GamesRadar E3 2011 Awards: Best of Show

We’ve had our fun, handing out irreverent awards with silly titles like Most Graphics and Artsiest-Fartsiest, but now it’s time for tradition. Time to be serious and actually pick – no jokes – our favorite game from E3 2011.

First, the nominees…

The Nominees:

Batman: Arkham City

Arkham Asylum was our 2009 Game of the Year, so who’s surprised the sequel ended up here? We are, actually. The recent Catwoman trailer – full of cheesy cat puns, gratuitous ass shots and questionable protagonist switching – had us slightly worried about the franchise’s evolution.

Those fears were put immediately to rest as soon as we visited the Arkham City booth. Catwoman’s gameplay segments looked slick, stealthy and sexy. Penguin was confirmed as a major villain – a more vicious, frightening and realistic villain than you might expect from previous iterations. Most importantly, we finally got our hands on the game, and the bigger world plus beefier combat was just as amazing as we’d hoped. Oh yeah, and we ran into The Riddler, which was pretty neat. Preview 

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

While our actual hands-on time with Uncharted 3 has been limited to a few hours of competitive multiplayer and a quick run through its impressive, story-driven co-op mode, we also got a pretty extensive look at its single-player campaign at E3. First came the cruise-ship gameplay footage during Sony’s press conference, and then, behind closed doors, Naughty Dog gave us a peek at an even-more-impressive dash through a mercenary-controlled airfield. Here, Nathan Drake shared a bittersweet moment with on-again/off-again partner/girlfriend Elena, was almost immediately surrounded by gun-toting enemies, and ran to catch a taxiing cargo plane before being caught, beaten and nearly thrown out into space while 30,000 feet above a desert.

Given how Uncharted 2 swept a lot of publications’ best-of awards in 2009 (and got a runner-up for Game of the Year in our own Platinum Chalices), saying we’re looking forward to this one is an understatement. Uncharted 3 is already poised to become one of the best, if not the best, game of 2011; the only question is how well it stacked up against the rest of E3. Preview 

Mass Effect 3

Despite how high the bar is already set, we believe BioWare when they say that this is going to be the best game in the series. The events of the first two games have steadily escalated the Reaper threat, and now the stage is set to finally crescendo with an all-out space war in which every sentient species in the galaxy faces extinction. The stakes literally could not be higher, and everything we've seen indicates that Mass Effect 3 is striving to match the quality of its gameplay and story with the gravity of Shepard's situation.   

Instead of fixing the RPG elements that were tedious in the first game (namely the inventory system), Mass Effect 2 streamlined everything, removing inventory, cutting weapon customization, and simplifying character customization. Now Mass Effect 3 is bringing those RPG features back and doing them right this time, with totally revamped weapon system, deeper skill trees and more varied combat. As confidently as we can predict about a game we haven't played yet, it's almost guaranteed that Mass Effect 3 is going to be a masterpiece – it's just a question of details. Preview 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda Softworks is responsible for producing some of the finest open-world role-playing games ever made, and if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, Skyrim looks ready to blow them all out of the water. It’s already looking bigger, prettier and more involving than Morrowind, Oblivion or even Fallout 3, and while it takes a simpler approach to character creation and leveling than its predecessors, it nonetheless promises a ridiculous amount of depth, featuring factions to ally with, villages with dynamic economies and no shortage of side-quests (many of which will be semi-randomly generated) to keep players distracted.

At the same time, Skyrim’s epic scope leaves us a little breathless. Not only is the landscape beautifully rendered and freely explorable, with the randomly appearing wildlife and monsters we’ve come to expect from the series, but the game’s central activity – bringing down massive, angry dragons and stealing their souls – promises to bring a feeling of conquering insurmountable odds to the table. Add around 120 story-driven dungeons and what’s sure to be an involving central storyline, and Skyrim is one game we really can’t wait to see more of. Preview 

BioShock: Infinite

We thought we were prepared for BioShock Infinite. A couple GamesRadar editors saw the E3 demo weeks in advance and managed to convey the experience to the rest of us, though they struggled to find exactly the right awestruck words. We knew about the rollercoaster skyhook rides – how exhilaratingly fast and far the hero could travel in mere seconds. We knew about the crazily diverse combat – switching between pistols and rocket launchers and murders of crows in the midst of a single battle. We knew how terrifying the Songbird could be and how endearing Elizabeth would be. We even knew about the mind-blowing “tears” – windows into times and universes other than 1912 Columbia, some so strange that they include theater marquees for Revenge of the Jedi, a 1980s movie title that never actually existed.

We knew all that and we were still blown away by how smoothly and seamlessly these bizarre-sounding elements blended together. By the unexpected emotions we felt – inexplicable sympathy for the Songbird and fear of Elizabeth’s powers. By the pure scale and already polished beauty of the game world. Preview 

At this point, our incoherent gushing has probably ruined the suspense, but yeah… BioShock: Infinite is hands-down our Best of Show at E3 2011.

And the winner is…

BioShock: Infinite

Last few paragraphs not enough to convince you? Watch our E3 2011 interview with BioShock creator Ken Levine – if he can pull together the heady subjects he discusses here as well as he implanted his ideas for Rapture in BioShock 1, this game has limitless potential.

Most graphics | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback 
Best trailer | Most satisfying gore | Guiltiest pleasure
Most shameless rip-off 
Best new game we know nothing about
Worst first impression | Best game for masochists 
Most likely to consume our lives | Artsiest-fartsiest
Most tasteless 
Might not actually suck | Proof that 2D isn't dead | BEST OF SHOW 




  • FreedomPhantom - June 28, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    I think most of these games are first day purchases for me aside from Uncharted 3 because I have no PS3. But The rest are looking like excellent continuations of series' that I already love. I love the gaming industry right now :)
  • cvbnm20 - June 28, 2011 1:24 a.m.

    Bioshock: Infinite looks like what a person would imagine if they overheard someone talking about the best game ever.
  • Zeipher - June 28, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    Man, this website has a boner for Bioshock.
  • eliguy83 - June 27, 2011 5:27 p.m.

    ugh. never enough time, never enough money T_T i can't wait for all of these.
  • taterboob - June 27, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    @HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO I'm still kind of pissed at Elston for ruining the BIG plot development in Red Dead via TDar about a year ago. Even when everyone else on the show didn't want to spoil it, he went ahead and ruined it with a "you should have beaten it by now" attitude.
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - June 27, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    @Sebastian16 I feel your pain because I had Bioshock spoiled for me as well by multiple podcasts filled with idiots who apparently couldn't wait to talk about it within the first 2 weeks thinking everyone must have beaten the game already. TalkRadar = The place to go to get all of the most anticipated games spoiled for you with a belated "spoiler" thrown in for spite AFTER the fact.
  • Spybreak8 - June 27, 2011 2:15 a.m.

    I can't, CAAAAAANNN'T, wait for Mass Effect 3 but I have to agree with the selections here. All great games although call me crazy I'm really excited for the new SSX game but I believe I've got plenty of time since it's coming out next spring.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - June 27, 2011 12:26 a.m.

    I'd have to say Mass Effect 3, that trailer got my blood pumping- you wanna come to Earth, reapers? FUCKING BRING IT!!!
  • Turboash - June 26, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    Uncharted 3 can suck my purple-headed one-eyed yogurt slinger.
  • jackthemenace - June 26, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Ech. Not intereested at all by Bioshock Infinite or Uncharted, but after just finished Arkham Asylum, I can honestly say I want more batman (which is weird, I'm a Marvel Fanboy). However, Skyrim also looks bloody amazing, and after reading that ME3 WILL be more of an RPHG again, I'm now super-psyched for that too. PLEASE say they don't come out ANYWHERE near each other?
  • LewisR - June 26, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Bioshock reminds me of some Ratchet & Clank.But less furry.
  • Sebastian16 - June 26, 2011 5:48 a.m.

    Yeaaaah.... Honestly, I haven't read anything about either Bioshock 2 or Infinite, because the entire franchise was ruined for me back when the first game was spoiled by every website on the internet. I would probably love the games, but not a single **** is given when I see the name.
  • TheSatur9 - June 25, 2011 9:29 p.m.

    Bioshock: Infinite looks like what a person would imagine if they overheard someone talking about the best game ever.
  • BigBrother - June 25, 2011 7:40 p.m.

    Im pretty sure i'm going to buy all these games, but im still glad Bioshock won. Been one of my favorite series since the first game, super excited to see what they have to offer!
  • ReasonableFanboy - June 25, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Even as much as I may WANT to root for Batman, Infinite just looks flat-out amazing. Game of forever potential if I've ever seen it.
  • Glides - June 25, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    Personally, I'm going with Batman. All of those games are going to kick butt, but out of all of them I liked the Bat's game the most.
  • hester2 - June 25, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    Wait, ME 3 is going full RPG again?! I've been purposely avoiding all previews because I knew WAY too much about ME 2 going into it, but that is awesome!
  • NightAce84 - June 25, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    Bioshock Infinite should most definitely be the winner here. The game, in my eyes, went from a maybe to a definite purchase. They really blew me away at E3. However, I know for a fact that Skyrim will be my favorite game of the year.
  • Markoose16 - June 25, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    @TheRandomFool It's not just you, I don't feel as excited as others do either. I'll probably still buy it but perhaps it's shooter fatigue or something as I'm not feeling the hype at the moment. All the games in this list will be great games so it's a good year for us gamers.
  • Druupwnz - June 25, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    I'm hyperpumped for all of these. Except for Uncharted, anyways, no PS3 = no Uncharted for me. I was iffy on Bioshock as best of show, I thought Mass Effect had it, but you were right, Ken Levine actually did sway my decision. I listened and agree totally now. That man knows games.

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