The Preemptive 2011 Game Awards

WINNER: Uncharted 3: Drake%26rsquo;s Deception

Guesstimated Award Probability: 85%

The second Uncharted burst forth onto the PS3 back in 2009 and set a new bar for this little medium o’ ours. Its breathtaking evolution in storytelling, voice-acting, pacing, narrative structure, eye-popping graphics, level design, multiplayer community and probably several dozen other interactive advancements continue to make it a top contender for, get ready… The Greatest Game of this Console Generation (final judging will occur when and if it ever ends). The funny thing is, next to no game has stepped up to Uncharted 2’s benchmark, and it looks as if it's biggest disputer for that aforementioned honor will probably wind up being… Uncharted 3?

Seriously, why haven’t more developers stepped up to the plate, or even just tried to emulate or outright rip off the improvements, polish, and cinematic splendor evidenced in Uncharted 2? This time Nate D’s whipping his casual brand of bullet-spraying exploration on a desert setting as he and Sully search for a lost city known as the “Atlantis of the Sand.” While jet setting across the globe, it looks as if we’ll be battling gorgeous, deadly natural elements like sand, water and fire. Meanwhile, Drake is getting lighter on his feet with some enhanced mobility and hand-to-hand combat.

Those concept shots of Lara caked in filth aren’t simply meant to titillate. 2011's Lara Croft reboot is taking its protagonist back to her humble origins, starting with a college-aged Croft fresh out of the Indiana Jones Academy for Stolen Relics and Advanced Temple Burglary.

Above: The original Tomb Raider? IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM

Players will find themselves stranded on a south pacific island with no food, water or guns. Instead of coming standard with all of Lara’s acrobatics we all take for granted, her struggle for survival is where she’ll hone new physical abilities and combine pick-up items on her quest to someday resemble Angelina Jolie.

Other than Kinect support, there’s not a whole hellva lot of justification for the existence of a fourth Forza so far. But if we’re judging by the rigid criteria set in place by this award category… what, did you really think we’d give the honor to Test Drive Unlimited 2? After all, the metric fuckton of real world vehicles from Forza 3 will undoubtedly be upgraded with up to TWO YEARS of modern automotive advancements!

Just imagine the slightly altered spoilers, an occasional added racing stripe, SUNROOVES, and the bevy of other changes imperceptible to the vast majority of the populace… dare we even bring up the licensed brake pad opportunities?! Let’s just hope Kinect’s price can remain competitive with an actually steering wheel controller with pedals, better precision, and force feedback.

Set to release almost a decade after the last true console Twisted Metal, vehicular combat is finally getting the multiplayer treatment it so sorely deserved. Come to think of it, if anybody’s to blame for the disappearance of the subgenre it’s probably Twisted Metal: Black Online, the failed PS2 modem showcase that forced broadbanders to play against dial-up users for an experience that played like trying to push a Power Wheels through oatmeal at six frames a second.

We’re sick to death of Mario Kart clones, so thank The Almighty Calypso that the Granddaddy of Demented Destruction Derbies is back to make things right with the PlayStation Network using customizable factions and ambitious new multiplayer modes that require a more sadistic level of strategy.

Stop writing that comment and let us explain! We know you know all about how great American McGee's Alice is, but as it was released on PC eleven years ago, there's likely a large set of gamers who only know American McGee by Bad Day L.A. They've got somethin' else comin' to them. Madness, mostly.

Alice: Madness Returns isn't just a better-looking continuation of what McGee started back in 2000 - based on what we've seen it looks even bloodier, darker, and creepier. Watch out for this one - it might sneak up on you and slit your throat! Only it can't do that, because it's inanimate.

Rock of Ages was revealed at last year's E3... don't remember it and its addictive-looking castle defense/giant boulder rolling? Yeah, we were probably too busy talking about that 3D thing from Nintendo. But pay attention! We have a feeling that we'll be talking a lot more about rocks this spring when the whimsical and inventive Rock of Ages rolls onto XBL, PSN, and PC (see what we did?).