Best Strategy

Crusader Kings II

Take any lord in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East and carve your own destiny in this historically accurate strategy/simulation. Paradox has been making super-hardcore strategy games for years, but Crusader Kings II has a chance to grow out of that tiny niche with a genuinely inviting interface and a level of polish that has so far eluded the company. The scope – Ireland to Arabia during the 11th through 15th centuries, with detailed modeling of everything in the known world from the king of Poland and his household down to individual fiefdoms and minor lords – is as impressive as ever, but Crusader Kings II looks significantly more playable for the average strategy gamer than any of its predecessors in the Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Victoria series.

Best Downloadable


Few downloadable titles are as colorful and creative as Super Giant Games’ Bastion. The upcoming action RPG boasts a unique spoken narrative that dynamically incorporates your actions into the storytelling, and the gorgeous visuals have all been hand-painted by Bastion’s art director, Jen Zee. Thanks to tight controls and fast-paced action, the game is a fun to play as it is to look at. Bastion is poised to be the breakthrough XBLA hit of this year’s Summer of Arcade.

Best Multiplayer

Gears of War 3

While the campaign looks to deliver the spectacle we've come to expect from the series, the most exciting news that came out of Epic is an enhanced Horde mode that adds boss battles, a currency system, and an element of tower defense as you and a group of friends shoot through waves of Locust and Lament enemies. Players can build blockades, turrets, and even exchange currency in an effort to conquer the final wave. If you've already had your fill of Horde mode, the new Beast mode should mix things up by putting you in the shoes of the franchise's varied enemies.

Best Tech

PS Vita

Nintendo's new Wii U hardware has plenty of potential, but the most impressive new tech on display at this year's E3 was the PlayStation Vita. From the crisp graphical power shown in Uncharted: Golden Abyss to the PSN connectivity and level sharing possibilities of Sound Shapes, this well-rounded handheld has every feature request we could imagine. You can argue that game-centric handhelds are becoming less relevant in the era of the iPhone, but Sony is making a solid argument for its new system being worthwhile. With the competitive $250 price tag for the WiFi version of the Vita, Sony easily takes this category.