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ShortList at E3

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Let's quickly bring you up to speed. E3 is an annual gaming expo in LA where all the companies reveal their big games and, in some cases, new consoles. And ShortList is there. Right now. While you're all enjoying the four-day Jubilee weekend, we're slaving away in the glorious California sunshine to bring you the latest gaming news. And yesterday, while you were all enjoying the flotilla in the rain, we were stuck at the beach in Santa Monica. Life, sometimes, is cruel.

The winners of for the annual ShortList E3 awards below...

The Annual ShortList E3 Awards: The Winners

No doubt you've been on the edge of your seat ever since we announced the nominations for the ShortList E3 awards yesterday afternoon. But now, if there's still room, it's time to shuffle even further forward in nail-chewing anticipation - we're about to announce the winners.

But before we do, a caveat. In the interests of keeping the winners in certain categories secret, we held back the nominations for best game of the entire show. We hope you understand. And now, here are the games we're toasting tonight...

Best Game:

Beyond: Two Souls

Sony's secret title may have leaked hours before the conference, but it was in the details rather than the top level news (it stars Ellen Page) that Beyond: Two Souls really impressed. Ambitious in its gameplay, storytelling and scope, the E3 footage only began to reveal the depth and imagination of Quantic Dream's follow up to Heavy Rain.

Also nominated: The Last Of Us; Watch Dogs; Tomb Raider; Need For Speed: Most Wanted

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Best Shooter

Far Cry 3

An unlikely choice? Perhaps. But only on first glance. Consider that Ubisoft announced the game would also have a separate four player co-op campaign set on an entirely different island and the already impressive (and crucially very colourful) shooter suddenly looks even better.

Also nominated: Call Of Duty: Black Ops II; Dead Space 3; Medal Of Honor: Warfighter; Halo 4

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Best Action Game

Tomb Raider

The very idea of the last few Tomb Raider titles winning an award like this is preposterous. They weren't bad, but their identikit construction meant they rarely captured the imagination. With this reboot, suddenly Lara Croft's adventures matter again.

Also nominated: Assassin's Creed III; Resident Evil 6; Watch Dogs; The Last Of Us

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Best Sports Game

Fifa 13

Full scale revolution wasn't an option this year, it couldn't have been - not after last year's leap forward. But in refining an already impressive game, Fifa remains far beyond it's competitors. And it's notable that the new physics system Fifa pioneered last year, is only just being implemented by EA teammate Madden.

Also nominated: PES 2013; Madden NFL 13; NBA Live 13; NBA 2K13

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Best Racing Game

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

In a perfect world, all Need For Speeds would be made by Criterion. The UK based studio reinvigorated the franchise two years ago with Hot Pursuit, watched as The Run fumbled its good work, and is now back with a better-than-ever open world game with clear links to its previous masterpiece Burnout Paradise.

Also nominated: F1 2012; Sonic And All-Stars Racing Transformed; LittleBigPlanet Racing; Forza Horizon

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Best Strategy Game

SimCity

One of the shocks of the show. Beforehand nobody was really interested in the resurrection of the long-dormant city building series. Why would they be? One 30-minute presentation later, focusing on the co-operative multiplayer where evryone looks after their own city and suddenly everyone is desperate for February so they can start building. A welcome surprise.

Also nominated: Company of Heroes 2; XCOM: Enemy Unknown

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Best RPG

Borderlands 2

It's Fifa-style refinement rather than Tomb Raider's reinvention - so the different character classes are better defined and the guns are more diverse, but health figures still satisfyingly fly out of your enemies with every bullet hit and the four-player co-op promises to be as compelling as ever.

Also nominated: South Park: The Stick Of Truth; The Elder Scrolls Online; Defiance

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Best Motion Controlled Game

Fable: The Journey

A Kinect controlled Fable game? It was never going to work. And when Fable's illustrious, self-promoting leader Peter Molineux ditched the studio a few months ago, we all nodded sagely and declared Fable: The Journey a dud. But we were wrong. Proof that, implemented intelligently, Kinect can work for more than dancing games or as an expensive microphone.

Also nominated: Sports Champions 2; ZombiU; The Unfinished Swan; Dance Central 3

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The Annual ShortList E3 Awards

From the press conferences, to behind-closed-doors meetings, to snatched opportunities amongst the crowds on the show floor, we've seen a lot of games over the past couple of days. Some great, some, let's just say, not-so-great. The below seven categories represent the best E3 has to offer. And, on top of this, we'll be revealing our best in show. The tension...

Best Shooter:

Halo 4

Far Cry 3

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II

Dead Space 3

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter

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Best Action Game:

Tomb Raider

Assassin's Creed III

Resident Evil 6

Watch Dogs

The Last Of Us

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Best Sports Game:

FIFA 13

PES 2013

Madden NFL 13

NBA Live 13

NBA 2K13

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Best Racing Game:

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

F1 2012

Sonic And All-Stars Racing Transformed

LittleBigPlanet Racing

Forza Horizon

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Best Strategy Game:

Sim City

Company of Heroes 2

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

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Best RPG:

South Park : The Stick of Truth

Borderlands 2

The Elder Scrolls Online

Defiance

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Best Motion Controlled Game:

Sports Champions 2

Fable: The Journey

ZombiU

The Unfinished Swan

Dance Central 3

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Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Need For Speed is gaming's equivalent of the Star Trek films. At least, it would be if JJ Abrams hadn't come along with his reboot and destroyed the theory that every odd numbered film in the franchise is terrible. But after 2010's Hot Pursuit (raves) and 2011's The Run (jeers), the upcoming Most Wanted is settling Need For Speed into a similar one good/one bad rhythm.

Most Wanted looks special. Hot Pursuit had free drive, but there was no reason to ever use it. The game focused on its progression of events - and did so very successfully - but given it was from the same people who made Burnout Paradise, such an empty open world seems an odd decision. But the individual races were so good, it was overlooked in the scramble to publish ever more glowing reviews.

The same team are on call for this year's addition to the franchise. But now the idea is that you never need to leave the car. There are events at every turn, plus the now essential Autolog to track and rank your every move through speed cameras and over jumps. After you first jump in the driving seat, you might well never see the map screen again.

And the driving is first rate. The E3 demo saw us take part in an eight car race across the city with crashes, jumps and one moment when we were celebrating a particularly tasty takedown so gleefully that we stopped paying attention and smashed into a wall.

Next up was an event that simply presented us with a ramp and challenged us to see who could jump the furthest within the time limit. Cue cars careering off the road as everyone tried to hit the perfect line at the same time and screams of anguish as jumps land inches short of the high score.

But the question is, can Most Wanted outclass Hot Pursuit overall? The developers are certainly confident, continually reminding us, "This is not the first driving game we've made. Trust us." On this evidence it's hard not to.

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