Nintendo’s famous portly plumber dominated E3 discussion this year, and that has paid off at the Game Critics Awards. Split between Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Mario took home five awards this year, including “best of show” for Super Mario Odyssey.
The Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2017 is an annual list of the most exciting games showcased during the E3 games expo. Like other awards, they run the gamut from action titles, to RPGs, from online multiplayer to top indies. The list is created and the results tallied from votes from 40 global media publications and for games to be considered, they must have been shown at E3 with at least five minutes of hands-on game time available.
We were impressed with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle during our first look at it, so we aren’t surprised that the game managed to make such an impression with voters.
Like Mario + Rabbids, Shadow of War was nominated for four awards, though it came home empty handed. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus also received four nominations, winning for “best action game.” Destiny 2 managed to pick up the win for “best PC game,” even though its predecessor only released on consoles. Electronic Arts’ Star Wars Battlefront II also managed to take home the “best online multiplayer” award, beating out Call of Duty: WWII, Sea of Thieves, and Skull & Bones.
It was the big games from the big developers and big publishers which made the most impact with game critics this year, it seems. However, a few smaller games did make an appearance in the “best independent” category. There, we saw Ashen, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Donut County, Laser League, and The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti all competing for the top spot. The Artful Escape ultimately took home the win.
Other wins at the Game Critics Awards included FIFA 18 for “best sports game,” Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for “best role-playing game,” and Dragon Ball FighterZ for “best fighting game.” Arc System Works’ fighter surprised just about everyone with its crisp combat and authentic anime visuals, stealing much of the spotlight from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
Noticeable absences from all categories include games like Cuphead, Anthem, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but all were disqualified for not having playable demos available to voting publications. The Xbox One X received a hardware award, but Microsoft’s games were otherwise absent from the winners’ list, as well. Sony received no wins, even though it had shown off a long list of games that included God of War and Days Gone — both took home awards in Digital Trends’ E3 awards.
Updated on 6-29-2017 by Gabe Gurwin: Added information on award winners.