GamePro's best of E3 2008 awards

The best games of E3 2008, with top showings by Gears of War 2, Flower, Prince of Persia, and Mirror's Edge.

The editors of GamePro spent last week combing the show floor of E3 2008 searching for innovation and excitement. Now that E3 is over, we've compiled a list of the best games -- a who's who of 2008 and 2009.

Gears of War 2

Platform: Xbox 360
Format: DVD
Release date: November

Gears of War 2 made a powerful impression at Microsoft's E3 2008 press briefing, even if the framerate sputtered occasionally and the game crashed once. Seeing Gears of War 2 running in real time, it's obvious that the Xbox 360 still has some visual horsepower to spare: the graphics look stunning, with volumetric light rays, dynamic stages that you can blow up with grenades and bullets, and intense action featuring dozens of enemies. Gears of War 2 promises to be the end-all, be-all action game released this year, and the E3 2008 demo made a powerful argument for a powerful-looking game.

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Flower

Platform: PS3
Format: Download
Release date: TBA (late 2008?)

The surprise hit of E3 2008...at least, by those who played it. A new game by the developers of Flow, Flower practically defies description. It's part racing game (though there's no time limit), part flying game, and part emotional journey. You control -- wait for it -- the wind. You blow through a massive 1080p natural-looking landscape that's agonizingly beautiful, tilting the Sixaxis to guide your path (and yes, the Sixaxis motion controls work nicely here). You can skim between blades of grass, or soar high over the landscape to perform loop-de-loops. Your goal? Collect flower petals, explore the huge environment, or just listen to the relaxing sound of the breeze. This game took our breath away, but you've got to experience it for yourself before making any judgments.

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Mirror's Edge

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Format: DVD, Blu-ray
Release date: November

Several GamePro editors went hands-on with Mirror's Edge at E3 2008, and in every case they came back raving about its sleek control system (two buttons control almost everything) and vivid graphics. Because you perform your acrobatic stunts from the first-person perspective, the first few moments in the game can be jarring. But once you grasp the subtle simplicity of Mirror's Edge, you'll be busting out huge slide and wall jump combos in no time. Mirror's Edge was a favorite among the GamePro editors this year, and it's not hard to see why -- it's pretty, easy to play, and very, very stylish.

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Prince of Persia

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Format: DVD, Blu-ray
Release date: Late 2008

This rebirth of Prince of Persia ditches the goth crap that weighed down the earlier games, and features a dazzling new visual style that looks like a watercolor painting come to life. This "new" Prince of Persia wowed the GamePro editors at E3 with its smooth, acrobatic game flow -- several editors remarked that Assassin's Creed should have followed the same gameplay style. The combat system is unusually intimate and intense, too: we watched as the Prince clashed swords with a single powerful enemy, and the combat was anything but mindless hack-and-slash. In the lengthy battle, we didn't see a single combat move repeated twice -- a testament to the game's startlingly fluid animation. The Prince was a real winner at this year's E3.

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Resident Evil 5

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Format: DVD, Blu-ray
Release date: March 2009

Though several editors criticized its apparent similarity to Resident Evil 4, Capcom's survival-horror sequel was still a GamePro favorite at E3 2008. Online cooperative play (now officially...official), massive crowds of enemy ghouls, and ultra-realistic visuals made for one dynamite combo. Now if we can just get confirmation on those rumored Mercenary modes...

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