Trudging through the eager mass of nerdery for a brief glimpse at the industry’s latest and greatest always takes a toll on my fragile frame, but there’s a reason my subconscious is overrun with digital dreams each spring, and that’s the fact that this colossal convention always manages to surprise. And while I’m not exactly expecting Sony or Microsoft to come out of the next-gen closet next week, there are definitely a handful of games I can’t wait to see.
1: Tomb Raider (360, PS3, PC / Square Enix)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Witnessing Lara Croft as a whiny, helpless wussy-puff in last year’s E3 demo had me worried that Crystal Dynamics had lost their way, but the more I’ve seen of the new Raider, the more I’m convinced that this will be an origin story for the ages. Impressive visuals, a healthy dose of grown-up storytellin’, and an interesting take on Lara’s transformation into the heroine we all know and love combine to make this my game to watch.
2: The Last of Us (PS3 / Sony)
Words cannot describe how stoked I am for Naughty Dog’s latest, which is essentially their take on I Am Legend. I’ve always been a fan of their ability to seamlessly weave narrative and gameplay, and now that they’re finally escaping the whole “dude raider” routine, I have a feeling that we’re in store for a once-in-a-generation adventure, despite my general distaste for the whole babysitting bit.
3: The Last Guardian (PS3 / Sony)
The Last Guardian is one of those games I was interested in from the jump, thanks largely to the developer’s flawless pedigree, and I’m hoping upon hope that it actually makes an appearance at this year’s show in playable form—I can’t wait to see if Team Ico can continue the streak with yet another heart-wrenching adventure. The thing is, will Sony actually deliver the goods and put a controller in my hand? We’ll see.
4: Far Cry 3 (360, PS3, PC / Ubisoft)
I’ve always been interested in Far Cry 3’s premise, but after a lengthy look at the game a couple of weeks back, this one’s vaulted up the charts for me. The story and mission structure look amazing, co-op’s practically a game in and of itself, and the upgrade system should really blend well with FC3’s open-world style, making it one of the most intriguing run-and-gun FPSes on the market. Plus, hey, it’ll almost be like taking an actual vacation…
5: Metro: Last Light (360, PS3, PC / THQ)
I debated between Metro and Dishonored for this slot, but all things considered, I’m really hyped to see if the promise of 2033 can translate into a blockbuster sequel, and everything I’m hearing has this shaping up to be one of the most impressive story-driven FPS titles we’ve seen in a long, long time, blending tight resource management, a hopeless horror vibe, and some intriguing sci-fi elements into one big package. Yes, please.