April 7th, 2008

You may be expecting me to be talking about a new cheap game right now. Normally, that’s what I’d be doing. This week, I’m going to talk about some games that I’m looking forward to, and most of them won’t be cheap. These aren’t all of the games that I am looking forward to this year, but these are my most-wanted ones that aren’t the obvious picks. You won’t see Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, Starcraft 2, Spore or Gears of War 2 in this post. Those are obvious; everybody cares about those. You have probably heard about these at some point, but there isn’t much new information floating around about them. In short, this is an awareness post.

Battlefield Heroes: This is probably the most-talked-about game on my list. It’s the next PC-exclusive Battlefield game that EA is putting out. It’s a third-person, World War 2-based Battlefield game with a zany and colorful aesthetic to it. The game is going to be free to download and free to play. It’s being monetized via optional microtransactions (in the form of cosmetic items and “convenience items”, A.K.A. experience boosts) as well as advertising. The ads will not be in-game, however. Rather, they will be on the games’ official website which you will have to go to in order to launch the game via a “Play” button. The game’s engine is based on the BF 2142 engine (which, I believe, is not dissimilar to the BF2 engine) and will be heavily optimized and built from the ground up to run well on an unusually wide array of PC configurations. For more information you can read through a recent 5 page interview between Gamasutra and the producer of the game. There is also a very entertaining trailer available. The game is due out this summer and will “ship” with two maps.

Braid: Braid is a game that I am not sure how to describe. I don’t think I’d be doing a description of it justice by calling it a “puzzle platformer”, but there you go. When the game is available (I haven’t seen an ETA) it will be on PC and Xbox Live Arcade. To tell you the truth, I don’t know much else about it. I just know that I want to play it and experience it. I felt this way after watching a segment on this game on the 1UP Show a few weeks ago. I’ll embed that here; it’s much more interesting to hear the developers talk about this game than me. Have a go, it’s a very interesting interview.

Guild Wars 2: Most people are probably familiar with the original Guild Wars. Your friend probably plays it. He probably really likes Diablo, too. I’m not knocking on Guild Wars; I love the game. I just can’t play it for very long stints. Maybe a week or so before I start to get sleepy while I play. If I were more into PVP, I am sure I’d enjoy it more, but the narrative just isn’t engaging enough for me to feel the need to finish it. I am really hoping that Guild Wars 2 changes my feelings about the franchise. Like its predecessor, it will have no monthly fee. It will also be open-world, rather than a series of instances that you and your party (or a group of NPCs) roll through, much more like a traditional MMORPG. I have played a ton of those, so why would I want to try Guild Wars 2? Well, for one, I’m a sucker for sequels. Two, no monthly fee basically makes this a must-buy. Innovative business plans are a huge selling point for me, as evidenced by my interest in Battlefield Heroes. That’s all there is to say on this one; we really don’t have much information, and that concept art is all that I could find in the way of screenshots.

Brutal Legend: Did you like Psychonauts? I did. Do you like Jack Black? I do. Are you ready to rock in a game by the creator of Psychonauts and influenced by Jack Black? I know I am. Brutal Legend is the next game from Psychonauts creator Tim Schafer. He shopped it around until he landed on a big pile of Sierra’s money. It’s a 3-D action/adventure game where you play as a roadie who wields an axe and an axe (that’s a guitar for those of you who don’t ROCK!). I’m not sure what exactly you’re fighting against; presumably demons as well as anything that does not rock. As can be seen in this trailer, you can also sprout devil wings. I am hoping that this game rocks so hard that my face melts.

Saints Row 2: Okay, I told a half-lie at the beginning of this post. I am about to mention Grand Theft Auto. But not the same one that I said I wouldn’t be talking about! See? Half-lie.

Anyway, it’s really hard to talk about Saints Row without also talking about GTA. It’s cut from the same tree, after all. Many labeled the original Saints Row as simply a “GTA clone” and held that against it. I tried my hardest not to. It’s simply a foray into a still-developing genre that GTA set the standard for. I enjoyed the first game a lot, despite its shortcomings (pimp missions are really hard later on), and I am always ready for a new game of this genre. What are they calling it these days, anyway? 3rd-person-open-world-action-adventure-driving-shooters? We need to get on that.

Left 4 Dead: Zombies. Lots and lots of F-ing zombies. That’s what you’ll find in Left 4 Dead. This game is being developed on the Source engine by the recently-acquired-by-Valve developer Turtle Rock Studios. This is the same developer of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, the Counter-Strike port for the original Xbox, the A.I. controlled bots for Counter-Strike as well as various maps for Counter-Strike: Source. This, their current game, is a first-person cooperative survival-horror game for the PC and Xbox 360. My reasons for wanting to play this game are simple. I like what this developer has done in the past, I like zombies and I REALLY like cooperative games. Nothing more to tell you other than to check out some gameplay footage.

Lego Batman: If you’ve played either of the Lego Star Wars games, you’ll know as well as I do that it is impossible for Lego Batman to be a bad or not-fun game. Batman is awesome, Legos are awesome and the formula that Travellers’ Tales has developed for these games is most definitely awesome. I can’t wait to explode me some Lego penguins (please let there be Lego penguins!). You can view the trailer for the game here.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky: The prequel to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is what I am looking forward to the most this year. The previous game had so much untapped potential but it still turned out to be a fantastically immersive experience; I can’t see how the prequel will not deliver that and so much more. When I heard this game announced I was actually in the middle of playing the first one. I stopped right then and there so that I could play through the story building up to it before continuing on. My only worry is that the developers will end up having focused too much on the multiplayer side of the game and we may be left with an underdeveloped story mode again. Basis for my concerns can be found in this E3 interview with a developer.

  1. Welcome, to the gaming wooooorld of tomorrooow!!