Top 5 E3 Trailers


Nothing gets a gamer’s blood pumping like a trailer for their favorite game. It could be a new IP, a sequel, or even a prequel, but cinematic trailers let the imagination run wild with possibility. "Was that two hookshots he brandished at the lizard-man?" "Oh, no, tell me I did not just see Yoda." "His new haircut looks emo." And of course there is no better place to show off the world’s greatest games and their cinematic trailers than the biggest videogame expo in the world: E3.

Granted, this Takedown only goes as far back as E3 2006, which isn’t an utterly comprehensive list by any means. That being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find better media than the following trailers, featuring some of the sickest kills, most unique settings, and most jaw-dropping "I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-to-play-that" moments in E3 history.


5) The Last Guardian (2009)


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When E3 2009 rolled around, you knew Team Ico hadn’t just been sitting on their colossal hands since Shadows of the Colossus, but you didn’t know what they were up to… until this trailer. More precisely, until you see the kid running in the trailer, bathed in washed-out light and running down and ancient dusty hallway in a way only Team Ico can do. And the development studio has been frustratingly quiet since then, with a conspicuous no-show at E3 2010. But with an announced release window of Holiday 2011, fans of Ueda and crew will almost certainly be satisfied with an appearance at the next E3.


4) Fallout 3 (2007)


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E3 trailers rarely achieve that perfect blend of showing off gameplay details, explaining the game’s character, and telling a good story. In 2008, Bethesda managed to hit all those points with this hilarious E3 trailer. The first half is a wonderful black-and-white advertisement from Vault-Tec, giving gamers a glimpse of just how committed the game is to preserving that sense of period despite its misplacement in a post-apocalyptic environment. And the second half is essentially a primer of the finer points of the gameplay: enemies, VATS, time spent as a kid, mutants, robots, the Brotherhood of Steel, the steps of the Capitol building, nuclear explosions, and of course the Fat Man. After this E3, the end of the world couldn’t come soon enough… again.


3) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)


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COD4:MW marked a significant transition for the FPS genre. From its heavily experiential, story-driven campaign, to its addictive multiplayer, it took a series and a philosophy in need of rejuvenation and pushed them to the next level. The trailer, which most will know by heart as the introduction to the game ("Our so-called leaders proostituted us to ze Vest!"), shows off almost every aspect of Modern Warfare that makes it so incredible, from the variety of gameplay, to the frantic pace, to the stakes of the story — i.e. cities being demolished in a nuclear explosion. Even after all the bad business between Activision and West and Zampella, Infinity Ward has put Call of Duty irrevokably back on the map as the standard for other FPS titles to beat. And it all began here.


2) BioShock (2006)


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Even for those familiar with System Shock 2 and the work of 2K Boston (Irrational Games), BioShock came as a real kick to the teeth. This trailer really embodied that attribute of the title — the brutality. And aside from Andrew Ryan’s opening speech (presenting what is also a very permeating theme), the entire thing unfolds in first-person. While it may seem commonplace today, just four short years ago, this kind of experience was rarely, if ever, attempted in first-person (I’m talking about BioShock as a whole, of which the trailer is indicative). And let’s not forget that it’s the first time you ever saw a Little Sister or the hulking icon that has become synonymous with Rapture, the Big Daddy. It’s just too bad that among Andrew Ryan’s fantastic lines, this one from the trailer didn’t make it in: "But in the end, it is our choices that makes us."


1) Star Wars: The Old Republic (2010)


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This trailer rivals Kojima’s work in length, but is every bit a true piece of Star Wars cinema. Not only are we introduced to some new weapons and units, but there are blaster battles, lightsaber battles, force powers, thermal detonators, and a triumphant ending befitting this encapsulated short saga. It’s also just beautiful to look at, and the soundtrack is everything John Williams would want it to be. What really blew my mind about this trailer, though, as an avid Star Wars fan, was the moment during the lightsaber battle when the Jedi… dare I say it… stops a lightsaber with the Force on her hand. Basically, she palms a lightsaber. Nuts. I remember seeing this trailer with a crowd of gaming journalists at E3 earlier this year and hearing the gasps at this feat of Force knowledge, our nerd-colors unabashedly flying free. But even if you’re not a huge Star Wars fan, this is just a fantastic trailer that tells its own story in a space of five minutes and by the end, you actually care about the protagonists. For that, I say well done LucasArts, and keep ‘em coming.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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