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Top 10 Buzz-Worthy Games on the Horizon

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Crispy Gamer reports back straight from E3 - the Electronic Entertainment Expo!

After spending four straight days gossiping with fellow journos -- we love our gossip, I tell you -- and listening to industry chatter in the press room, the CG staff has absorbed several terabytes' worth of videogame data.

So what were the show's 10-ton, fire-breathing monsters? What were the games that, love them or hate them, will still be all up in your business sometime in the next six months, on the covers of magazines (those papery things that you used to read before that blasted Amazon Kindle killed print) and on the front pages of Web sites, including ours?

Hear the stomping off in the distance? They are coming. Get ready to run for your lives, people! Here are the 10 biggest, most talked-about games of this year's E3.

1. "Modern Warfare 2" (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; in stores 11/10/09)

The Buzz: Love it or hate it -- call it pro-war propaganda or what have you -- but the words "Modern Warfare" seemed to be on everyone's lips all week. The videogame world's love affair with Infinity Ward continues. If you loved "Call of Duty 4," the game's white-knuckle snowmobile sequence alone will blow your mind.

2. "New Super Mario Bros." Wii (Wii; in stores Q4 2009)

The Buzz: Mention the word "Mario" anywhere at E3, and tears involuntarily spring to the eyes of any Nintendo fanboys within earshot. Sure, it still looks like old-school Mario -- but in Nintendo's never-ending quest to force us all to play together, the updated version of "New Super Mario Bros." allows up to four players to explore the 2-D levels simultaneously. I've got dibs on Luigi.

3. "The Beatles: Rock Band" (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii; in stores 9/9/09)

The Buzz: Bright and early Monday morning at the Microsoft press conference, the aged but still surprisingly game Beatles were trotted out for a few, brief moments. Now that's the way to get your game talked about.

4. "Heavy Rain" (PS3; in stores Q1 2010)

The Buzz: After the demo I sat through for Quantic Dream's strange game, my feelings about "Heavy Rain" are just as mixed as they ever were. No game at the show polarized people the way "Heavy Rain" did. It's slow. It's ponderous. It attempts to do things that no game in the medium has tried before. Whether you love it or hate it, trust me, you'll still be talking about it.

5. "Brutal Legend" (Xbox 360, PS3; in stores 10/13/09)

The Buzz: EA trotted out uberdeveloper Tim Schafer during its presser, which is never a bad idea, in our opinion. Though we want to believe in his heavy-metal fantasy -- Schafer really has yet to make a bad game -- the Jack Black-starring "Brutal Legend" looks like it has the potential to disappoint each time we see it. We're worried. And when we're worried, we talk to try to comfort ourselves.

6. "God of War III" (PS3; in stores March 2010)

The Buzz: Yes, the latest outing for one of gaming's most indelible newcomers -- the bare-pated, pass-the-Prozac Kratos -- looks eerily like "God of War II" (and the first "God of War" for that matter). Yes, there was a kind of air-sucked-from-the-room feeling when it appeared on-screen at Sony's presser. But Sony had us talking, even if most of that talk was negative.

7. "Mass Effect 2" (Xbox 360, PC; in stores early 2010)

The Buzz: Commander Shepard is dead. Or is he? Yes, it'll be chatty, as all BioWare games are. But when the writing is this good, and the gameplay is this mature, people will talk. Probably more than any other game on this list, "Mass Effect 2" generated a viral buzz through the show floor of slack-jawed journos who had seen the demo (and, the way they were acting, had seen the light).

8. "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction" (Xbox 360, PC; in stores October 2009)

The Buzz: Most of us couldn't care less about "Splinter Cell" after the past few disappointing iterations. But Ubisoft seems to be trying to get the franchise back on track with a fast-moving, superviolent update. In this installment, Sam Fisher's daughter has been murdered. So this time -- you guessed it -- it's personal. It's official: We're curious.

9. "Star Wars: The Old Republic" (PC; release date still TBA)

The Buzz: The massively-multiplayer online game's three-minute, rendered trailer -- the best CGI money can buy, as one colleague put it -- was more compelling, and more coherent, than the last three Star Wars movies combined. I sat through it twice, and enjoyed it even more the second time. At E3, even non-MMO gamers were talking about this title.

10. "Left 4 Dead 2" (Xbox 360, PC; in stores 11/17/09)

The Buzz: The original game, in which you and three friends held out against thousands of zombies attempting to consume your virtual flesh, always felt like Valve was just getting warmed up. Enter the chainsaw/frying-pan-centric sequel. Some fans complained that it's too soon. Personally, I'm still hungry for more.

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