Ah, E3. A wondrous three day odyssey of hot LA sun, parties, booth babes, and of course, games, games, and more games. The hype machine in gaming reaches its fever pitch this week, with every game company trying to outdo each other with crazy announcements, outlandish claims, and previews of the hottest upcoming products.
With 2009 returning to the big format, we've put together a list of our most anticipated games and predictions for the show.
BioShock 2 (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Formerly the highest rated game in the history of gamingexcellence.com (until we awarded Grand Theft Auto 4 our first and only perfect score), BioShock was simply a masterpiece of gaming that holds up extremely well two years later. While details have been slim about the highly anticipated sequel, we can't wait to get our hands on the many juicy details that 2K will be providing about this future blockbuster. As far as this journalist is concerned, there is no game more anticipated than BioShock 2.
Borderlands (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
We had a brief demo of this intriguing mix of FPS mayhem and Diablo style RPG progression. The game looked quite solid a year ago, and we're sure the gurus at Gearbox software have not spent the last year sitting on their laurels. Just the idea of hundreds of thousands of possible weapons makes this one to watch.
WET (Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3)
Are you going to doubt Bethesda Softworks, the creators of Oblivion and Fallout 3? We didn't think so. Granted, they're only publishing the game, but that doesn't temper our expectations. This one seems to be cut from a very different fabric from Bethesda's previous titles. WET puts players in an over the top action game with a heroine that pulls a page from Dante's books with dual pistols and a katana. It may seem a little Devil May Cryish, but we'll give the developer's pedigree the benefit of the doubt.
Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3)
This isn't the most popular RPG series of all time for nothing. After a rather lacklustre twelfth instalment, we're expecting this series to pick itself back up and regain its spot at the top of the JRPG throne.
The Conduit (Wii)
We don't know a whole lot about this intriguing sounding Wii shooter from Sega. However, if Madworld and House of the Dead Overkill are any indication of Sega's commitment to the long-suffering Wii hardcore, then we can expect great things from this fully online-enabled shooter with tasty graphics that really push the Wii's capabilities.
The Old Republic (PC)
We loved the original Knights of the Old Republic here at GE, and therefore it's only reasonable to expect a level of excellence from Bioware's first foray into the MMO sphere? Will this game have what it takes to compete with World of Warcraft's staggering popularity? We think it will.
Silent Hill Shattered Memories (Wii)
From what we've seen about this instalment in Konami's long running horror series, is that this one will take the series into a new and terrifying direction. Instead of demanding combat, it's expected that Shattered Memories will be a much more cerebral game that makes full use of the Wii remote in new and unique ways. The rumour that the game will do away with combat entirely is also too juicy to ignore.
Dead Space: Extraction (Wii)
In what looks like a rail shooter done right, Extraction has us excited to jump back into the world that made Dead Space one of our favourite titles last year. While the graphics have taken an obvious step backwards from their Xbox 360 and PS3 roots, the atmosphere, action, and great storytelling seem to have made it to the Wii intact. Can EA make lightning strike twice with their new horror franchise? Our money says yes.
Uncharted 2 (PlayStation 3)
Lovable hero Nathan Drake returns in the highly anticipated to the original PlayStation 3 system seller. Considering our love (and 9.3 review score) for the original, we'd be happy with more of the same, but something tells us that Naughty Dog won't be sitting on their laurels with their new go-to franchise.
Halo: ODST (Xbox 360)
Admit it, you've been curious about this one. Billed as an expansion to Halo 3, ODST will provide more of what the series' fans have been salivating over for the last eight years. We personally can't wait to see what Microsoft has in store for this intriguing chapter in the Haloverse, the first without the Master Chief in a starring role.
Batman Arkham Asylum (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Okay, okay, so superhero games usually suck, and the original trailer didn't exactly set our world on fire with the rather stiff animation. Still, the potential for a dark and brooding Batman game in the same vein as Christopher Nolan's Batman films is a tasty prospect indeed. Throw in the ability to play as the Joker, and you have a game that we're more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
Mass Effect 2 (PC & Xbox 360)
Has Bioware ever steered us wrong before? The obvious answer is no. There's no reason to believe that their Pixar-like winning streak will come to an end with the EA produced sequel to the original Xbox 360 exclusive. What new elements will come to the amazing original? You know, as long as they give us more of the same, while fixing the massive texture pop-in issues, frame rate problems, and crash bugs that marred an otherwise sublime gaming experience, we'll be happy to take another trip on the Normandy Starship.
Heavy Rain (PlayStation 3)
Ever since the very impressive teaser trailers that showed some intense gameplay, we've been chomping at the bit for a chance at some hands on time with this exciting looking game. It still remains to be seen whether the game is just a glorified series of quick-time-events, but judging from the developers pedigree with Indigo Prophecy, we're expecting a stunning showcase of the PlayStation 3's still untapped potential.
Assassin's Creed 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, & PC)
Was there a more satisfying gaming experience in 2007 than guiding AC's protagonist, Altair, in a parkour tour of the dark ages in the middle east? Possibly, but those were few and far between. With a new setting, main character, and an expansion of the ultra cool ideas brought out in the original, AC II is clearly shaping up to be the crown jewel of Ubisoft's booth at E3 this year.
God of War III (PlayStation 3)
While the PlayStation 3 has managed to secure itself a very nice little stable of exclusive games in it's two-and-a-half year lifespan, few have been as hotly anticipated as the sequel to their bestselling God of War series. With face-melting graphics and play mechanics that are second to none, we're certain that this new chapter in the greek mythology world of Kratos will prove a worthy successor to Sony's previously bestselling franchise.
Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Okay, so nothing has been announced about this game since 2005. But if developers Remedy (the creators of Max Payne) want to keep their title from being mentioned in the same laughing breath as Duke Nukem Forever, they'd better have something new to show us from this game. Microsoft is well aware that Alan Wake is teetering on the line of becoming an industry joke, and even if it's just a new trailer, it'll be enough to refresh interest in this mysterious and intriguing title.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3)
The first title didn't set sales records by any means, but considering the still very active online community playing the game, there will certainly be great interest in the sequel to EA's team-based, blow up everything, drive everything, and steal everything shooter. Here's hoping for an improved campaign and more varied match types.
Don't miss all our coverage direct from the floor of the E3 2009, June 1-4. We'll be at the event in full force, bringing you all the stories, games, hype, and coverage that the true gamer craves. Don't miss it!