With E3 2010 barely 24 hours behind us, it’s hard to clear our minds and think about the biggest and best things we saw and played. In fact, the past four days are such a blur it was hard to nail down just four pages worth of all the awesome stuff on display. But, rather than sit around all weekend and wait for Monday, we dragged our tired asses in for one more meeting, figured out the most memorable stuff and got this thing ready to go.
The best part is, the result is so different from even our usual E3 awards lists. It’s full of a wide variety of games instead of shooters, shooters, and more shooters. So while we know Black Ops, Bulletstorm, Medal of Honor and Killzone 3 will be great games, the abundance of creativity from other sources stole the show. So, here’s what we loved.
No other game at this year’s E3 packed as many colors and seizure-inducing starbursts than Marvel vs Capcom 3. It’s no surprise that the sequel to one of the most notoriously flashy fighters of all time is an even crazier combat kaleidoscope, but we didn’t expect to be dazzled at all times by its ceaseless array of comic-style visuals. The best part? All that mayhem actually means something, and isn’t just there for show.
Runner up: Rage
Rage can’t be described with words like “polygons” and “textures;” it demands descriptors like “striking,” “radiant,” and “zestful.” CryEngine3, meet id Tech 5… and be afraid.
Despite the fact that there was zero in-game footage or screens, the live action teaser of three blokes looking fairly pissed off and dressed all gladiatorial we’re already hot for this new IP from Crytek. We’re already thinking it’s going to be a cross between the lush Crysis and forgotten gore-fest Shadow of Rome, which would mean FPS limb-hacking and head lopping-off – sort of like Gladiator: The Game. Sweet. Although it could be a Total War style game. Sour.
Runner up: Journey
Who doesn't like the idea of wandering through a desert, leaving massive trails through the sand as you hike toward a mountain in the sky for no readily apparent reason? At least it's original.
Good old interwebs. Within minutes of the Microsoft press conferences going live, there were brand new (and recycled) animated gifs and YouTube clips on forums everywhere. But what was the main source of mirth? The winner has to be the dancing man from the Microsoft conference, Harmonix’s own Kasson Crooker. He did it without a hint of shame or irony, which makes it all the more juicy for the amateur gif-maker.
Runner up: Nintendo's 3DS sizzle reel
How long before someone makes an animated avatar of Bowser frying Reggie Fils-Aime’s head? If it hasn’t already happened, shame on you, internet.
Despite the growing popularity of free-to-play games, the games media rarely covers them. They never get magazine covers, rarely receive proper reviews, and preview coverage is sparse at best – and as one of the world’s largest publishers of free-to-play online games, Nexon bears the brunt of the softcore stigma that all free games must be horrible. But trust us, after taking a tour through Nexon’s booth at this year’s E3, we’re convinced that the company will change the way both gamers and the videogame industry thinks about free-to-play games.
The most impressive title on show at the booth was Vindictus, an action/RPG that uses a modified version of Valve’s Source engine. The fantasy game plays like a 3D brawler with the sort of visuals you’d never expect to see in a free-to-play title. Plus, the use of the Source engine definitely did not go to waste with an amazing amount of interactivity with the game’s environments. Just about everything can be smashed, picked off the ground or thrown.
The way we pay for games is directly related to what kind of games we play, and Nexon is leading the pack with games, like Vindictus, with incredibly high production values that they’re giving away for the off chance that you’ll want to part with a small amount of coin for in-game items purchased through their micro-transaction business model.
Runner up: Disney
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Disney has money, but its push to be taken more seriously in the gaming world was gloriously reflected in their displays. Roof-scraping Toy Story towers, several on-sight animators with David Garibaldi fastidiously splattering Epic Mickey themed masterpieces, and more glowing TRON splendor than any manboy could ever desire!
How often do we see a sequel that genuinely adds to the original in a positive but cohesive way? Clones or total reboots, that’s what we get. But Portal’s central mechanic was a piece of pure genius; simple on paper, but with a million different applications in practice. And with just the right amount of the right ideas, Valve has managed to accelerate it to a whole new level. It’s a perfect example of shrewd economy reaping massive profits.
Runner-up: Kirby’s Epic Yarn
No one has ever taken Kirby seriously. He’s become iconic out of sheer persistence, but he’s never been a Mario or a Link. But now he has one of the most creative (in both mechanics and presentation) games at E3, and all that persistence was finally paid off.