Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Video Games to look forward to
The year 2008 will be another great one for video gaming, especially with plenty of games finally arriving on the PS3 platform after years of hard development. Here are some that I will be watching out for this year, on hardwares I own. Sorry, no Dragon Quest IX here as I believe the title to be stuck in development hell after Level-5 were forced to revert the originally intended action RPG gameplay to turn-based. Expect it to be a 2009 title for English speaking nations.
Bangai-O Spirits (Treasure, DS)
Little is known about this title except that it is a multi-directional shooter made by portable king developer Treasure, and is a sequel to a N64/Dreamcast game. With four player multiplayer and level editor, the game will feature some puzzle based level designs. Make sure to check out these fantastic screenshots here.
echochrome (Sony Japan Studios, PSP)
echochrome is a puzzle game that I have been looking forward to since Sony unveiled it during last year's E3 press briefing. The PlayStation Network game is based on a rotating world taking cues from Oscar Reutersvard's impossible construction and involves the player creating the path of a mannequin by manipulating the camera's perspective. Confused? Watch the trailer here. echochrome is also set to debut on the PS3 as a PSN game.
Final Fantasy IV (Matrix Software/Square-Enix, DS)
After a positive impression with the Japanese version, I really couldn't wait for the localised version to hit Western shores. One of the best Japanese role playing games is about to get better, I can promise you that.
God of War: Chains of Olympus (Ready at Dawn, PSP)
If having a portable God of War isn't exciting enough, how about it being developed a studio founded by former developers of Naughty Dog (Uncharted) and Blizzard Entertainment (Warcraft)? That alone should be enough to pluck down for a PSP alone. Chains of Olympus is a prequel to the series and will chart everyone's favourite Spartan killer in visuals that are said to be on par with its PS2 cousins.
Nanostray 2 (Shin'en, DS)
The first Nanostray game was a masterpiece of old school gameplay design. Hampered only by the forced use of touchscreen to select weapons, Nanostray was a must for vertical shooter fans. Nanostray 2 looks set to arrive with improved visuals, as well as introducing horizontal side scrolling gameplay and shunning the dreadful touchscreen implementations. Fans of Gradius and Treasure's Ikaruga will do well in ordering this in advance, considering the long delays we may have to suffer due to Majesco's policy of limited print runs.
No More Heroes (Grasshopper Manufacture, Wii)
"Censored" or otherwise, no one should be put off from playing No More Heroes. The heavily stylised visuals combined with a sandbox style gameplay and open world is a huge departure from Suda 51's amazing but physically constrained killer7.
Odin Sphere (Vanillaware, PS2)
Like GrimGrimoire, Odin Sphere features beautifully hand drawn sprites and art work. Reviewers in other countries has praised its storyline as well as its action RPG combat system. Let us hope that we will also be getting bilingual Japanese/English voice acting as our North American cousins do.
Patapon (Sony Japan Studios, PSP)
Developed by the people behind LocoRoco, Patapon features a two-dimensional gameplay that requires the player to press the button to create a rhythm in order to control an army of minituare cutesy and adorable creature. The concept is similar to war drums used by past historical military.
Secret Agent Clank (High Impact Games, PSP)
Yay, another Ratchet & Clank platformer - this time by the former Insomniacs employers who also brought us Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. As the title indicates, this is a spin-off title featuring Ratchet's sidekick Clank as an espionage agent (with tuxedo suit to and all) and will feature classic R&C style platforming and gun blazing, as well as Metal Gear Solid inspired sneaking gameplay.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (Atlus, PS2)
This Megaten game has received much critical acclaim in Japan and North America, where it even caught the attention of mainstream media. While at heart still a typical Megaten RPG, the game also involves the player to involve themselves in day to day school activities such as dating and video gaming(!). One surely not to be missed. Hopefully us PAL chums will also get the FES version.
Naturally PS3 and 360 owners will have plenty more to look forward to compared to cheap gamers like meself. The lucky bastards. Anyway not all I will get to play due to the fact that there is still a huge back catalogue from 2007 I've yet to touch (particularly on the PSP platform).
So what are you looking forward to playing this year? Metal Gear Solid 4? GTA IV? Little Big Planet? Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Do tell.