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The Game Effect Editorial

E3 2011: TGE Best Of E3 Awards 2011

We round up our picks for the most impressive and awe inspiring games from E3 2011.

By Josh Garwood on 6/17/2011
E3 2011 has come and gone, and as this was my first time attending the show I can say without question that it was one of the best experiences of my life.  Developers and publishers from all over the world came to showcase the best of their games, and as such we have been collectively working to decide which were the most impressive and sought after titles of the show.  Having gleefully watched hours of footage, played an unhealthily large number of games, and spoken to numerous game creators, our editors have dutifully composed our picks for the first annual TGE Best of E3 Awards.

We should mention that only games that featured actual gameplay (whether playable by us, or by the developers) were considered for these awards.  So, without further adieu, let's get down to business:

BEST XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE

Gears of War 3
Ramping up for a more visceral and personal journey through Sera, Epic Games seems to have perfected what it started nearly 5 years ago with the original Gears of War.  A staple in the industry for brutal, in-your-face combat,  the latest in the series looks to improve upon its predecessors in a vast number of ways.  Proving once again the stunning beauty that can be achieved with the Unreal Engine, Epic Games has crafted the most visually stunning Gears of War game to date.  Beyond the obvious visual bump, the biggest talk around this game is the expanded gameplay: multiple playable characters, Hoard mode 2.0 (complete with boss battles and a currency system for buying various types of reinforcements), and a new Beast Mode (which will allow players to play as one of the franchises many enemies).  In many ways Gears of War is the defining franchise on the Xbox 360, next to Halo, and the third iteration does not look like it will disappoint.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Forza Motorsport 4
E3 awards Bastion
E3 awards Dance Central 2
BEST PLAYSTATION 3 EXCLUSIVE

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Nathan Drake and the Uncharted franchise have become one of the most recognizable and highly regarded pairs in all of gaming.  From the meticulously detailed worlds and heart pounding set-pieces, to smooth-as-butter pacing and exceptionally well scripted dialog, Uncharted delivers one of the most profound and entertaining experiences on any system this generation.  What we were treated to at E3 though, with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and the many details therein, most certainly raised the bar yet again.  We saw beautifully rendered waves undulating beneath a rocking ship as Nathan Drake stealthily made his way to the hull.  The cinematic spectacle that followed, which featured an internal flood of ocean water, was stunning to behold.  This set the tone for Uncharted 3 and what we can expect from Naughty Dog's next masterpiece.  With a compelling plot and a robust multiplayer component, Nathan Drake looks to be a contender for GOTY once again.  As such, he has taken our spot for Best Exclusive Playstation 3 game.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Resistance 3
E3 awards Starhawk
E3 awards Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
BEST WII EXCLUSIVE

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Wii definitely took a back seat at E3 2011 thanks to all of the buzz surrounding the Wii U and its tablet controller.  However, that didn't stop Link and some detailed MotionPlus controls from giving Wii owners something to be excited about.  The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword looks to offer more dungeons, dynamic boss fights, and a bevy of innovative control mechanics that give the player a new level of interaction with our favorite green hooded hero.  Though the core elements may feel familiar, the way in which motion controls are used in the game make many components feel as fresh and new as ever.  The Wii may be winding down, but Skyward Sword definitely gives it a few extra hearts.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Kirby Wii
BEST PC GAME

Battlefield 3
E3 2011 was rather short on exclusive PC titles, or at least those that could handily compete with the biggest games of the show.  As such, we've included a few multiplatform titles in our nominee list, but in so doing we've made sure to select the games that will have the most distinctive and profound experience on the PC platform.  It is for this reason that Battlefield 3 has come away with the award.  This game, in reality, will be a very different (and ultimately better) experience on the PC; offering a new level of visual fidelity, complex architecture that can be torn to the ground, and a visibly epic scale that lays host to countless war machines.  The Old Republic has been a long time coming and most certainly has us excited, but Battlefield 3 is set to truly take the FPS genre to another level, and that is worth the Best PC Game of E3 2011 award.

RUNNERS UP
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BEST PS VITA EXCLUSIVE

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
The Playstation Vita had a surprisingly strong lineup of playable games at E3 this year; they were varied and covered a broad range of genres.  Not all of them were particularly stand-out titles, but there were certainly a number of contenders for Best PS Vita Game.  One though, stood out above the rest.  In his portable debut, Nathan Drake isn't holding back much.  Graphics, controls, animation, and set-pieces are all prominently featured in Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and each hold a great deal of promise for the franchise as a whole.  Featuring some innovative uses for the Vita's motion and touch screen capabilities, Golden Abyss will provide a unique experience to those wishing to take Drake on-the-go, but without compromising the core elements that have made the Uncharted franchise so popular among gamers today.  Though LittleBigPlanet Vita proved to be highly entertaining and fun, the prospect of playing a full Uncharted experience from anywhere was just enough to put Golden Abyss on top.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards LittleBigPlanet Vita
E3 awards ModNation Racers Vita
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BEST 3DS EXCLUSIVE

Super Mario 3D
It feels like it's been a long time coming, as the 3DS is in somewhat desperate need of a game featuring an iconic Nintendo character, but Mario 3D is finally here, and it was worth the wait. In what will likely be a system selling game, Mario 3D manages to create yet another fresh and innovate experience, despite featuring the same character and familiar platforming concepts that we've grown to love over so many years.  Just as Super Mario Galaxy created some of the most memorable moments on the Wii, Super Mario 3D could very well provide gamers with the console defining experiences they have been craving on the 3DS.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Mario Kart 3DS
E3 awards Kid Icarus: Uprising
E3 awards Resident Evil Revelations
BEST ACTION ADVENTURE GAME

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
This was easily one of the most difficult decisions we had to make as part of our E3 Awards debate.  Tomb Raider had an absolutely amazing showing this year; Lara is being redefined as a character, and the game is making some fundamental changes in the best of ways.  The atmosphere, cinematic story, and new gameplay elements all make Tomb Raider one of our most anticipated games of the show.  But, Uncharted 3 was given the nod for a few reasons.  One, we have seen more of the game and can definitively say that gameplay will be deep, varied, and fun.  We have yet to see a piece of Uncharted 3 that didn't leave us thoroughly impressed.  Beyond the epic playable set pieces, stunning graphics, and deep character interaction, we know for certain that Nathan Drake and pals will be playable online in a variety of multiplayer modes.  This promise of replayability helped to give Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception the final vote for Best Action Adventure Game.  That said, you absolutely can't go wrong with any of our nominees here.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
E3 awards Tomb Raider
E3 awards Batman: Arkham City
E3 awards The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
BEST PLATFORMING GAME

Assassin's Creed Revelations
Many of you may cry foul at the mere fact that Revelations was included in our "Platformer" category, and honestly we can see your point a bit here, but there are a few things to consider.  At it's core, Assassin's Creed has always given a great deal of attention and detail to the traversal in the game.  The way in which our protagonist nimbly jumps from one ledge to the next; how he scales bell towers, and hops from rooftop to rooftop, all scream "platformer."  Because there is often so much else happening in an Assassin's Creed game, the platforming aspects can easily be looked over simply because they integrate so seamlessly into the rest of the game.  So, with that being said, Assassin's Creed Revelations and it's promise of plot-thread closure has lithely swooped in and stolen the Best Platformer crown from a very strong list of contenders.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Rayman Origins
E3 awards Super Mario 3DS
E3 awards Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
E3 awards Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
BEST RACING GAME

Forza Motorsport 4
The racing genre, like many others, can be difficult to define in this era of gaming.  They span from pure simulation and realism, to arcady and cartoonish mayhem; each has their place, and each provide a different level of entertainment.  This year, Forza Motorsport 4 took the crown for a number of reasons.  Aside from hosting 80 car manufacturers and offering various new tracks, this racing sim will implement some of the most compelling uses for Kinect that we have yet to see in a "hardcore" game.  Most notably, players will be able to control the camera in the game by simply moving their head, providing a genuine sense of augmented reality.  In addition, the game will feature narration by Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, and a number of improvements to the World Tour mode, which promises rivalries between the various Car Clubs.  Despite a very cool track creator in ModNation Racers Vita, and the classic fun of Mario Kart 3DS, Forza looks to offer one of the most complete and innovative racing experiences we have seen in some time.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Mario Kart 3DS
E3 awards Need For Speed: The Run
E3 awards ModNation Racers Vita
BEST FIGHTING GAME

Street Fighter x Tekken
If there was one fighting game that clearly stole the show at E3 2011, it was most definitely Street Fighter x Tekken.  The game was featured prominently throughout each hall in the LA Convention Center, and never was their an empty kiosk.  Players were constantly lined up to compete and experiment with the latest Street Fighter fusion.  The game looked and played great, and it was amazing to see how faithfully the Tekken characters had been recreated in the Street Fighter universe.  To be fair, we aren't the most technical fighting game fans here in the office, but from our interactions with other gamers and those who know the intricacies of each fighting system, it sounds like Capcom is doing a fantastic job; we were most certainly impressed.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Skullgirls
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BEST RPG

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The next chapter in the Elder Scrolls saga looks to be one for the ages.  Hailed from the studios at Besthesda Games, Skyrim will serve as the epic re-imagining of the open-world fantasy RPG as we know it.  So much about this game stands out as being exemplary and revolutionary.  The highly interactive world, in which virtually anything can be visited, every person spoken to, and every book read, sets the stage for intimate yet brutal battles.  Enemies in the game span from giants, spiders, and ghouls, to wolves, people, and, as you likely know, dragons.  And it is here that Skyrim truly shows its power and impact on the player.  Dragons are dynamic and mercurial creatures that have a mind of their own.  They provide a distinct and awe inspiring challenge that helps to define the combat in Bethesda's next masterpiece.  And we're really just scraping the surface of Skyrim here; the game looks to be enormous and provide months of gameplay and re-playability.  While the other nominees were veritable contenders, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim offers an absolutely epic experience and the true trappings of a next-gen RPG.  As such, it is our pick for Best RPG of E3 2011.

RUNNERS UP
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BEST SHOOTER GAME

Bioshock: Infinite
Facing stiff competition between a number of fully qualified titles, Bioshock: Infinite managed to create some distinction for itself by providing deep emotional interaction between characters, a robust action/consequence system, and razor sharp gun-play.  Beyond that though, the sky-line system really sets Infinite apart.  The prospect of careening through the air while latched onto what is essentially an epic roller coaster is hard to pass up.  But when you combine the ability to jump from sky-line to sky-line, all while fighting off crazed Columbian denizens, you have a gameplay sequence that is hard to match.  All of the nominees in this category are amazing titles, and should be recognized as such, but Bioshock: Infinite proved to be the most impactful and compelling of them all.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Gears of War 3
E3 awards Battlefield 3
E3 awards RAGE
E3 awards Starhawk
BEST SPORTS GAME

FIFA 12
Years come and years go, and with them sports games release on cue.  More so than even the latest flooding of Call of Duty titles, sports games in general are often criticized for their yearly releases and only marginal updates.  EA sports FIFA 12 look to change that however, with a new mechanic that could not only make waves in their soccer game, but in the entire industry.  Enter the "Impact Engine," an all new physics and collision system that will accurately tack and display collisions between players and objects.  So, no ugly clipping; and beyond that, the engine will preserve a players momentum after the collision, resulting in what is easily one of the most precise and realistic looking sports game ever.  The "Impact Engine" alone is worth FIFA receiving this award, even though Madden and others should prove to be quite successful in their own right.

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BEST TRAILER

Tomb Raider "Turning Point"
When we first heard that Lara was making a return to the next-gen gaming scene we honestly weren't sure what to expect.  How would the series be handled?  How would the telling of Lara's origin story take place, and in what way would the game be unique?  Any fears or apprehensions that we may have had about the title were quite nearly eradicated once the "Turning Point" trailer debuted, and the new face of Lara Croft emerged.  The trailer is dark, impactful, and filled with subtle emotion that help to define Lara as we have never seen her before; lost, scared, and filled with self doubt.  But from those fears come strength and fortitude.  "A famous explorer once said, that the extraordinary is in what we do, not who we are." Through this trailer we get a small taste for the impetus that ignited Lara's passion for the unknown, and the thrill of discovery.  With a running time of 3 minutes, "Turning Point" manages to lay the foundation for what is sure to be an epic adventure.  "A survivor is born," indeed.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Assassin's Creed: Revelations
E3 awards Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
E3 awards Metro: Last Night
E3 awards Star Wars: The Old Republic
BEST GRAPHICS

Battlfield 3
Battlefield 3 is an instantly beautiful game.  The sweeping vistas, life-life animation, high quality textures, and detailed geometry all coalesce to create one of the most stunning games ever seen.  On a technical level, this game is simply unmatched even at this early stage.  Beyond the purely visual aesthetic though, Battlefield 3 provides a number of other thoroughly impressive technical achievements; ranging from destruction on a massive scale to dynamic lighting and complex shadows.  DICE and their Frostbite 2 engine have crafted a visual masterpiece in Battlefield 3.  Without this game though, the other nominees also have a very strong stake in this award, as each offers a high level of artistic and technical beauty in their own right.  As it stands, if you were to look at each game side-by-side, you would be very hard pressed to give the nod to any game other than Battlefield 3.
 
RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Tomb Raider
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BEST DOWNLOADABLE TITLE

Bastion
The downloadable game scene is an ever growing and evolving beast.  But what a beautiful, fun, and cost-effective beast it is.  As you can read in our hands-on preview, Bastion truly exemplifies the feeling of next-gen nostalgia.  It is beautiful, vibrant, and positively HD, but at the same time evokes the classic sensibilities of an old school isometric RPG.  This compelling gameplay, coupled with a truly innovative narrative delivery combine to create what will likely be one of the best games of the summer; downloadable, or otherwise.

RUNNERS UP
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E3 awards Crimson Alliance
MOST ATMOSPHERIC

Hitman: Absolution
You may very well be tiring of our ostensible love for Hitman: Absolution, so with that in mind we'll try to be brief here.  Basically, atmosphere and immersion were two of the primary reasons that the game shot to the top of our E3 awards list.  The resounding music, foreboding setting, and surprisingly epic set-pieces all helped to set an ominous tone that even Agent 47 has never seen before; it was a beautiful thing to behold.  However, Tomb Raider was a very close contender for this award, as Lara and her new surroundings all exuded distinct character and emotion.  The decision for this award, in all honesty, was very difficult.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Tomb Raider
E3 awards Bioshock: Infinite
E3 awards Batman: Arkham City
E3 awards Deus Ex: Human Revolution
MOST DISAPPOINTING
No Metal Gear Rising
There were a number of disappointments at this year's E3, to be sure, but the one that resonated with us most was the conspicuous absence of Metal Gear Rising.  We believe this was in part due to the overall surprise that it just wasn't going to be there.  The game even made our most anticipated of E3 list, and was subsequently removed from even being present at the show.  The lack of a showing from Valve, and with that Half-life 3, was certainly disappointing, but not terribly surprising either.  The same can be said for the lack of presence from The Last Guardian; we've been let down before with regards to that game.  We believe it was that "I can't wait to see Metal Gear Rising" feeling, to the "What?! It's not even going to be shown" feeling that helped the Metal Gear Rising no-show win this award.  Given the news of a rumored developer change could also place this game on the endangered list, though we don't want to go down that road just yet.

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Valve a no-show
E3 awards No Last Guardian
BEST OVERALL GAME

Hitman: Absolution
This will likely come as no surprise to anyone who has read our coverage of Hitman: Absolution from E3 this year.  I was excited about a new Hitman game, to be sure, but I wasn't prepared for the visceral, immersive, and stylistic spectacle that Io-Interactive created with Absolution.  Built with an entirely new engine that features impressive AI, dynamic lighting, and an all new move set for Agent 47, Hitman: Absolution boldly stood out among a list of amazing nominees for this award.

Note:In order to give other titles due recognition, Hitman: Absolution was not made eligible for any of the genre-specific awards. 

RUNNERS UP
E3 awards Tomb Raider
E3 awards Bioshock:Infinite
E3 awards Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception
E3 awards Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Wrap Up

So there you have it. We did our best to award the games that we thought were the most deserving of the show. There were certainly many to choose from, and as such we imagine you all may have a bit a feedback for us. Which is great, because we would love to hear what you think of our picks, as well as which games you are most excited about from E3 this year. As this was our first ever awards offering of any kind, we would also like to hear your opinions on the format of the awards, and if there are any categories that we should add for next time.

Lastly, we would like to apologize for not offering a formal way for readers to select their own "Best of E3" picks this year. However, now that we have this show under our belts, we'll be sure to provide a robust and user-friendly area for making your own picks the next time we have an awards feature. Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!
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USER COMMENTS
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Spriggs857 on January 09, 2012
Glad that Uncharted won so many awards
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davedarren on November 18, 2011
Go Battlefield! Best PC game wohoo!
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rohity03 on January 08, 2012
yeah but COD:MW3 is also good
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v3tr0x on November 13, 2011
cool games !
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rohity03 on January 08, 2012
yeah we all know
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varun2000 on November 13, 2011
little big planet is really good
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varun2000 on November 06, 2011
all r good choices
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rohity03 on October 28, 2011
EXOTIC games ...........cant wait for 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Shakaku on September 25, 2011
wheres batman? but skyrim, MGS:R and AC:R are def on top of my list
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rohity03 on January 08, 2012
and nfs the run also
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Renagaid on August 30, 2011
Im exctied for most of the games at E3
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rohity03 on January 08, 2012
same here
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rockznitu on August 18, 2011
w8in for mw3 n bf3
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Patriot65108 on August 10, 2011
Can't wait for Gears of War 3 and Uncharted 3, love both of those series.
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avisharma2196 on July 30, 2011
waiting for MW3!!!
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FluxOnline on July 30, 2011
Vote up if you were on the E3 :)
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hexwar on July 14, 2011
Cant wait for Bioshock Infinite! ^_^
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rohity03 on January 08, 2012
yeah
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TAHA2007 on July 13, 2011
cool
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SmokeyMccpott on July 13, 2011
The games im looking forward to the most are Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, BFBC3, and MW2. Awesome year for gaming if you ask me.
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