Portal 2

One of the most impressive demos during E3 was that of "Portal 2." I went in expecting, well, more "Portal." But what I got was a much more story-centric, atmospheric jaunt through the ruins of Aperture Science. At least that's what I could glean from the 20-minute-long presentation. And now you can glean stuff too! Valve will be releasing the entire "Portal 2" E3 presentation in stunning HD for the world to enjoy. Part One is embedded below and includes my new favorite "Portal" character: Wheatley.

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Game Critics

For the severalth year in a row (I really can't remember how many, exactly), I participated in the Game Critics: Best of E3 awards, wherein the most impressive products shown during the expo are given just deserts in the form of acknowledgment from crotchety game critics like me.

The balloting system for nominees is interesting, as judges send in any picks they want and the top five most common picks for each category move on to the final nomination round, which you can look at below.

Tune in tomorrow, as I'll be posting my personal selections for Best of E3 2010, which may or may not follow the will of the many when the final Best of E3 picks are revealed.

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Halo Elite

Fans of "Halo" love making replicas of Halo-related things. Master Chief's armor is pretty common, and we've definitely seen some homemade guns over the years. But a life-sized Elite soldier? Now this is impressive! Pete Mander and his small crew at PeteManderFX created a 7-foot tall animatronic Elite soldier with the sort of detail you would only expect from a massive special effects house in New Zealand. Seriously, it's remarkable.

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Halo Reach

Firefight mode in "Halo 3: ODST" was a breath of fresh air for those who had become sick of constantly getting sniped by 11-year-old phenoms. It was pretty bare-bones, though, so Bungie is beefing it up for "Halo: Reach," giving players a massive amount of customization options. In fact, according to Lars Bakken, the cooperative multiplayer design lead on "Reach," every single one of the game types that will be shipped with the disc "were created with the options suite that is available to the player. There's nothing the player can't do that's on the disc."

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Dead Rising 2

The first "Dead Rising" came out on August 8, 2006. The timing couldn't have been better. August is a traditionally slow month for game releases, and the Xbox 360 was still pretty low on triple-A third part titles. The end result was a surprise hit for Capcom, which eventually brought the franchise to the PS3 and Wii. Unfortunately for us, a follow-up would take a full four years, but that time is fast approaching. Capcom has announced that "Dead Rising 2" is now scheduled for release on September 28, 2010, a bit later than the originally-planned "summer" release time frame.

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Overlord Review Header

The premium DLC for "Mass Effect 2" thus far have been auxiliary; new armor, flat characters, and action-focused mini-excursions are like wet band-aids for those of us who want more narrative or something that delivers on a meaningful level, either by peeking into the being of a character or filling in unexplored gaps. So, it was with high hopes that I entered into the new "Overlord" PDLC. And, as you might surmise, I left it a bit disappointed.

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Halo: Reach

Bungie's last hurrah with the Halo franchise is "Halo: Reach," a game set directly before the events of "Halo: Combat Evolved." News that their final game would be a prequel came as a shock to many when it was revealed at E3 last year, but recent looks have shown that the same effort and focus is being put into "Reach" as was with "Halo 3." But a prequel wasn't always the surefire fate of Bungie's last Halo game. Brian Jarrard, the community director at Bungie, spoke with us this week and mentioned that a direct follow-up to "Halo 3," starring Master Chief, was definitely considered.

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Kinect in Microsoft Stores

Even if you don't live near one of the four brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores in California, Colorado and Arizona, you really do have to appreciate their straightforwardness with information we aren't getting through traditional Xbox 360-related Microsoft channels. First, they corroborated the still-unofficial $149.99 price for Kinect, and now they've revealed that Kinect will be playable in their retail locations before the gesture and voice control system is available elsewhere.

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Crackdown 2

The "Crackdown 2" game demo is enormous. You're basically getting a third of the game, with all the functionality, for free. Of course, that deals a little too good to be true, so Microsoft and Ruffian Games slapped a 30 minute time limit on the demo, so as to better encourage folks to pick up the full game. Unfortunately for them there's a very easy way to remove the time limit and play for as long as you'd like. Here's how to do that.

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Kinect and Move prices

Official PlayStation Move prices and unofficial Kinect prices from Microsoft are out in the open now, and gamers aren't the only ones watching the dollar signs and planning budgets. Game companies are doing the same thing, and Activision doesn't sound like they've been completely sold on the new control systems yet. That doesn't mean they won't be after sales number start coming in, however.

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