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E3 09: The 12 most overlooked games of E3

Considering all the attention being directed toward huge, marquee juggernauts like Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Beatles: Rock Back, you’d think they were the only games at E3. Not true. Sure, those look fantastic, but we also saw piles and piles of great games that nobody is talking about. Nobody but us, that is. While everyone else in the world is crowing about The Last Guardian and Super Mario Galaxy 2, you can stuff your brain with info on these overlooked treasures. Then when they become sleeper hits in a few months, you can act all superior because you knew it all along. Which rocks.


Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)

From the same artisans who hand-crafted the PS2 beauties Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire – which were also criminally underloved – comes this lavish 2D action title. We could talk about how captivating the myth-filled feudal Japanese setting is or how there are more than 100 swords for the two main characters – an amnesiac ninja and a demonically possessed princess - to collect. But really, it’s all about the graphics. Muramasa feels like you’re playing the most gorgeous fantasy painting in the world come to life. And if (more likely, when) it gets outsold by the latest collection of big-headed mini-baby-games, we’re going to go on a murder rampage. Buy it – you’ll save lives.

 

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (360, PS3, PC)

Yes, there’s a whole platoon of solid-looking shooters this year – Modern Warfare 2, Halo ODST, Singularity, Wolfenstein – but they’re all set between WWII and the sci-fi futureverse. Real fans should also be loading their six-shooters for this gunslinging Western tale.

For one thing, it’s visually striking – most everything’s brown because it’s the Old West, but scenes like one shootout we had in a burning cornfield are still impressive. Plus, there’s variety. In one half-hour session, we shot up a bar, stormed out of town on a stolen stagecoach, traded hot lead with the sheriff’s posse as they galloped alongside us, and used a cannon to blow up a riverboat. Plus, it’s the only shooter this year that let us fan the hammers of two pistols at once. Physically impossible in the real world? Maybe, but exhilarating in a game.

 

Split/Second (360/PS3, PC)

We’re about to say something that might rile you: screw Forza and forget Gran Turismo. They’re boring. Our E3 racing game of choice is destructo-combat racer Split/Second. It looks as hot and feels as fast as any other racing game out there, but buries the needle on the excite-o-meter by giving each driver the power to trigger environmental hazards. BIG environmental hazards. In the airport level we raced, the lower-tier items were things like exploding roadside gas tanks. But build up enough power (by drifting, jumping, or having close shaves) and you could first demolish the control tower, revealing a new shortcut, and then bring an entire jetliner crashing down into your opponent’s grill. Best of all, the game tells you when your enemies are in range of a hazard, so you can watch the carnage happen in front of you instead of glancing at it in your rear-view mirror.

 

Dementium II (DS)

The first Dementium was a surprisingly successful attempt to make a spooky first-person game on the DS. The setting, a psychiatric care facility stuck in an alternate reality and crawling with various ghosts and zombie fleshbeasts, was chilling. It looked better than a DS game has any right to look. The controls worked well – heck, even the real-time in-game flashlight was well handled. Little is known about this sequel outside of a cryptic trailer advertising a mental health hospital (most likely the setting for the game), but it only has to be as good as the original to be one of the year’s best DS titles.

46 comments

  • AuthorityFigure - June 18, 2009 5:49 a.m.

    They all look great, except for Prof. Layton. Those games are a little bit of content hidden behind pretension.
  • super-saint - June 16, 2009 2 a.m.

    i loved golden sun one... i missed out on two... and now i can play it on a ds!!! happyist day!!!!!
  • TheWebSwinger - June 15, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    "Considering all the attention being directed toward huge, marquee juggernauts like Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Beatles: Rock Back" Beatles: Rock Back, huh? Nitpicking aside, good article. I didn't even KNOW they were making Dementium sequel.
  • WrathLord03 - June 15, 2009 10:58 a.m.

    Well, Split/Second looks great, but do any of the cars actually get damaged. Like in Burnout, I want to see them melded into strange, metallic sculptures by explosions and falling control towers. I don't want the NFS: Most Wanted kind of damage, where the worst that could happen is your expensive tinted glass gets broken and your nice, shiny paint gets scraped. I like destruction. And so far, while there have been massive explosions and buildings breaking apart, we still haven't seen any proof that the cars will get damaged at all, apart from that scratch of the paint. And is it just me, or does the machine in the image of 'G-Force' have the Millenium Puzzle on the front of it? And will I get totally teased because I still remember what it looks like? It looks good overall, I've always wanted to be a jet-pack-wearing, gun-toting hamster.
  • caboose4400 - June 15, 2009 9:29 a.m.

    that split second game looks f***ing awsome!!!
  • iluvmyDS - June 15, 2009 3:45 a.m.

    Well I was very impressed with Pure so I imagine Split Second will be pretty damn good.
  • gatornation1254 - June 15, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    I'm really looking forward to Call of Juarez 2. I loved the mediocre first one. reCaptcha: ROSS trekked
  • Danomeon - June 14, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    Murumasa is definitely on my list of wii games to buy. If enough people purchase it, maybe Nintendo will realise that the hardcore market is a market that they should begin to exploit more.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 14, 2009 8:27 p.m.

    G-Force looks Ghostbuster-y.
  • AntistaIsTheLight - June 14, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    Don't kill me but I'm not looking forward to Goldensun DS. I didn't like the GBA games and turn based RPG's aren't my thing.
  • Sonneilon - June 14, 2009 9:46 a.m.

    HEY! POTM (aka PSM) covered a few of those games. :P
  • Grenade - June 13, 2009 3:02 p.m.

    I've heard of every single one of those games, and I'm looking forward to most of them. Maybe this article will help get the word out about them.
  • Demonflare - June 13, 2009 2:29 p.m.

    YEA! Some new demon games! Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dementium II looks good. If they say its fun for the DS I'll buy it. I need more DS games. Professor Layton! Yea! Hahaha! I have a friend whos a huge fan of him!
  • cigero - June 13, 2009 11:52 a.m.

    I cannot wait to play call of juarez, the dual-handing pistol feature is really awsome. I don't know about you people, but I'm getting sick of WW2 and modern-ish shooters so call of juarez is just what the doctor ordered.
  • raman162 - June 13, 2009 11:02 a.m.

    Transformer explosions looked sexy
  • StupidTownColonStupidStateColon - June 13, 2009 8 a.m.

    Professor Layton for sure,I need a DS game to keep me busy. Recaptcha: dignify 00 (It looked like the infinity symbol)
  • NanoElite666 - June 13, 2009 3:12 a.m.

    Golden Sun is going to be awesome, and I'm sort of surprised to see it on this list. Split/Second looks like it should be a lot of fun as well.
  • cubsfan101 - June 13, 2009 1:22 a.m.

    I think that Split/Second doesn't deserve to be left out of the gaming spotlight. I've seen the E3 coverage of this game and i think its one of the looking racing cars ever. Some of these games do look alright.
  • Ezekiel17 - June 12, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    Strangly, I also think G-Force looks fun. reCAPTCHA: 71 pistils (lol, thats alot of female plants)
  • mgbenin - June 12, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    Dude! I still have the lost vikings somewhere around my house... that games was almost as frustrating as it was fun, im definitely going to check out trine when it arrives on ps3

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

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