Specials: Because I'm too busy makin' nookie with the booth babes to write a top 10 list.
This was a surprising E3 to say the least, especially after the dud that was last year's E3. Come to think of it, was there even an E3 last year? Regardless of how craptastic last year was, this was a good year for the industry to proverbially set us up the bomb. The Sony camp led strong with great titles like Final Fantasy XIII, God of War 2, and Killzone Liberation. With so many great sounding titles, I decided to weed through the large number of games announced and pick my top five favorite. Yes, the fan boy in me is doing an interpretative dance of joy as can be evidenced by my #5 pick:
#5: Gitaroo Man Lives! (PSP)
Now this was something I totally wasn't expecting- a revival of Koei's rare gem, Gitaroo Man for the portable PSP. It's unclear whether the game is a sequel or more of a special edition, but one thing is for sure, this game will rock. Ask any fan and they will tell you, Gitaroo Man has one of the best videogame soundtracks this generation featuring heavy metal, smooth jazz, and J-pop just to name a few styles. The game itself is an interesting mix of genres by giving players a combination of Dance Dance Revolution-like gameplay with fighting game mechanics, pitting our titular hero against one of many different foes. The game does feature some new tricks compared to its older console cousin. Players can now fight enemies in a co-op mode as well as a handful of new songs to jam to.
With it's quirky since of humor, oddball visual style, and great soundtrack, it is more than welcome news to see that Gitaroo Man does indeed live again, and hopefully this time will garner a large enough fan base to warrant a true Gitaroo Man 2.
#4: Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3)
Being the avid Sonic the Hedgehog fan I am, how could I not be psyched for his next gen outing? Sporting amazing looking surroundings, great looking character models, and that awesome looking physics system, I've literally gotten hooked on just watching the game in action. It's great that the developers appear to be bringing the series to a more naturalistic state, primarily showing off a stage that looks something like the original Marble Garden Zone with a fresh coat of 3D paint. Of course, the city-like stage featuring the new Silver Sonic is just as cool looking. Hopefully they will drop the current storylines they have been using in favor of something simpler and better, because let's face it, when you think of great stories in videogames, you probably don't think of any platformers. I'm also hoping Sonic Team can fix the poor camera found in every single 3D Sonic game since Sonic Adventure, but I may be holding my breath.
#3: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Not much is known about this title except that it takes place in the future, looks fabulous, and already has two sequels for the PS3 and mobile phones. Is square really that sure that the game will do well, or is it prematurely jumping the shark on the series? It's never a good sign when a company begins making sequel after sequel no matter how they sell. Regardless, the series name alone will put any self-appreciating gamer on the hype-wagon (that is unless you're one of the haters, which is just silly). Will it be good? Of course, it's a Final Fantasy- even the worst of them are good in comparison to most other Japanese RPGs. Will it be worth the $600 for the PS3? Only time (and your wallet) will tell.
#2: Silent Hill Origins (PSP)
Here's what I was waiting for- portable Silent Hill. Granted, this technically isn't Silent Hill 5, seeing as it's actually a prequel to the entire series. The developers claim that this game will solve the origins of the town of Silent Hill, though knowing the Japanese horror genre; I'm willing to bet we'll be leaving Silent Hill Origins with more questions than answers. Still, the fact that the series has always been open to interpretation is what makes the series so great.
As far as the game itself is concerned, the plot appears to be about an outright loony truck driver that ends up in town during a delivery gone wrong. It doesn't help that he spent his entire youth in a mental institution. It's a little odd that the main character this time around is admittedly crazy. In past games, the sanity of the main character was usually in question, but never really explained.
It's questionable whether or not Silent Hill Origins will deliver the frights of its console brethren seeing as it's on a small portable screen. I find it hard to imagine people sitting in the dark playing the little PSP the same way they do for the console versions of the series. It seems to me the PSP was made for playing in short bursts in waiting rooms and on car rides, which neither really lends themselves to the frightening ambience of the series. Also, it's questionable how the audio will deliver considering it's on the PSP's small speakers. Still, if anyone can solve all these problems, it's Konami, and I expect they will deliver a superb product by release.
#1: Guitar Hero II (PS2)
I have a group of friends who would probably kick my game loving butt if I didn't rate this game as number one in my list, and to be honest, they'd be totally right for doing it. Guitar Hero II looks to be a very interesting multiplayer game, what with the ability to play either lead or bass guitar. I know many of my peers have mused that someone should make a music game that emulates a full band, and it looks like Red Octane and Harmonix are heading in the right direction for such a game. It's clear the demand is out there.
As for Guitar Hero II itself, it appears they are going to ratchet the difficulty up a notch, which is great news for those who have dominated the original's Expert mode. As for song selection, that remains to be seen. The few songs that have been demoed are right up the game's alley. I'm just still hoping for some Aerosmith to show up in the roster.
So there you have it. Granted, I left out many great titles such as Metal Gear Solid 4 and Okami, but I figure my cohorts here at Gaming Target are going to have plenty to say about those. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more booth babes to ogle.