Look for part two of this Xbox World 360 feature shortly...
Kicking things off is Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, the MMORPG from Funcom which sees you looking for Conan, rather than playing as him. Forget THQ's recent super-bloody Conan game, this adaption of Robert E Howard's beefcake sword-'n'-sex epic is a slow-burning adventure along the lines of Elder Scrolls - except online.
Air Combat, the latest offering from Ubi's cash-spewing Tom Clancy money fountain, sees you taking to the skies to blietzkrig Johnny Foreigner in a hi-tech rip-off of Ace Combat. Got to admit, doesn't float our boat like Recon and Rainbow, but given Ubi's recent track record, it should rock. As will Aliens, no doubt, the killer two-game acid attack from developers Gearbox and Obsidian. We covered these last ish, but it's worth reiterating: one's an FPS (Gearbox) and one's an RPG (Obsidian) and unless something goes very wrong they will ROCK YOUR FREAKING SOCKS CLEAN OFF.
We spilled Alone in the Dark's guts in our last issue of the magazine, but if you weren't around, rest assured you missed out on seeing one of 2008's darkest horses in full-on dazzle-action. Sorry about that. Got to admit, we haven't got a clue where APB (that's All Points Bulletin) has gone. Why should you care? It's an online version of cops 'n' robbers, and it's being co-developed by Crackdown creators Real Time Worlds. Oh yes. Rounding off the A's is Assassin's Creed 2, which you'll know lots about already if you've been watching us send shockwaves through the internet on xbowxworld.co.uk.
Remember Rare? They used to be good once. Will Banjo-Kazooie be a real return to form? Currently unclear, given the fact they've shown nothing since announcing it almost two years ago. Either way, you'll get to find out for sure in November. Next up: a succession of 'fighties'. First, Battlefield: Bad Company, which developers DICE promise will up the ante on the good online, rubbish offline Battlefield: Modern Combat; second, Battlestations Midway 2, the sequel to 2006's rather ace sea-and-air-based combat sim, which promises bigger play areas and better online modes; third, er, Beautiful Katamari, the weird, roll-a-ball-of-stuff puzzle hybrid, which actually has no fighting in it all, but we had to include here in the interests of maintaining alphabetical continuity; four, Bionic Commando, Capcom's Lost Planet-ish update of their retro classic; five, Black 2, Criterion's next gen sequel, which hasn't been announced despite the fact that it is definitely coming... just maybe not until 2009; and six, The Bourne Conspiracy which includes both high octane face-punchery and serious question marks over how much of the game you actually control, thanks to cinematic context-sensitive fighting sequences.
We'll see for sure when we fly out to developers High Moon in the next issue. Also, Rockstar return to 360 in early Spring, not with GTA IV, but with Bully: Scholarship Edition, which is a jazzed-up remake of the fantastic PS2 school sim. In typical Rockstar style, few details have emerged as to what differentiates the new version from its last gen brother, but they told us on the blower this month that we'll know more... soon. The last of the B's is Brutal Legend, Tim 'Monkey Island' Shafer's freeform heavy metal adventure that sees you filling the boots of a digital Jack Black and hacking the ass off legions of skull-faced characters who look like they came straight from an Iron Maiden record sleeve. Could be the most original game of the year. Or could be a mess. We'll se for sure in November.