Logan Wilkinson’s Games of the Year List 2011-2020

With the close of 2020 and the dawn of the new year and all the big Game of the Year and Game of the Generation festivities my mind naturally began to drift back to GOTY of old and my various picks, rankings, and evolution of taste over the years. In that spirit, and because who doesn’t love a good ole list, I’ve decided to go back over the past decade starting in 2011 and look at my various picks for the best of the best in any given year. 

I’ll be looking at my overall Game of the Year every year, what made me pick it to begin with, how well it still holds, whether or not I agree with my original pick, etc. So please be excited and be sure to let me know just how wrong my 6 and 7 year old picks were. For now let’s jump over to 2011 and our first Game of the Year. 

2011 Game of the Year: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

2011 was a very good year for video games fam. This is technically the only year on the list where I didn’t do a full fledged top ten list and have a full article sharing my thoughts. Indeed, this spot is a little wonky for that and other reasons. 

For me though 2011 is a hugely important year. This was the first full year I had my PS3. Diving into Uncharted 1, 2, and 3 all in the same year, playing the two Arkham games back and back and it should be said playing Bioshock for the first time easily caps this as a monumental year of heavy hitters for me. Of course only two of those games came out in 2011 proper. The title fight between Uncharted 3 and Arkham City was, and remains, razor close. 

In the end I was utterly swept away by Drake’s Deception like virtually nothing else before it. By the time the credits rolled, it was one of my favorite games ever and towering a crescendo to the trilogy of games Naughty Dog had made. A breathless, hilarious, and emotional farewell(so I thought) to these characters I had grown to love. Featuring what are still some of the greatest video game set pieces ever and with some delightful surrealist twists to it, it edged out the utterly brilliant Arkham City.

Would I still pick it?

This is, as I mentioned above, still one of the toughest GOTY choices for me. Ultimately I’d still say I’m happy with my pick. Playing through the first Uncharted game after a decade of just PS2 games was like being shot into the future. A giant next gen jump. To reach the end of Drake, Elena, and Sully’s story in Uncharted 3 and just how well they hit all the small beautiful emotional beats was such a great reminder of how far and how much these characters and this studio had grown. 

And having played it more recently than Arkham City I can also confirm that Uncharted 3 is still the best of the PS3 Uncharteds. 

Drake’s Deception is great y’all. Don’t listen to the hate. 

2012 Game of the Year: The Walking Dead Season 1

This is the opposite of 2011, The Walking Dead just strolled right in and took this year’s title without the slightest challenge. What a brilliant lightning in a bottle moment in gaming. Nearly a decade later and after all of Telltales missteps, it’s easy to miss just how remarkable and how much The Walking Dead captured the zeitgeist. It seemed to just dominate the year for me. 

Lee and Clem forever. Very few characters’ chemistry and dynamic work so well. Their bond and journey together is everything I could want from a Walking Dead story, taking all the best bits of the tv series and comics and jettisoning most of the problems. The series isn’t perfect, and the pacing can dip at times, cough episode 4 cough, but on the whole this was a game with so many indelible memories for me, so many small tiny moments that still stick with me. Episodes 2, 3, and 5 are brilliant and 20-year-old Logan was utterly not ready for the gut punch heartrending ending. 

I’ve still – nine years later – never gone back for a second playthrough of the season. That was my Lee, my Clem, and my story. In many ways the final scenes of Lee and Clem together and Clem’s final look into the sunlight at what lays ahead are the true endings to this story, not the follow up 3 seasons we got. 

This game and its remarkable ride had a big impact on me personally and how I approached games as a critic. 

Would I still pick it?

Yes. Good game is good. Easily one of the most indelible gaming experiences for me. 

2013 Game of the Year: The Last of Us

The Last of Us is my favorite video game of all time. Joel is my favorite character and Ellie is right behind him. In the simplest, shortest way possible (I’ve talked and written about it in a lot of other places): this game blew me away. 

The funniest thing about The Last of Us, is that my favorite playthrough and experience with the game was actually my second time playing it a year later in 2014, the rare game and story I enjoyed more on my second time through. 

It’s a masterpiece and nothing was remotely close to it. In many ways that remains true. My favorite characters, so many of my favorite gaming memories, moments, scenes, and twists. To say nothing of the Giraffe scene which still might rank above any other gaming moment as the most beautiful and emotional scene. I deeply love this game and it’s personally stamped onto who I am. What else can I say? I love it. 

Would I still pick it up?

Come on. 

Yeah, just a little. 

2014 Game of the Year: Far Cry 4

Oh boy. 

Now we get to the fun stuff. The next two years are gonna be interesting.

2014 was a weird year in games for me. So many of the big heavy hitters just didn’t do anything for me. As I talked about with The Last of Us above, my favorite gaming memory and experience from the year actually came from a non-2014 game. The shadow of The Last of Us hung heavy over the year for me, nothing from this year, or any other to be fair, came close. They can’t all be banger years. 

Far Cry 4 was my first time getting to experience a Far Cry game and it was fun and wild and utterly new to me. I still think Far Cry 4 was great, would it win a different year, probably not, but at the time and in the afterglow of the past few years’ steller titles I was more than happy to give Game of the Year to a game I had fun with. 

Would I still pick it?


Everything I said above is still true, and yet some of the less pleasant aspects of the Far Cry series now seem harder to ignore. The series as a whole is sorta THE face of the white savior trope found in so many western stories. Pagan Min, while a great villain, is barely in the game (as Trevor likes to always point out). The game is long, almost certainly a little bloated and overstuffed. The mystical elements of the game are still excellent and a trippy blast but on the whole Far Cry 4 is a good Ubisoft game but not the game of the year. 

So what would I pick now?

While I think Tales from the Borderlands is a blast and easily one of the best Telltale games, ultimately what I would probably pick if asked to revote now would be Wolfenstein: The New Order. 

Wolfenstein is flawed. Although prepped by all the hate it got, I never actually thought the opening was that bad. It’s got issues and some quirks I don’t love, but on the whole it is a clever, brilliant almost total subversion of what we’d expect from a Wolfenstein game. Smart, both wildly fast-paced and with a slow-building, even calm to it Wolfenstein was such a refreshing and unexpected game. There is a lot of Taratino in it and the missions where you don’t fire a single shot and instead just talk with friend and foe, explore, and just flesh out BJ are brilliant. 

It’s sequel is terrible though. 

2015 Game of the Year: Dying Light

Dying Light is good y’all. I feel like no one ever talks about this game, unless they are mentioning how much of a mess its sequel development has been. The first Dying Light though was such a clever and smart zombie game. As someone who has played, watched, or read so so so soooooooooo many zombie stories, I can spot the obvious and basic tropes right away. Dying Light understood this perfectly and constantly walked right up to the cliches and tropes and then did something fun with them. I was pleasantly surprised throughout the game at just how many steps ahead it was, at just how much it had thought out. Each of the areas of the island have their own style and flair. The cast of characters are both super cheesy and also mostly nail their dramatic beats and emotional moments. 

That’s all before we even get to the game’s truly stellar gameplay. There is still – six years later – no game with a better parkour system. Few games just feel as good playing them as Dying Light. Few games can match the tension and genuine terror of being caught out at night as the sunny, relatively easy to manage zombie interactions suddenly become a nightmarish hellscape of pure terror and dread. This game will sure as hell get your blood pumping. 

A standout excellent B-Movie-style game that managed to punch far above its weight to become the best game of the year. 

Would I still pick it?

Ever since I picked Dying Light as my game of the year for 2015 there is no single game of the year choice I’ve thought about more or debated more than this one. This isn’t like in 2014 where I pretty clearly would pick something else, this is much more complicated. 

Even at the time in my year-end rankings I was hard pressed to split hairs to get to my choice. 2015 was a Logan Wilkinson ass year for games. Dying Light, Life is Strange, Until Dawn, and what was and remains Dying Light’s biggest challenger: Rocket League.

I went back and forth between the two games constantly at the time and up to actually typing it into the doc I wasn’t sure. Given six years would I finally do it all over again?

I don’t think I would. I may honestly love Rocket League more than Dying Light, but when I think back on 2015 and that wonderful collection of games and memories I have from it, Dying Light is what I think of. It was a special game and one I really did love. While Rocket League is fantastic, arguably better, and a source of so many memories, it doesn’t make me think of the year as much and so Dying Light, by the skin of its teeth again, remains the pick.

2016 Game of the Year: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I mean, I think this game is a masterpiece. I could wax poetic and lyrical about the finale of Nathan Drake’s journey, of the moments between him and Elena, the genuine fear throughout that someone wasn’t going to make it out of this story alive. 

It’s all true, but on the whole I think it’s enough to say this is probably my second favorite game of all time. A phenomenal and emotionally beautiful conclusion to possibly my favorite gaming series and easily my pick for game of the year in 2016.

Would I still pick it?


Yeah, I think so. 

2017 Game of the Year: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice 

What a bloody fantastic year for gaming 2017 was. Arguably the most stacked and generation-defining year for me. Edith Finch, RE7, Horizon, Mario, Sonic, Zelda, Yakuza, and so many more excellent games.

And yet, for me the year is headlined by an out of left field winner. Hellblade came out of nowhere, a December-time GOTY catch-up play that blew me away and quickly grabbed the GOTY crown and is a very serious contender for genuinely being my game of the generation. 

Breathtaking, soaked in grief and loss, and caked in pain and a harrowing tale, Senua’s story is one that crept into the tiny places within my soul and profoundly affected me. I still think vividly back on certain scenes and moments from the game. Hellbalde was staggering in its depth and pathos. A constant reminder to hope in the face of unfathomable darkness. What a game. 

Would I still pick it?

Even in a year of true Loggy gems, Hellblade easily takes the title these few years removed. Although, everyone should play Edith Finch because it’s also brilliant. 

2018 Game of the Year: God of War

As my That Nerdy colleague and dear friend Trevor Starkey knows, I have such a weird relationship with God of War. I genuinely enjoyed the title and this reconfiguring of Kratos and who he is. Yet, I never seemed to love it quite as much as everyone else. 

Still, in what was for me a weaker year of games, particularly in the wake of the nuts 2017, God of War stood as a clear cut above. I’ve flirted with the idea of finally going back and playing the game for a second time and maybe in these next few quieter months of 2021 I’ll finally do that.

Game is reallllllllllllllllll beautiful as well. 

Would I still pick it?

My 2nd and 3rd place games were Florence and Detroit: Become Human. 

So, yeah. I’d still pick God of War in a trot.

That was until I played AC: Odyssey during 2020 and finally got an Assassin’s Creed game. Odyssey is utterly brilliant and a stunning, color-drenched title. One that swept me all the way back to classical Greece and with a big ole goofy smile on my face for well over 40 or so hours. It was the stuff of lil Logan’s dreams, getting to work right into the pages of the history books I was consumed by. 

And yet, I’d still, despite Trevor pointing out how much I love this game, give the award to God of War. It is a more full rounded and better game. 

Also I forgot about AC: Odyssey until right before I was gonna publish this so big shrug energy. 

2019 Game of the Year: Resident Evil 2 Remake

The first That Nerdy Site Game of the Year winner for me. Another weird year for games for me and if we are honest the seeds of this win were laid in 2017 with Resident Evil 7 stunning me. While I don’t think RE2 Remake is as fantastic and pure terror-inducing as 7, I do think it is a great and engaging title that blew me away and captured me at the beginning of 2019. In a strange and odd year for games, that was more than enough. 

Would I still pick it?

While it is for sure possible that Jedi Fallen Order would supplant this, I have still not played it, like the bad person I am, so with that out of the way, RE2 Remake remains the winner.

2020 Game of the Year: Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is phenomenal. I mean, truly a staggering achievement. I fell in love with this game in a way I haven’t since multiple different titles in 2017. A remarkable achievement all around and quite possibly the most beautiful and visually breathtaking title I’ve ever seen. 

It not only stole my heart but quickly leaped into the running for being my Game of the Generation. Myself, Trevor, and Cam spent hours gushing over it in our spoilercast so I won’t go too crazy again, but suffice it to say this game is very very special. Jin Sakai for life fam. 

Would I pick it again?

Haha what if one month later I decide to switch my pick? 

Yeah, it’s still the best of 2020.

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