E3 2010: Why wait? Tomorrow’s games reviewed NOW – Thursday edition

We get it: you want to know the future. And we’re here to reveal it to you. Here, right now, are the exact scores you can expect this E3’s hottest games to achieve upon their release*. Don’t thank us – thank the space-time continuum. 

*Unless we’re wrong

Civilization V

Some games can be compared to a light snack, like a candy bar or some popcorn. Some games are a bit bigger and beefier, more akin to a full meal. Civilization V is a full thanksgiving dinner served as the appetizer to a 180-course buffet. These games have always been big, but this is simply ridiculous.

The grid is hex-based instead of square based now, which sounds like a little thing, but isn’t. The hex grid enables units to navigate the maps much more effectively and adds extra strategic depth to the combat – especially since you can no longer stack multiple units on a single space (another HUGE adjustment with major tactical ramifications). Formations, terrain, flanking and unit balance all just got waaaay more important.

There are dozens of other tweaks here and there (neutral city-states, you can buy land, cities defend themselves in battle) but the most gigantic thing to know is that the game will also have a huge suite of modding tools, with uploads and downloads of user-created content built right into the interface. It’s a niche title, to be sure, but if this is your kind of action, you may literally never need another game.

Score: 10

The Fight: Lights Out

Essentially a gritty, more realistic version of Wii Sports boxing, The Fight was a fun way to find out that we suck at throwing real punches. It looks extremely sharp (especially in 3D) and the basic punching mechanic is enjoyable enough, but the Move controls kept having to be recalibrated in the middle of the fight after our punches started falling way short of their mark. It’s also a little awkward that the game requires you to stand in place; trying to keep ourselves from stepping to move was difficult.

Finally, the thing reeks of a tech demo; if there isn’t a lot more to it than the simple one-on-one fighting we tried out during the demo, then we can’t see buying this as anything other than a Move pack-in or an inexpensive PSN game.

Score: 7

Donkey Kong Country Returns

One of two old-school revivals shown by Nintendo this year, DKC Returns promised to bring Kong back to his 2D glory days. It’s true that it borrows heavily from the SNES classics, but our hands-on time revealed the controls to be just a tad off, as if Kong took too long to get started or was a bit floatier than before. Yes, Diddy’s jetpack gives you a brief period of floating and there’s still plenty of bouncing from enemy to enemy to shot-gunning barrel, but the whole thing handles funky (kong).

Kirby’s Epic Yarn uses the Remote as a sideways NES pad, while DKC opts for Remote/Chuk and implements waggle where a button press would have sufficed. Maybe motion will turn out to be optional? And even if it’s standard, the core gameplay is still fun, just not as refreshing and endearing as Epic Yarn. However, we know Retro Studios (Metroid Prime) can produce excellence, so it’s entirely possible the controls will gel easier when not standing on a crowded show floor.

Score: 7

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

As much as we wanted to love Force Unleashed, it had too many gameplay flaws to make it exceptional. But it was good, and though we haven’t been granted hands-on with Force Unleashed II, we’ve seen how it addresses some of its predecessor’s problems. We didn’t feel powerful enough early on in Force Unleashed –  now we start with two lightsabers and Force Fury, which gives us a burst of immense, AT-AT crushing power. Plus, we can now decapitate stormtroopers, and decapitating dudes is pretty much the whole point of having a lightsaber.

The story looks solid, as it was in the first, and if it all works much better than Force Unleashed, it could blow us away. Right now, however, we’re adopting a more conservative level of hype.

Score: 8

Gears of War 3 "Beast Mode"

Fans have been waiting to play as this franchise's reptilian enemy species, the Locust, for four years now. Beast Mode, a new multiplayer option in Gears of War 3 that casts you as the bad guys and pits you against the good guys, does not disappoint. In fact, it gives players way, way more than they probably ever expected.

You're not just a scaly-skinned version of Marcus with different guns – you get to choose between ten totally diverse different species of Locust, each with unique weapons, unique abilities, unique gameplay and, in some cases, unique vision filters. Our favorites are the Ticker, which scurries stealthily along the ground to detonate behind unsuspecting COG soldiers, and the Berserker, who is like a blind female Hulk that can't see her surroundings very well, but is an expert at stampeding and smashing humans into bloody pulps.

Best of all? Beast Mode is basically Horde Mode reversed, so even when you've gotten used to playing all the creepy critters, the underlying gameplay is a proven addiction.

Score: 9 (assuming the other modes don’t mess it up)

Need more? Check out our iron-clad predictions from yesterday.

Jun 17, 2010

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  • g4m3rk1dd - June 20, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    i want to see some berserker gameplay so i know what to expect :| ticker and the "monkey-dog-thing" (thanks carmine #2) looked kinda cool
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - June 19, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    @GodofPS314 Make me a better offer than "Xbox" and we'll talk.
  • andremurphy212 - June 18, 2010 10:02 p.m.

    i didn't see some of E3, but the best i've seen so far is the 3DS and GoW 3.
  • GodofPS314 - June 18, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    Wow you are so biased it makes me laugh... all PS3 and Wii games get 7's but then the Xbox and PC games get 9 and 10s. WOW hire some people who don't work for Xbox Gamesradar
  • ScruffMoney - June 18, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    Civ 5 and The force Unleashed 2 look really good, can't wait.
  • philipshaw - June 18, 2010 5:53 p.m.

    DKC returns a 7,shows you that Nintendo fans shouldn't have been shouting about winning E3 before seeing or playing the games
  • Tronto13 - June 18, 2010 9:47 a.m.

    Playstation move is up on amazon! For one controller and one nunchuck bit its the best part of £60 quid!!!! So if you dont wwant to play alone thats £120, and from the demo's at E3 the archery game uses 2 ball ended controllers. This is a massive rip-off!!
  • GoodGuyWithACrappyJob - June 18, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    You know, Yogi Berra was right, it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future. Some of these I hope you're right and others, not so much. But they are all backed by logical facts, so good guesses, but I can still hope and dream, right?
  • Doctalen - June 18, 2010 3:10 a.m.

    Gears 3 looks amazing. Despite the Gears series easily bores me, I will still buy it because every once in a while you got to go all non emotional.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - June 18, 2010 3:03 a.m.

    where are the rest of the TDAR e3 specials you guys promised us this week? Anyways i hope to see early reviews for god of war: ghost of sparta, the sly collection, and heroes on the move tomorrow.
  • Jacko415 - June 18, 2010 2:38 a.m.

    i think GOW 3 is gonna be incredible, as long as they dont fuck with the multiplayer too much like they did with the GOW 2. they just screwed up the formula too much in GOW 2. though the campaign was awesome. also, have the final boss be more than just pointing and clicking with the hammer of dawn. that was lame.
  • Cyberninja - June 18, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    those all good enough scorces for me to buy a game if i wanted it and had money.
  • shyfonzie - June 18, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    Dang, I hope they fix DK Returns platforming to make it SNES perfect/
  • crumbdunky - June 18, 2010 1:58 a.m.

    I didn't realise Retro were being wasted on my least favourite Ninty franchise EVER. Gutted. DKC can eff off and always could. This alongside the seemingly deliberately gimped controls for Other M are the kind of thing that make me feel Nintendo have a special department working JUST to annoy me!
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 18, 2010 1:55 a.m.

    Oh God, my heart sank when I saw the 'score' for DKC Returns. This is a joke article, but it's indicative of you guys' experience with the games. I guess I just have to redouble my efforts of animal sacrifice to the gods. You guys have no idea how much that hurt.
  • Cmccormick94 - June 18, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    GOW3 looks like it's going to be incredible. It makes me regret not buying GOW2. In fact, I may do that tomorrow...
  • WhiteCoco - June 18, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    Isn't it heartening to have an ad as your first response?