The 10 most anticipated games of E3 2011

Before that though, here’s some honorable mentions for titles that barely missed making the list but are still eagerly awaited:

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, any NGP game, Silent Hill: Downpour, Dead Island, and Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry reboot all got some votes, and The Last Guardian was predictably popular, but industry scuttlebutt and previous history says we most likelywon’t be seeing anything new from that brilliant looking game until probably Tokyo Game Show. Plus, after years of Team Ico’s PS3 debut being on lists (opens in new tab) like this one (opens in new tab)to only be delayed (opens in new tab)again, we’ve been burned too many times to let it take up valuable space on a list that begins with…

10. Call of Duty:
Modern Warfare 3

Yeah, yeah to try to act above it, and maybe you’re tired of the franchise, but you’re in the minority. Modern Warfare changed the FPS forever, the sequel improved on its staggeringly addictive quality and immense popularity, and now the trilogy is wrapping up with nothing less than World War III. Coming off the record-breaking success of Black Ops, this looks to be the biggest game of the year and a fitting finale to what we’re assuming is a trilogy. What could go wrong?

Well, besides everything that’s gone wrong already. A huge chunk of the original CoD developer left the company on bad terms last year, the entire game has possibly been spoiled (opens in new tab), and Battlefield 3 looks like the first real challenger to its dominance ever. The series has never had more to prove and though our first look at it was reassuringly positive (opens in new tab), E3 could be the crucial moment for Modern Warfare 3 to prove itself, and we can’t wait to see if it’s got what it takes.

9. Tomb Raider

Flash back more than a decade or so, and Tomb Raider was the be-all-end-all of action-adventure games, making Lara Croft the biggest name in gaming and her titles multimillion sellers. Cut to today and she’s by no means forgotten, but has certainly lapsed in popularity. And even though Crystal Dynamics’ recent trilogy of games (opens in new tab) was pretty good, you had to admit that series like Uncharted had taken her crown and it was time for big changes. Now Lara’s new publisher, Square-Enix (isn’t that still weird to see?), is out to give her a new lease on life with what seems to be a reinvention of the series.

With Crystal Dynamics still developing the title, there’s a certain amount of trust that they know what they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean they’re playing it safe. Early screens show a much younger Lara who looks to be a grittier and more prone to getting bloody. The devs say they are out to take some real risks with the title and we’ll probably at last see some footage of gameplay once E3 commences. Can they redefine the genre all over again?

8. Super Mario

I think we can all agree that the 3DS software line-up has been pretty lame, with no real “killer apps” as the old saying goes. Even the big titles that are coming soon aren’t really remarkable, like an N64 remake (Ocarina of Time) or a series reboot (Kid Icarus) that honestly didn’t impress the author the last time he previewed it. But after a surprise announcement in early March, it looks like the system may finally get something big: a fully 3D, core Mario game made by the team behind the Galaxy series.

The first screens look almost straight from the Galaxy engine (not that we’re complaining) though some of the areas have a more classic Mario feel instead of a spacey vibe. And Miyamoto has stated the gameplay combines aspects of Mario 64 with Galaxy (opens in new tab), which pretty much sounds like the best game of all time. Add to that the return of the beloved and much-missed raccoon power-up as suggested by the tail in the logo, this has the potential to be at least the best portable Mario ever.

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