Best RPG Innovation: The Narrator (Bastion)

Role-playing games tend to build heavily on the genre’s core conventions, so innovation isn’t always easy to find. The action/RPG Bastion channels the isometric combat of its many predecessors, but the addition of the narrator gives the story a brand new flavor. The omniscient voice of Rucks responds to your actions and lends a fresh sense of significance to the events, whether the Kid is fighting giant monsters or just breaking some crates. It also provides an interesting way to convey information; you never have to stop the action to read a bunch of backstory. As you're fighting, the voice overlays the combat, fleshing out the world without distracting you from the task at hand.

Best MMORPG: Star Wars: The Old Republic

Doubters said that a story-driven MMO couldn't be done, but The Old Republic has proven them wrong. With cool narrative hooks in its quest, an impressive amount of voice acting, and a rewarding progression system, The Old Republic is an excellent way to explore George Lucas' galaxy far, far away. Of course, The Old Republic hasn't been out for long, and its continued success will rely heavily on BioWare's ability to address player concerns and continue providing cool content. As it currently exists, though, TOR is at the top of the 2011 MMORPG pile.

Role-Playing Game Of The Year: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Many RPGs had a lot to offer this year, but the pieces all come together in Skyrim like no other. The vast world is full of interesting locations and cool quests, the progression system gives you the satisfaction of crafting a legendary hero, and the brutal combat puts gamers in the action like no other entry in the series. It isn't just the breadth of content that makes Skyrim impressive; from the well-written quest lines to the seemingly random occurrences, the adventures hold to a consistently high level of quality. These elements all combine to make Skyrim one of the most immersive and addictive games of this generation, making it easy to lose hundreds of hours in Bethesda's masterpiece. It isn't just a milestone for RPGs – Skyrim is a high point for gaming in general.