PC Gamer: Hottest Games of 2008
14th Jan 2008 | 12:31
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 previous parts of the feature, you can find links to them below.
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part one
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part two
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part three
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part four
Football Manager Live (ETA: March)
The idea is as simple as it is brilliant. The pick 'n' mix playfulness of fantasy football crossed with the devilish detail of the Football Manager series. It's got such potential and obvious appeal that it almost reeks of some cynical marketing meeting: "Guys, I just want to say this: 'FML, the MMO that's a new USP for our key IP!'"
But no. Rather like the bedroom-coded origins of Sports Interactive's first title - the genre-reviving and defining Championship Manager - the genesis of Football Manager Live is something much more personal. After working for years at Sports Interactive ever since leaving school, Champ Man's co-creator Oliver 'Ov' Collyer decided to take a break from it all and go travelling...
Frontlines: Fuel of War (ETA: Spring)
This competitive multiplayer FPS could be what Battlefield 2142 should have been. It shares a similar near-future setting and team-play motif, and the two teams are at constant war, but it's no longer about capturing simple control points. It's about moving a battlefront forward.
The areas your team pushes your frontline over grant bonuses and weapons, so choosing to surge in one direction but leave another unclaimed might deny you destructive goodies essential to achieving victory.
The nature of the frontline also means the battle's focused in one area, rather than pockets of small skirmishes. And with up to 64 players and 60-odd vehicles and weapons (including various remote control drones) in the same scrap, we're expecting monstrous skirmishes that should shame Battlefield's stunted, almost random firefights. And there's even a single-player campaign.
Galactic Civilizations: Twilight of the Arnor (ETA: Spring)
All 12 civilisations get their own unique tech tree, along with the ability to build the Terror Star: GalCiv's answer to the Death Star. The visuals get an overhaul, too.
Ghostbusters (ETA: Winter)
Begin a gleeful countdown: this is going to be massive. In 2008, the original Ghostbusters - Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston (voiced by their original actors, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson respectively) - are going to reunite for one last time.
The big news: it won't be a film. It's a game, written by Ramis and Aykroyd, set in the '90s. It takes place against the backdrop of, yes, another ghoulie invasion of New York.
You'll use the same equipment seen in the films: a PK meter to track supernatural activity, the tether guns and traps, the ECTO-1 car. And some of the same ghoulies: we've already spied Stay Puft and Slimer in the Ghostbusters screenshots.
Add to this a neat physics system for accidental damage in the poltergeist pursuit, and you have a near-perfect revival. Set nostalgia glands to salivate: we can't wait for this.
Gothic 4 (ETA: Autumn)
Gothic specialises in vast, sprawling swords and sorcery RPG worlds. Think a slightly lower-rent Oblivion. Expect broody action and branching quest structures dependent upon the faction you choose to align with. The Germans love this stuff.
Guild Wars 2 (ETA: Winter)
Fans of Guild Wars have been sated with expansion packs - three so far (Nightfall, Factions and Eye of the North), compared to WoW's one. Clearly it's time for a reinvention of the hugely successful MMO. Here's what to expect.
250 years after the original Guild Wars, many of the locations will be gutted and ruined. The idea is that while only one dragon had woken at the end of the last expansion pack, Eye of the North, in the years since then hundreds have emerged. The ruin these creatures have inflicted has caused mass migrations, and the lack of habitable space has led to war and famine. It's the perfect excuse for faction-specific quests and competing allegiances.
If Guild Wars has one fault, it's the lack of sense of a single world: most of your time is spent in a solitary 'instances' where you'll never randomly stumble across a new friend. That's going to change. You'll now spend your time in a single free-flowing game world, only heading into instances when it's time to move the storyline along. But you're never going to be restricted to a single server - Arenanet promise that you'll be able to transfer characters between different servers at will, without cost.
Don't expect your experience bar to disappear once you hit level 20 either, as with the Guild Wars of old. While the true level cap hasn't been revealed yet, it's expected to be higher, and a longer path than any of the original Guild Wars games demanded.
But don't worry about missing out on playing with your high level friends. A 'sidekick' system means that you'll receive a temporary boost to bring you into line with your chums.
If you're just grinding, you'll be able to join up with an AI party, but playing with real-life online humans will net you more experience.
From day one in Guild Wars you could take any character into one of its deathmatch arenas and fight competitively. Those arenas are now complemented by a persistent skirmish area called 'The Mist'. Imagine a 24‑hour, 365-day battle and you're pretty much there. Anyone can wander in at any point and contribute to the fighting; successful kills and missions are converted into equipment rewards.
With all these features, the Guild Wars developers are clearly gunning for World of Warcraft's players. The good news: they'll never charge a monthly fee for this game.
Haze (ETA: Summer)
Drugs really are bad, mmmkay? This comment on corporate terrorism masquerading as an action FPS has cult hit written all over it: with big men in big suits shooting even bigger guns, all because of a legal narcotic known as nectar. The game's out on PS3 by the time you read this ñ we should be seeing a PC version a little bit later.
Hei$t (ETA: Summer)
It's a caper sim set in '60s San Francisco. You play a safecracker, forced to take down all the banks in the city. Once inside, you'll want to manage the crowd, pray no one wants to be a hero, and get to the safe. And then comes the getaway.
Highlander (ETA: Summer)
There can be only one... joke made per issue about the Highlander game. You'll play one character across 2,000 years, taking in Pompeii, feudal Japan and medieval Scotland. Don't lose your head. DAMN. That makes two jokes. (It does? - Ed)
The Hunt (ETA: Spring)
A videogame reworking of that much-used sci-fi plot where people are chased on live TV for the pleasure of the viewing masses. A clever FPS satire of television extremes and authoritarianism, or dumb shooter? Time will tell.
Huxley (ETA: Winter)
5,000 players per server battle through a post-apocalyptic FPS world to gain control of new energy source. Based on Unreal technology, Huxley's been in development for an age, with little news - this is the year it should finally appear.
Iron Man (ETA: Summer)
The inevitable game of the film of the comic book has fallen into the lap of Sega, who will be recreating Marvel's metal-suited hero in a cross-platform tie-in. We'll take a wild guess: it will be a disappointing third-person action game.
Jagged Alliance 3 (ETA: Summer)
Your band of mercenaries toppled one dictator in Jagged Alliance 2. Thanks to a coup in the neighbouring lands there's more merc work to do: muscle to recruit, generals to silence. Think X‑Com, but with moustaches and berets.
Jet Thunder (ETA: Summer)
You'll need a decent flight stick for this detailed simulation of the Falklands War of 1982. Jet Thunder marks the return of the complicated jet-powered flight sim to PC gaming.
This isn't just about flying British Sea Harriers and Argentine Skyhawks: you'll fight the entire air war over accurately modelled Falkland (or Malvinas, if you're of the Argentinian persuasion) islands, as well as much of Argentine Patagonia.
Don't expect to be flying pre-scripted and canned missions, either: an AI will hand out tasks and objectives depending on the current tactical situation. Get the war wrong and you might be fighting long into Thatcher's third term.
Kung Fu Hustle (ETA: Summer)
At last a game based on Stephen Chow's gloriously silly kung fu movie. He's also working on the game, reproducing the hilarious fights against the Landlady and The Beast. Strangely, it'll be free to play, but you'll need to buy extra lives and new equipment. How odd.
Kwari (ETA: Spring)
This first-person shooter is free to download and play: you just buy your ammunition. Every time you shoot another player in this online FPS, you make money. But then, if you get shot, or fall to your death, you'll lose some. You play for the stakes you choose, with opportunities for receiving jackpots and cash bonuses every day on the servers. Games have gone mad.