Sixteen PC games that dominated E3

Jaz McDougall

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Another year, another E3 gone by. It's the perfect time to take stock of the great games we've seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted over the last three days. Here are the sixteen games that stood out for us, and what we said about them.

Mafia II

2K released these gorgeous screens of their story driven familia sim, which I proceeded to ruin with captions. This is one Cosa Nostr-em-up you shouldn't miss.

Project Dust

Craig unearthed this trailer in the first few days of E3. Project Dust will let you sculpt the landscape to protect a primitive civilisation from a gauntlet of natural disasters.

Fun fact: Peter Molyneux let you raise and lower the ground in Populous because he couldn't work out how to program the guys to move around the hills.

F.E.A.R. 3

Dan got his trembling, cautious hands on this, and came back with a load of screens and some co-op impressions . It looks like it might be a riot after all, despite all the weird live-action trailers. Basically, one super-quick player teams up with a mind-controlling psychic player to take on the ever-wonderful F.E.A.R. AI.

XCOM

We put up Alec's preview from PCG 214 in the first moments of E3, complete with new screenshots. It's a long and in depth feature on 2K Marin's upcoming FPS re-imagining of the Gollop brothers' classic turn based tactics game.

Then Evan saw a demonstration at E3 and wrote us this excited report . Here's the E3 trailer , too.

Shogun 2: Total War

These are the first screenshots of Creative Assembly's homecoming title. Shogun 2 sounded great and all, but now that we can look at it, you can really see what they meant when they talked about having the art inform the game in a way that didn't happen with Napoleon. Blossoms , people!

Homefront

The other day, I found a weird leaflet on my desk. It was a booklet from the "New Korean Federation of Occupied America," and after a quick scan of the headlines, I realised it must be from some sort of game. Dan confirms that it's a game in this in-depth impressions post . It does a better job of depicting improbable future war than Modern Warfare 2 did, but then again, so did Half Life 2, and there was a robot that gave out hugs and strangled helicopters in that.

Rage

There are a lot of ways you could describe Tim Edwards, our beloved Editor here in the UK, but until last night I'd never have used the words "excited about Rage." Reading his energetic preview post , it's easy to see why, especially if you picture a skyscraper, and then picture a mutant big enough to wrap its hand around it. Why id Software don't just release a giant picture of that, I've no idea, but that's E3 for you.

Sid Meier's Civilization 5

Civ 5 is going to be huge. At the beginning of E3, they released seven screens showing off the cool toy-soldiers look (and don't get me started about hexes). Tim accompanied them with his take on the game in action.

Then they released a fairly lengthy trailer , complete with "cast and crew" style interviews and some thoughts from Sid Meier himself. I'm still banned from Pirates! at home after trying the boarding and capture of the poor couple next door. I mustn't go anywhere near this.

Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction has had a rough ride over the years, but it's starting to mature into a franchise you can really get behind, and smash things to pieces with. Dan discovered that Red Faction: Armageddon is set underground against a backdrop of aliens and tumbling buildings. He outlines one or two cool weapons, and has a bucketload of screens to show for it too. I hope there's a hammer in it.

Bulletstorm

From the guys that brought you Painkiller, Bulletstorm is going for the silly, gory, man-shoot demographic. With the help of 9 never-before-seen shots, Tim explains everything you need to know about the single level that People Can Fly demoed at E3 - namely, that it's "just pure, unadulterated, glorious stupidity ." That sounds like the sort of experience I can get my head around.

Crysis 2

Lots of cool Crysis 2 stuff came out of E3, and first up, it was a whole bunch of screens, accompanied by Tim's best captions yet .

Later, in a private demo of the game, Tim saw just how detailed the destruction is in this game. You can kick taxis at metal gorillas in Crysis 2, people.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution has us more excited than a barrel of nitro glycerin balanced on top of a pneumatic drill that's drilling into a mineral seam of pure explodium. After we hosted the trailer on our YouTube channel, Tom started writing thousands of words about the game, including interviews with the art director and game designer , pieces on the original game , and a blow-by-blow description of what he saw in Montreal. He even tied it all together with a big index post , heralding "Deus Ex week."

Brink

A gorgeous gallery of 20 Brink shots graced our pages on the last day of E3, showcasing Splash Damage's luverly art style and lumbering, oafish heroes.

Rock of Ages

Graham brought a smile to our faces when he found this grin-inducing building smasher from Ace Team, who previously built a wonderful game about smashing faces (Zeno Clash). It's a trailer for a game where you roll a rock at some gorgeous renaissance artwork, paper people, and elephants.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Tim got to thoroughly sink his teeth into this at the show, and he reckons it was the most polished game there. Three trailers and lots of thoughts from the office World of Warcraft advocate - he knows a good MMO when he plays it, folks. Lightsabers! Thermal detonators! The droids you're looking for... or not! It's time to get excited.

Portal 2

Lots of Portal stuff came out of E3, and in hindsight, it was probably the highlight of the show for PC gamers. Valve's big surprise was, disappointingly, the already announced Portal 2 recycled for Playstation 3 gamers. Then everyone forgot about that when Valve started showing off the jawdropping new mechanics and settings.

Aperture Science is overgrown, Chell is wandering around, and GLaDOS is willing to let bygones be bygones, even though you murdered her. Tom's round up of our coverage is here .

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