1. Heavy Rain (Sony, PS3), by Quantic Dream published by Sony: I signed my life away to promise I wouldn't reveal any details about this game. In fact I'm told Sony ninjas will hit me with poison shurikens before I can type the words to describe it, so I will simply say it's by far the most impressive thing I saw at E3. The first video below came out two years ago as a tech demo of Quantic Dream's animation system. The second video shows off what their system is capable of today. This isn't coming for a while yet but looks like it's going to be extremely interesting.
2. Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks, 360, PC, PS3): If The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was a little too orcs 'n swords for your taste (it was for mine), this revival of the classic post-apocalyptic RPG franchise will give you a chance to experience Bethesda's brand of open-world hotness. Born in an underground fallout shelter, you step outside for the first time as an adult -- into a world that's been picking up the pieces of nuclear holocaust for decades.
3. Left 4 Dead (Valve/EA, 360, PC): We've seen a zombie or two in the years we've spent playing games, but we've never seem them like this. Fast and brutal, there's no shambling on display. And while these guys go down pretty easy from a shotgun blast, there's one slight problem -- there are hundreds of them running down the hall at you right now. Did I mention they were running? Designed from the ground up for four-player co-op play, it's one of the more visceral grab-you-by-the-throat games we've seen in a good while.
4. Fable 2 (Microsoft, 360): Charming and ultra-accessible, Peter Molyneux's latest is the action RPG you have when you're not having an action RPG. Fable is immersive, open and is constantly putting you in situations where the rubber meets the road ethically. Do you save your sister or 50 villagers? When you find someone cheating on his wife do you do nothing, tell her, or try to extort money from him? Molyneux claims that he can tell more about a person from looking at the way they play Fable 2 than by spending a weekend with them. We love to hear him talk.
5. Resistance 2 (Sony, PS3): The impressive sequel to the PS3 launch title gets a hefty graphical upgrade plus 60-person (!) multiplayer.
6. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Lucasarts, 360, PC, PS3): A staggering number of Star Wars games have been made. A couple of them are worth a damn. The Force Unleashed is going to be one of the good ones. First it delivers a significant chunk of original story, filling out what happened between episodes three and four. For Force-nerds that would be more than enough, but the game also uses innovative visual tech along with a combat system that allows you to kick ass Ninja Gaiden style, then choke wookies or pull pipes off the walls and hurl them at TIE fighters. Total nerdgasm.
7. Spore (EA, Mac and PC): We're into our third year of pining for it, but it's almost playtime. A breathtaking achievement in both software and the concept of play, you evolve a bacteria over thousands of years up out of the oceans, into tribes, up to a global civilization and out into space to explore other planets.
8. Little Big Planet (Sony, PS3): This cute platformer is actually a game development tool in disguise. While you can play through LBP's levels as you would any game's, at any point you can also stop and edit them as you see fit, adding objects, punching holes in things, or changing the entire flow of a level. Sounds complicated until you start messing around with it and find yourself immediately lost in the pure bliss of creation without constraint. Once you finish the game, a YouTube-like system will feed you levels created by other players. Simply revolutionary.
9. Flower (Sony, PS3): Less a game than an experience, Flower shows what can happen when you apply the Sundance Festival formula to video games (i.e. fund the freaks). A dreamy, ephemeral and numinous flight of fancy through your own private wilderness. Must be played to be understood, but have a video anyway....
10. Pixeljunk Eden (Sony, PS3): Part platformer, part acid trip, part the birds and the bees talk, this unique downloadable will make you look at your garden in a whole new way.