It seems that September could now be considered the season for videogaming exhibitions, in the UK at least. We may still have the London MCM Expo to come, but in two successive weeks we’ve seen the debut of GAMEfest and the latest Eurogamer Expo wowing crowds with some of the best titles still to come in 2011. However, not everyone can afford to pick up all of those big names on the show floor, and indeed not every gamer owns every format. With that knowledge, Electronic Theatre set about the show to narrow the huge list of titles down to just ten of the best.
As usual for the Sunday Special feature here at Electronic Theatre, a number of stipulations apply. Firstly, the game had to be playable to the public audience, meaning the likes of The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 and the hugely impressive Prey 2 are already out of the running. Additionally, titles eligible for inclusion have to be one their way to retail stores, and not currently available. Also, anything that is already sitting in Electronic Theatre’s office awaiting review has already been finished, and could not offer a fair comparison to those titles still in development.
So below follows Electronic Theatre’s picks for the top ten games of the show. Over the coming months you can be sure to find all the latest details on each and every one, including hands-on previews coming very soon.
10. Ninja Gaiden 3
Easily the most violent game of the show, but according to Peter Garza, Producer at Team Ninja, it’s more than violence for violence’s sake. With Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja want to relay the true feeling of sword combat to the player. You’re not just slashing away at thousands of non-descript demons any more, you’re taking human lives.
9. Kid Icarus: Uprising
The true star of the Nintendo 3DS’ upcoming line-up, Kid Icarus: Uprising is proving to be the most original and interesting title currently being touted for the console. Everybody loves Mario Kart and a brand new Super Mario platform adventure is now surprise, but Kid Icarus: Uprising is promising something different: a retro-schooled IP with fresh ideas. It’s almost like the 1980’s are coming back in an even bigger way for Nintendo.
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Anyone betting that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 would not be one of the most popular games at the Eurogamer Expo would surely have lost their money within minutes of the doors opening, just as anyone betting that it won’t be one of the best selling games of the year come November is probably going to find themselves with a little less cash for Christmas presents this year. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 saw a great deal of demand for hands-on time, despite only offering the exact same content that was available at GAMEfest previously.
7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Much like the above Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was not new content. It was in fact the exact same build that was available at GAMEfest a week previous; however that doesn’t mean it was any less enjoyable. What it did mean was that there was far less demand to get hands-on with the game, and so left out in the open the queues for the game were practically non-existent.
Again, Bethesda Softworks chose to simply show the same content here at the Eurogamer Expo that was available a week earlier at GAMEfest, however they did it with a great deal more style. While a few consoles were kept behind closed doors at GAMEfest, RAGE was presented on perhaps the biggest open-plan stand at the Eurogamer Expo. The sheer quantity of consoles available to play the game on didn’t prevent queues from forming quickly however, as it simply made even more gamers realise what they would be missing out on if they didn’t give RAGE a try.
5. Battlefield 3
The first public outing for the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3 couldn’t have gone better for those concerned. Yes, it was considerably buggy when compared to the PlayStation 3 and PC versions (also on show), but the amount of bad publicity the Xbox 360 build has been receiving was proven to be more than a little exaggerated. Battlefield 3 will clearly play much the same game whichever console you choose to play it on when it launches next month, though it’s still obvious that PC gamers will be pulling ahead in the visual stakes.
4. Final Fantasy XIII-2
Another playable debut for UK gamers, much like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was surprisingly light on the queuing front. Maybe it’s because of all the negativity surrounding Final Fantasy XIII (most of which is unfounded), or perhaps it’s because the Japanese RPG is a genre that doesn’t lend itself too well to playing on a busy show floor, but whatever the reason gamers had the chance to get hands-on with Final Fantasy XIII-2 on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and most of who did walked away with nothing less than a positive point-of-view.
3. Mass Effect 3
There’s no denying that Mass Effect 3is looking set to become the star of the first quarter of 2012. Every aspect of the game promises to push beyond that which made Mass Effect 2 such a groundbreaking piece of work, and yet we’re yet to get the opportunity to witness it first hand. That which was playable at the Eurogamer Expo resembled that of the GAMEfest showcase, with a single combat-orientated section to playthrough. Undeniably some of the finest science-fiction gunplay at the show, the demo held Mass Effect 3 back from becoming the most enjoyable game at the show simply by no offering enough varied content.
2. Saints Row: The Third
Just as with the showcase of Saints Row: The Third that THQ offered at GAMEfest, freedom was the key to the playable build at the Eurogamer Expo. It may not have had the same lavish stand with a real world interpretation of the Saint’s bar and a cavalcade of booth babes keen to show you how to extend your penis beyond the confines of the automatically placed pixilation box, but this just allowed the software to speak for it’s self. Saints Row: The Third is riotous fun in the most literal sense.
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The first public outing for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could not have gone any better. The character customisation features were showcased at their fullest, the openness of the environment allowed players to explore, fight and die with smiles all round, and the many glitches in both graphics and tech proved that this is every bit the successor to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. If that means anything to you, then The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is surely set to swallow your life whole come November.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was always set to wow audiences at the Eurogamer Expo, but the build available could not have been better designed for just such a task. Offering fans the opportunity to explore any areas they so wished while still only remaining a teaser for the final game, the slice of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim available simply further aided the already extraordinary anticipation surrounding the game. Electronic Theatre’s time with the game immediately set it as one of our most anticipated titles still to come in 2011, and if it isn’t currently one of yours we suggest you rethink that situation.