E3 09: Why wait? E3's hottest games reviewed NOW!

We don’t make a big deal about it, but we here at GamesRadar actually live several months in the future. It’s pretty cool, although we should warn you that we still won’t have flying cars or laser cats come Christmas – shocker, we know. But we do have review scores for the games you’re most looking forward to playing. As proof, yesterday we gave you the early word on how megaton games like BioShock 2, Bayonetta and a few other titles that don’t begin with a B would ultimately rate. Today, we have more precognitive wisdom to drop - read it now and believe us in November, when everyone else catches up to our futuristic space-wisdom.

Left 4 Dead 2

OK, we’ll level with you – we’re still playing the first game. It’s the most perfectly pure, laser-focused shooter released in a decade. Every time you play, something’s a little bit different, and with four players its among the best multiplayer experiences of all time. Take all that, add five new campaigns, new super-zombies, new weapons (incendiary ammo, chainsaws and axes!) and brand-new gameplay tweaks and you have yet another perfectly pure, laser-focused shooter. It’ll be just as good, if not better than the original.

Score: 9


Just Cause 2

The sequel to Just Cause has changed its locale from South America to the fictitious Southeast Asian island nation of Panau, but it’s hard to tell just from looking at it – the lush tropical jungles and crystalline waterways are awfully similar to the first game’s, except that now they’re a lot prettier. The action’s similar, too – secret agent Rico Rodriguez balances shooting and carjacking with insane stunt-jumping and parachute antics – but it’s been refined considerably, and it’s bolstered by some ridiculously cool improvements to Rico’s grappling hook. No longer is grappling just about swinging, Bionic Commando style, from vehicles and random objects; instead, Rico can grab onto a vehicle, person or other object, and then tether the other end of the grappling line to a different object, enabling you to do stuff like tow cars out of ditches, crash enemy vehicles by tethering them to the road, airlift objects by tethering them to a helicopter and drag enemies behind cars. It takes some getting used to, but with a little practice we could see this being endlessly hilarious.

Score: 8


Alan Wake

Moody, suspenseful and full of shadowy creep-out moments, Alan Wake will probably end up filling the psycho-scare genre better than Alone in the Dark and the past two Silent Hills. Its pseudo-episodic storytelling, striking lighting effects and fresh take on creepy, fog-drenched towns have us excited to finish a game that, for a while, we thought might never actually show up. The puzzles and combat may falter here and there, but its presentation and atmosphere are dead on – which already puts it on par or better than Silent Hill Homecoming. We expect great things from Mr Wake.

Score: 8


The Beatles: Rock Band

What do you think’s gonna happen when you take Rock Band’s proven track record of compulsively playable songs and slather it with Beatles imagery? Instant success. This will be huge, no doubt about it. From the custom instruments to the massive setlist of the world’s favorite band, the reach and popularity of this entry should be atmospheric. Longtime gamers may thing “eh, it’s the same with new songs,” but when those new songs are among the most beloved in all music history, well, how can you wrong?

Score: 9


Shadow Complex

Love Metroid? Wish Nintendo would put out another 2D version? Well, looks like Epic (of Gears of War fame) has come to your old-school rescue with this superbly classic side-scroller built as one giant homage to Super Metroid. Can’t climb this wall? Come back later when you’ve found the appropriate power-up. Not sure where to go next? Check your color-coded map (ripped right out of Metroid) and find a place that’s not been filled out. We’re fans of anyone who tries to bring things back to basics (Contra IV, we love you), and Shadow Complex does so beautifully. We just hope the rest of the adventure holds up to the immediately addictive opening.

Score: 8


Check back tomorrow for one final round of tomorrow’s games reviewed today, and in the meantime, head back to the distant past to read the future reviews we posted yesterday.

Jun 3, 2009

We Recommend By ZergNet


  • jballboy88 - June 3, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    lookin forward to l4d... if it was on ps3... :( p.s. ive never been first before so FIRST!!
  • Ban - June 3, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    I thought I was the only person that like Alan Wake well now I know that I'm not crazy
  • chucknorris69 - June 4, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    left 4 dead looks really good
  • Fancy Rat - June 4, 2009 12:34 a.m.

    I'm beginning to see a trend in these E3 reviews. Come on GR, give a game a 6, or a 4. Take a risk!
  • gmilf71 - June 4, 2009 3:11 a.m.

    that shadow complex one looks kinda cool.
  • MGS4SolidSnake - June 4, 2009 3:13 a.m.

    am i the only person that thinks that the beatles are the most overrated band ever in the history of the universe
  • Vagrant - June 4, 2009 3:21 a.m.

    I can't make my usually solid predictions on games this early. ): But Left 4 Dead 2 and Alan Wake scores about match up with my gut instinct on them.
  • superduper93 - June 4, 2009 4:25 a.m.

    i'm from louisiana and i can't wait for l4d2
  • smallberry - June 4, 2009 4:31 a.m.

    I've got high hopes for Alan Wake. To say nothing of Left 4 Dead 2.
  • Spybreak8 - June 4, 2009 7:28 a.m.

    I saw Shadow Complex hands on gameplay on g4, its on their site as well, and man when Cliff goes we love Metroid and want to make a game like that. SOLD Sir, sold!
  • IvoriesAblaze - June 4, 2009 12:22 p.m.

    @MGS4SolidSnake: yes, you are
  • rxb - June 4, 2009 1:15 p.m.

    Im all about shadow complex, just hoping it doesnt cost too much.
  • adertysohck - June 4, 2009 2:37 p.m.

    oh gawd... l4d2 is in the south... i was born there... so i am... THE BIG BLACK GUY WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! IMMA FIRIN MY RACIST STEREOTYPES!!!!!!!
  • FrozenImplosion - June 4, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    Never heard of Shadow Complex until now, and now I want it.
  • Unoriginal - June 4, 2009 5:43 p.m.

    Castlevania and Shadow Complex are keeping the metroid spirit alive. I really want to see Samus take one more shot at it though. All your scores have been pretty positive so far. I guess we can be looking forward to a great couple of years in gaming.
  • Defguru7777 - June 5, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    Shadow Complex looks really good.
  • crumbdunky - June 5, 2009 10:51 a.m.

    Just a shame for Cliffy that the Metriod game from Team Ninja knocks Shadow Complex sideways into looking the crap it surely is. Even Cliffy seemed to know how poor it is.
  • sharker - June 5, 2009 11:49 p.m.

    are you kidding l4d2 will suck just as much as the first
  • Chase158 - June 6, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    Now, I'm not one to accuse reviewers of bias, but this has got to be the rare exception. There seems to be a Valve fanboy tinge to the prediction on Left 4 Dead 2; the content was so effusive and gushy, and so entirely without reserve, that I'm surprised it wasn't written by a Valve dev team member. L4D2 may be the only mistake Valve has ever made in their career, and 'til this point, I was convinced that they could do no wrong. When it all comes down to it, L4D2 is a sequel that adds the most superficial of changes; melee weapons, Incendiary Ammunition (why didn't they just give us a flamethrower?), new weapons (with 'new' apparantly meaning the old weapons with suppressors sellotaped on), insignificant changes to the AI Director (which was essentially a glorified spawn system in the first place) and a couple of maps. Worse still, is what we are losing. Gone are the claustrophic, dark, dank quarters of the original game. Instead, we are treated to wide-avenues, low buildings and sunny streets. How the Hell is Valve going to create any thrills, nevermind scares, when the environment is fully visible and pleasant? All of these could and should have been DLC for the original game. Why are we forking out the price for an entirely new game just so we can receive changes that could have easily been added as new maps and equipment, or even modded? Even if Valve's intentions are better than just squeezing money out of - what is in my opinion - and already highly overrated game, I still believe that this decision made no sense.
  • RebornKusabi - June 4, 2009 12:16 a.m.

    I honestly cannot wait for Alan Wake. I really REALLY hope it fills the "true" horror genre that Resident Evil has moved away from and Silent Hill can't seem to recapture. I know I will be buying on day one.

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