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 411mania » Games » Columns

411 Games Best of E3 Awards 2009 - Our First Annual Awards
Posted by Ramon Aranda on 06.15.2009

Though we had a great time at E3 two weeks ago, we also were hard at work and part of that was coming up with our big winners for our first ever 'Best of E3' Awards. That's right, this year we dished out our first annual awards during the show and now it's time to let you in on what we thought were the best of the best.

So let's get to it!

Best Puzzle Game - Roogoo Twisted Towers (Wii)

Published by Southpeak

We've been a fan of the XBLA version of the way which to this day we still play and now Wii owners will get a chance to give this one a try. This is simply one of those games that's addicting from the start and never lets you off the hook. The Wii version has new bosses, 4-player party play and enhanced Wiimote and nunchuck controls. What's even more cool is that gamers who pick up the DS version which was missing at E3, will be able to unlock 10 new levels by connecting the two on both versions. We played this one extensively at the show and we found it to be just as fun and nerve wrecking as it's bigger brother. we urge you all to add this one to your list of must buy's for the Wii when it releases in the summer.

Runner Up: Scribblenauts

Best Fighting Game - Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (Wii)

Published by Capcom

Talk about a game that's both accessible and deep. This one was a big favorite at the show not just for 411 but other outlets as well. Playing with the arcade stick made it an even more enjoyable undertaking and a few of us got into some heated battles in the process. As Jeffrey Harris put it: "The one game I thought I would never see at E3 came through and I exploded in joy. Classic 2-D fighters are alive and well thanks to offerings like King of Fighters XII, but Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is most definitely the real deal. Not to mention you can play as Ken Washio the Eagle from Gatchaman. And that's the real legit Gatchaman, not the watered down American version, Battle of The Planets or G-Force. And Karas!"

Runner Up: King of Fighters XII

Best Downloadable Game - Splosion Man (XBLA)

Published by Twisted Pixel Games
Developed by Twisted Pixel Games

This one really snuck up on us. While waiting to get a first look at Halo 3 ODST, we sat down on a couch inside the Microsoft booth and preceded to play a few XBLA titles on display. One of those games was 'Splosion Man' which is platformer, action and puzzle title. Mix in a lead character that reminds us of Earthworm Jim with personality and hilarity and you've got quite a sleeper hit. Before we knew it, we played this one for nearly a half hour and the action never got stale. Everything was fast paced but also made you think about what your next move would be. Every few minutes we also found ourselves laughing at Splosion Man's antics as well as the clever animation that almost makes you believe you could make a cartoon out of - on Adult Swim. Don't be surprised if we have a new full fledged mascot on our hands. Keep an eye out for this one in the summer, trust us!

Runners Up: Fat Princess, PixelJunkShooter

Best Platformer - New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

Published by Nintendo

Without much to look forward to at E3 in terms of platformers, we were taken by storm by Nintendo's announcement of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. To top it off we were excited to learn that we'd get a chance to play with it for ourselves on the showroom floor and boy did we ever play it. It's a game that invites up to 4 players but also rewards players who go solo. You're getting classic Mario Bros. platforming here and it plays just as well as the original title on the Nintendo DS. Graphics are obviously more detailed and polished than the DS version but the core gameplay remains the same. Don't be fooled by the name either; this isn't some port of the first game but a brand new one that keeps it in tune with the handheld game. We had the opportunity to check out a handful of levels both in multiplayer where you're essentially competing against others as well as playing by ourselves which was just as sweet. It's always nice to get an unexpected announcement at E3, but even better when you get to check it out that same day.

Runner Up: LittleBigPlanet Portable, A Boy and His Blob

Best Sports Game - Fight Night Round 4 (PS3, Xbox 360)

Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Canada

We played football and soccer but it was the sweet science that won us over. We've seen quite a bit of Fight Night Round 4 over the past few months but this time around we were able to throw blows with plenty of new fighters and the action, as expected was fast, bloody and as competitive as they come. The different styles of fighters are apparent and this time around they actually matter. You can use your strengths and adjust to your weaknesses and after more than a handful of bouts, we had to drag ourselves away from the booth to continue our coverage. It was funny seeing Sugar Ray Leonard get down on FNR4 too! June 25 can't come soon enough. Fight fans do yourselves a favor, pick this one up!

Runner Up: Madden NFL 2010, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 (Wii)

Best New IP - Brink (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Published by Bethesda
Developed by Bethesda

Brink looks amazing, even this early in production. Bethesda and Splash Damage are two great teams, and we have full faith in that they will bring us some AAA material. Everything, the character design, the environments, the dialogue, the SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system, all of it seems to meld together nicely thus far. The game features stylized graphics rather than realistically proportioned characters, but it all appears to be a good direction for the developers if the preview is any indication of where
they are headed. If things continue as they are, we may have a strong game of the year contender with Brink.

Best Multiplayer Game - Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360, PC)

Published by Valve/EA
Developed by Valve

If there was one multiplayer game that had some lines throughout the entire week of E3, it was Left 4 Dead 2. Sure the individual lines weren't as lengthy as say Halo 3 ODST but there were more of them and for good reason. This game just rocked. There's some critics who feel the sequel is coming out too soon but whether you're for it or against it, you know you're going to play it. The action is just as frantic as the original with all new locations and weapons but most importantly it still surprises the crap out of you when hordes of the infected come rushing at from all different angles. This one is going to be a hit and we'll get more in detail with our preview coming shortly.

Runners Up: Modern Warfare 2, The Beatles Rockband, Halo 3 ODST, The Conduit

Best Adventure Game - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Published by Nintendo

A new Zelda title for the Nintendo DS and another reason to keep that DS around (as if you needed more reasons). The game ditches the high seas for some good ol' fashion train conducting and it somehow seems more enjoyable. You'll still control Link via the stylus and the game maintains its Phantom Hourglass art style and quirky humor. We'll be eagerly awaiting the release of this one!

Best Wii Game - Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Published by Konami

This re-imagining of the original classic once again lets us play as Harry Mason. While the game is a departure from the series we are used to. Players can do little more than shove off the monsters and run. The game gets intense, because these guys don't let up. The choices you make can also affect the game as a whole. Nothing was specified, but according to Konami, playing the game one way could make Cybil a hard-nosed, tough as nails cop, while playing another could make her the "sexy" cop with the top of her shirt unbuttoned. The game could actually be a bit unsettling if played alone. It is definitely one of the Wii games to keep an eye on.

Best Nintendo DS Game - Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Published by Square Enix

This game really seemed to push the DS hardware to new levels. The character models are amazing, especially when compared to the Final Fantasy games on the DS. It really captures the feel of the PS2 series (none of those card battles like in the GBA version) and yet again raises the bar for RPGs on the DS.

Runners Up: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Scribblenauts

Best PlayStation Portable Game - Dissidia

Published by Square Enix

Dissidia is an amazing game that combines beautiful visuals (on the PSP, no less!) fighting game rules and action RPG gameplay. The demo version lets you take on the role of FF3's Onion Knight, FF4's Cecil Harvey, FF6's Terra Branford or FF7's Cloud Strife or Sephiroth.

In game battles are fast paced, frenetic and exciting. You can rail grind to catch up to an enemy, or sail through the air Dragonball Z style. Once you catch up to the enemy, you can slash at each other, drain strength or get into really intricate sword fights with plenty of quick time counterattacks.

Another thing that makes the game a joy to play is the EX Crystals, a Power Stone-esque power-up that lets you change forms (Terra into an Esper and Sephiroth into his One-Winged Angel form). The EX form is also quite pretty to look at, but it's even prettier when you're annihilating your foes with your cut-scene limit breaks.

If all of this sounds difficult to manage, you'll be fairly surprised when you play the game and master the controls within 5 minutes time. Flying, grinding and slashing about are fun and easy! Last but not least, I need to mention the game's soundtrack which features orchestral remixes of many many Final Fantasy songs (anything before FFX). The songs that aren't remixed like Anotherworld and the FFX Random Encounter theme are still awesome and make great fighting jams. Dissidia has a little bit of everything wrapped up into a little PSP package. There is nothing to not like about this game.

Runner Up: LittleBigPlanet Portable

Best MMO - Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)

Published by Lucas Arts
Developed by Bioware

If the debut trailer during the Microsoft Press Conference wasn't enough to give us goosebumps then the first look demo sure was. We got a pretty detailed intro to the game including the revelation of a few classes, gameplay mechanics, features and more. The game looked great and the addition of voice overs for every single character in the game was even more impressive. We'll have more on this one in an upcoming preview but rest assured Star Wars fans, you'll be very pleased!

Best Shooter - The Conduit (Wii)

Published by Sega
Developed by High Voltage

This choice will probably result in the most discussion among the readers given the hype over Modern Warfare 2. Simply put, we've played with The Conduit on more than a few occasions since GDC and each time we've wanted to play more and more. The controls work exceptionally well, the graphics look like it could've easily come from a more powerful console and the multiplayer is addictively fun. Add to that the use of Wii Speak and you have a pretty well rounded first person shooter and easily the best we've seen on the Wii.

Is Modern Warfare 2 awesome too? Yes, but given our excessive hands-on time with The Conduit and the unavailability to actually 'play' MW2, we had to give it to Sega's FPS. Halo 3 ODST was up there too and we did get to toy around with it in multiplayer but The Conduit's controls just took the cake. Kudos to High Voltage for a solid experience!

Runners Up: Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3 ODST, Left 4 Dead 2

Best Musical Game - The Beatles Rock Band (Xbox 360)

Published by MTV Games
Developed by Harmonix

We played pretty much all the music games they had at E3. From Rockband Unplugged, to Karaoke Revolution, even Dance Dance. Maybe it has to do a little with it being The Beatles but we still don't think any of them could top it. Yeah, in the end it may be just another Rockband game with a Beatles look. However, we think the time and care that Harmonix put into the game should be commended. They brought in the Beatles themselves to get everything they needed and more. The instruments are spot on, and all the environments as well. Plus they did add three part vocal harmonies, and the ability to put individual people on no-fail. I think it won an award from everyone else as well, and it did so with good reason, trust us.

Runners Up: DJ Hero, LEGO Rock Band

Best RPG / Best Xbox 360 Game - Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)

Published by EA
Developed by Bioware

"Wow". That's what we said after checking out Mass Effect 2 at EA's booth. After a pretty long wait, we finally got our demo of ME2 and after a 20 minute presentation that included some cinematics and plenty of gameplay, our mouths were watering for more. The game will kick off where Mass Effect left off and Commander Sheperd is back. The storytelling looks top notch as we've become accustomed to seeing from BioWare and to tease you all a little bit, we were given a major, major cliffhanger at the end of the game (which will also vary on the gamer's decisions) and now we will have to wait with sweaty hands to wonder how it will all turn out. Damn you Bioware for teasing us like that! =)

Best Action Game / Best PS3 Game - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

Published by SCEA
Developed by Naughty Dog

One of the most visually impressive games on the show floor, Uncharted 2 was a blast to play. Whether it was the multiplayer, co-op, or single player Uncharted 2 was easily the best PS3 game on the floor. Any PlayStation 3 owner who passes on Drake's latest adventure is crazy. We can't wait to get more hands-on time with this one and it's easily a step up above the original

Runners Up: Assassin's Creed 2, Splinter Cell, Dante's Inferno, Brutal Legend

Best Racing Game - Split Second (Xbox 360, PS3)

Published by Disney

When we walked into Disney's booth we saw typical Disney fair, from Frog Princess to Toy Story. However when we came across Split Second I was amazed at how stunning it looked. When I sat down to play it I just thought how cool it was the whole time. Its like F-Zero meets Burnout. Your kinda almost hover in a spacey type way around the track. There are spectacular crashes. What sold us was being able to trigger a explosion of something in the environment to give you a shortcut. I don't think I've ever seen an entire tower fall on one of my opposing drivers before. It had solid gameplay, very good graphics, and originality. You can't beat that.

Runner Up: Forza Motorsport 3

Best Strategy Game - Raven Squad (Xbox 360)

Published by Southpeak

If you've ever wanted to experience both the omnipotent feeling that is playing God from afar via a real time strategy game and the heroism that comes with most modern FPS games, then South Peak has your back with Raven Squad, a game that lets you play it as an RTS game and/or an FPS game.

In game environments are both gorgeous and tense thanks to a combination of accurate lighting and top-tier graphics. The FPS mode handles real easily, kind of like Call of Duty. Unlike, Call of Duty though, one or two stray shots won't kill you and you can gather your bearings and return fire with a rather alarming accuracy and speed. Whether you're a beginner or an FPS maven, you'll love this.

While Raven Squad is very easily a great shooter, Raven Squad's RTS mode is what will have you coming back for more goodness. Whether you need to go from point A to point B or orchestrate a full scale assault, the RTS mode allows for a lot of options and freedom, which make it great for RTS virgins, like myself. The game's RTS mode is easily to use and doesn't overwhelm players, which is why I think I like it so much!

Lastly, I think I need to address something on everyone's mind right now, is there any lag in switching between modes, any drawback at all? Nope. You can change modes as you like, whenever you want with the push of a Y button.

So there you have it, two games in one, both with style, comfort and lots to offer to both the casual and hardcore gamer. You want this game.

Runner Up: Section 8, East India Company

Best of Show - Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)

Mass Effect 2 just kicked all sorts of ass and although we had two worthy runners up, Bioware is delivering one hell of an experience. We can't wait!

Runners Up: Uncharted 2, Left 4 Dead 2

Agree or disagree with our E3 Awards? Let us know your thoughts!


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