Well, E3 is upon us! While we’re gearing up for the show (which informally starts June 6), here’s what our staff members are most excited about at this year’s event.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: I recently returned to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I loved the first game, but I never went back to the series when it moved from the Holy Land to Italy, and now I am sorry that I didn’t experience Assassin’s Creed II right when it came out. I’m loving playing through Brotherhood (though I only have about 5 hours on my save right now), and I am entirely wrapped up in both Desmond’s and Ezio’s stories. I can’t wait to see how they tie Altair back into things, and the more games on my shelf where I can run along the rooftops, jump into a bale of hay, poison a guy, and leave knowing full well that he’ll fall over dead any second is A-okay with me.
Batman: Arkham City: I love Batman. He’s my favorite DC hero, and Rocksteady delivered the second good Batman game ever made (seriously guys, Lego Batman is fun and you should all play it). The combat was great, Rocksteady nailed the atmosphere, and hearing Conroy and Hamill bicker like back in the TAS days was wonderful. I can’t wait to see more of what Rocksteady has in store for the caped crusader.
Nintendo’s HD console: My 360 and PS3 may get more play time than my Wii, but I love Nintendo consoles because they play first party Nintendo games. I want to see Mario, Zelda, and Samus in HD! Also, it would be great if Nintendo announced that they’re abandoning motion controls.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: There is nothing about Uncharted 2 that I didn’t like. Engrossing narrative, great characters, good range of weapons, tons of setpiece battles, and both competitive and cooperative multiplayer. I desperately want to see where Drake’s story is heading in its third installment, and seeing the multiplayer in action would be a blast, too.
Sony’s NGP: I love my PSP. It acts as an MP3 player (I’m using it to play music as I write this actually), a video player, and when I actually have time to kick back and relax, it plays games well, too. I’m not sure what to expect from the rear touchpad, but I’m anxious to see what developers can do with it, and any platform that is going to get an Uncharted game and (probably) a Valkyria Chronicles game will undoubtedly end up as a part of my collection. I’d like to hear some pricing details, and I’m hoping that Sony learned a bit from the PSP and will be releasing at a decent price point.
Project Cafe: It’s a new Nintendo console, there’s no reason not to be excited.
Mass Effect 3: BioWare has a lot to prove with this one. Mass Effect 2 was generally well-liked by the gaming masses, but Dragon Age II caught a lot of flack for being rushed and feeling like a lackluster follow-up to an excellent game. People are reasonably worried about ME3. The recent delay has probably helped calm some people down about it, but until we actually get a glimpse of the game, it’ll be hard to remain absolutely positive about it.
Batman: Arkham City: We still haven’t seen any gameplay from this follow-up to my favorite superhero game. The first impressions from GDC and PAX have been really positive, but I want to see for myself just how much better Rocksteady can make an already amazing game.
Dead Island: Most of us were absolutely floored by the first trailer that came out earlier this year; can the game live up to that? I doubt it. I do have hope that it will be a very enjoyable action game with a more serious story, similar to something we’d get from The Walking Dead.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: A question on a lot of people’s minds is this: will it actually be a Wii game, or will it be delayed so it can launch with Nintendo’s new console in 2012? I somewhat doubt Nintendo will pull that move again. Either way, it’ll be nice to see how the game is shaping up and, if shown at Nintendo’s press conference, they will be able to demo it without any major mishaps. I love this series and am dying for a new adventure with Link.
Bonus: Finally hearing something more about Beyond Good & Evil 2 from Ubisoft. I’m not getting my hopes up for that, though.
The 3DS’ fall lineup: Yes, I’m excited about Project Cafe. I’m excited about the NGP, and I’m excited about Mass Effect 3. But you’ve heard about that from everyone else. Besides that, I’m really wondering what of the myriad 3DS titles in development will be ready for this holiday season. Super Mario would be a big deal, clearly, but I’m truly hoping for Paper Mario and Mario Kart. Considering how far along they were last June, it’s possible, right? Right? Help me out here. I have a 3DS. I’m desperate.
Valkyria Chronicles III: It’s not officially announced for a U.S. release, but the game did better than both its predecessors in Japan, and, well, I’m optimistic. I admittedly don’t expect much from the E3 demo; after all, the game’s about the engrossing management systems and storyline, and the combat is largely identical. I just want confirmation it’s reaching our shores.
Might & Magic Heroes VI: Heroes V was largely a disappointment to me, but the series holds a spot in my heart for the months of fun I had with III and, to a lesser extent, IV. The game’s almost done, and with a new developer and a renewed focus on quality, it could be interesting.
Twisted Metal: David Jaffe and his team have clearly nailed the feel while updating the mechanics; I found that out with the playable demo last year. The real question is this: what sort of staying power is it going to have? Will there be a progression system? A deep campaign? Extra modes? I really want to know where they’re going with it.
That awesome thing we don’t know about yet: It’s great to get hands-on with things you’re already aware of, but the real thrill is learning about these secret projects and being introduced to things that are entirely new. This is what E3 is about, and it’s what I’m really psyched for.
Project Cafe: I’m sure this is everyone’s most anticipated announcement at E3 this year. And if even half of the rumors swirling around (the good ones, that is) are accurate, then this could stand to be my favorite Nintendo console yet.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Outside of Pokemon and Civilization, Elder Scrolls IV has taken up more of my gaming time than any other title/series. So to say that I’m ecstatic to see where Bethesda is taking the gameplay and world in Skyrim would be an understatement. It sounds as if it will have similar mechanisms to Oblivion, so I’m excited to see how it looks and feels.
Mass Effect 3: Okay, science fiction is my all-time favorite setting for games, movies, and books. The first two Mass Effect games blew me away for completely different reasons. I’m hoping that the third one will combine my favorite aspects of the two previous games to create an even better finale to the trilogy.
Final Fantasy XIII-2: Final Fantasy is my favorite JRPG series, and while Final Fantasy XIII didn’t live up to the massive hype(and honestly, what game could have?), it was still a solid entry in the series. To be able to go back and experience that world again will be awesome and I can’t wait to see it in action.
Tales of Graces F: I’m a late convert to the Tales series, having only played Tales of Vesperia. That said, it is my favorite JRPG of this generation, so I’m really excited to see what else Namco Bandai has in store for Tales fans in the U.S.
That’s what we’re hyped for. What are you excited about?