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Jeff's Super List Of Super Games From Super E3 2009

Here's more on the super games I saw at E3 2009.

It's sort of funny to watch people debate about who "won" E3 based on the press conferences or put together some kind of definitive-sounding "BESTEST GAMES OF SHOW" list. I mean, the core concept isn't flawed or anything, but it all has to be taken in the appropriate context, right?

The games we see during E3 aren't finished. Oftentimes they aren't even playable... and even when they are, they're usually carefully selected and  polished sections of a game. So we have no guarantee that something that looks good at E3 will be any good or not. Heck, we don't even really know if the stuff they're showing at E3 will end up in the final product.

But we're only human, and if you don't come out of E3 with a list of games that you're excited about, you probably don't have a pulse. I ended up getting excited about a variety of things during E3, so with all of the above in mind, here's a smattering of what I'm still thinking about one week later.

Borderlands
Borderlands

If I had to narrow this list down to one game, Borderlands would be the one left standing. Gearbox certainly took a risk by going back and redoing all of the game's art, and it's really paid off, from what I've seen. The core concepts behind the action? Well, those sounded great back at E3 2008. So now the game's look matches the ambition of the game behind it.

I've already written up something with a bit more detail on what I saw, so be sure to check that out.

I almost forgot to include Modern Warfare 2 on this list. Why? Because it seems like such a sure thing that no one's really talking about it. Everyone saw the trailer leading up to E3. Well, during the show, it looked like that. Only someone was playing it. I already know that I want to play it. So I almost felt like I was taking it for granted or something.

I wrote more about exactly what I saw right about here.

It was Forza Motorsport 2 that got me to a point where I could appreciate simulation-style driving. Specifically, the mix of the driving assists and the lure of the game's livery editor was more than enough to get me into the game in a way that no other driving sim ever has before. Since then, I've gone on to play Gran Turismo games and actually enjoy them--something that wouldn't have been possible without all the time I spent with Forza 2's driving line. Forza 3 has all that stuff but it's grander in scope and better-looking. I still won't use their fancy new cockpit view, but that doesn't mean I won't play the game at all.

I always feel bad when I boil games down to equations or explain them by way of comparison. It feels like I'm short-changing the game in question. But the shorthand description for Alpha Protocol is "Mass Effect But With Spies." If you go deeper, you could say that the shooting looks more action-oriented than Mass Effect. Or that the dialogue trees are done in a really cool way. But I've already written all that stuff, so instead I'll just say that I hope this game turns out great. It looks really interesting.

DJ Hero
DJ Hero

Look, we're all human. We all have some sort of preconceived notions about the Way of Things. When I first saw the DJ Hero controller and heard about the way it was going to use mash-ups, I believe my first reaction was to shit all over it like it was some kind of cheap cash-in on the "Hero" name. Why? Because that's exactly what it looked and sounded like. Then I saw it at E3. Totally surprised. Practically blown away. Super excited about the final product. Watch the video I shot and see if it hits you the same way.

Every time I see Dark Void I get a little more excited about Dark Void. Watching the enemies hide behind traditional cover and then have to react once I use my rocket pack to hover above their cover and blow them to bits is satisfying every single time I've done it. And the story of Will and Tesla and the Bermuda Triangle seems like it could be pretty cool, too. That said, it's a little too easy to just run around and melee all the enemies right now. Hopefully that'll get a lot harder before the game comes out.

Brink's class-based approach to its campaign and the way you navigate your way around obstacles makes it look like a very cool first-person shooter. And I only toss the genre in there because the teaser trailer that got released doesn't really say what, exactly, Brink is. It's one of the games that has me thinking about what sort of co-op team I'll have to form when all these great-looking co-op games start coming out.

I thoroughly enjoyed my own personal sci-fi adventure when playing through the original Mass Effect, though that game was certainly not without fault. Hearing and seeing that those faults--like the bland side planets, the load times, and texture pop-in--are being corrected is enough to make me excited about an adventure that I already knew I was going to continue.

This is one of those games that I didn't really get excited for until seeing it first-hand. All o the trailers and demo videos with the weird crying woman did absolutely nothing for me. Hearing that it was essentially a string of intense Quick Time Events did even less. But actually playing it puts a lot of it in perspective. It looks amazing and has some interesting control mechanics, too. Even though a lot of the game seems to be a series of extremely stylized QTEs, they're seriously intense. Killing Mad Jack before he could kill me was an edge-of-my-seat experience that left me absolutely wanting to see more.

Singularity
Singularity

Apparently I'm excited about the future of first-person shooting. This list is thick with FPS gaming. Anyway, Singularity is a time-based first-person shooter that doesn't just give you dopey VCR controls and set you loose. By flipping back and forth between two set time periods, the game gets to set two tones and play around with a lot of cool stuff. Seeing a group of guys caught in a time loop, forever reliving the same mistake again and again, was especially cool. It seems to be mechanically sound (I didn't get to play it), it appears to be very atmospheric, and something about it sort of reminded me of BioShock.

As a quick aside, E3's a big show, and it's impossible for one person to see it all. So there's always at least one thing you hear a lot about coming out of the show without seeing it for yourself. For me, this year, that game was Scribblenauts. That game seems like it picked up a ton of positive word of mouth coming out of the show, and I hope I'll get to see it sometime in the near future. Personally, I hope it's more than just a bunch of Internet memes stuffed into a game. Don't get me wrong, I love Keyboard Cat and all, but that alone isn't enough to make a game great.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
It's sort of funny to watch people debate about who "won" E3 based on the press conferences or put together some kind of definitive-sounding "BESTEST GAMES OF SHOW" list. I mean, the core concept isn't flawed or anything, but it all has to be taken in the appropriate context, right?

The games we see during E3 aren't finished. Oftentimes they aren't even playable... and even when they are, they're usually carefully selected and  polished sections of a game. So we have no guarantee that something that looks good at E3 will be any good or not. Heck, we don't even really know if the stuff they're showing at E3 will end up in the final product.

But we're only human, and if you don't come out of E3 with a list of games that you're excited about, you probably don't have a pulse. I ended up getting excited about a variety of things during E3, so with all of the above in mind, here's a smattering of what I'm still thinking about one week later.

Borderlands
Borderlands

If I had to narrow this list down to one game, Borderlands would be the one left standing. Gearbox certainly took a risk by going back and redoing all of the game's art, and it's really paid off, from what I've seen. The core concepts behind the action? Well, those sounded great back at E3 2008. So now the game's look matches the ambition of the game behind it.

I've already written up something with a bit more detail on what I saw, so be sure to check that out.

I almost forgot to include Modern Warfare 2 on this list. Why? Because it seems like such a sure thing that no one's really talking about it. Everyone saw the trailer leading up to E3. Well, during the show, it looked like that. Only someone was playing it. I already know that I want to play it. So I almost felt like I was taking it for granted or something.

I wrote more about exactly what I saw right about here.

It was Forza Motorsport 2 that got me to a point where I could appreciate simulation-style driving. Specifically, the mix of the driving assists and the lure of the game's livery editor was more than enough to get me into the game in a way that no other driving sim ever has before. Since then, I've gone on to play Gran Turismo games and actually enjoy them--something that wouldn't have been possible without all the time I spent with Forza 2's driving line. Forza 3 has all that stuff but it's grander in scope and better-looking. I still won't use their fancy new cockpit view, but that doesn't mean I won't play the game at all.

I always feel bad when I boil games down to equations or explain them by way of comparison. It feels like I'm short-changing the game in question. But the shorthand description for Alpha Protocol is "Mass Effect But With Spies." If you go deeper, you could say that the shooting looks more action-oriented than Mass Effect. Or that the dialogue trees are done in a really cool way. But I've already written all that stuff, so instead I'll just say that I hope this game turns out great. It looks really interesting.

DJ Hero
DJ Hero

Look, we're all human. We all have some sort of preconceived notions about the Way of Things. When I first saw the DJ Hero controller and heard about the way it was going to use mash-ups, I believe my first reaction was to shit all over it like it was some kind of cheap cash-in on the "Hero" name. Why? Because that's exactly what it looked and sounded like. Then I saw it at E3. Totally surprised. Practically blown away. Super excited about the final product. Watch the video I shot and see if it hits you the same way.

Every time I see Dark Void I get a little more excited about Dark Void. Watching the enemies hide behind traditional cover and then have to react once I use my rocket pack to hover above their cover and blow them to bits is satisfying every single time I've done it. And the story of Will and Tesla and the Bermuda Triangle seems like it could be pretty cool, too. That said, it's a little too easy to just run around and melee all the enemies right now. Hopefully that'll get a lot harder before the game comes out.

Brink's class-based approach to its campaign and the way you navigate your way around obstacles makes it look like a very cool first-person shooter. And I only toss the genre in there because the teaser trailer that got released doesn't really say what, exactly, Brink is. It's one of the games that has me thinking about what sort of co-op team I'll have to form when all these great-looking co-op games start coming out.

I thoroughly enjoyed my own personal sci-fi adventure when playing through the original Mass Effect, though that game was certainly not without fault. Hearing and seeing that those faults--like the bland side planets, the load times, and texture pop-in--are being corrected is enough to make me excited about an adventure that I already knew I was going to continue.

This is one of those games that I didn't really get excited for until seeing it first-hand. All o the trailers and demo videos with the weird crying woman did absolutely nothing for me. Hearing that it was essentially a string of intense Quick Time Events did even less. But actually playing it puts a lot of it in perspective. It looks amazing and has some interesting control mechanics, too. Even though a lot of the game seems to be a series of extremely stylized QTEs, they're seriously intense. Killing Mad Jack before he could kill me was an edge-of-my-seat experience that left me absolutely wanting to see more.

Singularity
Singularity

Apparently I'm excited about the future of first-person shooting. This list is thick with FPS gaming. Anyway, Singularity is a time-based first-person shooter that doesn't just give you dopey VCR controls and set you loose. By flipping back and forth between two set time periods, the game gets to set two tones and play around with a lot of cool stuff. Seeing a group of guys caught in a time loop, forever reliving the same mistake again and again, was especially cool. It seems to be mechanically sound (I didn't get to play it), it appears to be very atmospheric, and something about it sort of reminded me of BioShock.

As a quick aside, E3's a big show, and it's impossible for one person to see it all. So there's always at least one thing you hear a lot about coming out of the show without seeing it for yourself. For me, this year, that game was Scribblenauts. That game seems like it picked up a ton of positive word of mouth coming out of the show, and I hope I'll get to see it sometime in the near future. Personally, I hope it's more than just a bunch of Internet memes stuffed into a game. Don't get me wrong, I love Keyboard Cat and all, but that alone isn't enough to make a game great.
Online
Posted by Mesklinite

No joust at the show?

Edited by Zeik

"Personally, I hope it's more than just a bunch of Internet memes stuffed into a game."

Internet memes do nothing for me. Seeing God fighting Cthulhu while holding a shotgun and riding a skateboard however does. Scribblenauts is going to be awesome.

Posted by spiceninja

I love the http://jeffgerstmannshowsyouhowtopumpgas.com/ picture associated with this article.

Posted by Scooper

Jeff really likes Borderlands, he's mentioned it many times since he saw it. It must be something special, I look forward to seeing more of it.

Posted by torus

No Splinter Cell? I guess this is Jeff's list, so stealth wouldn't be on there.

Posted by addictedtopinescent

Here's my super complaint, there's a way too much games, I want them all ! now !

Posted by sdauz

singularity is ok......i suppose, i expected to really hate ODST, but from what brad was saying IM PUMPED

Posted by Delta_Ass

The art direction of Borderlands doesn't do anything for me. That guy in the screenshot who looks like an even more muscular version of Marcus Fenix, for example. The unrealistic human proportions of the characters in Gears of War really turned me off to that game.

Edited by Jimbo

I feel like my list would be totally different had I been able to see what you guys saw at the show.  Right now my list is pretty Bioware and Ubisoft heavy.

edit: That said, there does appear to be some unexpected grumbling about Dragon Age.

Online
Posted by DrRandle

My interest in Borderlands is directly proportionate to the amount they are talking about it. I hope that doesn't end up biting me in the ass...

Posted by Dethfish

I feel the same exact way about Forza 2. It got me into sim racing games.

Posted by FlipperDesert
@PlasmaBeam44 said:
" I love the http://jeffgerstmannshowsyouhowtopumpgas.com/ picture associated with this article. "
Did not notice that until pointed out, it has now made my night. Thank you.

My games of the show were Borderlands and The Old Republic. At least from what I remember, E3 is just this big blur to me now. There was some kind of dinosaur/bear fight, I seem to remember?
Posted by pwr905

Just throwing in my two cents - I'm a bit of a strange gamer, in that I don't buy much of the blockbuster games, because they don't really excite me (I do buy them from time to time, just not all that often). In that spirit, this list (and the media I've watched/heard about them and others) didn't do much for me.

Posted by erinfizz
@pwr905:

Not so strange, me too. I know I won't play the vast majority of this stuff.  DJ Hero could be neat. I do like rhythm games.
Posted by vidiot

Your list has no Monkey Island Special Edition, so I hate you.

Edited by Claude

I watched the Heavy Rain demo being played with the developer and was very intrigued. Just another reason to buy a PS3... word.

Edited by vidiot
@Claude said:
" I watched the Heavy Rain demo being played with the developer and was very intrigued. Just another reason to buy a PS2... word. "
Did I miss a reference? PS2?
Edit: There we go, and now I am kept sane.
Posted by Claude
@vidiot said:
"
@Claude said:
" I watched the Heavy Rain demo being played with the developer and was very intrigued. Just another reason to buy a PS2... word. "
Did I miss a reference? PS2? "
Busted... I saw it after I posted. Freudian slip... maybe?
Posted by vidiot
@Claude said:
"
@vidiot said:
"
@Claude said:
" I watched the Heavy Rain demo being played with the developer and was very intrigued. Just another reason to buy a PS2... word. "
Did I miss a reference? PS2? "
Busted... I saw it after I posted. Freudian slip... maybe? "
I think someone wants a Ps2..... :P
Posted by JeffGoldblum

SUPER!

Online
Posted by Death_Unicorn

Play him off, keyboard cat!

Posted by VisariLoyalist

I don't know if brink looks that good, it is bethesda, but it's not oblivion... so......

Posted by SpunkyHePanda

Sorry Jeff, you think Scribblenauts is a game about internet memes? Sounds like you did a solid one sentence of research before coming up with that little gem.

Posted by DuhQbnSiLo

No Uncharted 2?

Posted by DECA555

nobody mentions uncharted 2

Edited by AgentJ
@Zeik said:
" "Personally, I hope it's more than just a bunch of Internet memes stuffed into a game."Internet memes do nothing for me. Seeing God fighting Cthulhu while holding a shotgun and riding a skateboard however does. Scribblenauts is going to be awesome. "
This.
@SpunkyHePanda said:
" Sorry Jeff, you think Scribblenauts is a game about internet memes? Sounds like you did a solid one sentence of research before coming up with that little gem. "
This

It was made painfully obvious that Scribblenauts wasnt played when i glanced over the list and didn't see its name there. I mean, its gotta be the first DS game to beat out console games for best of E3, so to not see it at all on one list writes a very obvious message. 
Posted by Aeterna
@Zeik said:
" "Personally, I hope it's more than just a bunch of Internet memes stuffed into a game."Internet memes do nothing for me. Seeing God fighting Cthulhu while holding a shotgun and riding a skateboard however does. Scribblenauts is going to be awesome. "

Or to defeat Zombierobots, use a timemachine to travel back in time to ride on a dinosaur to take it "back" through time to let it rampage through the zombierobots, to get the starbit.

What other game let's you do that!?
Posted by Schadenfreude

No games from Japan! What a shocker. :\

Edited by Jambones
@Jeff, I've heard you mention Split/Second a bunch of times now, and the way you spoke about it I am suprised it's not on your list.
Edited by Dalai

Borderlands is definitely on my watch list.  I would've dismissed it if not for the art style which probably says something about me as a gamer, I guess.

Anyway, you're probably gonna jump on the Scribblenauts bandwagon eventually.  It won't convince me to buy a DS, but Scribblenauts will find its way in some stockings in my family this Christmas.

Posted by Jimbo_N

You and me against the world on Dark Void Jeff, you and me...

Posted by ChickenPants

Jeff likes shooting things.

Posted by Aaox

I was afraid after 2007 that we weren't going to see any great blockbuster games come out for at least a couple of years. I've been blown out of the water twice now, and this year looks more exciting to me than 2007 ever did.

Posted by Jimbo
@Jimbo_N: And me.  Jimbos UNITE!
Online
Posted by mracoon

My top E3 games: Alpha Protocol, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead 2, Scribblenauts, Alan Wake and Mass Effect 2.

Moderator
Posted by Demo

Singularity looks like a monochrome game, pffff....

Posted by Drebin_893

I thought Split Second would be on Jeff's list.

Posted by Zoombini

If someone asked me my top 10 games from E3, I would have exactly the same list. Get out of my head!

Posted by liam151

why this there no assassin's creed 2 in this list?

Posted by Kohe321

I agree with this list!

Posted by Arne

Im a bit surprised not to see Uncharted 2, it looks so good!

Posted by TheFrostedGamer

Jeff is a smart man. This list is definitely a good reference point for the rest of the year. Respect.

Posted by Scorched

I knew DJ hero would be ok, too many people doubted it imo, although I probably won't get it
Borderlands definitely though

Edited by Branthog

.

Posted by Wildfire570

I have to admit I thought that DJ Hero was a terrible concept until I saw the video of someone playing it and it looked really cool! At first I thought that the record on the turntable didn't scratch or anything but I was totally wrong. Finally a rhythm that actually looks cool.

Posted by EgoCheck616

Every year E3 has one title that is so unique that I can't help but jump on the bandwagon.
I'm pretty much sold on Borderlands completely.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Jeff, I agree with you that Modern Warfare 2 is so sure of a success that I don't really remember it when thinking about the "Best of E3." And it will be amazing. Singularity also looks interesting but I have barely seen anything of it so I will take your word for it.

Posted by RagingLion

Btw, I'm sensing some links are missing that should have been added into this article.

Posted by AllanIceman

Heavy Rain for me.

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