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E3 06 Game Critics Award nominees revealed

This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo held more than its share of surprises - however, there are few in this year's Game Critics Award nominee list, released today. We're not sure how Heavenly Sword ended up in the Fighting game category when God of War II is Action/Adventure (the GamesRadar US ballot had them both in A/A), but overall, this is an excellent list of this year's best of the best of the best - at least at this point in their development cycles.

The graphically astonishing shooter Gears of War leads the pack with five nominations - you've never seen such visually appealing blood splatters, we guarantee you. But three fellow awe-inspirers each garnered four: spooky role-playing shooter Bioshock; the spider-ninja-man-meets-middle-ages stealth 'em-up Assassin's Creed; and "Sim-everything," also known as Spore.

Here's a full list of the nominations, as well as which games and companies got the most. The ultimate winners in each category will be announced next week.