The Hottest Games at E3 2010

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

 

Lost in Shadow Maybe I'm a little biased, having done the preview for this little gem, but Lost in Shadow has me itching to see more. Very low profile but very innovative, this could be the next great platforming experience (and guess what? It's 2D!). In a nutshell, you control a shadow, platforming on other objects' shadows. The puzzles revolve around manipulating the light source and positioning of the real objects so that you can successfully navigate their shadows.

The preview build wasn't very far along but it was obvious how much creativity is being poured into LiS. It's one of those games where you just have to crack a smile at the puzzle solutions, and each one makes you more convinced that the next level will throw something even more clever at you. I can't wait to see some of the more advanced parts of the game. ~

Joshua Laddin

Valve, In General What Valve has planned with the continuation of the Half-Life series is sure to blow doors off of everything else at E3. Natal? Move? I don't even know what those are. My own personal rule-of-thumb is that the more cryptic and shady Valve is, the more awesome the information is going to be. Anything that's bumping a Portal 2 presentation has got to be good too, right? Right? Crap, I think I've just hyped myself out. ~Daniel Bischoff

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned The Kraken be praised, it looks like we're finally getting serious about the Pirates of the Caribbean game franchise. Not cartoony and kid-scaled like the previously-released Pirates of the Caribbean Online, but a lush and suitably foreboding-looking Action-RPG. Described by the developers as being “on the Fable end of things”—as opposed to a hard, number-crunching role-playing experience—and giving players command of their own vessel as well, Armada of the Damned is looking like a most promising contender so far in the annals of pirate video-games. ~Chris Hudak

Nintendo 3DS I have not had a reason to care about my little handheld, but Nintendo's portable hardware holds a special place in my heart (and my pants). What will this 3D look like? How will the handheld be held? Fake mock ups a while back really got me curious after a total lack of caring at its initial announcement. Please prove my uninterested disposition wrong, Nintendo! ~Daniel Bischoff

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 We've all seen the trailer and screens by now. Yes, it is real. It is happening. The sequel that fans have been clamoring for for over a decade now was confirmed at this year's Captivate. While I'm hoping for some hands-on time, I'll settle for a few new character reveals for now. I know they've got to throw Deadpool in there, he's just too popular right now not to make it in there, but I'm holding out hope for Squirrel Girl and Doop to make cameos as well. ~Blake Morse

When Duke sent word over from Hawaii (he's got a tough job, right?) that MvC3 was a reality, I was one of the very many people out there who were both ecstatic and quite surprised. It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since MvC2 dropped, and it certainly doesn't feel that way considering how frequently the game is still played today. You don't have to be an expert at fighting games (I'll be the first to admit how terrible I am) to fall in love with the over-the-top hyper-speed cartoon mayhem of the series.

There's nothing quite like busting out a triple super combo to finish your opponents in that beautiful blazing flash of light. What little we've seen of MvC3 looks to keep that same energy alive with some mighty impressive 3D character models and brand new fan-favorite characters (*cough* Deadpool). Hopefully we'll see even more characters come out of the woodwork along with other details at E3. ~Joshua Laddin

The Marvel vs. Capcom series is the reason my computer's desktop has a folder dedicated to MUGEN, a free 2D fighting engine that allows you to build a roster of characters from across the 2D fighting universe for a fantasy crossover matchup. I can pit War Machine against Blanka, Batman against The Punisher, and four Ryus from different Capcom games against each other in an tag-team deathmatch.

But sometimes those fantasies actually come to life in the 'real' fighting genre, in all of its stunning 3D cel-shaded glory. I mean, Deadpool?! Sign me up! That said, Capcom better give us the names of at least ten more characters, or I'm spraying bullets. ~Nick Tan

 

And so the obvious winner is…



…Deadpool.