E3 2010: Kinectimals, Star Wars, Portal 2, Zelda and more

This year's E3 conference in LA was a doozy, so click through for our favourite trailers and bits of news on all the hottest new games we're dead excited about

For the last week we've been keeping one eye firmly on our sister site GameSpot UK's excellent coverage of the E3 gaming conference, but now that the fun is over and the dust has settled, we're ready to tell you which games announced or previewed at E3 are really worth getting excited over. Read on, fellow nerdlings, and get ready to geek the flip out .

Kinectimals -- Xbox 360

Microsoft bowled us over this year with some really exciting hardware announcements, not least of which was the mysterious motion-sensor peripheral project Natal being officially titled Kinect . Along with the announcement came a slew of games built around the Xbox's new controller-less gaming technology, but the only one that really charmed our little cotton socks off was Kinectimals -- a tamagotchi-style animal-care simulator that lets gamers interact with a range of needlessly adorable fluffy beasts. Click play on the trailer above if you don't believe us. Go on, click it.

Sure, this is a game aimed at squarely at the child market, but why let the younger generation have all the fun? They don't even pay taxes! CNET UK heartily endorses Kinectimals for working professionals...

That's right -- after years of speculation and rumour, Nintendo finally had the human decency to announce a brand-new addition to the Zelda family. Entitled Skyward Sword (try saying that ten times fast), this latest outing will have Link wielding the famous Master Sword with increased accuracy, thanks to the Wii MotionPlus add-on for the Wii remote, which allows you to perform more precise in-game movements. We hear the title refers to the ability to hold the remote vertically (skyward) to charge up a devastating sword-based projectile attack. Sweet.

Skyward Sword also brings a new visual style to the franchise, taking something from the cel-shaded visuals first seen in Wind Waker for the Gamecube, and something from the darker, more realistic look seen in Twilight Princess. Without a doubt it'll feature the usual blend of action and puzzles, and jingles and music that instantly transport you back to a simpler time.

This one certainly wins the award for the most mind-melting trailer. Seriously -- watch the trailer above in 720p, and fullscreen it, for what can only be described as an eyeball-bursting firehose of colour aimed directly at your unsuspecting face.

A rhythm-action game from the brain of Tetsuya Mizuguchi (the chap behind 2001's Rez for the Dreamcast), Child of Eden will see players journeying through a colourful world shooting things that explode into, um, sound. The game will support Kinect, so you'll be able to conduct the madness using your body, and support for Sony's PlayStation Move is apparently being considered. We suspect the full weirdness of this game won't be felt until we actually get to playtest it, but what we've seen already is more than enough to whet our appetites.

The first Portal game was -- quite simply -- a masterpiece of storytelling and innovative, brain-hurting puzzle action. Developer Valve (the same loonies behind the landmark Half-Life and Team Fortress franchises) has been teasing us with hints of a sequel for some time now, but at E3 we finally got to see a trailer, and some gameplay details.

Portal 2 keeps the central mechanic from the first game, whereby you're the lucky owner of a gun that shoots two types of portals. Fire these portals at walls, and hop through one of them to pop out wherever you left the other! Sounds simple(ish) right? Your portalling skills will be put to the test as you once more struggle to escape the Aperture Science test facility and its cake-mad robotic matriarch GLaDOS.

Built by British developer Rare, the 90s Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES turned Nintendo's fearsome woman-snatching ape into a loveable hero in his own right. Rare have since defected to Microsoft, but Nintendo have left this particular franchise reboot in the capable hands of Retro Studios, who were responsible for giving Metroid its first 3D makeover.

Donkey Kong Country Returns looks to feature all the kooky visuals, moody music and bizarre enemies that were so beloved in the original games. Fingers crossed it delivers the kind of 2D platforming delights that put Nintendo on the map in the first place.

Nintendo made a splash at this year's E3 with the official confirmation of the Nintendo 3DS -- successor to the ridiculously successful Nintendo DS handheld system, but with 3D visuals that don't require glasses. And yet, amid all the confusion, many seem to have forgotten that Nintendo also announced a brand-new Kirby title OMG!

Okay, so maybe Kirby's Epic Yarn isn't the most exciting game to come out of E3 this year, but it caught our eye with its beautiful fabric-esque visual style and focus on wielding bits of string as a weapon. Playing as everyone's favourite pink blob, you'll be traversing the land of cross-stitch and buttons, turning any enemies in your path into balls of yarn, and changing your own amorphous shape into that of a submarine or UFO (among other things) all in an effort to reach the end of the level. Along with Donkey Kong Country Returns, we really hope this means Nintendo is renewing its commitment to the 2D platformer.

Kirby's Epic Yarn will be out in the autumn of this year, and we really hope that playing it will passively teach us to sew. 

Several of the CNET UK team are recovering World of Warcraft addicts, and if there's anything certain to tip them off the MMORPG wagon, it's the prospect of a game based around the Star Wars mythology. Star Wars: The Old Republic has been in development for an age, and yet developer BioWare (creators of the Mass Effect games) keeps teasing us with incredible cinematic trailers.

This newest animated short, premiered at E3, contains no gameplay footage whatsoever but deserves a mention by virtue of containing more heart-pounding action and choreographed lightsaber madness than the entire trilogy of new Star Wars movies combined. Full-screen, high-quality, sit back, enjoy...

We discussed this upcoming remake recently on the CNET UK podcast , and opinion was divided as to whether it's ever really possible to recapture the magic of a truly revolutionary game. GoldenEye was one such title, and when it hit the N64 way back in 1996, it changed the first-person shooter landscape forever.

In a slightly incongruous move, Daniel Craig will be assuming the mantle of James Bond in GoldenEye, the game of the game of the movie that starred Pierce Brosnan (best not to think too hard about it).

From what we can tell, this looks to be a shot-for-shot remake of the classic title, with souped-up graphics and a full online multiplayer mode to boot. A graphical reworking did wonders for Perfect Dark HD for Xbox Live Arcade, here's hoping the new GoldenEye manages to keep a balance between being a wholly derivative carbon copy of the original, and changing so much that it no longer bears any resemblance to the game we loved so much in the first place.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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