Welcome to FRONTBURNR’s First Annual E3 Awards!
Josh Knowles | On 01, Jul 2013
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Welcome to FRONTBURNR’s First Annual E3 Awards!
We are going to take the biggest winners of this year’s press conference and the coolest thing? All nominees get some sort of award, think of it as a runner-up. Cool, right?
Award for Best Family Game at E3:
This year’s E3 was rocking if you have any interest in family games. There were some major contenders this year but 4 games stood out among the rest, our nominees are:
Winner! Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
Take the popular series Plant Vs Zombies and do something that hasn’t been done before: make a third person shooter out of it. With the traditional concepts of the genre but in a much more family friendly bundle, this may be one of the E3′s biggest surprises.
Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare came out of nowhere.
While being an incredible surprise on its own, we are pretty sure this may be one of the only family friendly shooter titles out there. Ever. What makes this the best family game at E3 is the fact that this brings gamers of all ages together to experience a well put together action title that isn’t filled to the brim with realistic violence, gore or pretty much any form of questionable content.
Best Racing Game
Racing games are quickly becoming in demand again. This is due to a brand new console generation kicking off but with a ton of new faces this year, we had to ask ourselves if this was truly trading in our old car for a new model.
While the other games all looked great, there’s something far too compelling about a game that learns from your driving habits and uses a digital simulation of YOU as AI for your friends. On top of that, you gain experience and in game currency for your AI racer’s performance, ensuring you’re always going to be improving your driving form to make your computer controlled surrogate smoke anyone who dares get in his path. If Forza 5 can actually pull it off, it may very well redefine how racing games are built from the ground up going forward.
Best Sports Game:
While NBA 2K14 may end up being the best sports game of the year, not much was actually shown! This year, and like so many before, was EA’s highlight reel. Even though the same sports titles made their annual return on the show floor, a few really stood out from the crowd.
Winner! EA Sports UFC
We’ve played quite a few MMA-style games out there, 95% of them have been mediocre at best. When we finally got to see EA flex its Ignite Engine, it was amazing to see the true-to-life reactions of the fighters in the ring. This is huge because everything prior to EA Sports UFC has mostly featured dead-in-the-eyes fighters and a complete lack of emotion and brutality of the Octagon. Watching EA Sports UFC hearkens back to a time when gladiators faced off in a fight to the death back in ancient Rome. This, to me, looks to be a truly defining game for the MMA genre.
Best Role Playing Game
RPGs had an amazing representation this year at E3, there were so many that the list itself actually took longer than any other to reduce to just 4 nominees. Each RPG seemed to shine more in particular areas than the next. If you are looking forward to the next immersive epic, it’s well on its way!
Winner! South Park: Stick of Truth
If a game were to win a best of award on looks alone, The Witcher 3 would have run away with the show. However, Obsidian’s long awaited South Park RPG was impressively polished and picture perfect with its source material. Yes, this bad boy has the complete look and feel of an episode of South Park, complete with the humor as well. I stopped watching South Park after high school but after seeing this RPG in action, I can’t help but look back with nostalgia as I enjoy a solid RPG experience.
Platformer games have evolved past a point where they are barely recognizable by traditional standards. Most of these games feature innovative and family friendly imagery but also improved ways to make this genre bigger and better than ever before! Here were our favorite this year:
Let’s be real honest here. It was VERY hard not to give Disney Infinity the family game honors. However, how do you turn your back on the platformer title that actually allows you to play the game as you choose? Create your worlds or venture through the existing Disney-scapes. Play the game as you want. It’s Skylanders, Little Big Planet and Minecraft all rolled into one. Disney Infinity has the opportunity to revolutionize video games as we know it.
The most popular genre in gaming had a strong showing this year. What did the shooter genre have to show us this year? Dogs, buildings exploding, open world action and even epic heists! The market may be slightly saturated but there are still enough quality titles that stood out on the floor.
This was a hard one, Battlefield 4’s publicity seemed almost too good to be true coming into E3. With Frostbite 3, improved destruction and physics that have never been seen before, the hype for Battlefield 4 was building to a crescendo at E3. Well, after seeing the game in action, the single player campaign may be a Michael Bay fever dream but the entire package stands alone as one of the best looking military shooter ever created. Plus, you can destroy major structures now! Seriously! Have you ever played a Battlefield game before? Of the big reveals, this is the biggest! We are absolutely looking forward to community game nights with this bad boy.
Best Action Adventure Game:
One of my personal favorite genres, I’ve been waiting for something to truly wow me. There were quite a few great games that brought their A-game to the table and fans of the genre will have plenty to sink their teeth into once for the next two years.
We live in a connected age. Recent news and security fears have made this even more noticeable. With that being said, Ubisoft’s title Watch_Dogs is simply jaw dropping every time we see it. At E3 this year, we actually saw even more tricks up Aiden Pierce’s sleeve when he hijacked direct surveillance and overloaded the entire block of a city grid. We also saw way more actual combat this time. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Watch_Dogs is exactly the game that Assassin’s Creed always wanted to be and offers a far better experience that the entire franchise put together.
Best Wii U Game:
Nintendo admitted their presence on the show floor would be limited this year. They weren’t being 100% truthful with their statement. They showed up with enough to really interest the concerned early adopters of the Wii U and show the world that they aren’t out of the console wars yet.
- Mario Kart 8
- Super Smash Bros for the Wii U
- Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD
Winner! Sonic: The Lost World
Not only is Sonic: The Lost World one of the best looking Wii U titles we have ever had the pleasure of seeing but it is also a huge throwback to everything that Sonic is. The Lost World takes the best of new and old Sonic while throwing some new tricks into the mix. Getting a chance to see this in action is as equally as exciting as watching Sonic 2 for the very first time. There is something wondrous about this title, it’s just so old-school-cool. With Sonic: The Lost World, it is obvious that Nintendo is still keeping its head on a swivel to bring the best Wii U games to its users.
Best PS4 Game
Sony hit a home run at the press conferences prior to E3 but also commanded a large amount of attention on the E3 show floor. While they engaged in a battle for attention with Microsoft, these were our favorite PS4 titles that we saw.
Infamous 2 was a little bit of a letdown for me. With the first Infamous, the duality of choice and responsibility was at the forefront of every action, Infamous 2 was a huge departure from that. Infamous: Second Son embodies the importance of choice once again. Deslin is the 24 year old protagonist this time around and while your typical underachieving young adult; he discovers powers that allow him to manipulate smoke after playing hero during an accident. An interesting aspect is that 7 years after Cole’s escapades, the world is a much darker place and those who have powers are immediately vilified and turned over to authorities. Deslin is forced to leave his old life behind as he tries to either achieve the greatness that has always been inside him or punish those that would hurt him and those close to him. Yeah, it’ll be awesome.
Best Xbox One Game
Microsoft may have suffered a little from “foot-in-mouth disease” while at E3 but there is still no denying that they showcased some pretty amazing titles on the floor. While it really wasn’t worth listening to PR-speak that would be flipped in a week, here were our favorite games for the new Xbox One.
- Killer Instinct
- Quantum Break
- Project Spark
Titanfall is potentially everything that anyone ever wanted out of a sci-fi action shooter. Giant semi-automated mechs? Jet powered parkour? Killer gunplay and action on a level that has only been a pipedream up until this point?
My favorite part of the game is how cinematic elements that are commonly associated with single player campaigns are actually a normal part of multiplayer combat; you literally create your story as you go! We saw the best parts of Call of Duty, mixed with free running and objective based combat. Not only will Respawn’s game shake up the FPS genre, but eSports and competitive gameplay as well. I can’t wait to see the Youtube videos fans throw up after this is released. Do you need a reason to own a Xbox One? This is it.
Best Indie Game:
The prominence of the indie genre is growing more and more as the industry advances. While old indie titles used to straddle a line between not having enough money to showcase their vision or trying to be more art than game, the IndieCade this year was simply a buffet of indie greatness.
- Legend of Dungeon
Winners? That Dragon Cancer & Transistor
We couldn’t choose just one, wasn’t going to happen. Those of us that are parents know that we would do anything to protect our children; they are our reason for living. But what happens when something out of our control leaves us powerless to help? Dragon Cancer is a cinematic game about parental struggle with a 4-year old with terminal cancer. It’s a powerful experience that is an emotional eye opening experience; it’s also a beautiful yet somber adventure game. The game itself embraces hope in the face of death, but just thinking about it now hurts my heart.
On the lighter side, Transistor is an action-strategy title from Bastion creators Supergiant Games. While it takes place in a futuristic-noir world, elements of what made Supergiant Games so successful remain in the forefront. Take control of Red, a singer robbed of her voice, and the Transistor, a talking sword, as they team up to fight “The Process” in a story that is deeper than anything I’ve seen in an indie game before. Did I forget to tell you the game is beautiful and combat is extremely satisfying and mentally engaging? No? Do not ignore this game; it’ll be the crown jewel of the indie community for an entire generation.
Best PC Game
Oddly enough, the PC master race kept its comfortable pace on the show floor, most of the time simply being the “and 1″ to most titles out there. With that being said, some PC titles really pointed at what they do and reminded everyone why they should still have a dedicated PC for gaming.
- Total War: Rome II
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Winner! The Elder Scrolls Online
Bethesda’s long running franchise has easily been one of the most impressive PC staples for generations. The Elder Scrolls Online takes a majority of what everyone loved about the series, throws it into a third person setup and tosses you out into the world long before Skyrim or Oblivion. What makes this game unique is the flexibility of how you can play the game. Level your character as you choose, max out skills as needed and use the gear that you want. There are no real tropes here. Players can engage casually by themselves or venture into dangerous dungeons with friends or even take part in massive battles that take place within an entire region. It’s The Elder Scrolls but with friends!
Best Current Generation Game
This console generation isn’t over yet, and while The Last of Us was just chomping at the bit to release that Friday, we were still reminded that the past was yet to come. However, being that most of the focus was still on the next-gen consoles, we consolidated out list into one nominee group.
- Rayman Legends
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
- Beyond: Two Souls
Winners? Batman: Arkham Origins & Saints Row 4
Batman: Arkham Origins – Was anyone nervous that Batman Arkham Origins wasn’t being produced by Rocksteady Studios and instead Warner Bros. Games? I was. After seeing the game in action though, Batman: Arkham Origins is an absolutely amazing and entertaining look at a much younger and rough around the edges Caped Crusader. As a thorn in crime’s side, but not yet the fear inducing vigilante that he is in the other games, Arkham Origins focuses more on the detective work than in the prior games. That doesn’t mean that you don’t get a fair share of the rogues gallery, but being able to see how a far less experienced Batman deals with a million dollar bounty on his head is interesting indeed!
Saints Row 4 – It’s hard to put Saints Row 4 into words. I’d like to describe it as how you used to play Grand Theft Auto 3 when you were bored and started using all the cheat codes, but the truth is that the series has evolved far beyond that point. The game is silly but also constantly fun and never takes itself too seriously. As the POTUS, give the alien Zin empire a presidential ass-kicking within a virtual Steelport. Saints Row IV allows you to also gain access to an entire collection of super hero abilities that range from super jumps and super speed, to fire and ice based abilities. With the heavy nature of games at the show, Saints Row 4 stands out as the prime example of why people started playing video games to begin with. Hail to the Saints.
Best Portable Game
The portable genre had a pretty remarkable presence on the show floor this year. With the Vita really starting to come into its own and the 3DS quickly becoming one of the most popular consoles overall, there were quite a few games to take a look at.
Winners? Shin Megami Tensei 4 & The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds
Two more winners? I wanted to split the award between both handheld systems but these two games stood apart from the crowd. Shin Megami Tensei 4 is literally one of the best looking games from the entire Shin Megami universe. Partner that with stunning voice-overs and amazing combat and you have a game that just screams must own title!
As far as The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds goes, it functions as a true successor to one of the highest acclaimed games of all time. It knows its job and does it well. While boasting smooth graphics, the game also delivers excellent use of both 3D features and new gameplay elements. I felt giddy being able to see the Hyrule that I spent my childhood sprinting around in. Nintendo fans will be all over this one when it launches.
E3 is mostly about games, but while poking around a bit, you could also land an awesome chance to see some new gaming tech heading our way. Gadgets, game engines, gizmos and peripherals were played with, listened to and experienced. Here were our favorites:
- Turtle Beach Z SEVEN
- Hyperkin RetroN 5
- Microsoft Smartglass
Winner! Oculus Rift
It is certainly a compliment when the word “game changer” can be thrown around when describing gaming tech. With that being said, Oculus Rift is way more than just a “game changer”, it is a revolutionary peripheral that has the potential to change the way that gamers look at video games now and always. Now what makes the Oculus Rift so amazing is that it tosses the 3D gimmickry out the window and pretty much puts you within the game itself, turning your own field of vision into the field of vision within the game. It looks amazing and may be the most immersive piece of tech ever created. If you don’t get this, you are missing out. The possibilities are endless!
Best of E3
Someone had to come away with top honors. It wasn’t easy. With so many awesome titles at E3, we simple got everyone together and made them all vote for their favorite so we could mutually nominate the best game at E3. Too bad we couldn’t give away 15 awards…
- Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Batman: Arkham Origins
If there was a game at E3 that embodied everything that the show stands for, that game had to be Titanfall. As I discussed earlier, Titanfall takes everything you know about the FPS genre and flips it on its side and then throws 24 foot mechs at you. With large open maps that aren’t blocked off by convenient methods and an opportunity to take combat from a single plane of combat to anywhere in the game, Titanfall creates a true feeling of war. With the cloud computing support of the Xbox One, it will be absolutely exciting to see what Titanfall has to show in the next year. It’ll be even more interesting to see how the industry has changed after it arrives.
There you have it, our nominations and awards for E3 2013.
This year was a big show as we got our first taste of next-gen but it was easy to walk away feeling hopeful for the future of games! Did you see something that wasn’t on the list or think we were crazy for choosing a certain winner? Let us know below!