Best Shooter


With millions of guns, constant weapon and ability upgrades, and a nonstop shooting gallery of skags and bandits, Gearbox’s sequel looks to be even more explosive than its predecessor. We’ve seen every class in action, and we’re still struggling to decide which we’ll wind up using first. It may come out in the fall, but Borderlands 2 should feature enough replayability to keep shooter fans playing well into 2013.

Best Sports Game


Our 2011 sports game of the year did nothing to diminish its standing at E3. With the benefit of a new AI system guiding off-the-ball movement, a refined player physics engine, and a re-emphasis on dribbling and first-touch control, FIFA 13 is enhancing its already strong foundation in important ways that should positively affect the minute-to-minute gameplay. Since your performance on the pitch matters more than any off-field activity, don’t be surprised if FIFA 13 is once again angling for top honors at the end of the year. 

Best Strategy Game


Bringing a beloved PC strategy franchise to consoles is always a dicey proposition, but Firaxis’ take on XCOM fills us with confidence. The game isn't afraid to maintain tension by punishing bad tactics with permanent death for the player's beloved soldiers, nor is XCOM's vaunted environmental interaction and destructibility dumbed down. The most astonishing aspect of the hands-on demo from this year's show, though, is how quickly and fluidly it plays on a gamepad. Though the turn-based structure lets players pause and think, the interface is so fast that it rarely feels like you're waiting for the game to catch up to you.

Best Tech


The three platform-holders’ big technological announcements – Microsoft’s SmartGlass, Sony’s Wonderbook, and Nintendo’s Wii U – left us with more questions than answers. Meanwhile, Epic Games’ public unveiling of its newest game engine left us intrigued by the possibilities of the as-yet-unannounced next-gen consoles. With streamlined tools that free designers to iterate on the fly and impressive graphical game-changers like real-time global illumination and the ability to produce rendered particle effects in the millions, Unreal Engine 4 should enable its users to create fantastical worlds with a fraction of the workload.