E3 2013 Awards
June 24, 2013 – One thing the RPGFan staff agreed upon: E3 2013 was one of the better shows in recent memory. When we handed out awards in 2012, there was very little competition for some categories. This year was much more exciting and packed with so many quality titles, that even with the addition of runner-ups, it was tricky to narrow down the results. It's the very definition of a 'first world problem,' and we were all grateful to have to deal with it.

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360)
Best Traditional RPG of E3 2013
Lightning Returns is a game that few of us held any enthusiasm for. Some of us haven't played the entirety of Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel, while others have but found them lacking. Those of us who genuinely enjoyed the first two-thirds of the Fabula Nova Crystallis trilogy knew that Lightning Returns had potential, but what we didn't expect was for our entire staff to come away from the game with such positive impressions. Every single person who gave the demo a try was enthralled by the game's satisfyingly responsive combat and slick presentation. We exchanged optimistic comments about Lightning Returns throughout the entire show, and came back to play it several times, which bodes well considering the abundance of excellent games on display this year. It's not often that an established series can lure in disinterested veterans and curious newcomers with such finesse. Square Enix appears to be on the up-and-up, and we're eager to find out if Lightning's "return" will coincide with the ailing company's return to form. Based on what we've seen, the forecast is sunny — with a chance of Lightning.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen
Runner-Up: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
Mario and Luigi are teaming up again to bring us an imaginative, colorful, and endlessly amusing RPG for the 3DS. The battle system makes use of the series' timed button press mechanic, but takes it to a new level with Luigi super attacks. One has Mario stacking rows of Luigis on top of each other while another is essentially Luigi meets Katamari. The 3D effects are sharp as well, and the RPG mechanics are light, but seem integral to the experience. We can't wait to see what creatures and personalities inhabit the dreams of Luigi. Anything is possible.

Writeup by Kyle E. Miller

Transistor (PS4/PC)
Best Action RPG of E3 2013
As the "gaming as art" debate marches on, games that aid and impede the claim that video games are, in fact, art are constantly being developed and released. In recent memory, no game better supports this argument than Supergiant Games' Transistor — and we only played an unfinished demo. The method of storytelling, art direction, sound and music, and sheer atmosphere scream something akin to Sin City. While the indie community houses its fair share of literati a little too enamored with abstraction, several attempt to tell a meaningful tale matched with engrossing gameplay; Transistor serves as a leading example of just that. Whether you're in gaming to just have fun, be challenged, or escape into a nigh-tactile world, we have no doubt that Transistor will satiate.

Writeup by Bob Richardson
Runner-Up: Ys: Memories of Celceta (PS Vita)
While one RPGFan editor's love of this series reaches near-fanatical heights (*cough* Derek *cough*), even the unbiased among us were impressed with the fast and furious gameplay of Ys: Memories of Celceta. A rewritten story centered around recovering protagonist Adol's lost memories makes this game the perfect entry point for series newcomers while providing a fresh tale for Ys veterans to experience. The Vita is beginning to accumulate a killer library of RPGs, with Memories of Celceta looking to be one of the best offerings this year. We can't wait to explore this "foliage ocean" and discover what colorful characters, collectible items, and fearsome monsters await.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness (PS3)
Best Strategy RPG of E3 2013
The gaming world is not exactly lacking in Disgaea titles, but what it is missing is a wealth of Strategy RPGs. While it would be easy for NIS to crank out yearly updates with marginal updates like everyone's favorite assassin series, Disgaea D2 looks to bring enough new features to the table to make us gaze longingly across the room. Series staples like the Item World and Dark Assembly are here, and for long-time fans of Disgaea, D2 reunites Laharl, Etna, and Flonne.

New features are plentiful: HD artwork, animated backgrounds, in-battle dialogues, character affinity levels, the skill-sharing Master/Pupil system, a revamped character creation system, monster riding, and more. Clearly, the most exciting new feature is, of course, the head-bashing or creature-summoning book weapon. There's no shortage of wackiness in Disgaea D2, and that's why we adore it, isn't it?

Writeup by Mike Salbato
Runner-Up: Ys: Project X Zone (3DS)
What do KOS-MOS, Black Rose, and Mega Man X have in common? They all agree that the best part of wakin' up is Folgers in your cup. That, and they all star in the crossover strategy RPG extravaganza Project X Zone. Our hands-on time with this game at E3 didn't show us much more than the public eShop demo released a couple of weeks ago, but we do know that the game is set to deliver furious combo-heavy combat and fanservice in spades. There's something very novel about seeing such unlikely combinations of characters interact, and with the game releasing in North America... well, right about now, we'll soon find out exactly how much Project X Zone has to offer.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen

Memoria (PC/Mac)
Best Graphic Adventure of E3 2013
The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav was a stellar adventure game, with its gorgeous visuals, engaging story and characters, and great point-and-click gameplay. The burden of impressing us twice was on developer Daedalic, and they absolutely did. At first glance, Memoria is somehow even more impressive than its predecessor. Mystifying environments full of details and lush animation, an expansion on the magical powers that were a crux of the original's brain-teasers, and a fascinating story told across two time periods have us eagerly awaiting the release of Memoria, and it absolutely stole the show in terms of adventure games at E3.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink
Runner-Up: Murdered: Soul Suspect (PS3/360/PC)
What would you get if you crossed Heavy Rain with Ghost Trick? We don't know, but Murdered: Soul Suspect sure seems to take the best of those two games and offer something unique and new. While it's too early to guess at how this one will turn out (or what kind of mileage its various gameplay wrinkles will get), what we've seen so far has us very intrigued. Being able to break one of the cardinal rules of gaming and walk through nearly anything in the environment gives Murdered a unique flavor, and if the investigation portions hold up over the course of the journey, we might just have another great new adventure title on our hands.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC/PS3/PS4)
Best MMORPG of E3 2013
What a delightful surprise A Realm Reborn has turned out to be. This once-maligned MMORPG has risen from the ashes with flair and panache, thanks in large part to director Naoki "Phoenix Down" Yoshida. Even the most MMO-phobic members of our staff came away delighted with the stylish reinvention of Final Fantasy XIV. As several of us fought for our lives against the fiery Primal Ifrit (and won!), we found ourselves enamored with the game's beautiful presentation and strategic combat. It may not completely reinvent the MMORPG wheel, but with the tremendous legacy of Final Fantasy behind it, A Realm Reborn is likely to enrapture many of us when it launches in a few short months. Honestly, Square Enix? You had us at Magitek Armor.

Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen
Runner-Up: WildStar (PC)
The thing about an MMO is its potential. All games have potential, but the sheer scale of ambition it takes to decide to make an MMO, even before you try to do something different with the genre, is the type of hubris that made Icarus decide to reach the sun. And like Icarus, many studios have seen their dreams melt away like so much beeswax while everything crashes down around them. It is far, far too early to say what will happen with the beautiful and whimsical Wildstar. If it became a monster success, it would not surprise me. But neither would a colossal flop. Either way though, one has to admire the ambition.

Writeup by Dave Yeager

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4/XBOne/PC)
Best Overall Game of E3 2013
Geralt's latest and last adventure seeks to reinvent the open-world RPG in a way The Elder Scrolls never has, and after the presentation at CD Projekt RED's booth, we are believers. The developers have already proven that they can create a fantastic world full of compelling drama and exciting combat, but Wild Hunt looks to be more than a mere expansion on those ideas. Everything is bigger, yes, but also more intense, more developed, honed, tight, and sharpened to the keenness of a witcher's silver blade. We can't wait to battle monsters both human and inhuman, traverse gorgeous landscapes full of absurd natural detail, and find Geralt's lost love. Just give us a release date so we can take off work and set aside a good 100 hours in which to experience the end of a legend.

Writeup by Kyle E. Miller
Runner-Up Tie: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360) & Transistor (PS4/PC)
Holy Boy Scout knots, Batman — it's a tie! In an effort to really impress upon our readers just how great this year's E3 was for our beloved genre, we settled on doling out two runner-up awards for 2013 Game of Show: one to Lightning Returns and one to Transistor. These two games have drastically different parents from one another (and our illustrious Game of Show winner), and they both look outstanding. Lightning Returns overcame its status as "somewhat unwanted second sequel from monolithic developer/publisher" and managed to impress nearly all of us with its tight gameplay, sweet graphics, and great music. Transistor, designed by indie darling Supergiant Games, blew us away with its cohesive design, clever mechanics, and totally entrancing audiovisuals. Both of these games are looking good, and both of them make us confident that RPGFans will be well-served in the coming months.

Writeup by Stephen Meyerink

Psst! Publishers, developers and esteemed PR folk: Clicking on the award emblems above will give you a giant PNG version to use as you see fit. :)

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