E3 2009: The final verdict

PSM3's man in LA reveals the best - and worst - from E3, plus some off-radar surprises.

Well, E3 is over, and although it was nice to get a good night's sleep and look forward to a day when I'm not trawling around a convention hall dodging chubby, tat-clutching, booth-babe ogling web-journos, I'm a little sad. This year's E3 was a great one for Sony - one of the best in years. Here's why...

On day one it looked like Microsoft had E3 09 in the bag, having wheeled on The Beatles and Steven Spielberg at their press conference, and secured the new MGS and their stunning motion sensing tech, Project Natal. The Sony press conference was more understated: less flash, more games. And despite making loads of jokes about exclusives leaking onto the 'net, Jack Tretton and Kaz Hirai pulled out some stunning surprises. First off, Uncharted 2 was brilliant. No other game at the show (bar Mass Effect 2) came close to matching it visually, and with such intense action. So that was a good start.

Then came PSP Go, which - having played it - we can confirm is a step forward for PSP. It's lighter than an iPhone, and feels real nice when you snap it open by sliding the screen up to reveal the controls. More impressions in the next mag. And Sony unveiled some sweet games for it too. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which we must stress, is the true sequel to the series high, MGS 3. Then there's Gran Turismo, Soul Calibur, Rock Band, LittleBigPlanet, MotorStorm... Next up was Sony's new 'wizard stick' motion sensing tech, which despite being very early and raw, is showing enormous potential.

Sony topped off the conference by teasing Agent, a PS3-exclusive IP from Rockstar, announcing Final Fantasy IV, and showing more on The Last Guardian and God of War 3. A great showing that maybe lacked a little glitz, but made up for it with quality.

So, onwards to the show. I managed to get around and see the majority of the games, and here are my highlights. First day, the highlights were Lost Planet 2, DJ Hero and Homefront. Second day, it was the always great Modern Warfare 2, Heavy Rain, Aliens vs Predator and Alpha Protocol. Final day: Brink - the stunning new FPS from Bethesda - Avatar (which is stunning in 3D) and Assassin's Creed 2. Amongst others. Expect a huge E3 feature with full hands or eyes on impressions in the next mag, along with exclusive developer comment on all the biggies.

Now, the purpose of E3 is to give us a glimpse at the big games, so we can tell you what's worth buying, and what's worth binning. So, without further ado, we present to you our games of the show:

5. Heavy Rain
Superb, moody adventure game that oozes atmosphere and provides something genuinely different.

4. Modern Warfare 2
Yeah, this was always going to be a massive highlight. The action is classic Modern Warfare, except this time the set-pieces are more over the top and thrilling.

3. DJ Hero
Forget Rock Band and GH5, this is all set to be the ultimate party game. They way the decks peripheral works is extremely clever, and the tracks are awesome.

2. Brink
This is the future of shooters. Looks as stunning as Killzone 2, offers huge customisation, and mixes single and multiplayer in a unique way.

1. Uncharted 2
Yeah, you've seen the footage, and the lucky ones are already on the multiplayer Beta. You know this is incredible, and I can confirm it'll be the highlight of PS3 gaming in 2009.

Notable mentions, which just missed out on the top five include Mafia 2, Homefront, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Aliens vs Predator, and - just because the 3D tech is so incredible - James Cameron's Avatar.

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