Best-Written Villain: The Arishok (Dragon Age II)

For all of the ways that Dragon Age II stumbled, BioWare still knows how to create a compelling villain. Serving as the antagonist for the middle section of the game, the Arishok doesn't have a typical nefarious endgame. He and his Qunari army are stranded in Kirkwall, and during their stay, the corruption and hostility in the city slowly become unbearable. Eventually, the Arishok sees no solution and tries to take Kirkwall for the Qunari. Even though Hawke opposes him, the Arishok still shows the hero respect as they fight to the death.

Best Boss Fight: Sif (Dark Souls)

The fight against Sif was difficult on several levels for many Dark Souls players. Not only does this agile giant wolf carry a massive sword in its mouth and tear through heroes with low stamina like paper – when Sif reaches low health, it starts limping pathetically as it continues its assault. No matter how many times you got hit with that sword, there's something heartbreaking about killing a wounded animal…even if it tries to kill you first.

Best Combat System: The Witcher 2

Nothing beats a well-tuned battle system that keeps you on your toes. The Witcher 2's real-time, action-focused combat is versatile and entertaining. You hone your skill with swordplay, magic, and bombs, but you can't be a one-trick pony. You encounter difficult (but rewarding) foes that force you to explore the many options at your disposal. It may mean learning how to parry, or using consumables wisely, or choosing the right signs, but each challenge you conquer just makes Geralt that much more formidable in combat. You feel awesome by extension.