E3 has come and gone and now that the dust has settled it’s time to look back at some of the games that for one reason or another, weren’t really given the coverage they deserved.
The Last Guardian.
Shadow of the Colossus was, in the opinion of many critics one of the best games ever created for the PS2. With it’s massive atmospheric world and monstrous antagonists, it pushed the graphical and technical limits of the system. Ever since the PS3 was released, gamers have been waiting to see what Team Ico would do next, now that they have a new system and all it’s processing power to play with. The trailer that was shown at E3 (and that had been leaked a few days earlier, albeit in a rather unrefined form) didn’t have the immediate wow factor of the Uncharted 2 trailer or the buzz that accompanied some of the bigger E3 sequel announcements and was, in most cases somewhat overlooked by a lot of gaming sites. Perhaps there weren’t enough explosions or guns, or perhaps the lack of a number after the title confounded the hordes of journalists lusting after the big budget sequels. However Anyone who has played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus and knows the level of craft that the team puts into it’s products also knows that this game will, without doubt be incredible. Also I loved the big griffin thing in the trailer.
Alien vs Predator 3
The Alien vs Predator franchise has spawned a good game, a great game, some fantastic comics and a whole host of appallingly lacklustre films and other media. Every single man, woman and child who has ever seen James Cameron’s Aliens has at some time in their lives wanted to pick up a virtual pulse rifle and blast the crap out of H.R. Giger’s wonderfully creepy yet slightly phallic xenomorphs. AVP 2 was a really good game that combined elements of stealth, survival horror and shmup goodness but sadly the fun was only accessible to those lucky people with rather high end P.Cs. Rebellion, the team that developed the original game in the franchise is set to release the third incarnation of the game in 2010 and from the screen shots it already looks great. How can a game that combines aliens, space marines, pulse rifles and throws a few predators in for good measure possibly fail. Even so it was bizarrely overlooked by much of the gaming press at E3.
Lost Planet 2
What can I say. This game looks beautiful and apparently a lot of what was wrong with the first game has been tweaked or completely reworked. Gone are the clunky character movements that often felt like the player was moving through a thick layer of sludge. The online element has been redone so gamers will no longer be pwned the instant they get online by a bunch of pre-pubescent Japanese kids who have already reached level 99 merely hours after the games release. The most impressive upgrade however is in the sheer scale of the game. The bugs are bigger meaner and with the ability to play co-op, even more fun to reduce to thick puddles of insectoid goo. A few sites gave this game a nod but on the whole it went unnoticed.
Yes it’s a sequel. Yes it’s a sandbox game and yes it involves some kind of citywide infection, and yes it was mostly ignored by the critics. So why all the excitement. Crackdown was great. The climbing was great fun. The orb collection was the most addictive video game element ever. The guns were some of the most original of any game on the Xbox 360 ( Harpoons, homing grenades) The leveling system was well thought out and the art direction gave the whole experience a slightly surreal comic book quality. People complained about the lack of story and the driving experience, but these people are idiots. The game succeeded in the one area that is often overlooked by game critics and the area where many other franchises fail. Crackdown was a whole lot of fun. Not much has been revealed about the sequel, but if the developers manage to iron out some of the fist games minor flaws and throw in a bit more story this game could be really good.
Another sequel and another game that wasn’t really talked about. Admittedly the trailer was short and mostly consisted of cut scenes, but if the developers manage to bring the scale, characters, variability of missions and immersive atmosphere of the first game to the console version then this could be one to watch. Slower and more realistic than other sandbox titles such as GTA and Saints Row the franchise could find a nice little niche for itself in the console market.