Best of E3 2011

Best Conference – Sony

Of the 5 big conferences, the one that seemed to hold the most that would be of interest to the core audience of E3; and especially to me specifically, was the Sony conference. They had a good solid focus on games with some interesting tech, a good reveal at the end, and a lot of interesting footage.

Best Graphics – Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3’s water effects were what sealed it as the best graphics of E3 for me. Watching the footage of that boat tilting and the water sliding and gushing combined with the rest of the graphics looking every bit as polished as ever… just incredible.

Honorable Mention: Battlefield 3, Bioshock Infinite

Best Shooter– StarHawk

Of all of the shooters displayed at E3, the one that looked the most fun to play was Starhawk. With it’s unique blend of rts and tower defense style mechanics with intense third person shooter action, I absolutely cannot wait for this game.

Honorable Mention: Battlefield 3

Best Downloadable Title – Journey

The developers of Flower and Flow are back again with ‘Journey’, a solemn ‘multiplayer’ experience starring an animate cloak. The peaceful, serene nature of the gameplay combined with the incredibly unique nature of the graphics and multiplayer just add up to it being one of the most intriguing downloadable titles I’ve ever seen.

Honorable Mention: Bastion

Best Sports/Racing Game – SSX

The rebirth of the snowboarding genre is probably the only thing that could have gotten me interested in a sports game again. An impressive accomplishment to be sure, this game looks like a ton of fun, and – although I never thought I’d say this about a sports game – I am so excited to get my hands on this game.

Best Platformer – Kirby Wii

Kirby Wii is a throwback to the old style Kirby games like Kirby’s All Stars and Kirby 64. And that’s a really really good thing because those were some of the most fun games I can remember. I just hope they let people use the classic controllers for this one! ;)

Honorable Mention: Little Big Planet(working title) for the Playstation Vita

Best New IP – Overstrike

There really weren’t many new IPs at E3 so this is kind of a limited category to choose from, but Overstrike’s video was so over the top, with an awesome sense of humour, and really cool characters… that I just can’t help but pick it as my choice of best new IP.

Honorable Mention: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Asura’s Wrath

Best RPG – Mass Effect 3 and Final Fantasy XIII-2

Here is my one tie – the one category there is no clear winner for. I loved FF13. The combat was awesome, the story was incredible, and I loved the world. The thought of returning to Pulse and getting a chance to explore new areas of Pulse with a whole new story is so enticing, and the new additions sound like they really learned from what few mistakes they made with it. But then there’s Mass Effect 3; and if you read my review you know I loved Mass Effect 2. One of the few Western RPGs that really did Story right. And the thought of getting some closure on that storyline, and seeing how everything that happened in ME2 pans out in the end gives me just as much excitement. So I had to declare a tie here.

Best Open World Game – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

There were really 3 games I saw that would really fall in this category, and they were all really cool. The reason Amalur is my clear winner is because, while Skyrim was impressive, it didn’t look as fun to play as Amalur did; and I didn’t get to see the thing they bragged so much about improving: Third person gameplay. So since Amalur looked incredible, showed me third person combat, and looked like a ton of fun, it gets the win here. But Skyrim does however get an honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Skyrim

Best Handheld Game – Icarus: Rising

Icarus Rising is the game that may well be the one to make the 3DS worth having. The game looks incredible, and I’ve been hoping for an Icarus sequel, or heck even remake, for years since Kid Icarus was one of the best games of my childhood. Damn Eggplants.

Honorable Mention: Ruin

Best Action Adventure Game– Asura’s Wrath

Capcom’s incredibly over the top action brawler takes my ‘Best Action Adventure Game’ win due to it’s fantastic flair, it’s unique appearance, and it’s over the top creativity. There wasn’t much gameplay shown, but I’m quite interested in seeing how this pans out, and the trailer definitely had enough to pique my curiosity.

Honorable Mention: Ruin, Batman: Arkham City

Best Tech– Playstation Vita

The Playstation Vita was hands down the most impressive piece of tech at E3, showcasing a hefty graphical processor with dual analog(something fans have been asking, nay begging for for years), as well as some more casual additions such as dual touch screens and tilt controls. An impressive piece of hardware, and all for 249? What a powerhouse.

Note: The Wii-U could potentially turn into a more impressive piece of hardware, but the simple fact is that we just don’t know enough to be sure.

Honorable Mention: Nintendo Wii-U

Most Unique Title – Journey

Congratulations on a second win Journey! You truly earned it with this inspired cloth-based adventure of discovery.

Honorable Mention: Bioshock Infinite

Best Sony Exclusive– Starhawk

As mentioned above, Starhawk looks fantastic, and truly earned this win, with every fibre of it’s rts/shooter hybrid being.

Honorable Mention: Uncharted 3

Best Microsoft Exclusive – Gears of War 3

Microsoft’s Exclusives consist of Halo 4(*yawn*), a new Forza(*double yawn*), and a bunch of Kinect titles… so really this isn’t much of a contest. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Gears 3 looks like an epic third person shooter filled with action, gore, and a chainsaw on a giant gun. Gears 3 is a definite contender, and was pretty high on my list of shooters.

Best Nintendo Exclusive – Icarus: Rising

Winner of Best Handheld title is more than worthy of it’s second win here – Best Nintendo Exclusive. Can’t wait to get my hands on Icarus: Rising when it hits shelves.

Honorable Mention: Kirby Wii

Best Multiplatform Title – Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3, Bioware’s Epic RPG, is winning the “Best Multiplatform Title’ due to all the hard work the good folks at Bioware have sunk into it. Good show, and good showing.

Honorable Mention: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Best Trailer – Overstrike

The combination of humour, action, fantastic weaponry, and great characters has combined to give Overstrike the ‘Best Trailer of E3’ award! Good job Insomniac!

Honorable Mention: Mass Effect 3

Biggest Surprise– Announcement of Move Support for Bioshock Infinite

Most of what happened at this year’s E3 was pretty much known well in advance, but the big shocker for me at least was when Ken Levine, known advocate against motion gaming, came on stage and reversed his stance announcing that Bioshock Infinite would support the Playstation Move. That makes two years in a row Sony’s press conference has had the big shocker of the year.

Honorable Mention: Wii-U being called ‘Wii-U’

Best Motion Title – Just Dance 3

Of all the motion titles, there were only a few that looked like they were well made. Just Dance 3 is the one that looks like it’s the most well made, with what looked like responsive controls, multiplatform support, and the best trailer to showcase it.

Honorable Mention: Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster

Best Children’s Title – Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster

When making a title for children, I think the most important thing is to make it something that parents will share with their children. Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster had that. It looked like something that could spur family time, that could generate conversation, and could get a child thinking. Most of the other children’s titles I see, including the others I saw at E3, looked more like they were designed to be babysitters for the children while mom google-chatted with her secret lover and dad drunk his life away at a bar. But Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is a title I could see being a nice centerpiece for healthy family night fun. Good job Tim Schafer, I hope the title pans out as well as it demoed.

And for our final, and most prestigious awards: The “Best of Show” awards – first we’ll do our 3 runners up!

Third runner up– Playstation Vita
The solid titles, the cool tech, the cross-platform nature with the ps3, and the really reasonable price-point all combined to make this one of the most exciting showings at E3. Grats on being our third runner up to best of show PSVita!

Second Runner Up – Icarus: Rising

Winning two ‘Best of E3’ awards, and being the single most compelling reason to own a 3ds makes this one a solid shoe-in for second runner up for our ‘best of show’ category. Congratulations Nintendo!

First Runner Up – Mass Effect 3

Also winning two best of E3 awards and being one of the most anticipated games of our time, Mass Effect 3 slides in as our first runner up for ‘Best of Show’. Congratulations to fellow Canadians Bioware! Keep up the good work!!

Best of Show– Starhawk

Well, we come to the game that gave me a bit of a surprise. I’d seen a bit of footage of the game, but not nearly enough to be as excited as I clearly should be. Starhawk has a truly unique meld of rts style development and third person(thank you!) shooter elements that just blew me away. I am excited for this game to the same caliber as I am excited for Diablo 3, and that says a lot. I cannot wait for LightBox Interactive to release this masterpiece, and I am proud to give them my E3 ‘Best of Show’ award for Starhawk.

Hope you all enjoyed E3!

-Sean

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