PREVIEWSPillars of Eternity Preview
For Obsidian's crowdfunded love letter to Infinity Engine games like Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate, I was impressed by its willingness to pull back the curtain and let me see the machinery behind it.
We've all been there. Everyone remembers that mission. You and your partner are climbing up the mountains in the snow, striving to pull some slick clandestine operation about getting some intel on a bad guy, or something similar (because let's face...
Wait, it's already been a year?! For gaming journalists, E3 2010 always starts with a little pessimism: "Ugh, this E3 is going to suck. All of this effort... for what? There's like five titles I'm interested in seeing. Ugh." And then we start making appointments, accepting party invites, and soon enough, a terrifying list of games begins to form in our collective heads. It's only a matter of time before our brains can't handle it anymore and they are forced out in the form of a feature that only confirms our darkest fears and forbidden excitement.
This year we decided to grab five GR brains (Duke's brain is excluded by NDAs) and force each one to pick only three things that they wanted to see at E3 2010. This meant that many titles were left on a pile of its brethren, trying to reach the escape ladder to the helicopter known as 'GR coverage'. There were plenty of casualties, but I'm not that heartless, so I'll mention a handful of special titles here that for some reason didn't make the cut: Playstation Move, Metroid: Other M, Call of Duty: Black Ops, RAGE, Epic Mickey, Gran Turismo 5, Halo: Reach, Dead Space 2, The Last Guardian, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Deus Ex: Revolution.
Now, this doesn't mean we aren't looking forward to seeing more of what they have to offer - quite the contrary - but that we've likely seen and read a lot about them already (we might even have a preview ready). The chance that we're going to be surprised by those games are not that high; either that, or we're just blasphemous and out to piss you off (It's not hard.). And hell, we can only pick 3 games each. But really, we're excited to see all those things in the 'missing' list (well, maybe not that Move lollipop thing); it's just that we're more excited by a few others. In fact, there's one game that was chosen three times. Guess we know who won.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii) – It's been a year since the concept art for the mysterious new Zelda for Wii was released at E3 2009, and now we're finally going to see something more concrete (we hope) about Link's next big adventure. Shigeru Miyamoto promised way back then that the next Zelda would be changed significantly from the traditional formula that we've gotten so used to, so it's time to put up or shut up.
Say what you will about the lack of innovation, I still felt Twilight Princess was the best Zelda title ever made, even edging out the legendary Ocarina of Time. I'm eager to see if the purported new direction will bode well for the series. The Wii MotionPlus compatibility, finally allowing for accurate sword swings following your controller movements if all goes well, is a great start. ~Joshua Laddin
Bulletstorm – New-generation, blow-the-shit-out-of-everything mayhem, creative kills, and just enough lingering implied humor to evoke the ghost of Duke Nukem, Bulletstorm is described by its designers as "the Burnout of first-person shooters". Take a fallen-from-grace drunken space pirate, crash his ass down on a paradise planet gone to deadly seed, and include creative, in-game kills with names like "Bad Touch", "Gang Bang", and "Afterburner", and you have our rapt attention. ~Chris Hudak
Brink – Thanks to some stupid volcano in Poland, I never got a chance to check out Brink during Bethesda's BFG event. And all it did was make me want to see it more. I'm starting to think Bethesda might be behind the whole international fiasco. Here's to hoping it's as fun to play as it looks like it might be. ~Blake Morse
Project Natal – While I'm not interested in the product itself, I do have to admit that I'm wondering how Microsoft will prove Natal's worth. Piggy-backing it to an existing franchise? A slew of downloadable titles reminiscent of the App Store? Who knows? What I do know is that Natal is going to take a lot more than Cirque du Soleil backing it in order to get people to care. ~Daniel Bischoff
Enslaved: Journey to the West – I can't escape. Though I'm American born and raised, the Chinese in me roars with the fury of a thousand dragons whenever I see someone, anyone, take one of my cultural masterpieces, Journey to the West, and attempt to be "inspired by" it. I'm the black girl shaking her finger, "Oh no, you didn't?!"
But from what I can gather from trailers and artwork, Ninja Theory's Enslaved is more of a reimagining than a reinterpretation of Journey to the West. A shirtless, rough and tumble brawler named Monkey is forced via a golden headband (akin to the original story) to protect a computer-savvy woman named Trip from a lush, post-apocalyptic world and the anti-human killing mechs that inhabit it. Like Sun Wukong, Monkey has mad staff skills, climbing prowess, and can glide on water upon some sort of cyber-cloud. All said, Enslaved just might be the best new platformer this year. ~Nick Tan
Puzzle Quest 2 – Ah, Puzzle Quest: The cutting edge of puzzle/'casual'-gaming-meets-the-outermost-edges-of-high-fantasy-RPG-dorkness. After what some might call the slight derailment of the franchise with Puzzle Quest Galactrix, things seem to be back on track. Will this sequel have the same addictive, productivity-ruining properties as its predecessor? A gamer can dream. ~Chris Hudak
Saints Row 3? – I played the crap out of Saints Row 2, literally on the poop spraying missions. These games are the kings of over-the-top sandbox hijinks. There's not much info on 3 yet, but I'm hoping for more of the same only with bigger and shinier explosions. As long as they don't add cellphones and social obligations, they should be okay. ~Blake Morse