PC Gamer: Hottest Games of 2008
5th Jan 2008 | 11:45
PC Gamer UK has picked out its hottest games of 2008, the list totalling an impressive 110 titles. The carnage continues below, and we'll be adding to the list over the coming days. Should you have missed the first part of the feature, you can find a link to it below.
Blood Bowl (ETA: Summer)
American Football with orcs - a mildly popular spinoff from the Games Workshop's Warhammer games. Two sides, one ball, and very few rules let dwarves, elves, lizard men and chaos demons beat the snot out of each other in the name of 'sport'. There is precedent for such rampant idiocy: the boardgame has been a cult hit, and our very own Kieron Gillen wrote the script for Cyanide's last (unlicensed) attempt, Chaos League.
Brutal Legend (ETA: Winter)
Tim Schafer returns after the glorious Psychonauts with another unique game. You play roadie Eddie Riggs, voiced and personified by Jack Black in a world of full-on RAWK nonsense. You have the task of organising a legion of demons, dragsters and piles of amps, in order to bring the ancient world into the Age of Metal. It has a sense of fun pouring out of its sweaty armpits, and that's why we're excited. It's still not announced for the PC, but we believe in our rocking hearts that it will be.
Braid (ETA: Summer)
Games have been playing with the concept of time for a long, er, time, but none as artfully as Braid. In this puzzle platformer, each challenge is solved by rewinding time or slowing things down. Need to get past a procession of enemies? Drop a bubble in front of them that causes them to move in slow-motion, giving you time to slip by.
Screw up and fall down a hole? Then rewind back out. It's relentlessly clever, each new section introducing new ways to play with the clock or new obstacles to think your way past.
Winner of the 'Innovation in Game Design' award at the 2006 IGF, Braid's look has since been revamped, replacing placeholder graphics with lush, painted landscapes and whimsical characters. Designer Jonathan Blow is still weighing up his options in terms of a publisher, but it'll be out in 2008.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway (ETA: Spring)
Our World War II shooters have gone to great lengths to show us the devastation inflicted upon the cities and countryside of Europe, tearing up terrain and blowing the sides off buildings.
But those impressive explosions have always been scripted. These games have never really let us do that damage. That's the big change in Hell's Highway - which integrates powerful physical damage modelling into a ground-level shooting gallery. We've already seen great things: sheds shot up to reveal Nazis cowering inside, church steeples blown to bits by a direct bazooka hit, and, hilariously, taking out would-be ambushers by firing through the billowing sheets they're hiding behind.
Hell's Highway also continues the deep tactical play the Brothers in Arms series has become renowned for: demanding that you pin and flank each platoon of enemy soldiers, rather than going straight for a headshot. Puzzling over attack routes as bullets whizz overhead is an already established thrill.
Cartoon Network Universe: Fusionfall (ETA: Spring)
Earth's about to be eaten! It's a Cartoon Network MMO! It's a super-cutesy toon-based action MMO! The appeal lies in creating CN-themed avatars, and having the network's popular characters send you on missions. It might appear to be for kids, but we're almost certain that it would be a guilty pleasure for some of the more childlike writers in the office. And how can you frown at the chance to meet Scooby Doo?
Castle Wolfenstein (ETA: Winter)
Rumoured for a couple of years, now confirmed by id Software, Castle Wolfenstein is being developed by Raven (Soldier of Fortune, Jedi Knight). Expect to fill Nazis, zombies and zombie Nazis with hot lead by the end of the year. They'll go "Aiiieee!" a bit. A Hollywood film based on Wolfenstein is also in development, so that's nice.
The Club (ETA: Spring)
The Club will combine the action shooter with the foot race, sort of like parkour only with more guns. It's all part of a secret underground bloodsport, with human quarry.
The trick is to chain your kills together to extend your time and high-scores. It doesn't sound quite right on paper (where's the story? Where are the scripted set-pieces?) but it deserves attention: running through urban levels at super-high speed, gradually increasing your score and decreasing your time offers a new take on arcade thrills. But can the high concept compete with conventional shooters?
Conflict: Denied Ops (ETA: Spring)
The Conflict formula just works: teams of special forces taking down entire armies in global hotspots. This new version is pure buddy movie spy thriller: two agents, a grizzled veteran and his cocky protegé, are on the trail of terrorists in Venezuela.
Whereas previous games saw four players joining together to take on troublemakers, Denied Ops only requires two, to the game's immediate benefit. Pairs of players are better able to plan their route, plan their silent takedowns, and guide each other through the twisted patrols of oblivious enemies.
Experienced groups can wind their way through ruined castles, or into biological weapons factories, without ever tripping an alarm, using a combination of silenced weapons and furtive dashes across courtyards when backs are turned.
Denied Ops might not have the glamour, high technology and massive marketing budget of a co-op game like Gears of War, but the team is experienced, and the brand proven. With a headwind, this could be one of the surprise hits of 2008.
The Crossing (ETA: Winter)
You play an urban warrior in a decaying Paris. The battles you witness in singleplayer aren't fought by warring AI factions, they're players in the game's multiplayer portion. And they'll get bonus points for hunting you down.
Codename Panzers: Cold War (ETA: Spring)
In a new, fictional setting for the Panzers series, the Cold War has suddenly turned hot. With Germany on-side, expect to see the titular tanks making their all-important contribution.