GamerNode's Best of E3 2008

There was a lot to see at this year’s E3 Media & Business Summit, and Brendon, Eddie, and Kyle (and Dave) did their best to scurry about the show floor, attend press events, meet with developers and publishers, and most importantly, play and see all of the upcoming videogames that the industry had to offer.

While there was indeed a certain amount of, shall we say, junk, on display at the show, there were also many, many highly impressive titles that we just can’t wait to play more of in the future. It was difficult, but we’ve managed to compile a list of our favorites from E3 2008 for the GN readers. Without further ado…


Best of Show:

Brendon – Left 4 Dead

I love zombies, you love zombies, we all love zombies! So what’s better than zombies? Why, having zombies in a Valve game, of course! Left 4 Dead has always been a game I’ve kept my eye on, but I never really cared enough about it to count down until it was out. When we got invited to play Left 4 Dead at E3, I thought it would make a great video opportunity for the site-little did I know that we would be so engrossed with playing the game that our camera just sort of stayed pointing at a TV screen the entire time. It wasn’t the most innovative game of E3, or even the most technologically advanced. What it was was the funnest game of E3, and that’s why it’s my best game at E3 2008.

Eddie – LittleBigPlanet

Even with incredible games like Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil 5, and the ever-present Spore dotting the show floor in various states of playability, LBP stood out as the one that will not only be a joy to play, but will also increment the state of gaming toward wider adoption and integration into popular culture (and NOT by pretending to play virtual instruments while throwing frisbees to your virtual pet dog and cutting virtual vegetables on your virtual kitchen counter). This multiplayer "gaming 2.0" platformer is a combination of gameplay, creativity, social interaction, limitless possibility, and most of all, FUN, that is simply undeniable.

Kyle – LittleBigPlanet

I was going to put Left 4 Dead here, but then I remembered something. While playing LBP, anyone who’s "down with it" calls the game LBP, I wasn’t as immediately engrossed in the gameplay as I was in that fantastic co-op first-person shooter from Valve, but it got me thinking. My creative side was taking over. During that short session, I became less interested in what was happening on the screen and began thinking about all of the varying forms of content the robust editor will allow users such as myself to create. In short, I started becoming a believer. This often talked about YouTube of gaming might actually see its day, thanks to a developer whose previous and only title was a little game called Rag Doll Kung-fu.


Best Console Game:

Brendon – LittleBigPlanet

Playing it on the floor was hit or miss-especially with some of the douches who I got stuck playing with–but I still enjoyed LBP. Seeing one of the minds behind the game demonstrate more advanced features and really get into the editors, however, cemented LBP as the best console-based playable game at E3. I have never said this about a game before, but LBP is the absolute reason anyone who doesn’t currently have a PS3 should get one.

Eddie – LittleBigPlanet

(see Best of Show)

Kyle – LittleBigPlanet

(see Best of Show)


Best PC Game:

Brendon – Left 4 Dead

(see Best of Show)

Eddie – Left 4 Dead

I love zombies, I love cooperative gameplay, I love intense action, and I love Valve Software. That combination pretty much seals the deal for my best PC game of E3 2008, Left 4 Dead. My hands-on time with this online shooter was one of the most enjoyable gaming sessions I had at the show, thanks to the nearly flawless Source engine and the unique interactivity between the game’s players and the game itself. Hordes of enemies will always rain down on the group of survivors, but from that point the game unfolds based on the players themselves. My time was short with Left 4 Dead, but it certainly left an impression. 

Kyle – Left 4 Dead

This game is intense. From what I played, the AI Director, as they’re calling it, might be one of the most innovative and underappreciated piece of gaming technology in years. If you’re not privy to its intricacies, the Director manipulates the game’s pace. Its job is to always keep you on your toes by putting you and the enemies in different spawn locations and combining that with necessary moments of extremely tense calm because even Sting gets tired after hours of climax. That’s the Director’s job and it works. It works really f***ing well. 


Best Handheld Game:

Brendon – Resistance: Retribution

What do you get when you take one part franchise, and one part tested developer with a proven track record? You get Resistance: Retribution. Modeled after the PS3 counterparts, Retribution is made by an entirely different studio, yet somehow, someway, they managed to perfectly capture everything which made Resistance fun in handheld form. It’s one of the most visually impressive handheld games I’ve ever seen, and for once a developed managed to make a handheld game with fun-and approachable-combat and controls.

Eddie – ???

I honestly didn’t see enough to crown a victor in this category, so rather than make something up to sound important, I am bowing out of this one. No, I didn’t get to play Resistance.

Kyle – Resistance: Retribution

Having finally finished Resistance, I can honestly say I’m not a fan. The co-op is fun, but the entire experience is a bit generic to me. With that said, my expectations were pretty low for the handheld version. Good lord was I wrong. All of the third-person shooter mechanics are there, as is the Resistance universe, but it’s portable. Don’t tell Ted Price, but I think I might enjoy playing this version of the game more than its predecessor.


Best Non-playable Demo:

Brendon – Dragon Age

While it wasn’t technically at E3, no one doubts the validity of counting BioWare’s new baby here, I’m sure. There wasn’t any hands-on play, but we were treated to BioWare-played Dragon Age, and what a treat it was. The game isn’t even close to being finished yet, and I’m calling it: Dragon Age will be the best game of 2009. When the guys who have worked on Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect, KotOR, and all of BioWare’s other past titles say it’s "by far the best game we’ve made," would you doubt them?

Eddie – Gears of War 2

It’s always difficult to crown a "best" game based on non-playable demonstrations. With your eyes and ears, one can only absorb a game’s superficial presentation and conceptual makeup, rather than actually feeling how it all comes together. That being said, my choice for the best non-playable game of E3 goes to what was possibly the most visually stunning demonstration, layered on top of proven gameplay mechanics with a handful of added features and improvements.

Gears of War 2 looks incredible. The environments and scenarios I saw were some of the most impressive at the show, with dozens upon dozens of Locust on-screen, ranging from man-sized creatures to hulking behemoths. The flow of combat also seemed to be smoothed out a bit since the first Gears of War as I watched the COGs dip in and out of cover, taking out anything that posed a threat. Then there is multiplayer, which has been upgraded to support ten players at once over Xbox Live, and will be powered by an all-new matchmaking system. I’m ready for more Gears. 

Kyle – Flower

I’m a sucker for indie games. It’s not just because I’d rather support a passionate individual who works hard rather than a billion-dollar corporation who doesn’t give a damn about its employees, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s just that new and often untested ideas surface in the indie community with surprising regularity, and I dig that. Jenova Chen’s Flower is one of those games. I mean really, a game that makes you feel relaxed? Who the hell thought of that? Keep your hand down you squinty-eyed eroge player enjoying your post-"game" cigarette.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play the game, but this is the non-playable section so give me a break. While watching Chen demonstrate the gameplay mechanics of moving this flower petal around in a field to manipulate the level progression to better fit the soundscape and feel of the content, I actually felt relaxed. That’s right, I wasn’t even playing the game and I think I was getting the intended experience. Heaven forbid I get my hands on a finished build, you might find me cross-legged hovering a foot above the ground in a room with incense burning while manipulating the controller with my mind.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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