Best games of E3

We run through the hottest new games to come out of the E3 games conference so far. See which titles we're most excited about in this video-packed, thumb-knackering roundup!

Luke Westaway Senior editor
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.
Luke Westaway
7 min read

Video games, eh? They're good clean family fun. Unless of course you're blowing someone's head into fleshy chunks, which we almost always are. There are a tonne of brand-new games being shown off this week at the E3 games conference in LA, and we've picked out the titles we're most excited about. We're updating this story as E3 continues.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Smashing its way out of E3 like a concealed blade redecorating an unsuspecting gullet, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the newest title in the successful parkour/assassination/history lesson-sim franchise.

It's quite possible that, like us, you were completely flummoxed by the events at the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Somebody got stabbed in the stomach, something about "the scales must be balanced" -- it didn't make much sense to us, so we're hoping Revelations can clear things up.

The E3 trailer (above) is absolutely blinding, and features all the flipping, killing and eagles we've come to expect from the series. Watch it, and feel your buttocks clench with anticipation.

Excitement Rating: 8/10 -- A sure-fire hit, we only have to wait until November to play Revelations, and see Ezio's story concluded in scenic Constantinople.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The new trailer for Link's latest Wii-based escapade was slightly tempered by the announcement of a brand new Nintendo console -- the Wii U. The new version of the Wii will output graphics in HD, so the idea of playing a standard-definition Zelda title this Christmas doesn't fill us with excitement as it should.

Still, a whole new 'proper' Zelda game is naught to be sniffed at. Skyward Sword sees Link dallying about in a cloud-based village, and travelling between the sky and the land below using a magic sword. And there's a big bird he flies around on.

The game will use the Wii MotionPlus controller accessory that allows for a greater degree of accuracy in sword-swinging attacks. It'll be out before the end of the year.

Excitement Rating: 7/10 -- Our passion for the Wii may have cooled, but we can't wait to see what peculiar reason Link finds for donning his regular green garb this time around. We're also impressed by the cartoony, Wind Waker-esque visuals.

Super Mario 3D

Nintendo often catches flak for milking its key franchises dry, and while it's true to an extent, we've always got room in our hearts for some classic Mario platforming. The formula may not have changed much over the years, but the E3 reveal for Super Mario on the 3DS still has us salivating.

Looking to make best use of the 3DS' glasses-free 3D capabilities, Super Mario has Mazza running around in proper 3D environments, rather than 2D side-scrolling levels. The trailer doesn't give much away, except that the Leaf Star is present, and will give Mario tail-whipping and air-hovering privileges. Not to mention the cutest raccoon ears in the business.

Excitement Rating: 7/10 -- It's just more of the same, but with the last few Mario titles proving astoundingly good, more of that special Italian platform sauce is looking mighty tasty. We're also interested to see how the 3DS will handle an ambitious game like this one.

Halo 4

It's no exaggeration to say the Halo franchise has been the single most important series for Microsoft's Xbox consoles, so it's no surprise the chaps at Microsoft were keen to show off what they promise is the first game in an all-new Halo trilogy.

The trailer we've been shown doesn't give much away, except that once more gamers will don Master Chief's shiny green helmet, and picks up from where Halo 3 left off. Oh, and there are some explosions. In space. Check out the video above and you'll see we're telling the truth.

Excitement Rating: 6/10 -- It's always great to see a new blockbuster title, though the new trailer didn't give us much to go on, and Halo 4 isn't out until Christmas 2012, which is ages away. Also, this game won't be developed by Halo-maestros Bungie, which means it just might be utter rubbish.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

The Uncharted games do what Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could never do: be good. Watching chipper protagonist Nathan Drake scaling the walls of Aztec ruins and using his orangutan-grade upper body strength to pummel smugglers has provided no end of adventuring thrills.

Uncharted 3 looks to deliver the same retina-scorching environments, ludicrous set pieces and witty asides that made the first two games so much fun, although the E3 trailer shows some rather moody, edgy goings-on, with Drake getting shot in a back alley and finding himself stranded in the desert.

Excitement Rating: 9/10 -- Uncharted is one of the few franchises still exclusive to the PlayStation, so it's a huge deal for Sony. The game looks like a solid, Hollywood-esque affair, and it'll be out on 4 November in Europe.

Kinect Star Wars

We'll preface this by saying the live E3 demo for Kinect Star Wars didn't look like much fun -- seeing a dashing young chap waving his arms around on stage, only to have his actions crudely mimicked on screen a second later didn't inspire any confidence. But because we're gluttons for punishment when it comes to Star Wars, we're prepared to give this the benefit of the doubt, for now.

Kinect Star Wars sees you using Xbox Kinect's motion-tracking sensor bar to wield a lightsaber, deflect enemy laser attacks and move objects out of your way using the force. It sounds great in theory, though the game is an on-rails affair, and looks like it'll move you quite restrictively from one battle to another.

The stirring music and signature sound effects are all present and correct, though we don't recall Luke Skywotsit ever shouting "Lightsaber on!" to fire up his glowing laser-sword, and much of the game looks to take place during the Clone Wars era, which we've trained ourselves to pretend never happened. As a result, when we watch the trailer above, we mostly just see static.

Excitement Rating: 5/10 -- It's Star Wars, and it's Kinect, which are both things we're desperately fond of. But we feel in our bones this potentially ace title could end up a missed opportunity. It should be out for Christmas this year.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changed the world of first-person shooters forever with its blend of stealthy mass-murder and infinitely upgradeable high-tech weaponry. Modern Warfare 2 went a bit Michael Bay on us, adding perilous set pieces and a plot so tangled we stopped paying attention within five minutes. But still we loved it.

Modern Warfare 3looks set to take the popular war-sim franchise to new heights of maniacal stupidity, as the Russians invade the US and European countries, including England, France and Germany.

The live E3 gameplay demo shows an underwater excursion through the bay of New York city, that turns into a fight on a submarine, then a boat chase over the top of a submarine that has you dodging exploding boats and missiles, ramping up the side of a sinking aircraft carrier and doing a massive jump off a ruined stretch of road. In a boat. These are the gritty realities of war.

Excitement Rating: 8/10 -- It's as mad as a sack of squirrels, but Modern Warfare 3 looks great fun. And if the multiplayer's anywhere near as good as Modern Warfare 2's, we'll be very happy bunnies indeed.

Tomb Raider

Oh, Lara. A genuine aristocrat of the video game world, she's not had too much luck in her last few outings, which have been a little disappointing. With the search engine-unfiendly Tomb Raider, publisher Square Enix is looking to inject a new lease of life into the franchise.

The game is a prequel of sorts -- it's Lara Croft's very first adventure (which doesn't make much sense with the timeline as she's clearly rocking some Beats headphones in the trailer above), doe-eyed and innocent at just 21 years of age. She's been marooned on an island, the ship she was travelling on having been cleft in twain.

Starting off with no weapons, your job is to keep Lara alive and kicking. It's an interesting prospect and no mistake, and looks to feature Rambo-style weaponry like bows and climbing axes. Check out the trailer above, and try to ignore the truly awful cod-philosophical dialogue. Seriously, "I'd finally set out to make my mark, to find adventure. But instead, adventure found me." Eesh -- it must have taken weeks to put that trailer together, and they couldn't spend five minutes on some half-decent words to go in it?

Excitement Rating: 6/10 -- Franchise reboots are always interesting, and we've a place in our hearts for Miss Croft. Tomb Raider won't be out until autumn 2012 though.

Mass Effect 3

We dearly loved the first two Mass Effect games, because we're suckers for lasers, team-based combat and taking the evil path down morality trees.

Mass Effect 3 sees the operatic sci-fi series come to Earth, which is being invaded, natch (an earlier trailer showed a futuristic London being blown to bits). As Commander Shepard, you'll help save the planet, or potentially doom it to extinction, depending on whether you feel like doing the honourable thing or not.

As with Mass Effect 2, you'll be able to import your specific Shepard from the last game into Mass Effect 3, along with all his/her gender, appearance and personality details. Which is a relief because our Shepard looked like a spacefaring Freddie Mercury (ie brilliant). The AI has supposedly been amped up, and you'll get to bash baddies' brains in with more sophisticated melee attacks.

Excitement Rating: 8/10: -- Mass Effect 3 won't be out until March next year, but we can't wait to get back into the sprawling universe.

Don't forget to check back to see if any more games from E3 have succeeded in piquing our interest. In the meantime, check out the dedicated coverage from our buddies at GameSpot UK, and let us know which games from E3 you're most excited about, in the comments or on our Facebook wall