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Best of the Rest: Ben's picks for 2011


Battlefield 3
The time I've spent with Battlefield 3 this year is only bested by the many, many hours I've spent stalking dragons in Skyrim. The hours with BF3, however, were distinctly more dense, while I shouted at teammates to provide cover fire, slowly inching towards a heavily-guarded objective, or lead the charge on an enemy base from the driver's seat of a large, mobile, metal death box.

It's a crime that Battlefield 3 isn't on our top 10 list, because it's by far the best multiplayer shooter experience available, and it's certainly this year's best (in yet another year with several genre entries, including an Infinity Ward-developed CoD title). The main campaign isn't very good, sure, and the co-op is even less impressive, but the "Battlefield Moments™" you'll experience in multiplayer more than make up for the package's shortcomings. Worried you've been waiting too long and won't be able to compete? BF3 mitigates that with support classes, allowing players of all types to participate. Squad up on Team [JOY]!

You Don't Know Jack

Isn't it amazing when something from childhood lives up to the rosy memories you have of it? It's even better when that certain something goes beyond said rosy memories and exceeds expectations. In an age of constant re-makes and re-releases and HD-ifications, the rebirth of You Don't Know Jack was ... a tad worrisome. Thankfully, the same wonderful folks who lavished attention on the previous game (Jellyvision) returned many years later for the console version, and they brought the same level of care with them.

You Don't Know Jack is a quiz game, yes, but more importantly, it's hilarious. As in loudly laughing, referencing jokes within your friend group, accidentally not answering because you're laughing-kinda funny. It's the kind of game that nerdy writer dudes like me really like, but so does your pop-culture obsessed non-gamer cousin. And rightfully so, as the YDKJ formula is still wonderful over a decade later.

LittleBigPlanet 2

I didn't like the first LittleBigPlanet. I'm not an LBP apologist, and I'll be the first to admit that the series' strong suit isn't platforming. In LittleBigPlanet 2, Media Molecule seemed to discover that truth, and instead focused on morphing the game into even more of a platform for creativity.

The main campaign -- beyond being adorable, naturally - is great fun, showing off the various game types that could be crafted via the in-game editing tools. And like all things LBP2, the main campaign fed into the game creation tools, which fed into the incredible online community at It's gonna be interesting seeing what Media Molecule has in store for us next, because LBP2 will be quite a feat to top.

Jetpack Joyride

I'm still playing Jetpack Joyride every single day on my iPhone, despite it having launched way back in September. No, there's no exaggeration in that statement, I literally play it every day. And that's not just because it's on my phone (though that helps), but also because it's a surprisingly deep experience for a handheld. And it's also because Justin McElroy is about 1,500 meters ahead of me, and he must be crushed. Nay, will be crushed.

Forza Motorsport 4

I didn't play nearly as much Forza 4 as I'd have liked. Like LittleBigPlanet 2 and Skyrim, Forza 4 is dangerously deep, promising and delivering on an enormous, flexible, highly customizable campaign, a robust online community (replete with an actual auction house and economy all its own), and some really neat Kinect features.

Frankly, I just don't have the time for Forza 4 that I'd like to, which unfortunately meant I didn't spend a ton of time with it, but my brief time with it was immediately enjoyable. Maybe I'll get a chance to spend some time with it in the quiet early months of 2012? Oh .... right. Okay, maybe not.

Joystiq is revealing its 10 favorite games of 2011 throughout the week. Keep reading for more top selections and every writer's personal, impassioned picks in Best of the Rest roundups.

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