Gaming Steve

January 16, 2008

Clayton's Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of the Next 3 Months

2007 was a fantastic year of gaming, one filled with games I still have yet to play. But 2008 is already looking like a another great year for gaming, one filled with many potential triple-A titles. I was prepared to write up a list of my 10 most anticipated games of the whole year but I quickly found 10 coming out before April that I'm dying to play.

10. Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360, Wii)
Bully: Scholarship EditionI have always appreciated Rockstar's ability to make interesting characters, witty dialog, and deep stories more than anything else they do. The Grand Theft Auto games always had an entertaining, well written story beneath all the prostitute killing and car jacking, so I'm really looking forward seeing what Rockstar did with Bully.

I missed Bully back on the PS2, so I'm happy for its re-release on the Xbox 360 and Wii, with added content and updated graphics. Mostly known for its media backlash before even being released, the original game focused on tough kid Jimmy Hopkins, who's been sent to Bullsworth Academy after being expelled from seven other schools.

Consisting of the sandbox style gameplay known from the GTA games, Bully takes you through high school culture using a wide variety of gameplay including schoolyard combat, bicycle riding, childhood crushes, and school pranks to name just a few. Jimmy interacts with five groups at the school, ranging from preps to jocks to nerds, while teachers and adults outside the school also give Jimmy missions to complete. While the gameplay looks varied, what I'm really looking forward too is the excellent voice acting, story, and interesting characters, something I wish more developers would spend time on.

Release Date: March 4, 2008

9. Devil May Cry 4 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Devil May Cry 4I'll have to admit right up front: I have yet to play any games in the Devil May Cry series. From what I have seen an heard about Devil May Cry 4, I know it's going to be my first. The game will let player use both the series star demon slayer Dante and new comer Nero, whom players will use for the majority of the game. Using his “demonically enhanced” right arm, Nero will be able use enemies as shields, tear them in half, or use it as a grappling hook in between combat.

Devil May Cry 4 promises to continue the story of the series (Devil May Cry 3 was a prequel), and at least on the PS3, the game allow players to watch a summary of the series story so far, while the game installs a cache onto the hard drive to eliminate all loading during game. Perhaps my favorite new feature is the addition of both a more balanced difficulty level and an actual tutorial to teach you the combat. With this and Ninja Gaiden 2, 2008 looks like a good year for action games.

Release Date: February 5, 2008

8. Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath (PC, Xbox 360)
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's WrathAnyone remember the previous Command & Conquer game, Generals? While an interesting diversion for the series, it didn't really find its place until the excellent expansion pack, Zero Hour. By dividing up each faction into three sub-factions led by specific generals with specific concentrations, the game really found its footing. This is what Kane's Wrath intends to do, by dividing up the three factions of Command & Conquer 3 into specialized sub-factions which will have unique special units, upgrades and support powers designed to cater to more distinct styles of play. Find yourself using NODs stealth abilities often? Then maybe you'll enjoy "The Marked of Kane" sub-division. Love GDI's incredible fire power? Then "The Steel Talons" are just for you!

In addition to their new regular units, each side will be getting unique hero-type “Epic Units”. The idea of hulking monstrosities that can single handedly “turn the tide of a battle”, from the Scrin's Eradicator to NOD's Redeemer, just fills me with joy. Of course, it also helps that the original Command & Conquer 3 was a fantastic game in it's own right, but with new units, abilities, and a Risk style “Conquer the World” campaign, where can you go wrong? And don't worry, there will be plenty more of the fantastic cut-scenes featuring Joseph Kucan as NODs messiah, Kane.

Release Date: March 13, 2008

7. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS)
Advance Wars: Days of RuinPerhaps my favorite DS game of all time, Advanced Wars: Dual Strike was a fantastic turn based strategy game with cartoony graphics and larger than life characters. Days of Ruin bucks the previous games style (and the annoying DS naming acronym Nintendo apparently forced on developers for the DS's first couple of years) in favor a darker and more serious tone.

An entire new cast of characters and therefore new CO powers means a fresh new set of strategies to try. CO powers have also been toned down and tag team powers eliminated so that the game can't be won in a single turn, something that greatly annoyed me during Dual Strike's campaign. The units have been rebalanced and some new ones have been added, but the biggest improvement is the Wi-Fi multiplayer. Players will be able to play games over Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection service, complete with voice chat and map sharing. Another added multiplayer feature that is conversely low tech is the ability to simply pass the DS each turn for local multiplayer, something every turn based game on a portable should have.

Release Date: January 21, 2008

6. Rez HD (Xbox 360 Live Arcade)
Rez HDI'll have to admit I never got the chance to play the original Rez, but hearing it on so many peoples top ten games of all time lists, I feel I need to at least give it a try. In the simplest terms, the game is an on rails shooter where your “weaponry” adds to the pulsing soundtrack. The game is said to put you in a trance and even give you a mild sense of synesthesia, meaning you “hear colors” and “see sounds”.

Perhaps I am looking at this game too pretentiously, but since I loved Lumines, a game also created by Rez's creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, I know that there is some real creative talent behind the game. Whether I like it or not, it's one of those games I feel I need to play for myself. Updated HD graphics and an 800 MS Point (10$) price tag only sweetens the deal. You'll also be able to use your extra Xbox 360 controllers as “Trance Vibrators” to... well... “enhance the experience”.

Release Date: January 2008

5. Burnout: Paradise (Xbox 360, PS3)
Burnout: ParadiseI'm not a big fan of racing games. Any time I play Gran Turismo I just end up turning my car around and trying to run head on into the competition. However, the Burnout series tapped into my inner need to smash cars together, making Burnout 3: Takedown one of my favorite PS2 games of all time. Burnout: Paradise looks to take the frenetic car crashing gameplay the series is known for into the current generation, while adding in an improved free roaming city in the style of Need for Speed: Underground 2.

What do I mean by an improved “free roaming city”? How about absolutely no front end. As in no menu screens or server lobbies to navigate through in order to find races or jump online. Just pull up to any stop light in the game and press accelerate and reverse at the same time to start an event. The game also allows players to join their friends in their own version of Paradise City to crash and compete all without stopping their driving, an impressive technical achievement in its own right. Gorgeous graphics and an extensive collection of super destructible cars will make this the racing game to beat in 2008. A demo is available on both consoles, and I highly recommend playing it online to see what makes that game so great.

Release Date: January 22, 2008

4. Condemned 2: Blood Shot (Xbox 360, PS3)
Condemned 2: Blood ShotThe sequel to the Xbox 360's best launch title, Condemned 2: Blood Shot will probably be the scariest game of the year. The original was a creepy, atmospheric First Person Shooter ... although "First Person Shooter" doesn't fully describe its gameplay. Using melee weapons found in the environment such as wrenches, locker doors, and fire axes, you used timing-based combat to attack and counter enemy attacks. Gunplay was extremely limited as you couldn't reload your guns, so it was literally "fire and forget". The close combat gameplay, limited ammo, and a deviously small flashlight beam combined to created an overwhelmingly tense feeling throughout the entire game – where a crazed hobo or junkie could jump out and attack you at any time.

Bloodshot looks to add to the melee combat with defensive and offensive moves, as well as extensive combo chains. More than 40 brutal finishing moves, and “upgrades” including brass knuckles and steel tipped boots (I can only imagine the carnage those will cause) have also been added. An interesting multiplayer option has also new the the sequel, with a “Hobo Fighting Arena” and traditional Death Match where you unlock more weapons after finding them in the single player game. The game will also continue the story of detective Ethan Thomas, one year after the mysterious events of the first game. Cool forensic investigations and paranormal occurrences from the original created one of the more interesting stories in an FPS in a while, one I look forward to continuing soon.

Release Date: March 11, 2008

3. Culdcept: Saga (Xbox 360)
Culdcept: SagaXbox Live demos are perhaps the best feature the service has to offer besides multiplayer gaming. Without them, I would never have found the inexplicable joy of the Monopoly and Collectible Card Game concoction that is Culdcept: Saga. With dice rolls, property upgrades, magic, and monsters, Culdcept: Saga is definitely not what you expect to be released on the Xbox 360.

Consisting of a game board made up of four distinct elements where you summon monsters to protect you territory, and a deck of magic, monster, and weapon cards you get to build, the gameplay is unlike anything else you might have seen on the console. You win the game by obtaining a set amount of gold, which you have to gain by moving around the board, capturing territory, and forcing your opponents to pay a toll when they land on your territory. However, instead of hotels and motels you collect rent using demons and dragons.

When one player lands on another's territory, battle commences where you use monsters and additional armor, weapon, and magic cards to avoid paying the toll (and steal their territory). With the added randomness of dice rolls, the gameplay takes on a very unique feel, where a game can be completely turned around by a lucky roll. And nothing is more satisfying that having you opponent land on your thrice upgraded territory and beaten down by your ax-wielding minotaur. Always wished you could do that in Monopoly, don't you?

Release Date: February 5, 2008

2. Sins of a Solar Empire (PC)
Sins of a Solar EmpireLove Homeworld 2? Also love Galactic Civilizations 2? Then have I found the dream game for your! Featuring epic real time space battles with extensive 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) style strategy, this game should be high up on any strategy gamers list. Being published by Stardock, makers of the excellent Galactic Civilizations series (think Sid Meier's Civilization series, only in space), and developed by new studio Ironclad Games, the game aims to let players control massive galactic civilizations spanning multiple planets and controlling numerous spaceship fleets.

With research trees, colony improvements, and diplomacy, everything you expect from turn based strategy games is to be found here, but lets not forget the giant spaceships are so awesome: the epic, cinematic, and explosive battles. Combat takes a page out of Homeworld 2's book and presents some interesting ideas, including Capitol ships that gain experience, battles taking place within the gravity wells of planets, and helpful AI that knows which ship to attack and which it has no chance against. This game has the chance to replace Homeworld 2 on my laptop hard drive.

Release date: February 4, 2008

1. Beyond the Red Line (PC, Mac)
Beyond the Red LineBeing the huge Battlestar Galactica fan that I am, I couldn't help but to list this one here, even if the release date is technically “when it's done”. And even if you aren't a fan of Battlestar Galactica, here's another reason to be on the lookout for this game: it's completely free. A stand alone total conversion for the PC space flight sim Freespace 2, Beyond the Red Line puts you right in the cockpit of the Viper Mk II, Viper Mk VII, Raider, and possibly more as the game nears release. Weaving in and in between the events of the excellent show, you'll be hunting down Scar, defending the Galactica from Cylons Basestars, and securing Tillium ore for the fleet.

While it doesn't have the exacting Newtonian physics from the show, it does have a pretty good alternative that allows you conserve your inertia for some tricky maneuvers. Oozing quality, from its excellent graphics, spoken dialog, and a soundtrack both from the show and originally composed, it's amazing that this game is just being given away. A demo is available with three single player missions and multiplayer mode and I've found it works really well with an Xbox 360 controller plugged into your PC.

Release Date: Pray to the Gods it is soon!

Honorable Mentions

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) – I never got into the previous games as much as my friends, and their being so much better than me makes it a pretty unfair (and unfun) fight. Maybe with Brawl I can concentrate my time into one character (Solid Snake!) and at least have a fighting chance.

Left 4 Dead (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) – I originally had this game in the list at number 3, since it had a tenuous Q1 2008 release date. I thought it was funny to point out how notorious Valve is for delaying games and I guess I just tempted fate: the game was pushed back to the summer before I finished my article.

Castle Crashers (Xbox Live Arcade) – A beautiful looking arcade games that has been delayed multiple times now, I just hope we can play it before the end of the year. Awesome looking multiplayer action from the people that brought you Alien Hominid, Rez HD faces stiff competition for my Microsoft Points.

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 10:30 AM | Comments (21) | Posted to DS | Feature | PC | PlayStation 3 | Preview | Wii | Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

Brawl not being on the main list is a sin. For shame...

Otherwise good work!

Posted by PatMan33 at January 16, 2008 11:18 AM

So you didn't put Super Smash Bros on the list because you suck at the game?
You should rename this "Top 10 list of games I'M anticipating in the next three months" rather than trying to speak for the rest of us.

Posted by Rob at January 16, 2008 12:50 PM

Umm hey Rob, he clearly states in his opening paragraph, "I was prepared to write up a list of my 10 most anticipated games of the whole year but I quickly found 10 coming out before April that I'm dying to play." Notice the use of the first-person, "I" and "I'm," meaning they are HIS top 10 anticipated games. Gotta love when people make stupid comments when they don't read the whole article.

Posted by Mike at January 16, 2008 1:00 PM

You see, I have some of those friends who only play Smash Bros. and never play anything else. I try to show them other games, tell them how great Portal or Mario Galaxy is, and they just pretty much ignore me. I got so tired of Melee that I went out of my way to avoid playing it. I won't deny that it's a really great and deep game, but I just can't see how people can play any one game so much. I think it's the same way some people feel about Halo 3. When they try what people say is the greatest online experience on a console and just do terrible, it's not a fun experience for them.

Posted by Clayton at January 16, 2008 1:54 PM

Not a bad list but, i gotta ask....Where is No More Heros?

Posted by Mesoteto at January 16, 2008 2:39 PM

Where's Spore?

Posted by Chaka at January 16, 2008 4:37 PM

Despite what some websites claim, it's well known Spore isn't coming out in the next three months Chaka. It isn't going to be released in this fiscal year, which ends March 31st. April 1st is the earliest possible date, and it'll probably be later than that.

Anyway, as for the list, I totally agree on everything PC but Kane's Wrath. But, I didn't really like CNC3 to begin with. The story was cool, what I saw of it, but I couldn't stand the gameplay.

Sins of a Solar Empire, though, is the one I'm waiting for (from this list) the most. I *love* 4X games, and I really liked Homeworld.

(I only have a PC, so can't comment on the console games.)

Posted by Fobok at January 16, 2008 4:59 PM

I'm glad Rez made your list. Everytime I pick up that game I have to play it through. It wasn't really the graphics or sound, but the combination of the two as more of an experience than a game. It also reminds me of those old Sega arcade rail shooters in space, though I can't remember the names!

Posted by Robert Gauss at January 16, 2008 5:10 PM

Yay good thorough list

Posted by PikMini at January 16, 2008 5:36 PM

I can hardly wait until these games come out.

Posted by rgjump at January 16, 2008 6:19 PM

Gah. I bought Bully for PS2 a while back but as yet still haven't had a chance to actually play it. And now there's an extended version coming out. I'm sad now.

Posted by Miral at January 16, 2008 6:52 PM

For the next three months?

Nada. I have to wait 'til Q2 for most of mine apparently.

At that point, I'm looking at Destroy All Humans 3, Mercenaries 2, Spore (I sure hope so, damn it)... and I think that's it.

I'm too particular, but at least I'm not broke all year.

Posted by Gauphastus at January 16, 2008 7:58 PM

Great list for the most part. It definetly looks like 2008 will be another great year of games. If the quality of releases continue then it might even be better than 2007 which would be fantastic. ^_^

Posted by Daniel Primed at January 17, 2008 12:06 AM

Hey Clay. If you want to be really good at Brawl, never settle with one character. It's best to test each one out and see which gives you the most success against your friends. If you find yourself loosing touch with one, move on to another. You'll end up finding ones you weren't comfortable with before quite useful later on. It keeps your friends from reading your habits. You can find their weaknesses sooner if they stick with one.

Posted by Eligecos at January 17, 2008 12:55 AM

Too bad Burnout only comes out for consoles. I bought a PS2 only for the early Burnoutseries Burnout2 - Burnout Revenge.

The new consoles dont appeal to me though. XBox360 with their money making pointsystem and the PS3 with the restricting/no backwardscompatibility and other marketingissues.

I died a little inside and cried when I saw a demo gameplay-trailer of Burnout Paradise. The damage-model looks so awesome :/

Yea, too bad they delayed Left 4 Dead once more. I hate it when publishers announce games just for the sake of it and then push it back so often. Why not announce it only "shortly" before relase, as in 6 months or so? It is just being totally cruel to the fans.
Like you show a kid a cool remote control toy, but tell him, he will get it on christmas (while it being spring). He can look at it though through the glass of your cabinet.

Posted by UsF at January 17, 2008 9:20 AM

I have to say that this is a pretty piss poor list. Your top 3 games I have never even heard of. No more heroes should definitely be on the list, as well as Okami. Oh yeah, and there is one more game coming out on March 9 that is going to make every other video game obsolete. Can you say Brawl? Better luck next time you try to make a top ten list.

Posted by Zach at January 17, 2008 10:20 AM

"I have to say that this is a pretty piss poor list. Your top 3 games I have never even heard of."

Yeah, because obviously YOU are the decider of what is popular or special.

Sins of a Solar Empire sounds too much like Hegemonia.

Posted by Paroxysm at January 17, 2008 4:44 PM

i love it. you guys seem bothered that someone's opinion differs from yours. yet here you see titles that may or may not be good, but things you may not have even seen.

personally, i think this post could have used a good dose of anchor tags, letting us link directly to the sites of those unknown games. good thing my firefox has that search engine up top.

Posted by nicesocks at January 18, 2008 12:06 AM

I agree.. He has different tastes than you, no need to flame him.

But back to his list.. I did not know they were making a new BSG game. I'm so craving a space shooter.. So desperate that i bought the BSG game on XBLA.

Posted by Wolvie75 at January 18, 2008 12:30 PM

that card game looks reaaaal gay.

Posted by jaybot at January 19, 2008 2:54 PM

Wow, those are some really bad choices. Brawl should be # 1, no doubt.

Posted by Juno at January 19, 2008 7:42 PM
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