E3 is, barring the jetlag I’m still moaning and bitching about every day, rapidly approaching being a distant memory – but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep its spirit alive. We’ve seen a library of games, put our hands all over some new hardware and looked at some booth babes from afar. Something about that arrangement of that strikes me as fundamentally wrong, but I digress; we’ve seen a lot of cool stuff – and now it’s time to tell you what we thought was best.
We’ve come full circle with this one; though there was a wealth of great games in this category; things like Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden 3, Zelda : Skyward Sword and Hitman : Absolution that could easily clinch the win, two games stood out – though they’ve become a bit blurred as to which inspired which. Though Tomb Raider obviously came first, and Uncharted is at surface little more than the same thing with a more wise-cracking, male protagonist, the new Tomb Raider obviously draws much of its inspiration from Uncharted. Uncharted 3 though? That’ll take more of a beating than Lara Croft is capable of receiving.
Runner Up : Tomb Raider
How do you pick the best shooter from a show that was mostly made up of them? Almost every second game on show was a first or third person shooter of some sort – but only one sticks out as something I really want to invest time in. I’ve had enough of modern combat, I’ve shot at enough aliens, mutants and freaks to last me several lifetimes – but I’ve never traversed a city on a rollercoaster-like network of rails, all the while pumping hot lead in to those who wish me harm. Though it feels a little wrong to have Bioshock Infinite listed as an FPS, that is its core mechanic – but it’s so much more than a mere shooter; it’s an experience.
Runners up : Tied between Battlefield 3 and Gears of War 3
If there’s one single game from E3 that put a giant, indelible smile on my face, it’s Ubisoft’s resurrection of Rayman; one where he’s the lead character and isn’t playing second fiddle to a a troupe of demented rabbits. It’s a 4 player co-op traditional platformer that eschews all of the modern fluff that’s mostly made platform games unbearable. It does, however, sport some incredibly eye-catching, hand-drawn HD visuals that make it stand out.
Runner up : Super Mario 3DS
Best Handheld Game
For me, as a long time game who cut his teeth on Nintendo, this one’s obvious : the tentatively titled Super Mario 3DS. Designed by the Super Mario Galaxy team, it actually draws its aesthetics and general style from Super Mario 64. It’s a joy to play, and not just because it plays on nostalgic heartstrings by bringing back the Tanooki suit from Mario Bros 3; exceptional level design that actually utilises the 3DS’ 3D to make a real impact.
Runner up : Uncharted – Golden Abyss
This was another incredibly difficult one to pick. How do you make a choice of best roleplaying game when the options include a new Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the end though, I have to go with Skyrim. Mass Effect 3, though a beautiful and incredible game, doesn’t offer the most expansive role-playing, with its action-oriented focus. Tough one to call, but the amazingÂ new engine, new features, and most importantly – unscripted DRAGONS give Skyrim the edge.
Runner up : Mass Effect 3
There weren’t as many fighting games shown this year compared to the last few – showing that the recently revived genre might be hitting a bit of a stumbling block, but from the handful on show, one was a clear winner. Street Fighter x Tekken, Capcom’s part of the franchise crossover deal is a fast, fluid and most importantly fun fighting game that brings Tekken characters – surprisingly well – in to a world of Street Fighter mechanics. It’s a very combo-heavy, tag-team fighting game that should give players hundreds of hours of competitive mayhem.
Runner up : SkullGirls
Sports? What’s that? I can honestly say I didn’t give any sports game a second glance – but our more sports enthused man on the ground Ian pegged FIFA 12 as his pick.Â â€œFor the most part I could see that they had really tried to cater for the new and experienced players. As I said in my preview, it is a game that first time players will easily pick up and the more experienced player will battle to master. They have listened to the fans, and given them the a faster, more in-depth, deep PhysX based game that will not only set the bar for future soccer titles to beat, but also start pave a new road for FIFA’s online community in the Online World of FIFA.â€
Runner Up : SSX
Best Music/Rhythm Game
Since Guitar Hero died and Rockband cratered at retail, the music and rhythm genre has been in steady decline – with a few interesting games carrying the mantle. I’m a little loathe to admit it, but I love the hell out of Dance Central on the Xbox 360, and the sequel packs in enough new features – including, finally, proper two player multiplayer that tracks both players at the same time. In typical Harmonix fashion, Dance Central 2 allows you to import all the tracks from the first game too, so you won’t be out of pumping choons to shake your bits to. I’d really have given it to Ubisoft’s rather intriguing Rocksmith – which allows you to plug in your own electric guitar and actually learn music, save for that fact that it’s apparently not releasing in SA.
Runner up : Rocksmith
Best Racing Game
I think regular readers would know what my stance on racing games is, but even I was impressed by what Forza 4 has on offer. AI that doesn’t just follow a racing line, a new world tour mode, beautifully rendered cars (and the new Autovista mode for looking at them) and yes, even Kinect integration make this game a game that’s like porn for car enthusiasts. Well, unless they’re rabid GT 5 fans who’re unable to look beyond the flaws in Polyphony Digital’s technically brilliant, but clunky simulator.
Runner up : Mario Kart 3DS
Best New Hardware
There are only really two exciting new bits of real hardware news to come out of E3 this year; Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s new handheld – the one that sounds like a wholewheat digestive biscuit – the PSVita. Though the PSVita is very attractively priced, and is a marvel in how well it brings home console experiences to a handheld, what I want from a handheld isn’t the home console experience though; for that I’d rather play a console. It’s an impressive piece of kit, but for that reason alone I have to give it to the Wii U. Besides, a machine that’ll give me HD Nintendo experiences as well as the latest and greatest graphical marvels? That’s something worth paying attention to.
Best Waste of showfloor space
Best of Show
Unequivocally, undeniably BioShock Infinite.
Previously known as “Project Icarus” BioShock Infinite is the third game in the series and takes place on the Steampunk Air-City of Columbia. We found out in our exclusive E3 demo that Columbia was meant to be a foot-hold for a new American order, but things (as you would expect from a BioShock title) went balls-up. The story is rich, colourful and takes the FPS genre to new heights and shows the world that we don’t have to accept the MW3 and BF3 viewpoint; we can look beyond the red-dot scope and see a far bigger target; In this case, BioShock Infinite.
Last Updated: June 15, 2011