E3 2012 is officially in the rear-view mirror as we approach a relatively quiet summer season in the video game industry before being overwhelmed come fall. We can expect a lot of the games listed below to take countless hours of our time later this year, and rightfully so.

After previewing and/or demoing all of the major games that made their way to the expo earlier this month – in a year heavily focused on games from familiar franchises – the Game Rant crew highlighted the notable mentions of what stood out the most for the Game Rant’s E3 2012 Award Nominations. Now it’s time to showcase which games topped each category.

Without further ado, we present to you the Best of E3 2012 Award Winners:

Best Shooter: Halo 4 (343 Industries)

E3 2012 Awards Halo 4 Best Shooter

The Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. Shipwrecked on a mysterious world, faced with new enemies and deadly technology…the universe will never be the same.

Best Action/Adventure: Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)

E3 2012 Awards Assassin's Creed 3 Best Action Adventure

America. The 18th Century. The thirteen colonies are on the brink of Revolution. Our protagonist, Connor, is thrust into tumultuous 18th century Revolutionary America. Born to a Mohawk mother and British father, he struggles to find his place in a world that views him as an outsider.

Read our E3 preview of Assassin’s Creed 3 (Wii U) for more.

Best Sports/Racing: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion Games)

E3 2012 Awards - Need for Speed Most Wanted - Best Racing

Lose the cops — your way. Hit jumps and shortcuts, switch cars, hide out or play to your car’s unique strengths by driving off-road, hitting straights or diving into back alleys. Drive anywhere, explore the world, hang out with your friends or toy with the cops. It’s about you, your friends and the wildest selection of cars in a heavily policed, urban landscape. What would you do?

Best Motion Controls: Game & Wario (Nintendo)

E3 2012 Awards - Game and Wario - Best Motion Controls

Embracing the unique capabilities of the Nintendo Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen, Game & Wario‘s collection of mini-games offer the type of experience that must be played to be understood. Game & Wario exemplified the type of multiplayer motion-control fun only their new console can currently offer and was a highlight of the show for us.

Read our E3 preview of Game & Wario for more.

Best Multiplayer: Halo 4 (343 Industries)

E3 2012 Awards - Halo 4 Best Multiplayer

Halo 4 brings back its fully cooperative campaign while also tying competitive multiplayer (War Games) and Spartan Ops co-op missions into the story. Spartan Ops continues post-launch with weekly episodes containing five new co-op missions each week, making Halo 4 the biggest game of the franchise to date.

Read our E3 preview of Halo 4 Spartan Ops and our multiplayer hands-on for more.

Best RPG: South Park: The Stick of Truth (Obsidian Entertainment)

E3 2012 Awards - South Park: The Stick of Truth - Best RPG

From the perilous battlefields of the fourth-grade playground, a young hero will rise, destined to be South Park’s savior. From the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes an epic quest to become… cool.

Best MMO: PlanetSide 2 (SOE)

E3 2012 Awards - PlanetSide 2 - Best MMO

The sequel to the landmark MMO FPS has been revealed and is bigger and better than ever. PlanetSide 2 is a massively multiplayer online first person shooter that delivers truly epic, massive combat on a scale never before seen in stunning, breathtaking detail. Battles wage with literally thousands of players aligning with one of three unique factions in intense land, air and vehicle gameplay where the fight for territory is more than a victory, its survival.

Read our E3 preview of PlanetSide 2 for more.

Best Indie Game: Joe Danger: The Movie (Hello Games)

E3 2012 Awards - Joe Danger: The Movie - Best Indie

Indie developer Hello Games is back with a sequel (but not really a sequel, but sort of…) of Joe Danger with Joe Danger: The Movie. More platforming fun, more racing fun, and more multiplayer mayhem. Joe Danger: The Movie was easily one of the most replayable, smile-inducing and fun games of the event and as a result, we went back for more.

Best Original Game: Dishonored (Bethesda)

E3 2012 Awards - Dishonored - Best Original

You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the Empress. Framed for her murder and driven by revenge, you must become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. As you navigate a world torn apart by plague and oppressed by a government armed with strange new technologies, the truth behind your betrayal is as murky as the waters surrounding the city. The choices you make will determine the fate of the world, but no matter what happens your old life is gone forever.

Read our E3 preview of Dishonored for more.

Best Handheld Game: Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation (Ubisoft)

E3 2012 Awards - Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation - Best Mobile Game

The year is 1765. As the events leading up to the American Revolution heat up in the North, Spanish forces plan to take control of Louisiana in the South – But they have yet to reckon with Aveline, a deadly Assassin who will use every weapon and ability in her arsenal to win freedom for her and her people.

Read our E3 preview of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation for more.

Best Hardware: Wii U (Nintendo)

E3 2012 Awards - Wii U - Best Hardware

The Wii U, like its predecessor, aims to innovate, this time by adding a second screen built into the controller (up to two at the same time) for more interactive experiences. And best of all, it works. While the games lineup may be lacking, Nintendo’s first-party titles make effective use of the new controllers, creating new types of asymmetric multiplayer experiences, while third-party games including Aliens: Colonial Marines, Batman: Arkham City and Assassin’s Creed 3 have their most dynamic builds available on the platform as well.

Most Innovative: Xbox SmartGlass (Microsoft)

E3 2012 Awards - Xbox SmartGlass - Most Innovative

The power of companion scenarios come to life in new ways with Xbox SmartGlass, an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console in an intelligent way when it launches later this year. Use your phone or tablet as a secret screen or enhanced information for your favorite game. Use your tablet to launch and navigate a movie on your TV and get rich details on the cast, crew and storyline. Pull the movie back to your tablet to finish watching it on the go. Use your phone or tablet as another remote and easily navigate your entertainment and menus by simple flicks, gestures and pinch and zoom.

Best in Show: Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)

E3 2012 Awards - Assassin's Creed 3 - Best of Show

Assassin’s Creed 3 introduces a new character, a new story and a new setting, while also redefining the series’ gameplay we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years. Run through buildings, through trees, dual-wield your favorite weapons and helm a ship armed with cannons, and enjoy it all with brand new features on the Wii U. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 3 dominated the not only the press conferences, demo rooms and show floor at this year’s E3, but our thoughts and discussions afterwards.

We can’t end this without giving some shout outs to other games that caught our eye but had very limited presentations and in some cases, nothing to show of gameplay. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs looked as epic as it was comprehensive and the limited footage of Star Wars 1313 hints that LucasArts may be on the right track to bringing their franchise back to where we’ve wanted it for years. And of course, there’s Beyond: Two Souls, the next game from Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain). We expect these three to headline next year’s E3 where we hope to explore the games in far more detail.

Tell us which games you’re excited for most!

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