The Best of E3 2010

The Best of E3 2010

So many games, so little time.

Such is always the case at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the world’s biggest video game tradeshow, which takes place in Los Angeles each June.

This year, more than 45,000 attendees from more than 90 countries packed into the Los Angeles Convention Center to lay their hands on video games and accessories scheduled to debut over the next year or two.

There’s a lot to see and play, and only three days in which to do it, but now that the thumb swelling has subsided, the following are a few highlights from this year’s show.

Best Shooter/FPS: Bulletstorm by People Can Fly/Epic Games/Electronic Arts

This over-the-top sci-fi blaster features enormous weapons, a variety of combat moves and a “skill shot” system that rewards you for destroying enemies in creative ways. You can use points awarded for these ridiculous alien kills to buy more weapons and other upgrades from the planet’s “drop shop” depots. Great fun, but for mature players only. The first-person shooter will debut by February for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Windows PCs.

Runners-up: id Software/Electronic Arts’ Rage, Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, Sony’s Killzone 3 and Microsoft Game Studios’ Gears of War 3 and Halo: Reach.

Best Action/Adventure: Epic Mickey by Disney Interactive Studios

Designed by industry veteran Warren Spector, this Nintendo Wii exclusive stars Mickey Mouse in his biggest and most ambitious adventure to date. Use paint and paint thinner to add or remove parts of the world, but be aware that both actions come with consequences. Played primarily from a third-person perspective, this action-heavy story also borrows elements from role-playing games and platform-hoppers. When the game debuts in December, keep an eye out for references to more than 80 years of Disney characters, stories and theme park rides.

Runners-up: Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, EA’s Dead Space 2, Sony’s Infamous 2, Capcom’s Dead Rising 2 and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Best Racing Game: Gran Turismo 5 by Sony Computer Entertainment America

Play this eagerly anticipated driving game for just five minutes and one thing will be perfectly clear—it was well worth the wait. Slated for a November launch, the oft-delayed racing simulation for the PS3 features more than 1,000 authentically modeled vehicles, all rendered in high-definition and with accurate physics. Those with a 3-D TV can play the game with an extra layer of immersion. Tight handling, multiple game modes and myriad track options all had driving fans drooling at the wheel.

Runner-up: EA’s Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Best Role-Playing Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic by LucasArts/BioWare

It’s good to see game play that lives up to awesome teaser trailers, which is the case with Star Wars: The Old Republic. This upcoming massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game for Windows lets you play a variety of races and classes—including Jedis and Siths—each of which can be customized in many ways. And you get your own spacecraft, too. The deep, story-driven adventure takes you to umpteen planets to fight, solve puzzles and team up with other players for major objectives. Expect a spring release for this ambitious game.

Runners-up: Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout: New Vegas, Eidos’ Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Microsoft Game Studios’ Fable III.

Best Music Game: Dance Central by Harmonix/MTV Games

Introducing the next big thing from the makers of Guitar Hero: Dancing. Taking advantage of the upcoming Microsoft Kinect motion-sensing peripheral for the Xbox 360, Dance Central challenges you to dance in front of the television in order to master more than 600 moves and nearly 100 routines. The Kinect monitors your body’s movements in real time and shows how you compare to the on-screen dancers. Great music, multiplayer modes and the ability to download extra tracks all measure up to a hot November for music fans.

Runners-up: MTV Games’ Rock Band 3 and Ubisoft’s Child of Eden.

Best Hardware: Tie – Nintendo 3DS and Microsoft Kinect

Both Microsoft and Nintendo managed to impress with their new hardware—Kinect for the Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s 3DS—not just because the technology is innovative, but because it works, has a lot of software support and offers fresh game play experiences. Due out November 4, the Kinect is Microsoft’s accessory for the Xbox 360 that lets you interact with games without a controller. The plug-in peripheral has multiple cameras, 3-D depth sensors and a microphone. Available by March, the Nintendo 3DS is the company’s first portable gaming system that lets you see games and other content, such as movies, in 3-D—without 3-D glasses. And it looks amazing.

Honorable mentions: EA Sports’ NBA Jam—Best Sports Game, 2K Games’ Civilization V—Best Strategy Game and Valve Software’s Portal 2—Best Puzzle Game.

About Marc Saltzman
Marc Saltzman is one of today’s most well-known journalists in gaming, tech and online trends. Marc writes for 50 publications, has authored 14 books and hosts CNN’s “Tech Time” and CTV News Channel’s “Tech Talk.”In 2008, his blog, Sync, was rated Best Tech Blog in Canada.

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