GamesRadar E3 2011 Awards: Proof that 2D isn't dead

In our minds 2D never died, but try telling that some of the game publishers of the last decade. That’s why we love seeing flat graphics get some love, whether it’s in a full-fledged release or a downloadable. E3 had no shortage of great new 2D titles, but which impressed us most?

The Nominees:

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet has already won us over with its charming aesthetics and enigmatic tale of alien infestation, but it really hooked us with the evocative, shadowy design. How can spacey, alien tendrils move so fluidly? Preview 

BloodRayne Betrayal 

Developer WayForward knows a thing or two about modern 2D gaming. Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge are all shining examples of sprites done right, each one offering a grand throwback to 8- and 16-bit sensibilities. But up until now, WayForward has worked in standard definition, and even then within a relatively family-friendly mindset. BloodRayne, on the other hand, is stupendously bloody and flat-out gorgeous to see in HD; we know this number is part of WayForward’s marketing speil, but it’s still worth mentioning that Rayne herself has 4000 frames of animation. Not pre-rendered sprites or 3D models with a cel-shaded sheen, but 4000 frames of animation. Nice. Preview

Rayman Origins

One year ago Rayman Origins was first revealed as a charming downloadable, and 365 days later it has grown into a retail game and has only grown lovelier. Michel Ancel seems dedicated to give this 2D game the kind of AAA treatment they got before the PlayStation showed up, creating a world that looks nothing short of a living cartoon. Preview 

Kirby Mass Attack

While the new Kirby game on Wii looks like a nice return to form, Mass Attack is forging new ground in the world of two dimensional pink puffballs. A mash-up of a side-scroller and RTS, Mass Attack features a team of cute Kirbys out to save the world. It might just be the last good game to hit the DS.

And the winner is…


BloodRayne Betrayal

Each of these games is worth applauding. But only one can walk away the winner, and seeing as we’ve already propped a spotlight on Rayman Origins we felt now’s the time to officially acknowledge BloodRayne Betrayal. Its impressive animations, sprites, music and absolutely everything else that make it a modern Super NES game are too well done and too captivating to watch for us to settle on any other game in this category. Oh, we’ll play (and likely love) everything on this page, but the idea of a lavishly animated, hyper-bloody slash-em-up really pushes all our buttons. So strange – a month ago we couldn’t have cared less about BloodRayne, and never would have expected her to return. But here we are, genuinely excited about her next game. Maybe some hardcore ‘Rayne fans (you’re out there, right?) have a problem with this old-school direction, but as for GamesRadar, we are so damn down.

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 



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  • AlbVega - June 25, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    Funnily enough, I know a hardcore Rayne fan. And he doesn't like the new direction. Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with your choice. I think a great and unexpected reinvention it's better than any of the other nominees here.
  • bmrskate - June 25, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    You should see when you let Rayne stay idle and get won't be disappointed.
  • Nin10DOH - June 25, 2011 5:07 a.m.

    Rayman Origins! It should have won just for not having Rabbids in the game. Plus the game looks amazing
  • Nintendophile - June 25, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    With the right horror music behind it, some of those scenes from the new Kirby game could be down right terrifying.
  • BladedFalcon - June 25, 2011 3:55 a.m.

    Dragon's Crown didn't even make it as a nominee? Color me shocked. And disappointed. :/
  • HipsterKitten - June 25, 2011 3:30 a.m.

    It's lame that you even pretty much admitted to choosing BloodRayne because Rayman had already won once. Rayman is obviously superior.
  • conchking - June 25, 2011 2:43 a.m.

    i really don't see what is so great about this game. From the trailers it looks like blood covering everything so you can't see and sections of cruddy platforming. Not to mention you can only see her hair and skin because everything is a shade of black in the background. I do like however that this nice 2d HD is coming out amd it isn't another crappy bloodrayne game, honestly who liked that series?
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 25, 2011 2:42 a.m.

    Oh man I love 2D, and can't wait for Rayman! I also love classic kirby, but this new one looks like it takes alot of ideas from Pikmin. Interesting, but i'd be more interested in the classic-y Wii Kirby.
  • Maverik770 - June 29, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    I'm a hardcore BloodRayne fan. Not just the 2 original games on Xbox but the character and universe in general. The comics were badass too. Death to the horrible BloodRayne movies of course tho. I have been waiting patiently for something new in the BloodRayne universe for a while now. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am for BloodRayne: Betrayal. I grew up on old school 2D games of Atari and NES. So I absolutely love modern 2D games and wish there were more out there. This whole list excites me for that reason alone. But for me, BloodRayne + beautiful 2D gameplay and graphics is the greatest idea ever! I cannot wait for it to come out. ;)
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - June 27, 2011 5:01 a.m.

    I'm really excited for Shadow Planet!
  • Spybreak8 - June 27, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    I saw ITSP a while ago and was dying to hear any news about it. For me I think yeah Bloodrayne looks promising but I really want to play ITSP. Rayman Origins should have been a downloadable game but yeah it does sound like Ancel is pumping that game with cartoon steroids.^^
  • Heyexclamationpoint - June 26, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet reminds me of Solar Jetman for the NES. Is it an Xbox exclusive?
  • 510BrotherPanda - June 25, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    I'm interested in Dragon's Crown, too...why isn't it on here? Oh, and I'm curious as to who the art director is for Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. It looks like Rolito/ an HD Patapon, or that recent game Outland...