5 Games I’m looking forward to in 2007

It’s nearing the end of August and there are going to be a lot of games released between now and Christmas which is great for us gamers, but not so great for the bank balance or social life.

Nowadays a game will cost you £40 or £50 in the shops, with about £10 off the RRP if you get it online through the likes of play.com…so you sometimes have to be careful about which games you do and don’t buy. There are, of course, some games which you simply must have and the following are in that category. If I was only allowed to buy 5 more games this year – these would be them. All games are on either the PS3 or Wii, it seems I have enough PSP games to be getting on with.

Release dates are taken from Play.com and/or Amazon.co.uk and are therefore subject to change; some clips are from other video game formats.

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis (Nintendo Wii)
by Rockstar Games – Release date: 26th October 2007


Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis 

The Xbox 360 version of this game won the acclaim of ‘Best Sports Title’ at the 2006 E3 show, so I’m very much looking forward to the fact it is coming to the Wii this year.

Developers have now had the chance to fully utilise the motion sensors in the Wii remote so I’m hoping this title will have a strong and accurate response rate so that it’s as good as holding an actual table tennis paddle. Wii Sports Tennis was good, but they made you play doubles due to (I guess) not knowing how to allow the player to run around the court. Table Tennis is perfect to allow single players without having to run back and forth, so you can concentrate solely on accuracy, power and spin. Can there be a game better designed for the Wiimote?

Steve beats me everytime we play this in real life, so I’m hoping I can now finally beat him at it. I wonder if they will be releasing Fußball at any time soon?

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Sony Playstation 3)
by Eidos Interactive – Release date: 9th November 2007

Eidos gave us the excellent Hitman series which is one of my favourite sets of games, and now they look set to start on another franchise with Kane & Lynch. I guess this is a cross in some ways between Hitman and Freedom Fighters in that it’s a third person shooter with squad elements. One aspect I do like is the fact there are 2 lead characters, so you can play in the standard one player mode – or bring a friend into the action to assist (or hinder depending on how good they are). With Hitman two players just had to pass the control pad back and forth to take individual turns.

This video shows some of the gameplay:

Hitman started showing how well developers were handling crowd interaction within games, so I would be interested to see how this has progressed with Kane & Lynch – I understand there’s a nifty nightclub scene which should highlight the crowd response nicely.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii)
by Nintendo – Release date: 30th November 2007 (Amazon.co.uk) or 5th October 2007 (Play.com)

Super Mario Galaxy
It was odd to see the Nintendo Wii being released without a shiny new Mario game to go with it, so let’s hope the long wait for this title has been worth it. Footage has been around for over a year now, and it really does look like playing this would mess with your mind a little.

I was always a reluctant follower of the Mario games. Perhaps it was because I was a Sega kid growing up that my loyalties lay with Sonic the Hedgehog, but whenever I was placed in front of a Mario game I didn’t really want to like it. I did, of course, love them, and completed several of the earlier ones along with the fantastic Mario 64. That’s why I’m going to embrace this one and hope it’s got as great gameplay as the other ones had…I’m sure it will.

Other Mario releases I’m looking forward to are Super Paper Mario and the Wii version of Super Mario Kart.

Fifa 08 (Sony Playstation 3)
by Electronic Arts – Release date: 28th September 2007

Fifa 2008
Every year I buy the latest version of the FIFA game, and every year it’s one of the titles I look forward to the most. FIFA 2007 was, and still is, fantastic – so much so that it actually took over from Pro Evolution Soccer as the best football simulation. That’s why I’m very much looking forward to the latest version, especially as it’ll now be on the Playstation 3.

I hope to see the Management mode in the similar style as last year – no doubt with a few additions to make it even bigger and better. The same team who took over FIFA 07 is in charge again so they won’t have to work on a whole new ball dynamics engine (which was why there was such a huge difference between ’06 and ’07 versions) – which means for this release they can just work on the solid foundations that they already have.

Fifa 2008
A few things I’m hoping they have for FIFA 2008:

Interactive goal keeping. i.e. A Goalkeep that can be fouled and injured.
Interactive Referee. I want to see him on the pitch, and get in the way of the ball every now and then.
45 minute halves. Real time football for those crazy moments of boredom.
Transfer updates. Ability to update the teams for the different transfer fixtures without the changes over riding a custom team that you’re using in management mode. Ideally there would be weekly updates automatically to take into account real life injuries, but I think they’re working on that for the future.

I’m also interested in seeing how the ‘Be A Pro’ feature is going to work. This is something EA are working on between now and 2010 so that you can play as just one player in a team. Online this may be quite good, as you can have 11 vs 11 online, and this is meant to lead up to having two teams of 22 players contesting virtually at the FIFA World cup…should be fun.

Fifa 2008
Assassin’s Creed (Sony Playstation 3)
by Ubisoft Montreal – Release date: 9th November 2007

I’m not too sure why this game has me so excited, as I have only seen very limited screenshots or videos of it. Yet this is the one game I am waiting for in 2007, and a little bit of me is annoyed that I am away for the week when this is released so I won’t be able to spend the first weekend playing it.

Altair - Assassin’s Creed
The first thing that struck me about the game is the sheer interaction between the lead character and his surroundings. The developers claim that anything that stands out more than two inches from it’s surroundings will be interactive, which means pretty much anything goes when it comes to navigating the landscape. Also, rather than the usual ‘run up to a wall and press X to climb it’ movement, the actions your character takes will differ depending on the buttons pressed. Think of fighting games whereas pressing a button for your legs will kick an opponent, and a button for your arms will punch an opponent, in Assassin’s Creed you get the same buttons controlling body parts to decide if will step onto a beam or swing from a beam, jump up a wall or vault it, and so on.

Here’s a gameplay demo for it…and remember what I said about crowd interaction earlier? This seems to do the job very well:

I’m a fan of both Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell which are other Ubi creations, and PoP was extremely fluid over the last few outings, along with allowing the player to interact a little bit with the scenery (running across walls mostly). This looks to take things one step further and, further to that, appears as if it does it well. All of this along with the fact you’re an assassin – what more could a guy need?

Assassin’s Creed
So, I think from the above it looks like FIFA 2008 will have the longevity of all of the games; it should last a year until FIFA 2009 comes out, whereas the others look as if they will certainly only give a few months of constant gameplay before they are completed or discarded for something shinier.

Assassin’s Creed is certainly the sexiest looking of the bunch, and the one that I have most been looking forward to from the very few clips I have seen. It’s just a shame it’s released not only in the week I’m away, but at the same time as Kane & Lynch which means one will have to sit on the sidelines for a short amout of time whilst the other one gets my attention.

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