Def Jam Rapstar (PC, Xbox 360, PS3; 4mm Games, Terminal Reality, Def Jam Interactive; Oct. 1, 2010)
There's never really been a good rap game (sorry, but 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand does not count as a rap game), so Def Jam really has an opportunity on its hands here. We can imagine that the chance to rap along with Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" will provide a lot of drunken fun at a lot of drunken parties. However, the last rap game of any note, 2004's Get On Da Mike, was not exactly a smashing success. So, there's a lot riding on this game's early promotion, and we're skeptical about (but still interested in) its E3 appearance.
Racing and Sports
NBA 2K11 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP; 2K; Oct. 5, 2010)
For fans of the other NBA series, or those who don't like the new controls in NBA Elite 11, there's NBA 2K11. Far from introducing radical changes to the series, 2K has put aging icon Michael Jordan on the cover. Various sites promise "added gameplay components and graphic enhancements," but those exact same words were applied during 2K10's marketing. With EA having raised the bar with its overhaul of the NBA Live/Elite series, we'll be looking for some serious improvements from 2K.
Gran Turismo 5 (PS3; Polyphony Digital, Sony; Q4 2010)
At last, a new entry in this leading racing-sim series -- and in stereoscopic 3-D, no less, at least for those with capable TVs. We're very excited about this game and tentatively excited about the future of 3-D gaming, so this should make for an interesting booth. Years in the making, Gran Turismo 5 will feature 16-player online multiplayer (this is the first Gran Turismo to let players compete online), as well as World Rally Championship, NASCAR, and Super GT licenses. This is a must-see for the small but dedicated community of racing-sim devotees.
NBA Elite 11 (Xbox 360, PS3, PSP; EA Sports; Fall 2010)
Lots of gamers complain about how sports games just update their rosters every year and charge everyone full price for the "new game," but EA seems to be signaling that this is an exception -- they changed the series' name from NBA Live to NBA Elite. The players' images now reflect on the shiny court, and there's a new two-thumbstick control scheme and more realistic physics. It hasn't yet been announced whether the series' famed Legends will make an appearance. Sounds like a good thing to share at E3.
NBA Jam Wii (Wii; EA Sports; Fall 2010)
Just about everyone who owned a Super Nintendo or SEGA Genesis 17 years ago tried NBA Jam, which was essentially an over-the-top two-on-two basketball game for people who didn't necessarily like basketball. It had some awesome cheat codes (big heads! always on fire!), and you could even play as Bill Clinton. The casual-friendly Wii is the perfect system on which to rejuvenate this franchise, which mysteriously disappeared after a few special editions and sequels in the mid-1990s. All we really need is reassurance that the developers won't destroy the game with awful motion controls. Also, we'd like some sign that we'll be able to tap into President Obama's famed B-ball skills. Playing as George W. Bush could be fun, too ("Boom-shakalaka! Mission accomplished!").
All in all, this is just a list of some of the games we're most eager to learn more about, but of course, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming coverage of other titles such as Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Madden NFL 10>, Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and many others!
CCC Freelance Writer