Top Six: Mitch’s Gaming Moments of 2011

Every year there are many standout moments in gaming that redefine my hobby and help me appreciate it in new ways. Last year it was riding into Mexico to the tune of “Far Away” in Red Dead Redemption, managing my own guild of assassins in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or riding down a river in a patrol boat with the Rolling Stones in the background in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

2011, being the landmark year that it was, was not deficient in great gaming moments and I’ve pared my memories down to six selections of moments that have helped shape this year for me. Come along as I try to sift through all the great games this year had to offer and try to nail down which small selections changed my perception of gaming in 2011.

6. Fighting a Boss Wave in Horde 2.0 in Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 Horde 2.0

While Gears of War 2 brought us Horde Mode, Gears of War 3 made a ton of improvements to the fairly bare-bones original version. Taking cues from the tricks players would pull to keep themselves alive longer as the waves of enemies got progressively bigger and tougher, Epic Games added fortifications and bases to Horde, but they also added something else: Boss Waves. Every tenth wave, players would have to fight one of the Gears’ series massive creatures, anything from a Brumak to Corpsers and even the Lambent Berserker. Even on easier difficulties, these monsters proved a challenge for the most stoic of Gear Heads and when there’s five of you blasting away as a Brumak advances inexorably on your position, the yelling will get loud, things will get tense, but at the end of it, you’ll feel like your teamwork accomplished something monumental.

5. Talking your way into the Detroit PD in Deus Ex: Human Revolution

deus ex human revolution

After years of silence, Deus Ex returned to the gaming scene with Human Revolution, telling the tale of Adam Jensen, a former SWAT officer who found his life changed forever when his work is assaulted by militant cyborgs and he’s implanted with top of the line prosthetic just to stay alive. Despite the heavy shooter overtones, Human Revolution took a very nuanced approach to its various scenarios. If you didn’t feel like shooting your way in, you could sneak, and if that didn’t appeal to you, you could always just talk your way in. Early in the game, you’re asked to break into the Detroit Police Department and steal evidence, and blocking your way is an old partner who’s fallen on hard times. Rather than break into the station, you can assuage your old friends’ guilt, letting him move on with his life and accomplishing your goal at the same time. Human Revolution was a game with a brain, and this demonstrated that aptly.

4. Nailing an interrogation in L.A. Noire

la noire

L.A. Noire was a game that respected your intelligence and didn’t hold your hand. While there were some clues about how to properly interpret the cast’s facial animations, correctly sussing them out on the first try was an arduous task. The noise that game made when you bungled a line of questions was more than a little emasculating to your gaming prowess, but the sense of victory when you correctly questioned a suspect was hard to top. As the game went on, people became craftier and their answers more misleading so guiding Cole Phelps through the various minefields of intrigue and double-talk became harder and harder. Hearing that little chime when you guessed a person’s facial expression correctly was a great reward for your cleverness and getting all the questions right left you feeling like a real detective.

3. Being the Goddamn Batman in Batman: Arkham City

batman arkham city

More than any other super-hero, Batman has a certain flair to him, something that makes him unique against the backdrop of mutants, beings from another planet and mistakes of science. Despite being a normal (albeit rich and highly trained) individual, Batman manages to be more intimidating and effective than fifty Supermen. Arkham City allowed us to take over this role and do all those Batman things we know and love, like gliding through the shadows and picking off guards or outwitting a trap laid by the Joker with gadgets and guile. Developers Rocksteady made small improvements to how Batman handles and amplified the Free-Flow combat so being the Caped Crusader became an almost undefinable experience this time around. Although we can’t put words to it, we all know how it feels to be Batman, thanks to this game.

2. Killing your first dragon in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

elder scrolls 5 skyrim dragon

In my opinion, there’s no greater magic system in the history of gaming than stealing a dragon’s very Soul and using it to power your Thu’um, or Shout. When I got my first glimpse of a dragon in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it awoke a a hidden urge in me to hunt these things down and take their power for myself. When the game finally lets you fight a dragon face to face, it kicks on the main theme “Sons of Skyrim” and allows you to go steel to scale against a massive lizard straight out of medieval fantasy. Doing enough damage to a dragon force it to crash land and then jumping on its head and embedding your axe in its skull is only topped by watching the monster disintegrate before your very eyes as its iridescent life-force flows into you, imbuing you with the immortal power of a dragon. Killing your first Dovah is only the tip of the iceberg and having these creatures appear at random in the wild gives you countless opportunities to test your mettle.

1. Hearing “The Singer’s Song” in Bastion

the singers song bastion

Seeing as I’m a person who loves music, it shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite moment of 2011 bears a lot of similarity to my top choice of 2010. Bastion used audio to such great effect with the Narrator guiding you through your quest to rebuild the shattered world of Caelondia, but even his soothing voice is topped by “The Singer’s Song”. Coming out of nowhere during one the of the game’s levels, the haunting melody immediately sets the mood and even appears a couple times during a different level. Despite all the great music in Bastion, this piece is easily my favorite and has become one of my top video game tracks of all time. It’s got all the ingredients: it’s catchy, appears during an iconic moment, and is used just sparingly enough to make you love it when it shows up again.

Runners Up: Having a “Battlefield Moment” in Battlefield 3, assaulting The Daedalus in Saint’s Row the Third, four player co-op in Magicka and the Needle in Dead Space 2


Those were my Top Six Gaming Moments of 2011! There were so many great games this year that it was hard to pick just six, as you can seen by the four candidates in my “Runners Up” section.

So what about you guys? Do you agree with my list? Do you have some picks for your top moments of 2011? Go!

Written by Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Mister_L Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: PUBG, Rainbow 6: Siege, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Total War: Warhammer 2

8 thoughts on “Top Six: Mitch’s Gaming Moments of 2011”

  1. Everyone loves lists! Especially since they provide you with an opportunity to disagree and tell the list maker why they are wrong, and what they should have picked. Here’s mine:

    6. Trying to save Colony 9 in Xenoblade Chronicles
    5. Winning my first match in SSFIV:AE
    4. Waking up GLaDOS / Listening to Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and GLaDOS in Portal 2
    3. Just going through, and finally beating, Anor Londo in Dark Souls
    2. Finding Triss in the Witcher 2
    1. Finding Ash Lake in Dark Souls

    Yes, I know Dark Souls shows up twice…couldn’t help it. It’s not that I disagree with you, Mitch, I just that haven’t played GoW3 (and never will), and haven’t gotten around to DE:HR and B:AC yet.

  2. Haha! I was listening to the Bastion soundtrack as I was reading this, I have to agree with the number 1. Cool list, Mine would be:

    -Shooting the moon in Portal 2.
    -That one level in Bastion in the swamp(?) where there are the weird flashback things. I love thing’s like that in games.
    -Battlefield 3’s story ending. Half-way in, the story began to click for me (from the tank mission onwards), the first half felt a little too “OOH-RAH!!!” and “U.S. ARMY!!!” for my liking, but the ending was really somber and dark, which made it really memorable for me.

  3. Great list. I haven’t had a chance to play Arkham City yet, but I’m sure it will be up there. I would also add stumbling upon Portal 2 secrets as one of mine. L.A Noire really has made me feel great, and made me swear and smack my hands on my keyboard in “WTF?” angst. It’s a game I tell my non-gamer friends about – It’s just that good so far.

    For some reason I thought Mafia II was this year, but it was last year August? Holy crap time has flown by.

    Hopefully I’ll have those “Battlefield” moments we miss so much after Christmas day =D.

  4. Great list, Mitch. I really need to play more of Bastion.

    Also, totally agree with shooting the moon in Portal 2.

    Here are my 6, in no particular order:

    1. Hearing “Town Day 3” in Skyrim the first time when exploring Whiterun.
    2. Fighting Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City.
    3. Shooting the moon in Portal 2.
    4. The first investigation in L.A. Noire.
    5. Horde 2.0 in Gears of War 3.
    6. The cruise ship in Uncharted 3.

  5. The soundtrack for Bastion never really clicked with me. Different tastes I guess.

    My top 6, in no order
    1 – First night on the Gaur Plains (dat sky), Xenoblade
    2 – Shooting the moon, Portal 2
    3 – Karliah and Gallus’ reunion, Skyrim
    4 – Talking your way out of a hostage situation, Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    5 – Breaking out, Limbo
    6 – First night in the Satorl Marshland, Xenoblade

    Yeah, 2 Xenoblade entries. First because the game really is that good. And second, I didn’t really play that many games this year.

  6. Man, I really need to play Bastion.

    1. Saving Malik on Pacifist Hard mode (Dues Ex Human Revolution).
    This part of the game was the most intense & satisfying moments of the game. I wanted so bad to save Malik, but I had only my Non-Lethal Equipment to do it. In fact, the hardest part was making sure enemies didn’t die from the Heavy Mech exploding after I shut it down with an EMP nade. These kind of encounters are what I consider to be the Boss Battles in DXHR. They tested your skill with your weapons, stealth, and strategy.

    2. Defeating Krosis and his pet Frost Dragon (Skyrim). Sure I bumped the difficulty to Expert for extra shirts and gurgles, but ne’ertheless; this was the hardest boss battle I’ve fought in Skyrim, and even now, I still have a potion deficit from having eaten all 30 of my health potions. The battle was very challenging and I just had a grand old time switching between using Flames, swinging madly with my Silver Sword of Fire which I named “Gabriel”, and cowering while taking pot-shots with my trusty Dwarven Bow. The battle lasted from dawn of one day to afternoon of the next. Yeah, now I know what those ancient myths are talking about when demigods fistfight for days and days. Plus, in the end, I got the Krosis mask, which is still my favorite piece of equipment. Too bad I can’t see my beautiful face, but whatever. Lockpicking.

    3. Enjoying ALL of Skyrim’s and Deus Ex Human Revolution’s soundtracks. My favorite are Skyrim’s “Secunda” and DXHR’s “Tai Yong Medical” music.

    So those are pretty much the only two games that came out in 2011 that I’ve played this year. Now, I’ll tell you about games that I bought this year that didn’t necessary come out in 2011.

    3. Narrowly surviving an Emission (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat). I bought S.T.A. – ahem – Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl & Call of Pripyat for less than $10 on Steam’s Halloween sale, and I’ve been enjoying Call of Pripyat (more so than Shadow of Chernobyl simply because CoP is newer and more polished…er, well, ukrainianed) here and there when I take breaks from Skyrim. It does a number of things that a lot of folks wished Fallout 3 did. At the end of the day, Fallout 3 is an RPG with guns and Stalker is an FPS with an inventory and open-world map. And Russians. Anyhoo, Stalker also has a lot more crazy anomalies than Fallout 3, some involving rending the space-time continuum and other things that Stalin would probably approve of. One anomaly, called an Emission, is a daily release of pent-up electromagnetic radiation that strikes a certain zone of the map. At any given moment, you’ll get a warning that an Emission is nearby, so you need to get to solid cover. I was in the middle of trying to make room for a 10kg quest item in my inventory when I get the call to take cover. I was on a bridge in the middle of an open valley, mind you. So I had to drop my crap and leg it to the nearest metal roof…which happened to be a military base that had a strict “shoot-on-sight” policy for wandering Stalkers. Well, I was gonna die anyway. I ran from the bridge, pausing to catch my breath, all the while listening to the Geiger counter click faster and faster as the Emission cocked its electromagnetic fist. Finally, I reached the military base (luckily all the guards were inside to avoid the Emission). My Geiger counter was freaking out, and the sky was starting to flash red as it usually does when strange anomalies are afoot. I duck into a small drainage pipe just as the Emission lets loose. I huddle in the small, dank, probably wretched metal pipe as the sky turns totally blood red and lightning crashes overhead. During the storm, I notice that I’m getting pretty hungry, so I munch on a “so-happy-I’m-alive” sausage to make myself feel better. The Emission passes after another minute and I hesitantly crawl out of the pipe that saved my life. I walk away laughing, having only played three hours and already experiencing awesome unscripted events in the world of Stalker. Then a guard tells me to get off his porch before he shreds me into cabbage for his borscht and I quickly oblige.

    So yeah, Stalker Call of Pripyat is a fairly old but still amazing game.

  7. As a late entry for this, I recently played through Bastion (finally!) and I have to say I concur with those of you who loved the soundtrack. I remember playing that level and thinking, when that voice first started humming, “This must be what Mitch was talking about.”

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