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OCC E3 2012 Awards


Best Racing Game



Winner: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3)

From the team that brought you ModNation Racers comes a joint venture with the Media Molecule of LittleBigPlanet, titled LittleBigPlanet Karting (creative name, right?). What may initially seem like a shameless rip-off of Mario Kart is a title that extends beyond a kart racer with weapons. Continuing with Sony’s line of 'Play, Create, Share' games, the focus here is creation and customization. Like ModNation Racers before it, players can create their own tracks and characters for local and online play. What makes the game special are the tools that come built into the game; every level has been and can be built with the same tools available from the game's Creation Mode. Coming from the enormous user community of LittleBigPlanet, there's no question that we'll be seeing some very creative user levels after its release. But races are only half the game; a great emphasis is on Battle Mode. Like Mario Kart, weapons are placed throughout tracks and stages; anything from heat-seeking missiles, electrical shocks, and bombs that fall from the sky. From what I've seen in E3 demos, the battles are fast and frantic on relatively large stages. With all that's said and done, the charm of LittleBigPlanet is still here at heart; like the original, you start off in a spaceship hub made of cardboard and can still slap your opponents if they get too close. If anything, I'm most excited to see what the community does with this game. LittleBigPlanet saw a simple platformer transformed into classic arcade games, racers, and even music boxes; there's no telling what the 3D world of LittleBigPlanet Karting will bring to the table.

Runner-Up: Need for Speed Most Wanted (PC, PS3, 360, PS Vita)

For years and years, the Need for Speed franchise has gone through more iterations than I can count. From its initial run as a pure racing series, to a free-roaming underground street racer, to something of a simulator, to an action racing game, Need for Speed has been through it all. Although the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted was released several years ago, probably the only resemblance with this new game is the inclusion of the police. Developed by Criterion Games – known for their highly acclaimed Burnout series – Most Wanted combines the adrenaline-pumping speed of Burnout with the drawn-out police chases of Need for Speed. Put the two together and you get one of the more intense racing games that I've seen. The whole map is available for you to explore; a playground with shortcuts and landmarks to run through or crash into. To put it simply, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is Burnout: Paradise with the police chases of the original Most Wanted game. Not the most original idea (hence the runner-up), but it’s sure to please anyone who's looking for a tight racer with a splash of adrenaline rush.



Winner: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC, PS3, 360, Wii U, PS Vita, 3DS)

There was not a huge showing of racing games at E3 this year, so picking a winner and runner-up for this category was a little hard. Still, I liked what I saw of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed to make it my winner. This is a kart racer, similar to Mario Kart, but with a variety of new mechanics and improvements to the familiar. The main thing is the karts can now transform into sea and air vehicles while racing, and the tracks will terraform during a race that will require a transformation. The game handles the transformations for the most part, as you pass through colored gates or enter water to transform, but there will be multiple paths requiring a certain transformation. You can choose the path to take and in a way the transformation, but for the most part it is all automatic. There are also multiple characters to unlock in single player and friends to race in online multiplayer, so it looks like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will be one to get.

Runner-Up: Need for Speed Most Wanted (PC, PS3, 360, PS Vita)

No, you are not suddenly transported back to the early 2000s. There is a new Need for Speed: Most Wanted coming out this year and it was shown during EA's E3 conference. The new Most Wanted is being handled by Criterion and once again features a Blacklist of racers to take down. However, unlike the 2005 game, this new version has a Blacklist of only 10 racers (instead of 15), but the premise remains the same otherwise. Certain races will have the cops on your tail, who will deploy a variety of tactics to try and stop you. The car selection for the new Most Wanted is described as the largest yet and the physics are more simulation than arcade, but I still remain a little skeptical of this new game based on the graphics. It just doesn't look like Most Wanted, but maybe that will change by November.



Winner: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PC, PS3, 360, Wii U, PS Vita, 3DS)

Sonic & All-Stars Racing was generally well-received. The sequel, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, ups the ante with transformable vehicles to conquer not only the roads, but the waters and skies as well. The transformations are done automatically when you come to sections that require a change, but it's still an interesting aspect. The game will also employ a "fair weapon system", allowing players to block or evade if they have the skill. Typically in racing games like this (I'm looking at you, Mario Kart), taking an early lead isn't always a good thing, as you'll often be the target of unavoidable attacks. Being able to actually block or evade attacks may change all that, and that's exactly what developer Sumo Digital wants – aggressive racing from start to finish.

Runners-Up: Need for Speed Most Wanted (PC, PS3, 360, PS Vita)

Need for Speed Most Wanted is a reboot of the 2005 game of the same name. Aside from the impressive graphics and assortment of cars to choose from, Most Wanted's world is completely open, allowing you to simply cruise around as you please, until you're ready to compete in a variety of challenges. As in the first game, you'll not only have to compete against a "blacklist" of racers, but also against a plethora of police cars that will employ various tactics to take you down. The Need For Speed franchise has had its share of ups and downs, so I'm not completely sold on Most Wanted just yet, but it certainly has promise.

  1. Introduction
  2. Best Action-Adventure Game
  3. Best Shooter
  4. Best Platforming Game
  5. Best Fighting Game
  6. Best MMO
  7. Best Strategy Game
  8. Best Racing Game
  9. Best Role-Playing Game
  10. Best Free-to-Play Game
  11. Best Family Game
  12. Best New IP
  13. Most Innovative
  14. Biggest Surprise
  15. Biggest Disappointment
  16. Game of the Show
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