2011 Game Rant Video Game Awards: Winners

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 8:54 am,

The 2011 Game Rant Video Game Awards: Winners

2011 Game Rant Video Game Awards For the 2011 Game Rant Video Game Awards, we've spent hours of consideration (and heated discussion) arriving at just one winner for each of the given categories. The complete list of award nominees shows that sometimes picking a winner can be an arbitrary distinction with such talent-packed rosters, but there can be only one. We are proud to present the winners of this year's awards.

Best New IP

2011 Video Game Awards Best New IP - LA Noire
  • L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
In an era of non-stop thrills, post apocalyptic mutants and space marine dudebros, it's hard to think of anything more outside the box than L.A. Noire. Bringing back a 1940s era detective story that had more in common with adventure games than action titles was a heck of a risk, but Team Bondi pulled it off beautifully. The exceptional actor performances and the brand new technology used to bring those facial animations to life took us completely by surprise, and left us with raised expectations for cinematic games going forward. The studio fallout makes sequels unsure, despite public interest from Take-Two Interactive to do more with the property, but one dose of this series just isn't enough.

Best Shooter

2011 Video Game Awards Best Shooter - Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War 3 (Epic Games)
Nearly every single major shooter franchise had a release in 2011, but there is simply no way to give anything but Gears of War 3 the nod. It's the shooter that most delivered on its potential and expectations, and is the one that has kept us coming back even months later. The excellence of the series has never been in question since it premiered on the Xbox 360, and the team at Epic made good on their promise of bringing the trilogy to a satisfying close with revamped multiplayer. Despite launching on just one platform, Gears of War set a brand new benchmark for modern third-person shooters.

Best Sports Game

2011 Video Game Awards Best Sports - NHL 12
  • NHL 12 (EA Canada)
The annual release cycle of most major sports titles may occasionally lead to complacency, but the developers of NHL 12 did the opposite with this year's must-play hockey title. With a brand new physics engine, expanded online leagues and the chance to play your way from junior hockey to the big leagues, EA Sports managed to outdo their past success yet again. The result was the most realistic simulation of hockey ever created, and the team's commitment to advancement is something we hope to see all other sports developers adopt.

Best Driving/Racing Game

2011 Video Game Awards Best Driving - Forza 4
  • Forza Motorsport 4 (Turn 10 Studios)
Once again there was no shortage of driving titles this year, but for serious fans of simulation racing, Forza Motorsport 4 was the one that simply had to be played. Whether it's the rabid online community, the improved visuals, or the team at Turn 10 showing that they know what kinds of details the hardcore looks for, Forza 4 has it all. Without even mentioning the Kinect integration and brand new peripherals that were designed to optimize player experience, Forza Motorsport turned in yet another game to please the professional and amateur driver alike.

Best RPG

2011 Video Game Awards Best RPG - Skyrim
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
When Bethesda releases a new role-playing experience, gamers everywhere take notice. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was no exception, delivering one of the largest and most completely-realized game worlds in the genre's history. With endless quests and dungeons, Skyrim offers an unlimited number of adventures to every player. The same can be said for many of the RPGs released this year, but the sheer size and scope of the game is staggering, and the new approach to upgrades and player classes is something we hope to see more of.

Best Action/Adventure Game

2011 Video Game Awards Action Adventure - Batman Arkham City
  • Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
With Batman: Arkham City, the crafty blokes at Rocksteady Studios managed to exceed the high expectations set by the surprise hit Arkham Asylum. The game's plot twists delivered one of the best Batman stories to date, and the developers built a melee combat system to match. While easy to grasp, the gadgets and attacks changed our perception of how how much depth a streamlined action game could offer. Superheroes and comic books are more popular than ever, so we're bound to see more imitators soon. But until Rocksteady unveils their next game, all the competition will be measured against Arkham City.

Best Platformer

2011 Video Game Awards Best Platformer - Rayman Origins
  • Rayman: Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
It isn't easy to beat some of the gaming industry's most prolific franchises at their own game, but Rayman: Origins did just that.  Ubisoft showed that a console's power can be used to create a flawless side-scroller as well as photo-realistic shooters. Stunning visuals - thanks to Ubisoft's new graphics utility - lay the foundation of a unique and silky presentation that remains unmatched. Simple side-scrollers may be somewhat overlooked in the modern gaming industry, but Rayman: Origins does what it does better than any other platformer this year.

Best Motion Controls

2011 Video Game Awards Best Motion - Zelda Skyward Sword
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
With more misses than success stories so far, no game perfectly demonstrated the potential of motion controls better than The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Aside from making every Nintendo fan's dream of embodying Link come true, the controls used for the game were as precise as they were intuitive. Possessing a Zelda story as rich as any previous game and a brand new art style, the decision here was an easy one. While it may have come along at the end of the Wii's life-cycle, Skyward Sword is the best example of what motion controls make possible.

Best Indie Game

2011 Video Game Awards Best Indie - Bastion
  • Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Triple-A games are getting bigger and more expensive ever year, and so it falls to developers in the indie space to show that story and design have nothing to do with budget or scale. Bastion managed to deliver one of the most streamlined and stirring play experiences this year, despite an all-digital release and miniscule price tag. The independent scene is only gaining momentum, but Supergiant Games made their first release count, releasing one of the greatest games the digital marketplace has ever offered.

Best Multiplayer Experience

2011 Video Game Awards Best Multiplayer - Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War 3 (Epic Games)
The great truth of video games is that playing with friends is always more fun, and 2011 was a good year for multiplayer. But with Gears of War 3 adding four player co-op throughout the entire campaign, an evolutionary step forward for Horde Mode, and a supremely polished multiplayer system, there was no competition. While some multiplayer developers are happy to leave well enough alone, Epic showed their dedication to their fan base by improving nearly every facet of the game's online component, while at the same time adding a lot of new stuff for players to do. The result was profound, and the best option for fans of multiplayer mayhem.

Best Story

2011 Video Game Awards Best Story - Batman Arkham City
  • Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
It's hard to believe that there are still fantastic Batman stories to be told after seventy years of adventures, let alone as the plot of a video game. Comic book legend Paul Dini came up with a new Batman detective story that brought some of the most beloved enemies together for one of the caped crusader's worst nights ever. Plot twists and a plethora of well-written sidequests aren't all that kept us on the edge of our seats, but the fact that every beat was written completely in the spirit of the source material. We'd hoped for a good plot, but Arkham City showed that one of Batman's best story arcs could take place in a video game.

Most Innovative

2011 Video Game Awards Most Innovative - LA Noire
  • L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Full motion capture bridged the gap between film and games some years ago, but until L.A. Noire, the intricacies of the human face were too complex to properly imitate. Team Bondi didn't just translate facial performances on a higher level than we had ever seen before, but built gameplay around a player's ability to interpret the emotions being displayed. Overnight our expectations for facial animation rose sharply, and every other studio hoping to create lifelike characters will need to catch up to L.A. Noire before we're impressed again.

Achievement in Artistic Design

2011 Video Game Awards Art Design - Rayman Origins
  • Rayman Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
While the mechanics and four-player co-op are what made Rayman: Origins a must-buy for families and the young at heart, it was the art design that many are sure to fall in love with. With visuals that are far more refined and inspired than any platformer needs to be, the art team at Ubisoft turned every new level into a feast for the eyes. The illustrations only added to the ingenuity of each new world theme, such as music, spicy foods, and ice cubes to name just a few. It's not easy to find a new area to explore in the world of platformers, but the creativity behind Rayman: Origins' unique style is one of its best qualities.

Achievement in Technical Design

2011 Video Game Awards Technical Design - Crysis 2
  • Crysis 2 (Crytek Studios)
PC gamers know all too well the drama and hardware envy that comes with every major release these days, and few games melted as many graphics cards as this year's Crysis 2. Built to make full use of the entire set of DirectX 11 features, even serious PC gamers will need to drop some money to push the game to its maximum. Add in the ability to witness NVIDIA's 3D package in full 1080p and it's hard to think of a more potent showpiece. Crysis 2's predecessor was long held as the perfect demonstration of a gaming rig's horsepower, and with the follow-up, Crytek Studios took that challenge to heart.

Game of the Year

2011 Video Game Awards Game of the Year - Portal 2
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
In case you were worried that Portal 2 would be lost in the shuffle of 2011 releases, have no fear. Not only are the complex physics puzzles, story twists and fantastic environments of the game fresh in our memory, but clearly at the top. Valve rarely disappoints, and with the best-written and wittiest script of any game this year, Portal 2 deserves more credit than we can give. With a story that shocked and delighted, expanded puzzle mechanics that confounded and enlightened, and cross-platform play that more than set a precedent, Portal 2 stands at the front of a crowd of releases that showed what's possible in today's game industry. For science.


2011 Game Rant Video Game Awards There were many great games this year and it wasn't easy for the Game Rant crew to select the winners. Our choices reflect our own opinions, so share your personal favorites of the year in the comments and what you think may have been overlooked! For those wondering why Minecraft isn't nominated, despite being in beta form last year, it was included in our 2010 awards for being both an incredible independent and innovative game. - Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

TAGS: Bastion, Batman Arkham City, Bethesda, Crysis 2, Crytek Studios, EA Sports, Epic Games, Forza Motorsport 4, Gears of War 3, LA Noire, NHL 12, Nintendo, Portal 2, Rayman: Origins, Rocksteady Studios, Skyrim, Skyward Sword, Supergiant Games, Team Bondi, The Elder Scrolls, Turn 10 Studios, Ubisoft, Valve

  • Luis Sanchez

    I guess they could but in the end I think most critics are likely going to choose what they think is the best game.

    • Sosuke

      I agree with you there but I’m thinking that if they let people have a feature in which they can vote and then you have a good number of experts that have the last word they can’t just pick a game that only 3% of the people voted on for example, otherwise it’d come down to everyone just go with preference over quality and the term expert would then be on the line for them.

  • iwasherenotyou

    Where is Uncharted 3?!

  • curt

    I appreciative you guys giving l.a. noire and crysis 2 their much deserved props, but this list of goty is awful!! This was even worse than what spiketv did!! No bf3 awards anywhere. Gears of war is not the best shooter. Crysis 2, bf3 and even killzone 3 are much better shooters. Hell, even rage and bullet storm. Smh. Good job guys

  • Martin

    I love gamerant but seriously you should have at least mentioned InFamous 2.

  • Everenferno

    Is this the Microsoft awards or what?

  • SRB_stalker

    Portal 2?…Realy? O.o…Batman:AA is the best one hands down, I mean the two games can’t even be compared…also whats with Gears of war 3 for best MP..Have you played Battlefield 3? or hell, even MW3..BF3 there for me..As for others I can mostly agree…but Batman:AA needed to be the game of the years, this is just wrong.

    • SRB_stalker


  • Androol

    Hooray for Portal 2 and Rayman and Bastion! And although Skyward Sword (hooray!) seems about as obvious as award-winners get, I’m glad it was there to keep some Kinect rhythm game from winning that award, lol. LA Noire, although I haven’t played it, I’m glad it’s gotten due praise for its technology.

  • jack

    I agree.

    maybe a sequel to river city ransom?

    • jack

      accidentally posted to the wrong forum. please disregard earlier comment. I agree that there should have been some others that would be better suited for the game awards.

  • Filmmaniac

    No Uncharted? Come on guys..thats BS..didnt have to win..but not even in the final list..whatever..at least it won Gametrailers goty..

    • Androol

      “Not even in the final list”? U3 did get five nominations, including GOTY. Just too many great games this year.

  • ijs1337

    I’m just going to say something, but I’m throwing up the flame shields as a matter-of-fact:
    I played the crap out of Uncharted 3 for several days after I got it for chirstmas. Barely a week later, I was at my cousin’s house, playing co-op Gears 3. I can honestly, unabashedly say; as a fan of both series(cause they both kick all sorts of rear end) that I found Uncharted 3 a more polished product from the first few chapters, and as a better game overall.

    Gears 3 is good fun, don’t get me wrong, but the first ten minutes were almost all military gravely-voiced swearing and gun-rage, with a few mildly amusing quips tossed in about stripping choppers and decade-old candy stuck in vending machines, all of which almost seemed to be rendered moot when the guns came out. What’s more, the experience remained pretty much the same. Beyond the inclusion of special power weapons that appeared maybe three times total, it was fairly rinse-lather-repeat, and occasionally asked you dodge missiles/mortars.

    Uncharted 3 opened with tense monetary negotiations that quickly devolved into an all-out bar brawl, with people being slammed into the edges of pools tables and hit with beer bottles, with actually laugh-out-loud jokes(“This one’s on me” as Nate breaks a bottle on a guy’s face whose drink he accidently spilled), then cuts to a scene where you’re left wondering if the two main characters are still alive, at which point it jumps to a flashback that ties up two major lurking questions of the series, and immedietly makes you look at the interaction between the two most major characters of the game in a completely different way when the flashback ends. The story, environment, and gameplay work in tandem. You’re held prisoner by a pirate, so you’re clambering your way through a ship graveyard and shooting up pirate minions, taking full advantage of all the water directly beneath you as a means of flanking and sneaking, while all the bobbing of the water and waves forces you to adjust your aim. You get in a fist-fight in a market in Yemen, so you can grab stuff off of tables(pots, bottles, sturgeons) and use them for instant knockouts. You’re in the middle of a freaking sandstorm, so you can barely see your enemies until they’re close enough to smash your face in, or just shoot if clean off with little effort. You chase after tucks on horseback, jumping into the back of the trucks to beat the occupants senseless when you get low on ammo, then jump right back onto your horse. You get in a gunfight in a cargo plane as it slowly rips itself apart and have to move accordingly as cover shifts with the plane movements. You shoot your way through enemies as a building burns down around you while you simultaneously try to not be burned alive and see enemies through the smoke. It included spiders so damn fast, creepy-sounding(I’m not joking) and deadly that me and a friend literally admitted that it kind of gave us a fear of spiders. One whole chapter is just you making Nate walk through the Rub Al Khali desert, and watching as he slowly starts to succumb to heat exhaustion, dehydration, and hallucinations stemming from the two aforementioned conditions.

    I’m definetly catching flak for this next statement: Uncharted 3’s combat gameplay was just straight-up better than Gears 3’s. Nearly every gun in Gears 3 lacked any sort of real noticeable kick beyond the reticule widening as I held the trigger down; It honestly kind of felt like lazer tag. In Uncharted 3, not only did the reticule widen, it wobbled, forcing me to correct my aim to compensate for the recoil. Uncharted 3’s cover mechanics were far less sticky and far easier to manage. Uncharted 3 also included a double-barreled shotgun that HAD MORE THAN ONE SHOT and could be used effectively from more than two inches(and a dead-center-in-front-of-you enemy) away. Uncharted 3 had a magnum pistol that essentially doubled as a sniper rifle. Uncharted 3’s second acquirable full-auto assault rifle was actually a dramatic improvement over the standard one, rather than an barely usable piece of junk with an overhyped, overly-difficult-to-use bayonet. Uncharted 3 had far more weapon variety((one semi-auto pisolt, one full auto, one three-round burst(that actually worked), and three types of magnums with varying effective ranges and firing speeds)(one sniper rifle that was a one-shot kill bolt-action, one that was a double-tap five-rounds-in-a-clip-semi-automatic)(two full-auto assault rifles with varying rates of fire and damage, one three-round burst assault rifle with attached scope)(one semi-auto eight round shotgun, one two-shot, rapid-fire double-barrel)(grenades you could toss back at your opponents)(one four-in-a-clip grenade launcher, one comes-with-three-reloads RPG) with far more opportunities to use the various weapons. Uncharted 3 included more than one optional stealth section(in fact, many major battles could made far easier or even skipped entirely through the use of stealth kills) that required more thought than simply shooting someone in the head with a ginormous sniper rifle while you were beyond their field of vision, then lining up a shot on the other guy who was alerted when his pal’s head exploded(you have to actually sneak up right behind enemies and snap their necks, or yank them around or over cover to knock them out when their pals aren’t looking.) Uncharted 3 allowed for more thought than “hide behind something and just pump bullets into everything that isn’t covered in blue lights, and occasionally throw a grenade at some guy whose impervious to bullets.” There are armored enemies where you can shoot off their armor in various spots, making it easier to damage them with bullets, or opening up melee combat. There a big hand-to-hand monsters of guys who take several sequences of punching, counter-punching, and chokehold-escaping to defeat. The overall melee system was more involved, requiring you to run up to someone, try and throw the first punch, and be prepared to doge if they blocked((that’s if you even consider it wise to charge some and punch them while his buddies are shooting at you)(and occasionally letting you yank a pin on an enemy’s belt-bound grenade and watch it blow them up)), than something based soley around a chainsaw, with all other weapons(save to the unwieldy, impractical, 12-swings-only giant knife) having virtually no discernable impact. Rather than drop in a giant spider-queen in an enclosed space and making you shoot the smallest, most covered parts of her body as a mini-boss, you fight an armored brute of a man carrying a machine gun(not an assault rifle; a literal, giant-ammo-box-with-bullet-strings-inside machine gun) and you have to figure out a way to try and take him down without any screamed hints from the characters((use the stuff you got from the guys you stealth-killed earlier; jump into a small hollow spot where he has trouble shooting into and gradually shoot his armor off; wait for the bad-guy-reinforcements to show, kill them all, and blow the big guy away with the dropped grenade launcher)(this is all on a ship where waves that slam up and over the edge of the ship itself make everyone stagger about and push cover spots around.))

    Ultimately, I’ve played all three games in both series. I enjoy both series, but Uncharted 3 was by far the better game.

  • LaJochbe

    I was disapointed to not see Uncharted 3 on this list.