GamesRadar editors’ (personal) Anti-Games of the Year 2011

Charlie Barratt, reviews and previews editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: Catherine

It’s not you, Catherine. It’s me.

Your block-pulling and pushing puzzles were probably exhilarating mental gymnastics for most people, but all I saw were… a bunch of boring blocks. Stretching into a nightmarish infinity of tedium, paradoxically made more excruciating by the timer that promised to end my suffering. What variety! And your animated story segments were probably a fascinating choose-your-own-moral adventure for most people as well, but I couldn’t help noticing that one Catherine was a ridiculous female stereotype, while the other was… also a ridiculous female stereotype, only on the opposite end of the ridiculous spectrum. Should I romance the demonic symbol of dangerous promiscuity, or the harpy symbol of nagging, suffocating monogamy? What subtlety!

You know, forget what I said earlier, Catherine. It was definitely you.

David Houghton, UK content editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: Gears of War 3

I used to bloody love Gears of War. Despite the ill-informed accusations of knuckle-dragging meatheadery leveled at it from some quarters, it was always the most intelligent of the big triple-A console shooters. Its action was a brutally gratifying, tightly tactical challenge, demanding a keen strategic mind operating in marriage with fast-reacting improvisational skills on a second-by-second basis. Its narrative, while hardly Booker-worthy, used wisely understated relationships to ground the more extravagant action in affectingly underplayed drama. And the first two games are perfectly paced, both within themselves and in relation to each other. 

In Gears of War 3, though, I found the opposite of everything I loved about the series. The misguided insistence on four-player co-op forced a bloated, unfocused narrative, sitting tonally somewhere between a soap opera and a pantomime, and taking in so many barely-sketched characters as to blow the grim intimacy of the series out of the water. The extra characters also completely changed the focus of the action, the razor-sharp skirmishes replaced with vague, sprawling battlegrounds and hordes of piss-weak opposition. On Normal, the game literally played itself, and the gimmicky, mutated Lambent Locust wrecked the old tactical flow of the game completely. 

It made me sad. 

Matt Cundy, UK editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: L.A. Noire

You don't have to be a detective to work out that L.A. Noire is really boring. You just have to play it. You cannot escape the boring. It hunts you down and murders your mind with boring. Which is more boring than actually being completely physically murdered because you're still alive only you're really, really bored. 

It's a lot of looking around and picking stuff up and putting stuff down again and checking notes and talking to people and being law-abiding (really boring) and driving about the most boring open-world city since Sony decided to spend a pile of money recreating London for The Getaway but tragically forgot to put in anything that made it not boring. Thinking about L.A. Noire can help prolong sex.

Matt Keast, reviews editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: Gears of War 3

Look, Gears of War is great. It has a shooting system that's tight, creative, and immensely gratifying. I loved Gears 2. I was excited to play Gears 3, but multiplayer wasn’t a priority in my gaming schedule, what with so many great games coming out. So for me, Gears 3 had to stand on its single-player alone. I’d heard the campaign was slightly weak, but what I didn’t expect was for it to fall so flat.

The story began, and I was immediately bored. I ran around on a yellow ship that was incredibly visually bland. I fought the same old Locust around painfully contrived arenas of waist-high cover. The only early major set-piece was an attack by a Leviathan – the same damn monster we fought last time. The Lambent showed up and sprouted glowy tentacles – ho hum. Where were the incredible set-pieces? Where was the creative architecture? Where was the excitement? Something just wasn’t clicking. After hours and hours I was still bored, almost falling asleep. I can barely remember anything that happened – just that it all looked the same and played the same. I only hope that if there’s a Gears 4, they learn from this campaign.

Nathan Irvine, UK associate editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: MotorStorm: Apocalypse

On a basic, fundamental level, Evolution Studios effed up MotorStorm: Apocalypse to almost unplayable levels. How? By creating courses that are initially harder to navigate than the arctic tundra in a snowstorm.

Any racer that needs three indicators to show which way to turn (smoke, luminous flares and giant flashing arrows) fails immediately. It’s like admitting that the courses they created – complete with ever-changing landscapes - are too tricky to navigate alone. The amount of times I’ve clipped innocuous bits of scenery that I expected to cruise over is enough for me to turn the air blue with swears. 

While I applaud the idea of creating an ever-changing race environment, the poorly designed tracks coupled with the idiotic clipping issues makes for one draining race experience. After two great off-road games, I refuse to accept this lame effort as canon to the series. Yes, I’m that disappointed with it.

B. Buttercup, senior wildlife editor

Personal Anti-GOTY: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations 

It’s not easy being a horse, especially a horse that was a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series. The watered down role of equines in Revelations was my greatest disappointment of 2011. Gone are the mountable mares and stallions in previous titles, and with them, the core of what made Assassin’s Creed fun. Sure, you can still climb and jump and assassinate other non-horses, but what’s the point of doing anything if you have to do it on foot as a weak, bipedal mammal?

Above: Non-horses doing non-horse things. Ugh, who cares

Instead of the picturesque rides through the countryside in Assassin’s Creed II, Revelations delivers a swift kick in the face to the series’ hardcore horse community. The handful scenes in Revelations where non-horse cart riders attempt to drive each other off the road was a poor and unacceptable replacement for the indispensable role that horses once played in this once great series. Ubisoft, you’ve murdered the horses, and with them, the soul of your most successful franchise.

And that's our personal least favorite games of the year. Can't believe no one picked Duke Nukem Forever? Or Blackwater? Neither can we! Feel free to weigh in on our choices and detail your own in the comments below.


  • D0CCON - January 7, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Wow, Lorenza Veloria's first paragraph was a word for word recreation of how I went from loving COD to being sick of it (he even picked the same game that started the fatigue as me). Of course, there was the thing that I never bought the game or had hope for it.
  • JohnDagger - January 7, 2012 12:53 a.m.

    I think the worst game of the year would be Blackwater. It's a shameless attempt by a company known for war crimes and atrocities to re-brand itself with a hollow COD clone. And what's worse than that is that the game is really short, like 3 hours and really boring. I mean if you're going to become a company that is often brought up in conversations about Hitler and other mass murderers, they could at least make a good game.
  • mothbanquet - January 7, 2012 5:29 a.m.

    Hopefully next year's Kim Jong Il Chronicles will be better...
  • LoudestCannon - January 6, 2012 8:12 p.m.

    I cannot refer to Call of Juarez by anything other than Call of Duty: Modern Juar-fare. Because it is a pun. And I like puns.
  • PanaMusica - January 6, 2012 7:01 p.m.

    When MW3 first came out it totally felt like a retread of MW2 so I went back to BF3. But a month or so later I played the campaign and prestiged multiplayer, and it's pretty great. Best $100 map pack ever.
  • talleyXIV - January 6, 2012 5:20 p.m.

    Black Ops will probably be the last truly acceptable Call of Duty. My mind if boggled about the fact that IW and Sledgehammer had two years to create a game that already had an engine for it and all they did was make new maps and change guns. Making 16 maps might take a bit of time and guns might take a little bit of time as well, but two years is a long time. They didn't even come up with new titles and emblems, something as simple as that would be nice. The theater mode that was actually very good in Black Ops is hilariously bad, they took out almost every cool feature of it! Black Ops was very different and people don't recognize that fact. The titles, the customization of emblems, theater mode, CoD points, the graphics, and zombies. All those things made Black Ops quite acceptable in my book. However MW3 is just lazy, for example they took out scrap assist! Where someone helps take down a killstreak, why the hell is that gone? I know it is a tiny feature but where did that go?! Why has theater mode gotten so terrible? Why is there only one knew game mode? Why is Survival mode just multiplayer maps with infinite spawning enemies? The other Spec Ops game mode is just campaign levels with two people pretty much. The game is uninspired and recycled dog crap. Hopefully Treyarch can once again come through with a slate of new ideas and re-energize my love for the series because I want IW to cup my balls in their mouth. Oh, by the way the prestige token glitch makes me laugh. One thing they bragged about was prestige tokens and the shop, and they messed it up! One of the only new things they did and they completely messed it up! Now they are resetting people because they messed up their own game! That is exactly how you alienate your customers you bunch of numb skulls at IW. I haven't even been deranked and I still think the way they are handling it is dumb. Sorry for the silly rant.
  • talleyXIV - January 6, 2012 5:24 p.m.

    I have a couple of mistakes in that comment. Knew = New at one point. I said "very good in Black Ops is hilariously bad" meant to say "Black Ops, it is hilariously bad in MW3."
  • Moondoggie1157 - January 7, 2012 5 p.m.

    Totally agree with ya, the only reason I bought Black Ops (used) was for the zombie maps, I haven't touched any other mode since beating the campaign a year ago. I really want to love CoD, the campaigns are always great (By Michael Baye standards anyways haha)
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - January 6, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    I bought Skyrim for the multiplayer and was sorely disappointed
  • Xerxes667 - January 6, 2012 6:10 p.m.

    FlyinHawaiian13 and B. Buttercup FTW on best reasoning for anti-games ever!
  • Bloodstorm - January 6, 2012 12:32 p.m.

    I agree with Gears 3. I was looking forward to it. I preordered the limited edition because I was so excited. I love Gears, I love the gears of war fiction and reading the Gears of wars books. I thought this title can only be amazing, because Gears 2 was such a great step up from Gears 1. Me an my brother hunkered down in the living room after dragging in my Xbox so we can play on the biggest, best screen in the house, and then we sludge through hours of meaningless nothing. The addition of 4 player co-op stripped away the narrative you normally got from actors 3 and 4. Suddenly you always had an extra pair of people with you. Gone were the parts where is split you into 2 groups, then split you again so that you and you're friend were fighting parallel but not necessarily together. Then, gone were the gigantic set pieces. I wasn't necessarily expecting to be eaten by a giant worm again, but come on, something big needed to happen and it never did. The final boss fight was annoyingly crap as well. Nothing was answered, nothing felt truly resolved, and I kind of wished I'd of spent my precious money on something else like Arkham City.
  • samsneeze - January 6, 2012 6:17 a.m.

    Skyrim was a disappointment, but more on that later. If butt gets hurt easily, I suggest that you skip that part. Saints Row: The Third was complete crap when you compare it to the second game in the series. In all honesty, it just shows that you can make a game less funny, take away character customization options and a town that's actually worth exploring, remove activities and replace them with stale replicas of existing ones, destroy or kill off characters that made the franchise's story enjoyable, take away all the diversions except for streaking, and people will do nothing but praise it like it's the best in the world. Seriously people, go play Saints Row 2 and try and tell me that The Third was a good game. Back to Skyrim. You know, Fable: The Lost Chapters is technically a better game than Skyrim, it just doesn't look as pretty or have as much to do. It does have better characters, more memorable people, quests that are fun and rewarding, and when you save the world, people mention it for more than two or three days. Granted, there are no guilds to join and the map is considerably smaller, but at least you have actual boss fights. In Skyrim when I hit level forty, I and my companion had full Deadric Armor wielding Deadric Warhammers with fire enchantment. The gauntlets and boots were both enchanted to increase the power of two handed weapons by a total of thirty-six percent, I think. There was literally nothing that could stop us. Master isn't the problem at all, heck I played the entire game through Master. If I drop the difficulty to normal, everything will only take one hit to defeat, instead of Master's five hits(Provided you arem't fighting a Draugr Deathlord or something then it's ten) I never bothered with magic to be honest. Bows are nice, but aren't practical to use outside of dragon fights. And while the shouts are fun at first, you'll find that only a few are actually useful or worthwhile. Fire Breath is the only one I actually continuously used. The cool down times between shouts is ridiculous. Since the actual gameplay isn't stellar, where does that leave the story and guilds? The main quest is pretty stale to be honest and Dragons lose their excite factor after the third or fourth kill. I've only played through the Companions, Thieves guild and The Companions quest line was disappointing. And the quest line for the Thieves guild can't compare with the one from Oblivion in my opinion. The Dark Brotherhood has some interesting people but the missions themselves suck. Overall, it feels like a group of good ideas put through half-ass execution. The same can be said about most of the other quests I've encountered in the game. Combat is brain dead, plain and simple. I understand the entire game isn't about combat, but enough of it is that it should be better than this. Melee is just hitting the attack button, and yes you can say that about any game, but man, is it true in Skyrim. You might backpedal, or strafe while you swing, but if the enemy is stronger than you there isn't enough skill involved for you to be able to beat him without an exploit. You win or lose almost entirely on your stats, and at that point it may as well be turn based. The lack of worthwhile unique items makes questing feel unrewarding, especially when it's not possible to offer EXP as a reward. The loot from the end of a dungeon will almost never be better than what you already have, if it's relevant to your build at all. If you make use of smithing or enchanting at all it is unlikely any item you ever find will be anything but vendor trash. It manages to simultaneously suck the fun out of exploring AND questing when I know I'll never find anything worth finding. Overall, Skyrim is about a 6 for me. Skyrim's soundtrack is also bad or rather, very much uninspired.
  • Jedipimp0712 - January 6, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    i would argue that Fable: The Lost Chapters is one of the best RPG's ever made. Then after that, the Fable series sucked. I am only about six or seven hours into skyrim right now, and the fact that you don't consider other things like magic or bows. If you go the warrior path (just like with any other game that has a warrior, specifically i can remember Mass Effect soldier being WAY more powerful than any of the other classes) your going to win. No matter how much a company balances the warrior, they are always going to have the highest attack and defense, so it will be easier to win. I usually go for sneak in Bethesda games, because it is more of a challenge than just "hurp a durrr, i swing hamma!" if you are going to be closed minded enough to not try other systems built into the game (like magic and bows) then why are you even complaining about the one system you did try and got bored of after hours of playing?
  • Jedipimp0712 - January 6, 2012 6:43 a.m.

    "I am only about six or seven hours into skyrim right now, and the fact that you don't consider other things like magic or bows. If you go the warrior path" should be "I am only about six or seven hours into skyrim right now, and the fact that you don't consider other things like magic or bows is naive. If you go the warrior path"
  • samsneeze - January 6, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    I haven't put in the time to go about making another character yet. I'm just posting from my experiences as a warrior based character. It isn't about being close-minded, it's just that I was focusing on creating that certain character type for my first playthrough of the game. I'm sure that going for stealth would be more of a "challenge". I just don't see why I would limit myself to make the game more challenging. Shouldn't the game already be designed in such a way that I don't have to do that? I went Adept in both Mass Effect 1 and 2. The challenge was there, and I didn't feel like I was limiting myself by choosing that class either. Once I found a decent attack strategy and put a bit more faith in my stupid-ass squad mates things became fun and the game was great. (Insanity is best this way) I prefer Adept to any of the other classes in the series. So maybe choosing something other than hammers would change the way I see combat situations. I don't see a way to fix everything else I have a problem with, though.
  • Scotch - January 6, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    You must be the bizarro version of me. I got the double pack over the summer, played both saints games for about ten collective hours, and couldn't bring myself to finish either. I got the third in a drunken haze, and when it arrived I figured "why not give it a shot?" I 100% the game in two days and fucking loved it. Maybe the Saints games are games you have to play during their release, because I didn't think the first two aged too well.
  • jmcgrotty - January 6, 2012 4:47 a.m.

    Complaining about gameplay in an FPS is like complaining about the acting in a porn. What the hell did you expect??
  • minimaxi - January 6, 2012 4:14 a.m.

    mine is pretty obvious, it's duke nukem. I wasn't aiming for lofty heights here, all I wanted was serious sam with boobs, what I got was a last-gen game designed with two weapon pickups and regenerating health. with last-gen boobs. the effing broken MvC3 and UMvC3 are also my anti games of 2011, though I didn't expect it to be good, just bought it because my friend bought it, so it's not entirely capcom's fault.
  • winner2 - January 6, 2012 3:54 a.m.

    red faction armageddon
  • n00b - January 6, 2012 1:14 a.m.

    i coudn't think of any then i remembered ssf4:arcade edition and all the months of bickering weather or not the game was broken.

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