Resident Evil 5 - PS3, 360, PC
Have you played Resident Evil 4? If so, then you've already got a good idea of what to expect from this. The basic gameplay remains unchanged, and the (now multi-ethnic) villagers act almost exactly like the Ganados from 4, all shuffling after you with farming tools and trying to break down your barricades. There's also a pretty good chance that, when you shoot them in the head, a parasite will squeeze out of their neck-holes. Except now it flies. Hell, there's even a bagheaded guy with a chainsaw, except now he's a short, emaciated African instead of a stout Spaniard.
Still, RE4 was an incredible game, so more of the same isn't bad - especially when it's complemented by your new partner, Sheva. Throughout the game, she'll watch your back, and she does a pretty good job of keeping enemies off it (and of keeping you alive with healing items) - which comes in handy when fighting hulking bastards like that executioner with the axe from the trailer.
Resistance 2 - PS3
We’re in a wooded place. There are things that look like lumber mills. There are wooden shacks. We’re online. We’re team deathmatching. The first thing I notice is the sheer size of the place. After respawning it seems to take quite a bit of running to find the fight again. I say running, but it’s more like walking fast. Point is, it takes a while. But once you’re neck deep in bullets, grenades and other pain inducers it’s suitably hyper-frantic. Looking left/right up/down is rapid and the gun I have (a chunky space machine gun of some sort) is aggressive in its roar, and the sheer rate it coughs out lead. Very satisfying. Enemies take a middling amount of damage before keeling over. More than COD4, less it seemed than Halo 3 – a pretty good balance. I play a kind of Domination type game where you have to hold the opposing teams’ base, represented by a pylon thing beaming light into the sky. Wading into the opposition gunning while constantly hitting X to jump around is an effective technique. I also see bubble shields (reminiscent of Halo) and I earn an invisibility perk quickly too. It’s very easy to pick up and while the targeting and sense of actually hitting something or someone is not as refined as COD4, it moves at a fair pace and seems at first play to be an improvement over the first game.
Rock Band 2 - 360, PS3 versions
Guitar Hero's playing catch up this year, so all Harmonix had to do was make a killer track list, improve their clickity clackity instruments and allow backwards compatibility with the previous set list to make part two the definitive music title. Guess what? They did all of that, and as such it's one of the most popular games on the show floor this year. Every single time we pass by it's completely crowded, and with tracks from The Who, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and um, Duran Duran, there's no sign of it losing any appeal over time. Add in a ton of new single-player features like custom playlists, roadies that earn you more money and fans for the world tour and daily downloadable challenges and you've got a killer sequel to a game we already play every week.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - PS3, 360
The showcase level here is definitely the first one, in which we played as big, bad, ass-stomping Darth Vader and lightsabered our way through a damn tree village full of angry Wookiees. Getting to play around with Vader's Force Choke and ridiculously overpowered Force Push abilities was a lot of fun, especially when we used it to buckle rope bridges (sending the Wookiees flying) or just picking up our enemies and dropping them off of cliffs. Playing as the Apprentice in the game's second level, meanwhile, wasn't quite as enjoyable; yes, the frenetic action and huge, ruinable things in the TIE fighter factory were cool, but learning to aim our powers so as to target the cool things and not accidentally pick up the Rebel troopers again was a little tough. Maybe we'd have gotten the hang of it if we'd been allowed to play through that level's second half, but no such luck.
Street Fighter IV - Arcade, PS3, 360, PC
There's not much we can say about Street Fighter IV at this point that we haven't already; it's like a perfected version of Street Fighter II with amazing graphics and weightier-feeling gameplay. Getting to play as the old SFII boss characters was great, though - Vega, for example, is now tougher than ever, and can throw away his mask and claw voluntarily if that's how you want to fight. Meanwhile, we spent some time with masked wrestler El Fuerte, whose need to get a running start for his elaborate throws forced us to rethink our old strategies for winning this punchfest.
Wii Music - Wii
In their E3 08 press conference Nintendo crowed incessantly about their success in carving a new market in games - namely girls, mums and grannies. This was hammered home to us even more by the fact the person having Wii Music demoed to them before us was an elderly woman. Why she was at E3 is beyond us.
Once the man from Nintendo had explained to her which way round to hold the Wii-mote she seemed to delight in waggling the white peripherals around in vague time to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It's at this point we realised Wii Music is not a videogame in the traditional sense. It is Nintendo's take on Rock Band and Guitar Hero, in which they give people the ability to feel like musicians without the inconvenience of having any skill *whatsoever*.
So you choose your song (in our case Traditional folk song Yankee Doodle) and then select which instrument you are going to *pretend* to play in the song. That's the most thinking you have to do in the entire game experience. After the song counts you in, the idea is to mime the playing of your instrument in time with the beat – the game hits the notes for you. Button combinations on the Wii-mote and nunchuk allow for trills and solos. It's the gaming equivalent of playing along with the demonstration song on a Casio keyboard.
* Probably not. The reviews contained here are not official reviews, obviously. Those will have to wait until the games are actually finished. These are merely conceptual placeholders generated for your amusement. But we wouldn't be shocked if we were close on most of these.
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