June 9, 2008

What to Play Ths Year

It seems that I think to myself every year with so many excellent titles coming out, this is going to be the greatest year in gaming ever! The problem is, every year seems to get better than the last. In all my days as a gamer, I've never seen so many quality titles as I've seen this generation. This year has proven no different. In fact, this year's batch of games has proven to be even better than last year's. GTA4 is the first game I've ever seen to get a perfect 10 not just overall, but in every category. MGS4 received a 9.9 from IGN UK, getting a 10 in every category except in the lasting appeal section (it got a 9.5). The rest of the year's games look just as promising, but what's that you say? There's too many of them? You can't decide what to play? Don't worry! Installation 04 is here to help!

What to play this summer:

The summer months are typically considered as the dry season of gaming. Usually, there's not a whole lot to play until the fall. Not so this year. Many quality titles quench the arid summer months with a much needed thunderstorm of gaming.

What: MGS4
When: June 12th
Platform: PS3
Why you should care: It's been called the ultimate Metal Gear experience. For those of you who haven't played a Metal Gear title, you should. They're quite good. Not to mention that the fiction surrounding the games is up there in quality with the Halo franchise. This is one game I'm truly excited about, but unfortunately will never get to play. Come to think of it, it's quite possibly the only worthwhile game on the PS3. While it has many fans, I'm sure only the die hards will actually have a PS3. I'm willing to be that, within the next year, they announce the game for the 360. You can read the review here. And make sure you check out this kickass trailer:

Courage is solid!

What: SoulCalibur 4
When: July 29th
Platform: 360/PS3
Why you should care: It's the epic conclusion to the SoulCalibur saga! Wait, SoulCalibur had a plot? In any case, this game takes the franchise to the next level with new characters, new weapons, destructible environments, online play, and an updated character creator. The 360 version has Yoda as a guest character and the PS3 version has Vader. Both versions have Vader's secret apprentice from The Force Unleashed.

What: Too Human
When: August 19th
Platform: 360
Why you should care: Too Human has been in development for as long as Duke Nukem Forever. It was originally intended to be a Playstation game but was scrapped and moved to the Gamecube. Now, ten years later, it's finally found a home on the 360. Too Human is an action RPG that is based around Norse mythology. The premise of the game is one of the most unique I've ever seen. Hundreds of years ago, humanity reached its technological peak. You play as Balder, a machine god who sets out to save humanity from the rise of machines. The game gets its name because, being a cyborg-thing, the other gods criticize you for being too human. Too human plays like an action game in the vein of Devil May Cry, but has heavy RPG elements. You can level up your character, choose a class and skills, and upgrade weapons. The game also has online play so you can quest with a friend. What truly makes Too Human unique is the innovative control scheme that relies on the right analogue stick for attacks rather than the face buttons. Think of it like playing Skate.

What: Legendary
When: September 9th
For: 360, PS3, PC
Why you should care: Legendary is a FPS in the modern day with mythical creatures. That's right, mythical creatures ravaging New York city and you have to stop them. Not too much is known, but it seems like an interesting premise.

What to play this fall:
The fall is typically the time of year when all the blockbuster games are released. This year, of course, has some big ones.

What: Dead Space
When: Halloween
For: 360, PS3, PC
Why you should care: It's a horror/survival game in space. You play a space commander who gets stranded in space with little more than a space suit and a pistol. The game has no hud and gameplay revolves around the various ways you dismember your foes. You can shoot them, but ammo is very sparse in space. A lot of the game takes place in zero-gravity as well. The game looks very eerie, and very good.

What: Fable 2
When: Fall (October?)
For: 360
Why you should care: Fable 2 promises to deliver on everything that was cut from the first game. It has innovative one button controls, no hud, and a unique multiplayer design that allows for friends to jump in and out of the game world. The world itself is completely open now and no longer composed of linear paths. Weapons (there's guns now) are more customizable along with your character, and expect to see an improved good/evil system. It sounds good, but will it deliver? The first fable certainly was a good game, just not the game we were all expecting.

Yes, that is the only trailer of the game.

What: Fallout 3
When: Fall (October 7th?)
For: 360, PS3, PC
Why you should care: The next big RPG from the makers of Oblivion. Don't expect anything similar, though. Fallout 3 fallows the story of your character as he grows from a baby, to a young man and travels into the post-apocalyptic world after growing up in a bunker. The game will have a unique combat system that mixes FPS with traditional RPG elements. Your skill development will affect the way you evolve, as will the choices you make, and they will ultimately alter the way in which the game plays out. It'll also utilize a bunch of crazy home-made weapons crated from junk collected from the world (DC). Interaction with NPCs will be more advanced as well. One of the most unique aspects is the survival itself. To make it in the world of Fallout, you'll have to survive mutant beasts. If your injured, the way your character will play will change. For instance, if you break your leg, your speed will suffer. You'll have to fix it or eventually die. That means you'll have to have a high surgeon skill or find a doctor. Plus, watch out for radiation in food and water! You'll have to balance that, too. You may need water to heal yourself, but it may contain radiation. Too much radiation, and you'll die!

Again, the only known trailer.

What: Halo Wars
When: Fall (October?)
For: 360
Why you should care: It's an RTS built ground-up for consoles. Plus, it's Halo.

What: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
When: Fall (November?)
For: 360
Why you should care: Previewed below.

What: Gears of War 2
When: Fall (November?)
For: 360
Why you should care: It's bigger, better, and more badass. No, really. It's got crazy new enemies, crazy new weapons (meat shield!), even better graphics, a plot, drop in/drop out multiplayer, chainsaw duels, and a whole load more awesomeness! Check out the trailer in the archives to see what I mean.

There's several other games I could mention, but chances are they'll be delayed into next year. I hope this helps everyone's game purchasing decisions for the year!

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