With E3 2011 over it’s time to take a step back and single out those games that impressed us above all others. Split into 14 categories, the winners are a diverse bunch indeed and highlight the fact that (despite their abundance at this year’s show) the videogames of the near future are set to offer experiences beyond that of ‘first-person shooting’.
Nominees: Battlefield 3, Journey, Prey 2, Batman: Arkham City, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, Tomb Raider, Gears of War 3.
Not only was Journey one of the best striking games of the show visually, it was one of the most striking in terms of gameplay and overall mission statement. As with the rest of thatgamecompany’s output to date (Flower, Flow), Journey is so not much about instant gratification, high scores and combat as it is about creating an overall feeling, sennse of mood and, in this instance, companionship.
The fact that we’ve awarded our Game of the Show award to a game that will only be available via digital download from the PlayStation Store speaks to the incredible leaps and bounds developers creating games for this space have made in recent years. It’s with great pleasure that we crown Journey the IncGamers’ E3 2011 Game of Show, congratulations to thatgamecompany.
Needless to say, we cannot wait to get our hands of the final version of Journey.
Runner Up: Battlefield 3
Nominees: Rage, Battlefield 3, Prey 2, Gears of War 3, Bioshock: Infinite, Metro: Last Light.
Winner: Battlefield 3
In one of the most tightly and fiercely contested categories of this year’s awards, it was Battlefield 3 that finished above the competition. The visuals, the audio, the tank battles and sheer sense of scale helped it achieve its commendation from us and went a long way to convincing many that this may be the year that Call of Duty is usurped from its FPS throne.
Runner Up: Prey 2
Nominees: Need for Speed: The Run, Forza Motorsport 4, Trackmania 2: Canyon, Mario Kart 3DS.
Winner: Forza Motorsport 4
Not as many nominees as we’re used from a genre that is ungoing somewhat of a spike in popularity at present. In spite of the arcade onslaught it was Forza 4 that stood out thanks to the series continued insistance to provide a game of exhaustive depth while remaining attractive to the causual player.
With the kind of unintrusive Kinect intergration that many developers could learn from, Forza 4 has done wonders in convincing us that there’s reason for the ‘core/hardcore’ gamer to make use of Microsoft’s little box cameras after all. Plus, bonus points for being able to explore cars in AutoVista mode and listen to narration from Jeremy Clarkson.
Runner Up: Need for Speed: The Run
Nominees: SSX, Forza Motorsport 4, FIFA 12, Madden NFL 12, NBA 2K12.
Winner: FIFA 12
Again, a category that was not as contested as much as we’re used to, sports games were unusually few and far between at this year’s show. Of the one’s that we’re their, it was a case of the usual suspects (albeit a belated return to action from SSX).
The fact that three of the five nominees hail from the EA camp speaks to the continued domination in the sector from the American mega-publisher. Largely thanks to its new contact and player interaction systems, FIFA 12 dribbles away with this year’s award. New online community functions also helped its case.
Runner Up: Forza Motorsport 4
Nominees: Street Fighter x Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, BlazBlue Continuum Shift II Plus, SkullGirls.
Winner: Street Fighter x Tekken
In short, never bet against Street Fighter. The slightly longer version is to never bet against a Street Fighter game that also includes the word ‘Tekken’ in its title. Capcom understand and produce crossover titles better than anyone else and, from what we’ve seen, Street Fighter x Tekken is going to be no different.
Let’s be honest, how could it be anything be wonderful? The Street Fighter IV set-up of 3D fighting in a 2D space, this time with Jin, Julia and Hwoarang thrown in to take a Dragon Punch from Ken… I smell a winner.
Runner Up: Ninja Gaiden 3
Nominees: Batman: Arkham City, Journey, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, Twisted Metal, Saints Row: The Third, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Winner: Batman: Arkham City
Rocksteady pulled Batman games out of the doldrums with Batman: Arkham Asylum, giving fans of the Caped Crusader a title they’d been craving. Arkham City is looking like an “if it ain’t broke” approach to a sequel, but with one sizeable change that should make a key difference to how the game plays. By opening up the area outside Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady have created a semi-sandbox for Batman to do his stuff in. With more villains, a deadlier Riddler, minor improvements to an already impressive combat system and an actual Gotham skyline for our hero to lurk on and swoop from, Batman: Arkham City is looking very impressive.
Runner Up: Tomb Raider
Nominees: Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Zelda: The Skyward Sword, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Winner: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Following up one of the highest rated and most respected games of all time is no easy task. The fact that Eidos Montreal is attempting such a thing at all is worthy of praise. With the same themes of body augmentation and the seedy underbelly of such things playing out in Human Revolution is seems that it may indeed come close to at least feeling a little like the original.
In all honest, if it feels just a little like the original come a full playthrough then things are going to be very interesting.
Runner Up: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Nominees: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dragon Nest, Defiance, TERA, End of Nations.
Winner: Star Wars: The Old Republic
A highly promising MMO and one that fans have been eagerly waiting for. With the backing of BioWare, and from what we saw at E3, this is the one to watch in the latter half of 2011.
Runner Up: End of Nations
Nominees: Journey, Rage, From Dust, Azura’s Wrath, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
Runner Up: From Dust
Nominees: Gears of War 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Bastion, Trenched, Dance Central 2, Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster.
Winner: Gears of War 3
We can’t have an E3 in which a new Gears of War is on the showfloor and not throw something its way. Epic’s aproach to the game’s single-player campaign seems to be to provide more of the same which, unsurprisingly, is perfectly a-ok by us. So expect plenty of good times killing, ripping and impaling Locusts on chainsaws.
With Gears 3 already showing that its mutliplayer component is improved from editions passed thanks to a wildly successful open beta earlier this year, things are (as per usual) only looking up for Marcus Fenix and company.
Runner Up: Bastion
Nominees: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Journey, Twisted Metal, Starhawk, Resistance 3.
The strength of this year’s PS3-exclusive line-up speaks to the ever growing strength of Sony’s console… growing old gracefully is a phrase that comes to mind.
However, despite the ever impressive looking Uncharted 3, the insane Twisted Metal and the looks-to-be-what-Warhawk-should-have-been Starhawk, it’s a little game from thatgamecompany that impressed more than any other running on Sony’s black box.
If the PS3 is indeed growing old gracefully then it’s Journey that looks to be providing the ‘gracefully’.
Runner Up: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Nominees: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Trackmania 2, Arma 3, Crusader Kings 2, End of Nations, TERA.
Winner: End of Nations
TRION and Petroglyph are getting ready shake-up the strategy genre by adding MMO elements to the gameplay. It remains to be seen how the final game will turn out but so far the game is looking highly promising and should really expand the genre if they pull it off.
Runner Up: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Nominees: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Ruin, Super Mario 3DS, Kid Icarus Uprising.
Winner: Super Mario 3DS
Runner Up: Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Nominees: Prey 2, Awesomenauts, From Dust, Tomb Raider, Asura’s Wrath, Metro: Last Light, Twisted Metal, Battlefield 3.
Winner: Battlefield 3
There were some great trailer at E3 this year but the one that really made us take notice was the awesome visuals of the . Simple Outstanding.
Runner Up: Prey 2
Nominees: Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Sony, Ubisoft, Nintendo.
Winner: Electronic Arts
With one of the biggest line-ups at this year’s show, EA were always going to be tough to beat.
However, with quantity came quality. The likes of SSX, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning and FIFA 12 showing that the publisher knows how to get us excited by showing off some impressive elements from their incoming catalogue.
There was also the announcement of B-movie lookalike, team-based shooter OverStrike and the first overall in-game footage of Need for Speed: The Run (surely one of this year’s most shockingly moments… a Need for Speed game in which you get out of the car and take off on foot).
They also get bonus points for having Ray Lewis at their press conference. Yes, that’s more impressive than having Kobe at the Sony keynote. Hey, we like our US football here.
Runner Up: Bethesda