The Games of 2008: Part II

In Part I, we covered the games whose release dates we knew for sure. Now it’s time to head into the more obscure territory, by covering the games whose quarters we know, but not their release dates.

Quarter I

Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
Genre: Driving/Racing

Mario Kart Wii is, well, the Wii version of the ultra-famed Mario Kart series that you must know if you call yourself a gamer. A new system of balancing things out between newbies and experts will be featured, along with an online racing mode. Also of note is the Wii Wheel that will be packaged with the game – yet another Wii accessory to make you look silly in front of your TV. As for the rest – It’s Mario Kart! Hop in and have fun!

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (PC)
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Clear Sky is the prequel to the surprise hit of this year, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Clear Sky will explain a lot of things that happened before SoC, as its protagonist is one of the reasons why the radioactive world of Chernobyl is the way it is. An armour/weapon upgrade system and improved AI has been promised, as well as a very atmospheric environment. A must-buy if you’ve played and liked Shadow of Chernobyl.

Worms: A Space Oddity (Wii)
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy (Action elements)

The Wii’s serving of the legendary Worms series takes us back to its 2D roots as our beloved Worms continue their eternal war in a brand new setting – space! A brand new interface, multiplayer and six different planets to play on are up for grabs. If you’ve never played the fantastically addictive Worms series of games before, this seems to be as good a place to start as any, especially with its unique Wii controls.

Sins of a Solar Empire (PC)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Perhaps winning the award for the most unique title of 2008, Sins of a Solar Empire is a sci-fi RTS that will feature seamless, real-time integration of epic strategy and close-up strategy. This means that you can check out your massive ships in space and zoom in to see your individual units, vehicles etc., all in real time! You also get to conquer planets, moons and the like, while the game’s impressive new engine is touted to be able to render lots and lots of space bodies. This might be a surprise hit in the RTS field, folks!

Frontlines: Fuel of War (PC, XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Frontlines takes us to a near-future where an all-too-predictable war for natural resources (specifically fuel) has begun, causing chaos across the world. You must fight for your nation to find and defend fuel in this title! The game’s specialty will be its large-scale conflicts, which should make war more realistic than a dozen soldiers on each side fighting it out. A lot of depth in gameplay can be seen here, which makes this one first-person shooter you want to look into.

To view the large Quarter II and the other two quarters, hit the jump, babeh!

Quarter II

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC)
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game

Perhaps taking a cue from World of WarCraft that RTS franchises make for great MMORPGs, this EA title will be set in the Warhammer series, as you guessed. The MMO depicts a constant, ongoing war between two realms: Order and Destruction in a unique Realm vs. Realm campaign system that appears to emulate capturing zones, sacking cities and just about everything you’d expect from a real war! Not only for Warhammer fans, this one is to be looked into by all!

Far Cry 2 (PC)
Genre: First-Person Shooter

The sequel to what was 2004’s surprise hit will be set in Africa and will not be developed by the phenomenal Crytek, who were busy with Crysis. The graphics, as expected, are looking awesomely slick (albeit we find it hard say they’re any better than Crysis), based on the CryENGINE 2. The game will allow you to pick from 12 different mercenaries as you fight out across every African environment you can imagine, from vast savannahs to dense jungles. This is one game every FPS fan needs to check out.

LEGO Indiana Jones: The Video Game (PC, PS2, PSP, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, DS)
Genre: Action

With the success of the LEGO Star Wars series, LucasArts knew that they cannot possibly go wrong with a LEGO version of Indiana Jones to tie in with the upcoming movie. And most of us consumers didn’t find LEGO Star Wars entirely bad, so an Indiana Jones version of the same is fine by us. You play as LEGO Indiana Jones, playing through the adventures from all the first three movies of the series. Right now it appears to be a good old classic video game whose entertainment value shouldn’t be ignored.

Tom Clancy’s EndWar (XBOX 360)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy (FPS elements)
Other Platforms: PS3, PSP, DS (Release dates unknown)

One of the more bolder games of 2008, EndWar is going to be an RTS fest with deep MMO features that allow you war with someone’s army in real-life locations. Featuring a complex Tom Clancy storyline and a unique system of control, EndWar allows you to use your own voice to direct troops for a more immersive and natural experience. You haven’t seen war till you’ve seen this game in action!

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction (PC, XBOX 360)
Genre: Action (Stealth)

The fifth in the very long running Splinter Cell series, Conviction puts you in control of an older Sam Fisher, who appears to be in civilian wear and long hair, complete with a beard. What’s more, he looks like Chuck Norris now. Conviction takes place in open, urban areas and involves a mechanic that allows you to hide in crowds (like Assassin’s Creed). You will also be able to interact with every single object in the game realistically, something that the devs are very proud of at this point. Even withou its Splinter Cell pedigree, this game is looking nothing short of awesome.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (XBOX 360, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii)
Genre: Action

Star Wars games have slowed down since the final episode, but definitely not stopped. You play as a secret apprentice to none other than Lord Vader himself in this title! Force Unleashed highlights cutting-edge physics technology that allows you to fully experience the Force – something that’ll put Half-Life 2’s gravity gun to shame. Even though the game is looking fantastic on all platforms, it is the Wii version that has the spotlight, since that is the one having Wiimote-Lightsaber and Nunchuck-Force combat. This is the closest you’re getting to handling a real lightsaber yet!

Civilization: Revolution (XBOX 360, PS3, DS)
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

With its Wii version coming in Quarter 3, Revolution is the console version of Civilization, a game series often hailed to be a legend. To suit consoles, Revolution will feature a streamlined time scale, as well as voice and vision chat for online gameplay! Multiplayer will be looked into greatly, with leaderboards, auto-matching and achievements. This is the game Sid Meier always wanted to make and it sure is making us PC fans envious!

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter

Perhaps Splinter Cell’s greatest rival on the PS3, MGS4 puts you in control of a much more aged Solid Snake, who is on his final mission – for real. With a task to assassinate Liquid Ocelot, Snake must use his stealthy powers and a flashy new suit to his advantage. Features include a new close-quarters combat system and a remote controlled Metal Gear Mk. II! The concluding chapter of the famed Metal Gear Solid franchise’s hero Solid Snake is not one to be missed by fans!

Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath (PC, XBOX 360)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Kane’s Wrath is the expansion pack to the well-received Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars that released last March. Right now it’s looking to be one expansion to buy, featuring a Risk-like “Global Conquest” mode that will replace the linearity of the singleplayer campaign, “sub-factions” for each of the game’s big three factions and a new campaign that spans 20 years (not in gameplay time, of course). If you have Tiberium Wars, you need to have this when it comes out.

Mushroom Men (Wii, DS)
Genre: Action

With a title and plot that appear to come out of some early-Cold War-era ant-communist Hollywood flick, Mushroom Men immerses you in a war. A war of, yes, Mushroom Men who became sentient when a passing comet sprinkled green powder on Earth. The premise is proof that this title will be entertaining to start with, but multiplied when your primary weapons have to be made out human stuff – yes, unnoticeable human stuff! With an original plot and a cool world, this might just end up being a Psychonauts for the Wii.

Iron Man (PC, XBOX 360, Wii, PS3, PSP, PS2, DS)
Genre: Action

Based on the upcoming movie, Iron Man puts you into what must be one of the most famous armour suits in pop culture history. Movie games aren’t generally a lot more than simple money-making plots, and so Iron Man isn’t terribly different in that respect. Graphics are looking sweet and the gameplay involves mindlessly ripping open tanks, beating down planes and attacking infantry, all in your seemingly invulnerable and all-over-awesome suit.

Grand Theft Auto IV (XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter (Sandbox)

Arguably the most looked-forward-to game of 2008, and inarguably the most to-be-controversial one, Grand Theft Auto IV continues its dark, controversial predecessors into smoking weed, stealing cash and of course, stealing cars and doing just whatever the hell you like. Rockstar is “blurring” the difference between in-mission and off-mission so that what you do in the game, at any point – mission or not, makes a difference. You play as Niko Bellic, an East European who realizes that the American Dream sucks if compared to “being in da hood yo”. A game to check out? Like bloody hell.

Legendary: The Box (PC, XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Legendary came in rather humbly, but impressed previewers with its three-way battles and intense action. The storyline isn’t overly complex and involves a thief opening Pandora’s Box, which causes all sorts of monsters and mythical creatures to burst forth into New York. Yes, you are the thief and somehow, it’s up to you to stop this menace and save the world. Good game or not, most impressions of this game have resulted in the words “epic”, “intense”, “awesome” and of course, “legendary”.

Killzone 2 (PS3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter

The sequel to the PS2 hit was originally announced all the way back in 2005 and has been closely guarded by Sony ever since. There is a lot – I repeat a lot going for Killzone, and along with Haze and Guns of the Patriots, this is probably one of the best PS3 exclusives that will hit stores next year. Graphics have been praised to the extreme, as has its intense gameplay. Also, a big surprise is to be expected in the multiplayer department, all of this making Killzone 2 one game to buy if you own a PS3.

Left 4 Dead (PC, XBOX 360)
Genre: First-Person Shooter (Survival Horror elements)

If there’s three things gamers will never get tired of, they will have to be Zombie-bashing, Alien-bashing and Nazi-bashing. Left 4 Dead lets you do the first, over and over again. 4 Humans must survive against a seemingly endless horde of zombies, oh and their resources are limited, yeah. Co-op will play a big part if you fight as one of these humans and yes – you can fight as an infected zombie to get at those pesky humans, too! Left 4 Dead is the closest you’re getting to a realistic zombie simulation yet, and also a great game at it!

Unreal Tournament III (XBOX 360)
Genre: First-Person Shooter (Multiplayer-centric)

One of the most popular multiplayer franchises in the world ever, Unreal Tournament makes a splash on the XBOX 360 next year, while PC and PS3 fans are enjoying it right now. As such, the XBOX 360 version will not allow any overly different and unique features, and does not have mod or keyboard-mouse support (which the PS3 version does). However, if you want some real, mind-numbing, heart-thumping, uber-speed, no-frills, ultra-addictive multiplayer shooter, look no further.

Quarter III

 

Dead Space (XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter (Survival Horror elements)

Apart from some Japanese titles, real survival horror games aren’t around these days – EA hopes to change all that with Dead Space. This TPS will involve your entire crew being slaughtered by aliens, and you, Isaac Clarke (Isaac Asimov + Arthur Clarke?) must survive it all in cold, dead and alien space. This has the potential to be one hell of a creepy game, as any player of the System Shock games will tell you. Since a comic for the game is also being launched, you should expect a Halo-esque franchise to be built around it.

Fracture (XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter

This sci-fi shooter takes you to a future where war has broken out between a lot of different factions. With an extensive backstory to back it up, Fracture takes you into the war as a humble soldier. So far so bland, but the big twist in this game comes when you realize that terrain deformation is a reality here. That’s right, you can actually create craters, break off hills and do just about all the landscaping you ever wanted. Add that to a complex battle game and you have an above-average, frantic shooter waiting for you.

Prototype (PC, XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter (Sandbox)

Take GTA’s free-roaming, sandbox formula and add to it Messiah’s body possession abilities and you get Prototype. In this title, you get to walk around Manhattan and steal anyone’s body and soul you like. You get their memories, skills, everything. And with this awesome superpower, you can either do your tasks with stealth and cunning or wreak absolute havoc across the city. And when you go online, you can expect a 2-player co-op to do just double the damage. If you think GTA is mild – this is the way to go.

Quarter IV

 

Borderlands (PC, XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter (RPG elements)

Borderlands comes from Gearbox, the guys well-known for Half-Life expansions and the Halo port. Borderlands takes you to a post-apocalyptic world, and involves vehicles. If you’ve seen Mad Max, you know that can’t possibly go bad. The game also packs a “content generation system” that will offer “near-endless variety” in things like missions, weapons, items, vehicles etc. That alone cause near-endless intrigue in this title, coming at you in Holiday season.

Sabotage (XBOX 360, PS3)
Genre: Action (Stealth elements)

Sabotage is based on the life Violette Szabo, a top-secret British WWII operative, and is going to be Nazi-bashing, stealth-involving action fest. The twist here is that the game takes place in Violette’s subconscious, as she lies in a hospital bed, and thus features stylized artwork, combat, and just about everything. After 300 came out, you know that ‘stylized’ is a good word. You must beat the Third Reich while top-secretly inside Nazi Germany itself, features a British-accented heroine, what more could you ask for?

Postal III (PC, XBOX 360)
Genre: First-Person Shooter (Sandbox)

If there’s any competition to GTA’s controversy, it has to be Postal. The third game in the ultra-violent, ultra-sadistic series will allow you to identify with “murderer lifestyles”, examples being Eco-terrorist and Presidential Candidate! If you wanted a grimmer, more violent version of GTA, or just a game to vent out your anger against this vile and cruel world, it has to be Postal. Just remember not replicate the actions of Postal in real life.

 

Well, that’s Part II. Stay tuned for Part III coming soon. Which game are looking foward to the most? Think we missed a good game whose release quarter can be confirmed? Comment, goddamnit!

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