Design by Collin Oguro
One of the most remarkable things about the Electronic Entertainment Expo is that as quickly as the spectacle arrives, it goes even faster. GameSpot's coverage of E3 2004 included about 1000 previews, 12,000 screenshots, and more than 1,300 movies of more than 600 games, posted during the space of just a few short days. E3's audiovisual blitz was enough to make the hardiest soul's eyes and ears practically bleed from sensory overload. That's where this feature comes in. For those who don't have the time or inclination to wade through that massive amount of information, we've hand-selected the best aspects of E3 and distilled it all down in GameSpot's Best of E3 2004 feature, which celebrates the absolute best of the best at the show, according to our team of editors.
About These Awards
Just as we did with our Best and Worst of 2003 feature, we've taken a platform-agnostic view of the industry in our Best of E3 2004 feature. We know that most GameSpot users have access to more than one of the major gaming platforms on the market. Thus, the platform a game appears on is not as important as the quality of the game itself. For our Special Achievement, Genre, and Game of the Show awards, we compared games from all platforms directly to one another in our effort to identify the best of the best.
Additionally, it's important to note that the nature of the show also affects how these games are judged. Our decisions here are quite frankly based on the first impressions we received at E3. E3 is the gaming industry's ultimate dog and pony show. Every exhibitor at the event is concerned about putting the best possible face on its products. Some games we actually got to play. Some others we were only allowed to observe as a developer walked us through a carefully contrived demonstration. Other games were merely announced, with maybe just a couple of screenshots or a brief movie to give us a glimpse. We did not consider games in this latter category in these awards, but instead have focused exclusively on games that were playable at the show. As well, since we admit that E3 is about appearances, games that were shown at E3 last year were--by and large--less impressive to us the second time around, unless of course they've made significant strides since then. That is to say, at E3, we naturally favor never-before-seen games.
With all that out of the way, we've divided our Best of E3 2004 awards into four primary categories:
Special Achievement Awards
This category allows us to recognize hardware products and games that deserve recognition but that couldn't be considered for a specific genre award.
Here we recognize games for excellence within their particular genre, including action adventure, sports, role-playing, and more. As in any year, certain genres were more competitive than others, but in every case, the games we've listed as winners and finalists represent the absolute best games of the show within their category.
While our genre awards pit games from all different platforms against one another, we recognize that people want to know about the best games on the horizon for their specific hardware. Our Platform Awards recognize the crème de la crème for the PC, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and, for the first time on GameSpot, the N-Gage and mobile platforms. We consciously omitted the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS for this category. There were no playable games on the Sony handheld, while our playtime was too limited on the few available DS games for us to make definitive choices on a winner for either platform.
Game of the Show
This category is self-explanatory. We give you our take on the single best game at E3 2004, and we cite four other great finalists.