PC Gamer: Hottest Games of 2008
22nd Jan 2008 | 15:02
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 the final part to the list soon. 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
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part five
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part six
- PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008 - part seven
Scorpion (ETA: Spring)
In a cyberpunk future, you must explore the supposed illegal activity of a mega-corporation using first-person combat and sneaky stealth. The standout feature: using voodoo powers to control the will of your business enemies. Voodoo? You do.
Spore (ETA: Winter)
Playing with Spore's electronic clay nearly a year ago, we were struck by just how complete the character creation tools were. Spore's remit, to take a species from microbe to UFO, may be massive but back then it felt ready, and real. Stretching out flesh, bolting on limbs, arranging faces - it all worked.
Then, nothing. The game went back into development. New hires (Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Civilization 4 was the last high-profile addition), and no news pointed to a game in trouble.
It's understandable. Spore offers six stages of life to play with: beginning as a microbe, you'll swim around in primordial soup, dodging other microbes. Eating other nasties accrues DNA points, which, once you've reached a certain 'score', enable you to access the first creature editor. Graft on a face, legs and teeth to your microbial stain, and you're able to leave the sea.
This new phase has a similar goal: eat, but don't be eaten. This time, though, you're searching for a mate. Once an egg is laid, you'll have to fend off scavengers. With a baby in tow, you'll want to form packs and increase the size of your clan. Then it's time for the tribal phase.
Once your creature has found friends, you're no longer directing individuals: you now have an entire clan to play with. Arming your tribe with spears and clubs, you'll go out and beat up or befriend your neighbours. Breed 20 tribesmen, and you'll become a civilisation.
Caring for your race is about logistics, diplomacy and management. Choosing what buildings to construct is one problem, another is deciding whether to finish off the creatures next door. When you finally gather enough resources to build a UFO, you'll enter the space phase.
This is the meat of Spore - you're given a galaxy full of races and terraforming missiles to play with. Planet hopping, first contact making, death-star building: it's a game of almost unlimited scale. But like all of these phases, there are problems.
What's described above are skeletons of games - fantastic concepts, but with little real idea of what you'll do from minute to minute.
This is Spore's real issue - it's filled with all this amazing stuff, but we still have no idea if it's fun. We loved making our own little creature, but we've no idea what we'll be doing with it.
Star Trek Online (ETA: Winter)
An MMO where players start by learning the basics at Starfleet Academy before boldly going on to explore the Star Trek universe. Pilot your own ship or join a crew to operate a larger vessel. An unnamed new alien race will be your main enemy.
Storm of War: Battle of Britain (ETA: Summer)
Oleg Maddox has been producing superb WWII flight sims for nearly a decade. This is his finest hour - a detailed recreation of the Battle of Britain. More than a sim, it lets you control the entire air war.
STALKER: Clear Sky (ETA: Summer)
Last year's bravest game, Stalker, asked players to explore the area around the ruined Chernobyl reactor. Filled with physical and biological anomalies, it demanded players swallow their fear and go for long, lonely walks in the haunting countryside.
Clear Sky is a prequel that offers similar lowbeat thrills. Rather than focusing on a single storyline and channelling you down a linear path, in Clear Sky you're free to choose a faction (the original game let you choose missions from two sides: Duty and Freedom) from the offset - your objective being to dominate the zone for them by finding artefacts, raiding encampments, and generally making a nuisance of yourself in this radioactive wasteland.
StarCraft II (ETA: Summer)
It's all about the mini-tanks: Starcraft's space-faring strategy wouldn't be anywhere near as popular if it wasn't for the personable vehicles and infantry that batter each other in the tight skirmish maps. Each of these brilliant tech-toys have dozens of roles, and best exploiting them requires quick wits and even an quicker hand on the hotkeys.
For Starcraft 2, the designers have new tricks and toys to play with, and each promises to be more fun than any unit we've played with in an RTS to date. The bad news: some of your favourites from Starcraft 1 won't make it (the Firebat's been extinguished! Noo!). But honestly, after a few hours with Starcraft 2, we don't think you'll miss them.
Subversion (ETA: Winter)
Introversion aren't telling us what this is about, but the sight of vector cities points to science-fiction paranoia. Because these are the guys who produced Defcon, we'll just sit cooing over the screenshots, patiently waiting for news.
The Swarm (ETA: Spring)
In a Moscow destroyed by alien attacks, you have to defend yourself against humans scavenging for food and supplies, as well as the aliens. You survive by adopting new powers and abilities that erode your sanity, and your humanity.
They (ETA: Winter)
It's 2012 and robots are attacking London. Robots controlled by the phantoms wrapped around their heads. Naturally, you fight them off with guns. Each weapon is customisable, and you can share your ingenious creations online.
Totems (ETA: Winter)
Inspired by parkour, Totems has a main character, Gia, who adopts powers from four animal spirits. Enemies are anthropomorphised animals with the same environmental awareness as you, letting them walljump and climb mid-fight.
Top Secret (ETA: Winter)
A former game developer asked the internet if they'd help him build a game for a credit. The internet came up with a massively multiplayer beast racing game. Mario Kart, but with tentacles. This is what everyone wants to play, apparently.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (ETA: Spring)
Turning Point is an alternate history World War II game where Hitler has managed to invade Washington DC in 1953. Rather than playing a soldier winning the war single-handedly, you're a construction worker trying to survive in the midst of Zeppelin-led invasion. It's a comic book FPS that doesn't take history seriously: a contender.
Turok (ETA: Spring)
There's a superb moment in the early version of Turok we've played. You round a corner and face a dozen or so heavily armoured space-soldiers. Then, the grass starts moving, and velociraptors sprint out of the undergrowth. Wait: that isn't the best bit. The real thrill comes when your character, Turok, grabs a knife and sneaks up on the back of dinosaur, and slits its throat. Mean, grisly, and very, very funny.
Underwater Wars (ETA: Winter)
Included in this feature because the press release cracked us up on deadline, this shooter is the usual post-apocalyptic nonsense, with one big feature. It's set "on a land and under the water". Other badly translated features include "hydro accelerate system, mini submarines and etc", "three modes of operation: underwater operations, underwater bases, ground missions and multiplayer" and "two main character (men and woman)." We don't know if it's going to be any good, and frankly we don't care: the broken English promises are entertaining enough in themselves.
Urban Empires (ETA: Spring)
This multiplayer strategy game is a cute new idea: with 18 other players per city, use extortion, robbery and drug dealing to build a nice chunk of cash. Then spend it on guns and henchmen to take the fight to your enemies. When those scraps take place, you can either give orders for the AI to carry out, or jump in to take direct control of each character. Between games, online stat-tracking, persistent scores and league tables should keep you thinking about your next hit.