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E3 09: Why wait? E3's hottest games reviewed NOW!

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Face it: not every game that looks like a blockbuster at E3 turns out to be one. But do you really want to wait until freaking November to see which games are worth your money and fandom and which are going to make you and your console a laughing stock?

Of course you don’t. So we’re here to give you our 100% accurate, absolute final judgment, based upon at least ten whopping minutes of hands-on playtime with each title, as to what your most anticipated games will score when they finally come out months and months from now. *


Alpha Protocol - Xbox 360, PS3, PC

It’s tough to bet against a game that combines the open-ended character evolution of the best role-playing games with the guns of a Tom Clancy thriller and the sex drive of a James Bond flick – so we won’t. Alpha Protocol is an espionage-focused spy ‘em-up that plays however you want it to play, with your character able to focus upon stealth and martial arts, blazing guns and booming grenades, gadgetry and hacking, or various bits of everything. And whatever configuration you choose, you’re still able to do two things: Solve any international crisis like only a one-man army can, and make the sweet, sexy loving with pretty much any woman in the game. Its only apparent weaknesses are average looks and a fairly typical art style that will pale next to more exotic fare like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2

Score: 8

 

BioShock 2 – Xbox 360, PS3, PC

The only gamers who weren’t ecstatic that a sequel to BioShock was coming were those who loved the first one so much that they felt a sequel would tarnish the original’s legacy. But they’re going to play this anyhow because they simply won’t be able to resist. The setting, a gloriously decaying, 1940s-era underwater city named Rapture, is still captivating. And the ability to mix and match your plasmids (magic powers, basically) to craft things like flaming tornados is just about the coolest thing ever. Some will roar that the story is broken and that they don’t like playing as a slow-moving brute – and they’ll have a good point – but “not as good as the near-perfect original” can still be very, very good. And there’s multiplayer this time.

Score: 9

 

Bayonetta – 360, PS3, PC

Halfway through our hands-on time with Bayonetta, the titular main character’s skin-tight black costume blew off. Actually, it didn’t exactly blow off – the costume is made of her own hair, and she decided that at that specific moment, her hair would be more useful if it took the form of a giant dog and gnawed a boss enemy we’d been fighting into two pieces – one for each of her exposed butt cheeks, perhaps?

That, in a nutshell, explains what sets Bayonetta apart. It’s manic, sexy, and totally over-the-top insane. Apparently, there was nobody on the development team whose job it was to say “actually, that’s a little too crazy.” Bayonetta herself is an acrobatic babe with designer eyeglasses and four guns – one in each hand, and one on each foot. It’s gorgeous to watch, the enemy designs are otherworldly, the battles are complete chaos, and you keep going because you literally can’t imagine what’s going to happen next – one level we played was leaping from one floating rock to another while a boss so big it had cannons for fingers grabbed the rocks and unloaded point blank. This is more than just another hack and slasher.

Score: 8

 

Brutal Legend

With its earnest desire to simultaneously spoof and worship every Heavy Metal stereotype, Brutal Legend could well be the funniest movie you’ll see this year – except it’s actually a game. There’s some meat here too. It starts with simple hack and slash action – you carve enemies up close with a battle axe and electrocute or burn them from afar by playing killer guitar – but evolves into a medium-scale real-time strategy game. You fly above the battlefield, giving commands to squads of ballista-toting metal chicks, headbangers, and even a chopper-riding Lemmy from Motorhead on your quest to overthrow an oppressive emperor. It’s hilarious, its graphical look is simple but fun, and it’s just so damn charismatic you can’t help headbanging. The only thing keeping it from 10-dom is the fact that both the hacking and the strategizing could be a little more fleshed out.

Score: 9

 

Dark Void – 360, PS3, PC

Take The Rocketeer, set it in space and throw in a ton of aliens, and you’d have Dark Void… kind of. This one feels a bit uneven at the moment – when we’re on the ground, darting from one cover point to the next and blasting away at ugly aliens, it plays well. And the way the gameplay switches directions is wild. For example, at one point we were moving vertically up a cylindrical shaft that had a bunch of revolving platforms in it, almost like horizontal fan blades. We could grab onto the underside of each “blade,” basically hanging upside-down from it and shooting upward, then flipping ourselves onto its topside and then zip-shooting ourselves to the underside of the blade above it. The flying sections are rougher; the jetpack is tough to control. But this is obviously still being worked on – if the jetpack can go from frustrating to exhilarating before it ships, this may be one of the few scores we get wrong.

Score: 7

 

Dead Space: Extraction – Wii

Last year’s Dead Space was surprisingly, almost shockingly good thanks to top-notch visuals, a chilling atmosphere that made you truly scared to round each corner, and a seriously kick-ass arsenal of weapons. When we found out the next game would be an on-rails shooter for Wii, our hearts sank. How can an on-rails shooter be scary? Luckily, someone on the development team apparently knows the answer to that question. Extraction not only looks damn good for a Wii game (but NOT as good as a PS3 or 360 game, no matter what hype you’ve heard), but its pacing is a true triumph. Of course there are moments of absolute pants-wetting, no-blinking if you want to live chaos, but there are also a ton of quiet moments and cut scenes that just pile on the tension. It actually works. If only it was longer and had more replay value.

Score: 8 

Check back tomorrow for more of our quasi-informed, yet clearly iron-clad early reviews of this year's most eagerly anticipated games.

*By the way, we’re obviously kidding about this being our final judgment, but when we did this last year, 19 of the 22 scores we awarded were within one point of the final Metacritic average. Ignore us at your wallet’s own risk.

Jun 2, 2009

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43 comments

  • pogo - June 5, 2009 8:49 p.m.

    cant wait for BIOSHOCK 2 and BRUTAL LEGEND come out
  • oscarpiggy - June 5, 2009 8:47 p.m.

    Bayonetta is going to be not very good but ill be happy to be proved wrong
  • AlphaLord - June 4, 2009 12:43 p.m.

    Is Bayonetta really coming to the PC then?! I thought it was console only.
  • RR99 - June 4, 2009 10:09 a.m.

    oooooooh u missed modern warfare score 10 10 10 10 !! =D
  • CAPST3R - June 3, 2009 9:04 p.m.

    I wasn't considering buying any of these games anyway. are you restricted from previewing GOW3, MAG or any of the others on the floor, or are you making us wait? you know, torture's against our human rights!
  • renov93 - June 3, 2009 8:12 p.m.

    how come i keep hearing really annoying repetitive music every time i go on to this website?
  • jar-head - June 3, 2009 6:36 p.m.

    Me2+11, admit it Gr, Mass Effect 2 is gana be everything of ME, but revamped, no more slow pacing, and more detail, to guns, to nano tehc to planets. hell yeah boys
  • Patius - June 3, 2009 3:39 p.m.

    I really hope Brutal Legend works.
  • vitoruss - June 3, 2009 2:33 p.m.

    Here's what I think... Alpha Protocol: 9 Bioshock 2: 9 Bayonetta: 6 Brutal Legend: 8 (even though it looks like it's the best and is my most-anticipated) Dark Void: 7 Dead Space E: 6 I think you guys were too nice. Dark Void and Bayonetta look terrible.
  • Hypermonkey262 - June 3, 2009 5:55 a.m.

    Definately looking forward to almost all of these. Just because I feel the need to say this: In my mind a boomerang grenade doesnt exactly seem like the kind of weapon you want to be the one using...just throwing that out there.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 3, 2009 5:50 a.m.

    Bayonetta is way overhyped. It's just a DMC with boobs. Then again, boobs do earn a game 2 extra points.
  • Defguru7777 - June 3, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    I'm only planning on getting BioShock 2, but I am interested in Brutal Legend and Dead Space Extraction.
  • Koouunn - June 3, 2009 3:29 a.m.

    bayonetta is gonna be like a 6 or 7
  • DEFAULT - June 3, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    You know, I'm giving serious consideration to the whole prostitution for game money thing...
  • Solstice - June 3, 2009 1 a.m.

    Did I say Dark Void? I meant Alpha Protocol.
  • Solstice - June 3, 2009 12:59 a.m.

    None of these games entertain me. That being said, I want everyone to know that Dark Void is, uh, how do you say, ''A little tasty?''
  • MechGyver - June 3, 2009 12:57 a.m.

    Sorry about the "afarid" misspelling, i ment afraid.( english is not my native language, but you already guessed that). Now i cant take the misspelling song from my head!!!(lol)
  • LokiRising - July 12, 2009 1:47 p.m.

    Your 1-point-off theory means that Saw will receive a 6-8 score... Good enough for me, man!
  • mariokartyE32010 - June 8, 2009 3:41 a.m.

    brutal legend looks interesting.
  • Wolf007 - June 4, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    Dead Space: Extraction will fail because everything on the Wii SUCKS!!!!!!! I liked the original so why ruin it with some shitty motion controlled game.

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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