes clear that Gears of War 3 was one of the standouts in a relatively weak year for the 360.  Continued DLC offerings (including the newly release campaign, RAAM’s Shadow) have made sure that the disc will be in my system for some time.



Joe refused to write anything about his pick, Radiant Silvergun.

Honorable mentions:  Batman: Arkham City, Portal 2, Dead Space 2