Fact: Gordon Ramsey, that TV chef who screams at everyone all the time for putting too much pan-seared fennel in the sous de l’orange, loves chili dogs and tater tots.
Okay, that particular fact is probably not true because we just made it up. But we bet there is something he loves that you can get in a drive-through. The point is a meal doesn’t need a five-star chef’s intimate knowledge of ostrich curd and starfish sauce to be enjoyable. And by the same token, a videogame can absolutely fantastic even if there’s no highbrow artistic statement mixed in with the action. Here are the games we can’t wait to dive into, even if they appeal to the summer popcorn-movie side of our brains instead of the snooty, art-critic lobe.
Asura’s Wrath is a brawler that starts with God of War’s angry anti-hero, throws in Bayonetta’s sense of sanity (or lack thereof), and smears a vaguely Hindu-inspired visual design over the whole thing. In the battle we saw, the main character (a god out for vengeance upon six fellow gods) pounded an elephant-sized dude into submission. Elephant guy then reappeared, mountain-sized and made of stone and firing missiles. Our hero beat him up a second time. And elephant man reappeared again, now basically the size of the stinking moon and rippling with glowing energy, and the fight continued. And somewhere in there, our hero grew four extra arms. Take it from us: this is going to be crazy.
Rise of Nightmares
The game that proved to us that Kinect works in the dark, Rise of Nightmares is basically a motion-controlled take on the House of the Dead franchise. In true Hostel style, you awaken as the prisoner of a mad scientist and have to fight your way out. Rise isn’t the prettiest game on the shelf, but it just plain goes for it with the weapons; by the end of the first level, we’d carved through zombies with everything from a spiked bat and chainsaw to electrified brass knuckles. It’s simple, but oh-so satisfying.Preview (opens in new tab)
Look, the whole concept of Prototype is ridiculous: there’s a vicious plague that makes most everyone into monsters but just gives you super-powers. Good thing that doesn’t actually exist or we’d be signing up for it. But who really cares why you have the powers? The point is, you can run up buildings, turn your arm into a scythe, make people explode into bloody atoms, and tear tanks in half. Is there any way to not feel like a total badass when playing this game? No. There is not.Preview (opens in new tab)
Saints Row the Third
Saints Row the Third may look at first glance like the most normal game on this list. But then you read things like LINK our E3 preview and hear about the sheer volume of craziness the developers have included: a Looney Tunes-level of violence, fed by devices like a car that sucks up pedestrians and shoots them from a cannon, or a pair of giant fist-shaped gauntlets that make people explode when you hit them, and you realize it’s just as crazy. They’re just doing it without gods, undead or aliens. We think. As an added bonus, the two career-mode levels we saw nailed the mark that Duke Nukem Forever completely missed; they were genuinely entertaining in a rough and ribald, lowbrow-but-mostly-harmless kind of way.Preview (opens in new tab)
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
If you missed Earth Defense Force 2017 when it hit 360 awhile back, please do yourself a favor and check it out. This series is everything you love about schlocky sci-fi monster movies, combined and amped up for the modern day. The beauty of it is the way the games constantly one-up themselves. In 2017, the giant robots gave way to swarms of ants, then UFOs, then a four-legged robot so big it was giving birth to more giant robots as the UFOs and ants all ganged up on you… that kind of thing. And all signs so far point to Insect Armageddon being more of the same – only gooier.Preview (opens in new tab)
Neverdead may look like just another corn-filled, film noir wannabe, with a gruff main character who looks a little past his prime and can’t seem to catch a break. But in this case, that character is also immortal even though he gets literally blown to pieces pretty much every time he gets into the ring with one of the demons he seems to be hunting. The end result looks hopelessly campy, but when was the last game that enabled you to roll around as a disembodied head? We’re in.Preview (opens in new tab)
And the winner is%26hellip;
Saints Row the Third
This was a tough one, because every game on this list looks to offer the kind of so-dumb-it’s-fantastic thrills we love. But the sheer size and depth of Saints’ open world and all the bizarre, borderline tasteless shenanigans we’re going to be able to get into – especially given the expanded multiplayer modes we’re promised – and the choice is clear. We’re going to have a ton of fun with this one, and it’s going to be jackass-level stupid. We can’t wait. Preview (opens in new tab)
Jun 21, 2011MONDAY:
Most graphics (opens in new tab) | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback (opens in new tab) TUESDAY:
Best trailer (opens in new tab) | Most satisfying gore (opens in new tab) | Guiltiest pleasure (opens in new tab)
Most shameless rip-off (opens in new tab) WEDNESDAY:
Best new game we know nothing about (opens in new tab)
Worst first impression (opens in new tab) | Best game for masochists (opens in new tab) THURSDAY:
Most likely to consume our lives (opens in new tab) | Artsiest-fartsiest (opens in new tab)
Most tasteless (opens in new tab) FRIDAY:
Might not actually suck (opens in new tab) | Proof that 2D isn’t dead (opens in new tab) | BEST OF SHOW (opens in new tab)