E3 - The show's top innovative games

With the barrage of games shown at E3 this year, it's sometimes hard to sift through the junk. Even more difficult is to tell the good games from the innovators. Sure, there are lots of great games being shown this week, but the real winners are the games that push things to the next level.

Of course, without great game design and fun gameplay, the intent to innovate means nothing, but these 5 games have just the right blend of innovation and downright awesome play.

Read on and be sure to tell us what games you think will innovate and introduce something new to the video game industry this year and beyond!

5. Unreal Tournament 3

Epic is living it up right now. With Gears of War dominating on Xbox 360 and an engine that just about everyone uses, what could be better? How about an exclusive agreement for Unreal on the PS3 for this year? First called UT2007, Epic has made some drastic changes to the series, and you really have to see the game in action to get a sense of just how addictively crazy the gameplay has become.

How it innovates:

With loads of new Necris and Axon vehicles and some of the most creative weapons ever in a video game, UT3 continues the trend of creativity in FPSs. The Hoverboard and certain vehicles can be controlled with Sixaxis. The blobs of energy shot out of the Bio gun are loaded with moving organisms. The fast-paced nature of the UT series and its innovative multiplayer objectives is still unmatched in shooters, and UT3 looks do everything that made UT so good in the past and up the ante in every way possible.

4. BioShock

If the plane crash of Lost had landed the survivors in a mysterious underwater city, you'd have BioShock. The utopian society of Rapture is crumbling after a long genetic civil war, and that's where you come in. It's presented in first-person view, but its unique style of play makes it the most interesting FPS in quite some time.

How it innovates:

Everything about BioShock feels fresh and unique, starting with its unordinary underwater setting. Lead by a creative story that mixes real historic events with cool futuristic twists, the real star of BioShock is the way the player interacts with the city of Rapture and its creatures.

Driven by a stem cell substance called ADAM that enhances bodily abilities, you're given some insanely cool weapon upgrades called Plasmids. These Plasmids allow you to do things from teleporting to firing bolts of electricity to controlling robots and setting off cyclone traps. Even without the captivating story and compelling atmosphere, you could spend hours in BioShock just messing around with the various Plasmid abilities and different types of tonics.

3. echochrome

Hidden inside Sony's massive press conference full of big-action titles was echochrome, a downloadable game for the PlayStation Network. It's a puzzle game that looks a bit like M. C. Escher's Relativity painting, but it is full of captivating gameplay underneath.

How it innovates:

Often innovation can come in the simplest of forms. A 2D black-and-white puzzle game, echochrome is a game that pushes gameplay over big-budget graphics. The game is a series of tiny puzzles that challenge you to reach a goal through tiny little obstacles. It could perhaps be as captivating and interesting as any huge software title out there, and it's a very simple downloadable game (and we're thinking it'll be cheap, too).

But even with its simple graphics and small stature, echochrome takes after LocoRoco in that it uses basic graphics and an iconic stick figure character to produce emotion in its simplest form.

2. . Wii Fit

Nintendo's no stranger to innovation, and even when you think they've squandered all their creative brainpower (maybe there's something to those daily brain training sessions), it comes out with something even more wacky...and surprisingly more fun.

Feeding of the success of Wii Sports comes Wii Fit, the possible cure to a nation of sedentary couch gamers. Wii Fit introduces a wireless Balance Board controller capable of tracking weight adjustment and movement that's pressure sensitive. It's something that is very Japanese at its core, but is just quirky and interesting enough to captivate the North American audience.

How it innovates:

Like Wii Sports, Nintendo is really driving at the casual audience, bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Imagine doing aerobics, yoga, muscle stretches and physical games (the E3 demo had Reggie and Miyamoto heading soccer balls) controlled on the Wii. Why not just do them at a gym, you say? Well, Wii Fit communicates with the Wii console to track your exercise routines, meaning you can set daily goals and even monitor your body mass index. You can't do that on the PS3, no sir.

1.. Rock Band

It was no surprise that Rock Band stole the show for many of us this week, as we had seen the game just prior to E3 and new of its pending glory. It's a music simulator like Guitar Hero, but after seeing just how well guitar, bass, drums and vocals come together to simulate the experience of playing music in a band, you'll probably feel like GH is a little bit of old news.

How it innovates:

Not only does Rock Band bring together a quartet of instruments allowing players to live out their rock dreams through a garage-band like setting, it brings it all to online, letting rockers join up with other wannabe musicians across the country at the press of a button.

But Rock Band is going all out. Weekly full album downloads, tons of playable real rock venues and even a committee formed just to pick the music to be released via downloads are just a few of the ways Rock Band is not just competing with Guitar Hero and other music sim games, it's leaving them it its rock dust.

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Mr. Marbles

GamePro (online)
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