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Awards Calendar

Dec 15
  • Categories Revealed
  • Readers' Choice Voting Begins
Dec 19
  • Editors' Choice Winners Revealed
Dec 30
  • Readers' Choice Voting Ends
  • Readers' Choice Winners Revealed
Jan 4
  • Editors' Choice Most Anticipated Games of 2012 Revealed

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The Best of 2011 Special Achievements

Best Atmosphere

and the Editors' Choice winner is…

L.A. Noire

Editor's Choice Winner

Editorial Nominees

This year, one game transported us to a fantasy realm where beauty blended with fear and dread hung heavily in the air; another re-created the geography, architecture, cars, and fashions of postwar Los Angeles; another still immaculately imitated the presentation of basketball games of the past. As different as these games are, they all rely on a meticulous attention to detail to conjure atmospheres that pull us deeply into the experience. Though there was some talk of The Witcher 2's violent world and of the psychologically haunting landscapes of Alice: Madness Returns, it wasn't tough to settle on a list of the five games in which the atmospheres most completely seduced us. With a list of nominees this excellent, though, deciding on a winner proved challenging. But after much debate, one game's achievement in this area seemed to surpass even those of its outstanding competition.

Readers' Choice Best of 2011
The Readers' Choice winner is…

Batman: Arkham City

277 Comments

  • popeyfolger

    Posted Jan 6, 2012 6:40 pm GMT

    wow how is dead space not on this list ridiculous. I voted dark souls and would have anyway. Still dead space should be on the list have you played that game in a dark room with surround sound on the hardest level. Its not that its scary its just nerve racking

  • jimlad180

    Posted Jan 6, 2012 10:11 am GMT

    Best Atmosphere? DUKE NUKEM FOREVER!!!!

  • chuiweha

    Posted Jan 4, 2012 11:13 pm GMT

    DEAD SPACE 2 !!!!!

  • hitechgraphs

    Posted Jan 4, 2012 4:16 pm GMT

    I've heard that this game was some of the dissapointments of the year like Gears of War 3.Never feel really interested.Furthermore the history was really weird so I've heard,mmm... puzzled but feel it not worthy,whatever.
    Not even for best atmosphere it's worth my time.

  • oldschoolvandal

    Posted Jan 3, 2012 8:29 am GMT

    Where the hell is DEAD SPACE 2?
    Anyone remember it was released in 2011 as well?
    If that's not award winning atmosphere from opening to ending I will only vote for Mario from now on...

  • manhunted

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 12:42 pm GMT

    Seriosly from this shortlist, i woulda plucked for Dark Souls!!

  • eyerok

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 7:54 am GMT

    @supertom221 - actually I somewhat disagree with you on DS2 because I felt that the devs realized the same trick wouldn't work twice and they vastly toned down the horror/cheap shockvalue in the second game. Instead they focused more on the action and story. I personally feel it is a misunderstood game and a misunderstood sequel.

  • supertom221

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 5:43 am GMT

    @Stonecutters908 Thank god someone understands!
    it's amazing how Dark Souls could be so cruel and dark and have an atmosphere full of darkness and sinister themes, yet keep a world so colourful and beautiful and the same time!.
    Games often give you the feel you are nearly invincible-- Bullets don't kill you as fast, you can perform inhuman actions, and you can survive ubelievable pain without a scrath.
    Dark Souls isn't like that. It's the only game that makes you truly feel... Mortal.

  • Stonecutters908

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 5:37 am GMT

    @supertom221

    I couldn't agree more. I can't believe Dark Souls didn't win this award. Arkham City was great and all but its environments didn't really surprise me in anyway. I had moments in Dark Souls where I was wandering around in that world absolutely terrified that I would die at any second. That game is haunting. I thought this would be an easy choice at least for the GS editors.

  • supertom221

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 5:32 am GMT

    @TonyKoeffler Matter of personal preference probably. I won't deny DS2's atmosphere, it was there, and it was strong. but it really didn't scare me. I often found myself yawning at the game's somewhat pitiful attempts to scare me. There is a difference between scary and just using that old "BOO!" trick. DS2 fails to recognize the difference, and often relies on the latter for the fear factor.

  • supertom221

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 5:29 am GMT

    Also, I think Atmosphere in BM"AC Was pretty bad. never got into it, just didn't draw me in.

  • supertom221

    Posted Jan 2, 2012 5:29 am GMT

    Deus Ex had an excellent atmosphere for me, but my true winner is Dark Souls.

    If there is one thing that defines this game best, it's "Hard", and "Atmosphere". I'm scared s***less of that game.

  • tizmond

    Posted Jan 1, 2012 12:29 pm GMT

    Deus Ex.

  • ChillyCloth1

    Posted Jan 1, 2012 10:42 am GMT

    I played this game in Black in White HIGHLY recommend it! The game is just soooo much better

  • Clive-Owen

    Posted Dec 31, 2011 11:25 am GMT

    for heaven's sake stop b!#^hing about this one. its personal opinions. i loved Arkham City, X loved Dark Souls, Y loved Skyrim, Z loved blah blah blah.

  • Oil_rope_bombs

    Posted Dec 31, 2011 6:20 am GMT

    No Dark Souls? For shame gamespot, you lost my respect.

  • pierrey22

    Posted Dec 31, 2011 5:35 am GMT

    YES batman had to win in this at some point, but dark souls has to have come close

  • grim0187

    Posted Dec 30, 2011 6:22 pm GMT

    @waswasjohn

    You understand opinions cannot be right or wrong, dont you?

  • wawasjohn

    Posted Dec 30, 2011 4:21 pm GMT

    hey the 1st time gamespot got it right and the user's got it wrong. who would of thought.

  • AvatarMan96

    Posted Dec 30, 2011 3:45 pm GMT

    Yay!