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2008's Essential PC Games

Feature: Ten games your hard drive would be foolish to miss out on

2007's been such a massive year for games that you'd be forgiven for thinking developers had shot their load early and the remainder of the decade will be devoid of quality.

Not so. After peering into 2008, it's clear that this year has only set a precedent for things to come over the following 12 months. There's plenty of great gaming queuing up to grace PCs of all shapes and sizes.

Below then, in no particular order, we've hand-picked our ten PC games that we think you'll be attaching yourselves to like a limpet. Bottoms up!

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StarCraft II
The return of Blizzard's well-regarded sci-fi RTS property StarCraft is clearly one of 2008's biggest PC releases, and it's already close to hitting 10 (out of 10) on the office excite-o-meter. It also helps that the Blizzard team making StarCraft II are all long-term veterans of real-time strategy development.

It might not do flashy, nor have the grand overview camera of Supreme Commander, or the extravagant physical destruction of Company of Heroes, but the pure thrill will come of pitching fleets of units you'd be happy to pin medals on against each other. Blizzard won't let us down.

Want more on StarCraft II? Go here.

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Empire: Total War
The Creative Assembly's Total War series is one of the finest set of strategy games ever to grace PC. This time around, the developer's opted to set the action in the 18th century, allowing it to explore such themes as the Industrial Revolution, America's struggle for independence, the race to control Eastern trade routes and the globalisation of war on land and sea. One of the new additions to the series is 3D naval combat.

Want more on Empire: Total War? Go here.

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Fallout 3
It was inevitable that Bethesda would take the Fallout series and turn it into an action-RPG for the modern age, a move which has had the Fallout hardcore quaking with concern for their beloved post-apocalyptic baby. But with the developer of the mighty Oblivion at the helm, we're confident that it won't be rubbish.

Fallout 3 shoves you into the boots of a character that's been locked up in an underground vault safe from nuclear bombardment and fallout. The adventure begins in earnest when they attempt to track down their father who has managed to escape the vault into the outside world. Any game with a portable mini-nuke launcher in it just has to be great.

Want more on Fallout 3? Go here.

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Half-Life 2: Episode Three
Yes, we KNOW Valve hasn't confirmed Episode Three as a 2008 release yet, but odds are that the developer plans to launch it at the end of next year. Little is known about what is expected to be the climax of the storyline at the moment, although Valve's said it's planning something pretty ambitious for this episode.

Episode Two was criticised for sticking too close to formula, so let's hope we do see the developer really push the boat out. And then there's the question too, of course, of how the hell it'll top Orange Box and its three-game goodness. At least a second Portal game packed with Episode Three is surely on the cards.

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