Killzone 3 (PS3; Guerrilla Games, Sony; 2011)
In the shooter genre, Killzone 2 is the closest thing the PS3 has had to a killer app. Great graphics, great gameplay. So, naturally, expectations run high for the next iteration of the franchise. Given the information available up until now, we're quite excited; early hands-on previews indicate more destructible environments, jetpacks, brutal melee violence, 3-D visuals, better graphics, and more vehicles. Hopefully, the E3 presentation will pique our interest even further.
Conduit 2 (Wii; High Voltage Software, SEGA; Fall 2010)
After all the hype, the original Conduit just wasn't that great. Yes, there were some wonderful visual effects; we never thought water and lighting would look that good on the Wii. But, between its sub-HD resolution and its lack of anti-aliasing, the Wii just isn't capable of dazzling gamers visually, and High Voltage Software was misguided (though impressively bold) to try. This time around, we hope they focus more on gameplay, offering a longer campaign, better strategy, and some more uses for the ASE device. The developers have already promised fewer corridors, more nuanced shooting, and a new look, and hopefully they'll tell us more at E3.
F.3.A.R. (PC, Xbox 360, PS3; Day 1 Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; Oct. 1, 2010)
An interesting blend of Call of Duty-style first-person shooting, survival horror, and terrifyingly graphic imagery, the F.E.A.R. franchise has impressed us to this point. But given the mixed reaction to F.E.A.R. 2, does this concept have another game in it? That's the question the developers will have to answer at E3. So far, they say they plan to offer co-op, better cover, and even more horror, but we'll have to see those features in action before we make up our minds. Also, maybe they'll announce a plan to move the number 3 to the end of the name, where it belongs.
Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360; Epic Games, Microsoft; April 5, 2011)
The original Gears of War was so innovative, so fun, and so awesome that for the sequel, all Epic had to do was upgrade the graphics a little and give us more of the same. Now that the novelty of a cover system has worn off, though, Cliff Bleszinski and Co. will have to push the gameplay forward a bit if they plan to stay on top of the third-person-shooter pyramid. We've already learned about four-player co-op, new playable characters, and new weapons, but we'd like to see some more fundamental changes. Our fingers are crossed for the E3 presentation.