After kicking off in a traditional fashion with three huge press conferences from the hardware manufacturers, E3 was actually a very different experience this year. It offered a toned down experience compared to previous expos and if you managed to catch the right shuttle bus, the hotels offered a better environment to check out the games more often than not.
While this year's show didn't generate the massive buzz of past years (especially in the eyes of the mainstream media type) there was plenty to see, plenty of big developer types to chat to and plenty of taxi receipts in our wallets by the end of it. Here are CVG's high and low of the event - along with our game of the show.
E3: The Highs
Super Mario Galaxy
Once again, Nintendo brings out its mascot's new quest and blows every one of its fans away. The new Bee and Boo suits, new worlds, and those awesome shifting platforms - it really does look like a true sequel to Super Mario 64 and it's going to be superb.
Even before E3 started you could sense the PS3 critics waiting for new Killzone footage so they could link back to 2005 trailer and tear strips of Sony for failing to deliver on what it promised. Then - like Rocky Balboa in the last round - Sony delivered a knockout blow to the chops. Killzone 2's new footage looked incredible. Finally we have a game that looks like showing off some of PS3's true potential.
Metal Gear Solid 4
Kojima's masterpiece was both a highlight and disappoint of the show. The trailer was, as expected, an incredibly well-composed mini movie. It made us want the game more than the air we breathe, so good job there. But then Konami whipped it away again without showing any actual gameplay footage. We're still left wondering what and how MGS4 is shaping up like to actually play thesedays. There's no doubt in our minds that it'll be awesome though. We just want to know how awesome!
Could this be the game that sees even the most loyal Nintendo fanboy look at a PS3 with envious eyes? The physics-based gameplay is utter genius and Sony really hammered home the emphasis on player customisation and the immense flexibility of the level editing at the show. This is a very important PS3 game but in our eyes it's all about how Sony markets it. The hardcore gamer should already sold, but what about the casual lot? They'll make up most of the sales but will they want to fiddle around making their own games? We doubt it.
The sexiest gaming gadget has undergone plastic surgery and come out the other end surprisingly sexier. The best thing about the new PSP though is what's behind the facelift. The speedier load times and improved battery life are greatly welcomed tweaks, and the addition of video output for play on a TV is simply awesome. It'll be like having the world's smallest PS2 hooked up to your TV. We're still waiting for a price and an official release date in Europe, but it's down for September. We know it's not called Lite either, before the Nintendo massive emails in...
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
A lot is expected of Metroid Prime 3, especially with various corners claiming it'll revolutionise the FPS genre. A bit like Halo 3, this needs to be the grand finale to a so far amazing trilogy. Corruption promises to set new standards in the Wii graphics department, and it should demonstrate why the Remote is the best non-PC interface for shooters. We've played it and reckon it'll have no problems delivering on all fronts when released later this year.