E3 2011: Best of Show Awards

by Chris Arnone, posted on 13 June 2011 / 16,158 Views

Another year, another E3 under our belts. Overall we felt a bit disappointed compared to last year. There were less surprise software announcements and generally less "wow" moments, but that's not to say we didn't have any. More than 45,000 people came through the Los Angeles Convention Center last week and we accounted for 13 of them. We handed out our nominee placards on Wednesday morning, then voted on our winner Thursday night after the show was over. So, without further ado, your E3 2011 Best of Show Award winners.

 

Best First-Person Shooter

BioShock Infinite was really one of those "wow" moments for those who went behind closed doors to see it. Set in a floating city rather than the underwater city of Rapture, BioShock Infinite combines the great gameplay of BioShock with some absolutely massive setpieces. Combine that with a heart-wrenching end to the live demonstrations, and you'll understand why this was our favorite first-person shooter.

Nick Simberg writes: "You come to, seconds later. You're in a round room. The roof is being torn off. It's the Guardian. Before it delivers the killing blow to your limp, beaten body, Elizabeth saves you. "I'm sorry!" she yells, immediately placating the creature. "I shouldn't have left you. Take me home." It picks her up, leaving you on the floor. Her eyes fill with tears as you reach out for her..."

 

Best Third-Person Shooter

The award-winning franchise returns to E3 yet again and as alway, never fails to impress. Sony describes Uncharted as their flagship franchise, and with good reason. The title looks and sounds great yet again, particularly showing off how 3D can be done right in a video game. Drake is getting back in the saddle with style in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

Karl Koebke writes: "Nathan decided that the fight wasn’t really going his way and in a move I think most professional fighting organizations would consider cheating he unhooked the cargo to send it and his enemy flying out the back of the plane.  That was followed by a brief feeling of victory before the rest of the cargo started rumbling towards Drake and he followed his adversary out the plane.  He grabbed onto one of the boxes trailing behind the plane by its webbing and the video cut to black."

 

Best Racing Game

Mario Kart has been a favorite arcade racing franchise for generations. Nintendo puts it on nearly every console they release and it looks like the Nintendo 3DS will be no exception. The gameplay mechanics look tight as ever and keep with the traditional single-racer setup . Nintendo really knows how to do their 3D right on the 3DS, creating one of the best looking titles on the system so far.

Xavier Griffiths writes: " Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s best-selling and highest-quality series. This franchise is able to connect so well with gamers of all types because it mixes a steady injection of new ideas while retaining the same addictive kart racing gameplay that makes all other kart racers pale in comparison. Mario Kart makes it debut in the third dimension in the newest entry on the Nintendo 3DS."

 

Best Role-Playing Game

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was another real "wow" moment on the show floor of E3. From the moment the demonstration opened up, you were instantly aware of how dramatic the overhaul is from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to Skyrim. This is one fantastic looking game. The gameplay improvements were quickly apparent as well, focusing on wielding whatever you want in each hand. There's just something cool about taking down a massive dragon (or two).

Nick Simberg writes: "You can use magic in a few new ways, too, like setting floor traps that explode when an enemy comes into range. In summary, this looks to one-up Oblivion in every single way. Boo-yah. November can't come soon enough."

 

Best Fighting Game

Like Limbo last year, Skullgirls quickly became the darling indie title for the VGChartz staff on the show floor of E3. Featuring art by Alex Ahad (Scott Pilgrim), Skullgirls is a quirky 2D fighting game featuring an all-female cast. Unlike other all-female fighters, Skullgirls isn't about exaggerating the female form, but showing how girls can kick ass too.

Xavier Griffiths: "Developer Reverge Labs has an amazing looking game on their hands. Every frame is beautifully hand drawn and animated.  It is great to see an original fighting game that is this competitive and addicting. Skullgirls  was one of the nicest surprises of this year’s E3 and that I hope is just as charming upon its release. "

 

Best Action/Adventure Game

Batman: Arkham Asylum was a Game of the Year winner when it released in 2009. How do you make a game that follows up on such a success? You bring back everything people loved about the original and add on a host of new features. Batman: Arkham City is looking to do that with more exploration, sidequests, an open world, and more combat animations. The Dark Knight rides again.

Nick Simberg writes: "But now, my time with the game was coming to an end... But who else can say they played Arkham City for an hour? Not a lot of people, actually, and that's why E3 is probably the coolest thing I get to do all year. I think it's pretty safe to say that anyone that liked the first game will probably love this sequel, which seems - from what I've heard - to improve on the original in every way."

 

Best Sports Game

SSX has thus far limped into the seventh generation of consoles. The only game we've seen is a motion-controlled Wii version. Needless to say, fans have been asking for a great new SSX game for a while. Despite some initial trepidation based on the VGA trailer, it looks like EA is really creating the SSX game we've been wanting. Big tricks, fast races, and old-school controls are bringing back SSX bigger and badder than ever.

Xavier Griffiths writes: "Though SSX  still has a lot of time to go before its ready to hit the slopes, it was a stand out title at this year's E3. The game harnesses a brash sense of fun that gamers have been craving during the series' long hiatus."

 

Best Platformer

Rayman has been gone from the home consoles for quite a while, never appearing on the current lineup of consoles. That's all about to change with Rayman Origins. As the title says, it takes a look at the limbless hero's origin story with an art style that had the entire VGChartz E3 crew drooling for more.

Carlos Macias writes: "Of course, and the most obvious aspect in screens, are the visuals that look straight out of a painting come to life with a unique, Tim Burton-esque art style that truly stands out. The developers smartly went with detailed, beautiful animated character models instead of a drab, polygonal mess that would have been undeserving of the Rayman series. "


Best Music Game

Some like to declare the music game genre is dead, particularly outside of dancing games. Rocksmith is here to bring us the music game many have been asking for. In Rocksmith , you don't plunk out grand chords on a plastic toy guitar while gems fall down the screen. Instead, you grab a real guitar and learn to play with real tablature. Soon you'll be playing real songs on your real guitar, all thanks to Rocksmith .

Nick Simberg writes: "The guys at Ubisoft obviously have a lot of talent and love for the title. Here's hoping that they'll find a market this fall in a gaming environment that's really kind of sick of rhythm games. But honestly, why hasn't this been done yet?!"

 

Best Puzzle Game

It was hard to figure out what genre Catherine best fits into, but after our own Karl Koebke got some hands-on time with it, he found the majority of the gameplay to fall squarely into the puzzle category, a genre it won handily. Catherine has been described as beautiful, sexy, and downright strange. Well, we're here to tell you it's downright awesome.

Karl Koebke writes: "I came away from this E3 completely sold on Catherine .  I had some apprehension about the puzzle aspects of the game coming into it, but it really looks like a lot of fun even if it’s going to take some judicious swearing to get through.  Interesting mature story, funny dialogue, and beautiful visuals that I didn’t even mention seal the deal. "

 

Best Party Game

Not what you were expecting? Believe it or not, even Sesame Street can become pretty cool when you get Tim Schafer and the team at Double Fine behind it. While Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster may not hook the mature gamers, it's a shoe-in for those with kids and the gameplay is sound enough that even the most self-respecting adults shouldn't pass up this Kinect title.

Chris Arnone writes: "Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster  really captures the looks, sounds, and whimsy of Sesame Street. The Kinect controls are fairly tight, particularly considering the game is still early enough in development that they don't have a firm release date yet. The minigames are numerous and varied already and they're still creating more. I was really amazed how much fun I had with this game. It will be a must-own title for those with children. Even if you don't have any, you may want to pick it up anyway for a great party experience."

 

Best Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game

It's BioWare. It's also Star Wars. Those alone would be enough in most books to garner a best of show award. We took it for a hands-on spin, however, and we're definitely excited. The demo for Star Wars: The Old Republic took us to Tattooine and put us in the shoes of some Sith operatives, making us really feel like we'd transported to Luke Skywalker's boyhood home. Star Wars: The Old Republic is putting World of Warcraft on notice.

Chris Arnone writes: "Star Wars: The Old Republic is really shaping up to be a powerhouse MMORPG. The gameplay elements are all there and the classes are very deep (and I only got to see the Sith side!), particularly for a game that hasn't even launched yet. Any Star Wars or MMO fan has to be excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it looks like you won't be disappointed."

Best Downloadable Game

Thatgamecompany has never failed to produce great games for the PlayStation Network. FLoW grabbed us early in the PlayStation 3's life. Flower then captured our imaginations by putting us in control of the wind. Now they're looking to do it again with Journey. Introducing a dynamic new online play capability and gorgeous graphics and art, Journey sent many of our VGChartz E3 crew back to look at it again and again on the show floor.

Nick Pantazis writes: "In addition, the music is beautiful and haunting. I played it with headphones on in Sony’s media area, and despite being surrounded by hundreds of people I was able to get completely lost in the game. In fact, when our time was up I had almost forgotten where I was. Few games I have ever played have excelled so much at making such a powerful expression through presentation in such a short time."

Best Visuals

It should come as no surprise that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception managed to pull in best visuals. The game franchise has long been considered one of the best looking console games on the market. Since PC didn't have a really strong showing (The Witcher 2 is already out, for example), the consoles marched on ahead with Uncharted 3 leading the pack. Gorgeous graphics, great art style, and some of the best use of 3D in a game we've ever seen make it our choice.

 

Biggest Surprise

Really, nobody saw this one coming. Microsoft's entire press conference line-up had been leaked days before. Sony's biggest surprise was a piece of hardware, and the entire conference was really light on big game announcements. We really didn't see Luigi's Mansion 2 coming, but we're glad it is. Many are fans of the original Luigi's Mansion, but nobody had imagined Nintendo would revitalize it with a sequel. 

 

Biggest Comeback

Did I mention there hasn't been a Rayman game on the current generation of home consoles? Did I also mention Rayman Origins looks awesome? Biggest Comeback is a category for games that either haven't had a release in a long time or have been going downhill for a long time and are looking to bring the franchise back to glory. Rayman Origins is the former. There haven't been any Rayman games in a while and we're certainly glad they're bringing him back.

 

Best Multiplayer

The new Twisted Metal looks to be a unique experience. There were some great looking and great playing multiplayer games available at E3 2011, but Twisted Metal really looks to bring something new to the table. Sweet Tooth and all his friends are returning to also bring character to every player, rather than the faceless masses of most FPS and TPS multiplayer experiences. Get in your ride and try to blow your opponents to bits in some really huge arenas, exclusively on PlayStation 3.

 

Game of the Show

We started strong and we're ending just as strong. To be honest, it was a close vote, but BioShock Infinite took our most esteemed award for E3 2011. With its brilliant graphics, massive setpieces, established gameplay, and heart-wrenching moments, BioShock Infinite captured the hearts, minds, and twitchy thumbs of everybody who saw it.

 

There you have it, our E3 2011 Best of Show Award winners. Missed a preview? Click the E3 2011 tag or head over to our E3 2011 site for all the biggest hits from the show.


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50 Comments

Jedidiah-Rose (on 14 June 2011)

It was between Infinite and Uncharted 3 for best of show...they both deserve it really.For me it was Uncharted 3,but I love both series and am very happy to see irrational games back on bioshock :)


Torillian (on 13 June 2011)

@Black, I really can't see how you could be upset with one Mario game winning one award. Just one. Hell, Mario 3DS didn't even win best platformer because the demo at the show wasn't as amazing as Rayman's in our opinion. So all you have is Mario Kart winning an award, is that so terrible?


Ssenkahdavic (on 13 June 2011)

Not a bad list. My biggest suprise was vitas price point.-


ethomaz (on 15 June 2011)

Uncharted 3 was the best of show for me.


Jumpin (on 15 June 2011)

Elder Scrolls for best RPG? Is that even a true RPG? It probably should have been Final Fantasy 13-2.


Boutros (on 14 June 2011)

Wow some of you need to chill. Geez.


M.U.G.E.N (on 14 June 2011)

Biggest surprise for PSV price, and game of the show was UC3, nothing can beat that gameplay footage. but overall solid list


Raido (on 14 June 2011)

I think Battlefield 3 had the best graphics... But other than that, quite a good list!


adriane23 (on 13 June 2011)

Can't really disagree with any of the choices except for Best RPG.


Teo (on 13 June 2011)

Um best RPG was Dark Souls by a long shot and FFXIII-2 by surprising everyone on the developing team "fixing" the "issues" in the first one, Skyrim is the same shit as Oblivion with better graphics and minimal tweaks in gameplay - unoriginal and same shit.


Machina (on 13 June 2011)

Oh, and I think that PSN Heist game could've been a good pick for Biggest Surprise; looks to be the surprise hit of the show.


Machina (on 13 June 2011)

Glad Sesame Street won something! Good to see BioShock get Game of the Show too.


PopeOfGames (on 15 June 2011)

@Jumpin I see what you did there.


Teratus (on 15 June 2011)

Finally caught up on the E3 and seen all 3 shows now so i can finally give me own opinion on the con This year hasnt been as good as recent years admitidly but strangly there are alot of games coming this year i want to buy now far more than i wanted to buy last year and previous years So far My game list was The Last Guardian, Assasins Creed Rev, Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Ocarina of time 3d, Starfox 3d, Sonic Generations, Resident Evil Revelations and Duke Nukem Forever, but after the Pre and E3 shows my list has taken a massive bulk up XD I've now added Skyrim, Streetfighter X tekken, The Ico/shadow, Silent Hill, Metal gear solid and Zone of the enders Remastered HD collections, Tombraider, Mario Kart 3D, Luigi's Mansion 2, Uncharted 3 (once i obtain and playthrough the first 2) and Jurassic Park Im very skeptical on Battlefield 3 and Modern warefare 3 for a few reasons biggest of all is that FPS are starting to get very boring to me and what I mainly buy them for is the online gameplay tbh thats something that CoD was really good for until the quickscopers and one man army noobtubers started coming in I've never bothered with battlefield before but im tempted by the look of this new one :) I will at the moment save my cash from MW3 until the game comes out, if it has all the problems that MW2 has (quickscopers and noobtubers etc) then i will not bother buying it and to save myself from critisism I left Bioshock and Mass effect out of my list intentially I really dislike those game series and Gears of war and Halo are not in there simply because i dont own or ever plan to own a xbox system although Halo 4 does look alot better than its privious games but since i own a ps3 and a pc I simply do not see the point in owning a 360 when its exsclusives do not interest me and without a XBL you miss out on almost everythign the 360 has to offer and i for one strongly oppose paying for services other products give you for free this is also the reason I dont play Wow and other sub fee MMO's


hiroko (on 14 June 2011)

best of show bioshock? sorry man bioshock is nothing compared to uncharted3


Fededx (on 13 June 2011)

Go Luigi!!!


non-gravity (on 13 June 2011)

I was expecting Skyrim as GOTS, not to say Bioshock isn't a good pick


Mythe (on 13 June 2011)

Great choices. I'm glad you picked SSX for best sports game =D


Machina (on 13 June 2011)

@Hatmoza - which 3? Please tell me Sesame Street was one of them xD


Torillian (on 13 June 2011)

@Hat, mostly just alcohol and drugs. Obviously not doing our jobs since you don't agree with us ^^


Torillian (on 13 June 2011)

@Enrage, we decide the list in order so we actually end up going to opposite direction. A game has to have won its genre after we work through all of those awards for it to be eligible for the overall award. I get what you mean that it's kind of obvious it does win the genre if it wins overall, but I don't like the apparent lack of consistency when an overall winner doesn't win its genre as well.


Ninpanda (on 13 June 2011)

Yup, Bioshock Infinite is looking [i][b]goo-ood[/b][/i]. Hopefully Columbia will live up to Rapture. [i](Definitely looks like it could.)[/i] All in all, swell choices for the most part. I'd give the 'Best Platformer' award to Kirby or Sonic, though.


darthdevidem01 (on 15 June 2011)

LMAO some of you should re-read your own posts before criticizing the article. In case you didn't noticed the article isn't called "insert your name here's Favourite E3 Games"


Killy_Vorkosigan (on 14 June 2011)

Good joke. Uh ? in the headlines ?


Gimgak (on 13 June 2011)

@Teo Funny you don't call out FF XII-2 for that, I mean Square couldn't even make a better name FFS. It's sad when people think the Final Fantasy games have any relevance any more, Square should just continue making good handheld games and forget about the shitty FF console games.


Bman54 (on 13 June 2011)

Not even a Best Conference award?


tarheel91 (on 13 June 2011)

Err, was Skyward Sword not eligible or something?


trasharmdsister12 (on 13 June 2011)

With best racer I could see one's preference for something like Mario Kart over Forza... but once again it would've been nice to see other nominees and mentions of a runner up or something.


trasharmdsister12 (on 13 June 2011)

It would've been nice if you included other nominees for each section to give us an idea of what else was considered great in each category. I'm actually sort of puzzled how BF3 wasn't mentioned in the Best Visuals category.


DestroyraX (on 13 June 2011)

@Black RL Forza4 4 best racing yes Gears 3 for best 3rd person shooter no Best multi is BF3 but not best graphics but i could agree those two games is a very close second


Hyruken (on 13 June 2011)

Come on now. You know you picked some of these just to be different from what everyone else is saying.... Best multiplayer and Visuals is battlefield 3, i really don't get how you could choose Twisted Metal for that? As Zucas says go watch the thunder tank run E3 gameplay and your be blown away.


Salnax (on 13 June 2011)

No Platform Awards?


Black RL (on 13 June 2011)

Best racing game is FORZA4 and not Mario Kart obviously, and best third person shooter is Gears 3.


Zucas (on 13 June 2011)

Wow I don't agree with many of these haha. Best visuals and multiplayer for me is Battlefield 3 (yes PC did have a good showing so go watch that tank gameplay again). I'd dispute game of show and best FPS for Battlefield 3 as well but Bioshock: Infinite looked great too. Best downloadable game I'd put From Dust. Others I'd disagree with, but I'd still say the one that got over it is fine. Can see how they would get that. Got to be something else, though, for best party game. I mean anything haha.


zarx (on 15 June 2011)

Battlefield 3 had better graphics than uncharted 3 from where I was sitting...


Tridrakious (on 15 June 2011)

The biggest surprise for me was Sony blowing the announcement of At&t as the 3G provider.


themanwithnoname (on 15 June 2011)

Meh, from the looks of it it's like you guys didn't play Gears 3 or Forza 4 at all. I mean, we don't have previews for either of them, which is pretty freaking ridiculous if you ask me.


Etanclan4life (on 14 June 2011)

Uncharted is good dont get me wrong, but heavily overated, once you get past the repetitive platforming and same old obvious characters, you get some nice visuals thats about it.


soulstice (on 14 June 2011)

Wtf does this site have against bf3? Are you all getting paid by activision? First you write an article about how bf3 can't possible beat mw3, then you publish a complete lie about people having to buy bf3 twice to get all the dlc content, and now no mention in the e3 awards, even though just about every other review site gave it at least one award. Nice job losers!


AceOfCakez (on 14 June 2011)

Skullgirls is better than Street Fighter X Tekken...?


KillerMan (on 14 June 2011)

''Since PC didn't have a really strong showing'' WTF. BF3 anyone?


Bl00dSaint (on 14 June 2011)

I can't see how Uncharted can have better visuals than Battlefield 3 which was shown on a hardcore gaming computer with maxed out graphics... Also Mass effect 3 wasn't even mentioned?!? Twisted metal with best online?!? Also Bioshock is more of an action fps than a fps fps... I can't agree with anything except Uncharted 3 for best action/adventure, Skyrim for best RPG, Star Wars for best MMORPG and SSX for best sports.


cromeros (on 13 June 2011)

Totally disagree with @Chris M. Arnone... Bad list....


Black RL (on 13 June 2011)

Don't take me wrong but a site that is always talking about the hardcore gamers picking Mario type games over real hardcore games doesn't look too good, with all due respect to Mario, NINTENDO and all the success they have/had/will continue to have.


hatmoza (on 13 June 2011)

I only agreed with 3 of those. Very bad list. What was the staff doing at E3 exactly?


enrageorange (on 13 June 2011)

I agree with bioshock infinite getting best fps, and it would have been my second choice for game of the show, but when a game wins game of the show shouldn't it not be allowed to win any other category. At least I remember a lot of awards worked like that. Its redundant for it to win best fps as well because if it was game of the show it would obviously be the best game of its genre.


Grandia (on 14 June 2011)

The crap nongame Uncharted won way to much, I never will get the hype about this lame Uncharted Games, you shoot all the time at the exat same repetitive enemies and the jump passages are so easy that even someone who never played a consolegame or is 3 years old has no problems to accomplish them. This shit Uncharted Games are the most overrated Games ever, it makes no difference if you play a rail shooter or Uncharted because you have in both the same amount of freedom to explore. Uncharted is a Game for people who dont like gameplay and freedom, it is for people who rather want watch a crap indiana jones film than play a good videogame.


Michael-5 (on 14 June 2011)

No.....just terrible. ryuzakii57 I hear you..... @BLOOdSaint VGC is stupid, that Battlefield footage was outside the processing power of current gen consoles. So much wrong, how did Dance Central 2 not get best music game?


ryuzaki57 (on 14 June 2011)

So you're telling us that a kart game in which you throw turtle shells at each other is better as a racing game than one in which you drive actual cars? Sorry but I definitely think that Forza4 represents the genre better than Mario kart does.


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