Games to Watch in 2008
With 2008 under way, we look ahead to pick out some of the promising games due over the next 12 months.
By Kikizo Staff
No matter how you look at it, 2008 has a lot to prove if it is going to top what 2007 offered gamers. The glut of fantastic games released towards the end of the year was enough to make even the most hardcore ask for a break so that they could catch up. But 2008 is here, and it's looking good.
We've scanned through the release schedules to look for some of the games that we think are going to be exciting this year. Keep in mind, though, that most of those release lists are tentative, and it's a certaintly that some of the games on the list below will not make it out this year.
That said, here are our picks for the games to watch out for in 2008.
(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) - 25 January
Open worlds are all the rage in games these days and in recent years they've been making inroads into the driving genre too, but it could be Burnout Paradise, EA's first next-gen game in the series, that shows what the format is really capable of.
Designed as a full city where every intersection is a race waiting to happen, Burnout Paradise brings the oohs and ahhs that made the previous games so popular right up to date, adding all the sparks and eye-watering crashes you can handle. It throws out the staid set routes that encumber so many games. Instead it simply shows you the finish line and tells you to get there as fast as you can.
There's a demo up for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 versions so hit up the relevant online stores now. Or you could just wait for the game's release, which is up in just a few short weeks.
Devil May Cry 4
(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC) - 8 February
The sheer size of the crowd that traveled to see Devil May Cry 4 at Capcom's booth at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show is testament to the endearing popularity of this action series.
In those days, the game was thought of as one of the big third-party exclusives for the PlayStation 3. But that soon changed and Devil May Cry 4 will be coming to Xbox 360 as well when it comes out later this winter. That would seem to be a good thing, because the game looks to be back on form, with ferociousness and grace balancing out in the way that helped the franchise become so popular with gamers over the years.
There's a new character too, Nero, who brings with him a new style of play courtesy of an enchanted arm. Whoever you play as, though, the key, as always in this series, is to send your enemies to hell in as stylish a manner as possible.
For more, see our Devil May Cry 4 developer interview with Kobayashi-san from Capcom.
(Xbox 360) - 29 February
One of the biggest coups made by Microsoft during the short life of the Xbox 360 has been to sign big-name Japanese developers to make exclusive games for the console. Lost Odyssey is one of the latest of these to come to the system.
The game was developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, some of his long-time collaborators, including composer Nobuo Uematsu, and award-winning Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu. Together they've created a game that tells the story of a man named Kaim. In addition to his flowing locks and handsome looks, Kaim also has another remarkable characteristics: he's been alive for a millennium.
Like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey has received good reviews in its native Japan. But will the premise excite Western critics and gamers? Find out when the game arrives in Europe towards the end of February.
Super Smash Bros Brawl
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata may have promised the faithful that this first Wii game for the series would be out at the launch of the console but there's so much content here that few will mind the extra year of waiting time.
Super Smash Bros Brawl is a Nintendo fan's dream come true. Not only does it resurrect and overhaul one of the most popular series in the history of the company but it also brings together a cast of characters that spans the life of the company and brings along a few guest stars too.
If that's not enough, Nintendo is using Super Smash Bros Brawl as a messenger for some of the so-far-unused features of the Wii, including a heady online mode, storable video replays, content creation and much more. For Britons, the only concern now is whether the lack of a firm release date means that there is still a long wait ahead of us.