Thursday, May 10, 2007

2007 = Best Year in Gaming

Yes, 2007 clearly is going to be a great year and will no doubt go down in gaming history. From games like Too Human, Bioshock and Two Worlds to new downloadable content, rumored Xbox Live Arcade games to new peripherals. The Xbox 360 is going to have one hell of a year (games wise)!

Hit the jump (to lightspeed or if you have a T3 connection...possibly plaid?)!

Let's get this proverbial ball rollin! First off we'll start with what's new and coming out (soon) for the 360. If you haven't noticed there's been a TON of new XBLA games that have some out, due to Microsoft's "Double Hit Wednesdays" as they had 3 straight weeks of 2 arcade games per week. Speculation says that this is because there might come a drought of XBLA games, but this is all too soon to tell.

Xbox Live Arcade released in the past month:

1) 3D Ultra Mini-Golf Adventures (800 MS Points)
2) Gyruss (400 MS Points)
3) Pinball FX (800 MS Points)
4) Eets: Chowdown! (800 MS Points)
5) Centipede/Millipede (400 MS Points)
6) Catan (800 MS Points)
7) Double Dragon (400 MS Points)

As I won't go into detail about these games there are some that require a little bit of explantion. 3D Ultra Mini-Golf Adventures is a pretty self explanatory game, but it's worth while to note that Ubisoft published this game with more games to come from them. Pinball FX is an obvious game, if you like 3D pinball this one's for you! Eets: Chowdown deserves some explantion here seeing as most people have never heard of this game. Eets was originally a PC lemmings clone (sorta). The gameplay is very similar as a user guides Eets to a levels exit while avoiding hazards. Centipede/Millipede is a two-in-one deal with both retro games ported to the XBLA arcade with new multiplayer. Catan is also a port (with a different name, Settlers of Catan) which brings Big Huge Games back to it's roots with this strategic board game.
Finally this week there was Double Dragon, I don't think I need to say much about this seeing as everyone knows what Double Dragon is. It is worth while to mention that this is not the Nintendo or even the Super Nintendo copy of the game. Much like most games on the XBLA this is a port of the original arcade Double Dragon.

Staying on topic of the XBLA I'll let you guys in on a little secret (well if it's a secret, it's the world's worst secret)...according to a web page from Sega Online, Sonic the Hedgehog (the original Genesis game) is coming to the downloadable service as part of a Sega Vintage Collection (LINK: SegaOnline)above all this are some new original XBLA games like Undertow, which uses the Unreal 3 Engine in an arcade game with 16 player multiplayer action and Puzzle Quest, the DS/PSP hit puzzle game is also coming to the XBLA arcade and with the just announced Happy tree Friends games rest assured there's a game for someone on the XBLA service.

Before I get into the newly announced games and works in progress, I'm gonna talk about some games that are coming out in the near future and some new DLC coming soon and probably mention that the Halo 3 beta starts up next week! With Crackdown being out for a couple months now most people were left wondering about Microsoft's policy that if a game doesn't have a full gamerscore, developers and publishers a like would have to release free DLC to reach that full gamerscore of 1000 points. Well wait no more as Crackdown's DLC is coming to Xbox Live Marketplace next week! Along with a title update, there will be two separate download packs. Free-For-All Pack is free allowing players to get their gamerscore for Crackdown to 1040, then along with this will be the Gettin' Busy Bonus Pack which takes your gamerscore to a total of 1250 unfortunately this pack is 800 MS Points to purchase. The neat thing about this DLC is that you can grab achievements through the free DLC, but what's even better is that if your buddy has downloaded the premium pack, you're able to mooch off your buddy for that session and unlock a few more achievements. Having the premium DLC has it's perks though as there's a few achievements you can only get by having it. Here's the full details about Crackdown's title update, found here at Major Nelson's blog.

Next we have the games coming up for this summer. Shadowrun is the world's first cross-platform multiplayer game. Shadowrun is an online only first-person shooter, although there is a single player "training mode". The main emphasis is going to be the online. Microsoft has announced today that Shadowrun has gone gold, and the release date set in stone is May 29th, with an M rating and a $10 price cut if you're buying it on the PC, be sure to check out Shadowrun.

Due out by the end of the summer Bioshock and Blue Dragon will be coming to the Xbox 360. Bioshock which is developed by Irrational Games (System Shock 2) is giving us a hybrid of first-person shooter with a little RPG mixed, add in some sci-fi and you, my friend, have Bioshock. The story so far is as such: In the 1960's after World War II had finished a select number of people had split off from the rest of the world, going with these people were some of the brightest on the planet. They had created a world called "Rapture". This isn't the case though when you start game as it's mostly deserted. For a full preview of the game go here. Bioshock is due out August 21st.

Not only do this game have 3 discs, Blue Dragon has the same developers that gave you Chrono Trigger AND it has Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, if that doesn't make you want this game, what sort of RPG fan are you??? For the most part the people developing the game and the publisher's have been tight lipped about it, with that said there isn't much about the North American release besides that it's due out for August 17th.

RPGs not your thing? Well action fans all around will appreciate this next game, John Woo's Stranglehold is a third person action adventure game, which is supposedly acts as a sequel to a previous John Woo movie starring Chow Yun-Fat, who also stars in this game! Developed by midway and yet another August release, you can expect a lot of cool and innovative action sequences in the game!

August not soon enough for you? Well there's more! The Darkness, is out June 25th. The Darkness is based on the comic series starring Jackie Estacado, a possessed Mafia hitman. With the same developers that brought you Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (which was a surprisingly good game on the original Xbox) you can expect this game to be the sleeper hit of the summer. Again, not much has been revealed about the story, but it's said some of it is to take place during World War I.

Wait! Don't go anywhere, there's more. (Yea, I know. VERY long post), but I'll keep it short and sweet.

There has been a bunch of games set for even later this year, one of the most memorable ones being Halo 3 in November, but besides that, what else is there? Well here's a list of game to expect by year's end!

- Dark Sector
- Halo 3
- Mercenaries 2: World In Flames
- Hellgate: London
- Mass Effect
- Condemned 2: Bloodshot (early 2008)
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
- The Simpsons Movie
- Unnamed FPS based on the Alien movie series (2008)

Lastly I couldn't just put this in a list, but announced earlier Square Enix is making a new series for the next-gen gamers called The Last Remnant. I strongly advise any Square fan to check this out.

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