Welcome to the VideoGamer.com E3 2008 Awards, the definitive E3 awards on the web. While sipping bottles of Corona in sunny Los Angeles last week, we weren't just concerned with bringing you the best gameplay videos, interviews and hands-on previews of the biggest games of 2008 you'll find anywhere on the web. We also had an eye on filtering the rubbish from the brilliant and sorting them all into amazingly clever categories so you know which upcoming games to get excited about. So, what are you waiting for? Get reading!
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of stupendous jaw-dropping graphics
Winner - Gears of War 2, Xbox 360. Microsoft Game Studios.
The first Gears blew us away. It still does. And at E3 Gears of War 2 blew us away all over again. The single player campaign demo performed by Cliff Bleszinski during Microsoft's press conference knocked our socks off - here, for the first time, we got a tantalising visual taste of the increased scale, colour and graphical detail that will be in place when the game eventually hits the shops on November 7. The overturned lift ride, the imposing Brumak, the swarm of Locust, all this combined to form a visual assault on our senses as we sat agog in the Los Angeles Conference Center. Gears 2 looks set to be the best looking game the Xbox 360 has ever seen, and quite possibly the best looking console game ever made.
Runners up - Killzone 2, Far Cry 2
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of genius innovation
Winner - LittleBigPlanet, PS3. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
Sony's press conference was just as disappointing as everything else at E3 this year, but one positive was hosting all of the financial information in a LittleBigPlanet level, which perfectly showed off just how innovative this Media Molecule developed game is going to be when it's released. Create, share, play - these are slogans we hear often from publishers keen to push their titles, but few have achieved the level of polish and accessibility LBP has already demonstrated. At E3 LBP confirmed, if there was any doubt, its potential to trump more traditional, hardcore games due out towards the end of this year. We're counting down the days till October 08, when the game is set for release. If you own a PS3, you should be too.
Runners up - Spore, Left 4 Dead
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of mind-numbing rubbishness
Winner - Nintendo's E3 press conference
Oh dear. Where to start? Cammy Dunaway's Barbie doll presentation about her failed snowboarding trip? Nintendo's complete disregard for hardcore fans? The inability of anyone on stage to play a game properly? All these are good, but they don't come anywhere near to the horribly embarrassing four-player Wii Music demonstration, a game that actually made it as runner up for this award in of itself. The world was watching, waiting, hoping for a glimmer of hope that showed Nintendo still cared, could still get our hearts pumping. Alas, no. We know proper hardcore games are coming, but we wanted to hear about them at E3.
Runners up - In the Movies, Wii Music
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of go anywhere DIY open worldness
Winner - Far Cry 2, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Ubisoft.
There were loads of games with open world elements at E3. The whole go anywhere, do what you like, when you like it thing is currently game development's hot cake mechanic. But no open world game came close to Ubisoft's Far Cry 2, which has followed up its VideoGamer.com Ubidays 08 Game of the Show award with this coveted gong. The graphics are lush, the AI smart, the destruction mental and the propagating fire, well, that's just deadly. We've already pumped hours into the back to basics, no mini map 'I've actually got to think about what I'm doing here instead of running and gunning' gameplay, and we're gagging for more. We can't wait.
Runners up - Infamous, Fallout 3
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of close your eyes and hide behind the couch gore
Winner - Mad World, Nintendo Wii. SEGA.
Oh. My. God. Man darts. That's right, man darts. We sat in SEGA's private meeting room, where journalists squashed together as if they were on the underground during rush hour, and saw for ourselves the madness that is Mad World. Yes it's in black and white. Yes it's severely stylised, and yes, it's probably intended to be a big, Kill Bill style joke, but that doesn't stop some of what you can do in Platinum Games' brawler from being shocking. Spikes, lamp posts and rubbish bins. Enough said.
Runners up - Fallout 3, Bayonetta
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of unashamed back to basics fun
Winner - Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo Wii. Nintendo.
If Wii Music was like a kick in our hardcore balls, Wii Sports Resort was like a massage from Angelina Jolie. More specifically, the sword fighting, using the new Wii MotionPlus add-on that clips into the bottom of the Wii Remote, felt like a massage from Angeline Jolie. As I battered video producer Simon repeatedly over the head, with almost zero lag between my motion and my virtual counterpart's motion, I felt an enormous sense of satisfaction and, well, love, once again, for perhaps the greatest video game company that's ever existed. Now, all we need is for someone, somewhere, to make a lightsaber game for the Wii, and all will be forgiven.
Runners up - Geometry Wars 2, Rock Band 2
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of old skool arcade action
Winner - Street Fighter 4, Xbox 360, PS3, Arcade. Capcom.
I'm 13 again. It's the early nineties. My pockets are filled with coins. My palms are sweaty and my left wrist aches (not because of that). But I'm soldiering on because Street Fighter 4 has rekindled in me a fighting game fire that hasn't burned this brightly in over a decade. If you played Street Fighter 2 back in the day (who didn't?) and loved it, then Street Fighter 4 is guaranteed to please. If you didn't, it's still guaranteed to please. One of my highlights of E3 2008 was sitting next to SF legend Seth Killian and have him take me through the new characters one by one, and their new moves. You can see it all for yourself in these exclusive videos. Absolutely thrilling.
Runners up - SoulCalibur IV, Geometry Wars 2
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of ultimate Edge (James 'Edge' Orry)
Winner - Prince of Persia, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Ubisoft.
Some people have that little soemthing that separates them from the rest of the population. You can't put your finger on exactly what it is, but it's there. One such greater being is our very own News Editor, James 'Edge' Orry, and we thought a man of this stature shouldn't just contribute to the VideoGamer.com E3 Awards, but actually have his own award. For the Edge there's only one game that stood out, head and shoulders above the rest... and that's Ubisoft's gorgeous looking Prince of Persia. We're still to see just how revolutionary AI companion Elika will turn out, but man this game looks good.
Runners up - Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Resident Evil 5
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of unbearable teasing
Winner - Bungie's confirmed but unannounced game
The rumours swirled. The countdown on Bungie.net tantalised, and everybody took the bait. Why wouldn't they? Everything pointed towards a massive, jaw-dropping reveal of a new Halo game from Bungie during Microsoft's E3 press conference. We all sat there, waiting, knowing what was supposed to happen. But Microsoft didn't comply. The conference ended without a mention of Halo, Master Chief, Bungie or third-person squad-based prequels. Then the countdown on Bungie.net ended early and was replaced with a cancellation message. The internet exploded, Bungie apologised to its infuriated fans and Microsoft began damage control. We were teased, unbearably, and then let down. The drama!
Runners up - God of War 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of megaton announcements
Winner - FF XIII on Xbox 360
It set the internet alight. Fanboys exploded in a shower of anger and bile. Microsoft had somehow managed to prize Final Fantasy XIII, one of Sony's last remaining third-party PS3 exclusives, from the clutches of the PS3. Whether it turns out to be a shoddy port or not, the damage has been done. The point has been made. In the LA Convention Center we sat, expecting Microsoft to announce a motion sensing controller and a new Halo game. We got neither. What we got no-one predicted. It proved to be the most exciting and shocking moment of the entire show, and worthy of the term 'megaton'. Will the gaming industry, hell, will the world ever be the same again? Only time will tell.
Runner up - Wii MotionPlus (announced before conference)
The VideoGamer.com E308 award of bestest game of the show
Winner - Mirror's Edge, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Electronic Arts.
Wow. Just wow. You can read my three page hands-on preview here, for more detailed reasoning behind the choice of DICE's first-person Parkour game as VideoGamer.com's E308 Best Game of the Show. I'll add, though, that despite nearly two weeks passing since my time with the game, it's still gnawing at the back of my mind, prodding and probing my gaming desire. I want to explore, I want to take Faith places she never knew she could go, and I want to do it with style, something Mirror's Edge has in spades. I have concerns, for sure (the combat being the biggest) but they're concerns I'm confident DICE will satisfy over the coming months. Mirror's Edge has everything we love in a video game - intelligence, fresh ideas and a draw distance to die for. Congratulations EA, and congratulations DICE. This award is well deserved.
Runners up - Street Fighter 4, Gears of War 2
What games would win your E3 2008 awards? Let us know in the comments section below.