We all love the hype surrounding new console and handheld exclusive IPs; but we all hate the fanboys (We know what makes you tick) who either dish out the trash talk on the ’Xbots’’ or bring ‘Giant Crabs’ into an argument. While the Xbox 360 has dominated the software market with great titles this year, there are still a few that made it to the PS3. Unfortunately, we’re nearly omitting the Wii from the 2007 list. Yes, the Wii can’t handle these games for mostly graphical reasons and complexity. Sorry Nintendo, but we need some new IPs outside of your grasp!
Anyway, let’s not argue! It’s the festive time, so let’s all celebrate (yes, that’s you Johnny Sonyboy and Robert Xbot) the new IPs that have graced more than one console or handheld platform!
Rock Band – PS2, PS3, Xbox 360
While it might seem like a familiar formula, Harmonix’s Rock Band is a completely different experience to their old Guitar Hero series. Not the graphical behemoth of Gears of War or Bioshock, Rock Band’s draw lies in the gameplay. Taking the Guitar Hero formula, and adding drums, making bass an actual part of the game and paying homage to ‘Singstar,’ it’s a fantastic formula for fun with friends.
While the game’s soundtrack ain’t rockin’ it out like Guitar Hero III, there are new downloadable albums on the way from the likes of The Who, Nirvana and Metallica. Not only that, but if you can apparently handle the drum part of the game, then you’re more than capable of transferring those skills to a real kit! Who would have thought it? Learning while playing a game! Harmonix has once again delivered another evolution to the rhythm-based gaming genre. Let’s all look forward to the un-announced, but expected, Saxophone Hero: The Legend of John Coltrane!
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords – DS, PS2, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
A puzzle game on this list you say? It’s a bit more than that we’ll have you know! Taking the addictive nature of ‘Bejeweled’ and throwing an RPG experience into the mix and you have, possibly, one of the most bizarrely successful cross-genre games in years. Beginning life on the handheld, publisher D3 soon saw the potential behind this franchise and has since ported it to PC, PS2, Wii and, most successfully, Xbox 360. Arriving on Xbox Live Arcade was what the game needed, with its popularity hitting through the roof. Critics and game players alike applauded its audacious concept. Aimed at everyone, give Puzzle Quest a home this season; it deserves the love!
Skate – PS3, Xbox 360
It seems hard to believe that a skating game from EA would turn out better than Mr. Hawk’s ailing iterations of recent years. Yes, it arrived from nowhere and was generally accepted by critics as the new King of the grind. Skate has done what the Tony Hawk’s games have failed to do for years: make skating realistic. While the Hawk series has gone off in ridiculous direction in recent years, only recently getting back on the right path; skate has managed to combine great visuals, controls and accessibility to make it the best skating game this generation. While we’re sure this new IP and the Tony Hawk games can co-exist, we do hope that the latter’s developer (Neversoft) looks at what EA Black Box has created, and aims to compete next year without the Hawkster’s name providing the main draw…
The Darkness – PS3, Xbox 360
The Darkness is rising, and we have no gripe with this new IP. Based on the million selling comic book series, we follow the excellent story of Jackie Estacado’s tale of betrayal and vengeance on his own mob crime family. While it wasn’t the greatest game ever, and it didn’t live up to the Chronicles of Riddick game that Starbreeze was behind, it further cemented the Swedish developer’s reputation from taking source material and making a great shooter out of it.
It’s a journey you will enjoy, and we hope that The Darkness 2 (which is no doubt in the works…) will top the original and improve its game mechanics to make it one of the great shooter series’ of this generation.
Assassin’s Creed – PS3, Xbox 360
Perhaps the most interesting of all the games on this list, Ubisoft’s flawed gem was dug under by its hype and suffered as a result. It’s repetitious, buggy and, at times, boring. Yet, the graphical beauty of the surrounding vistas and with a story that gradually builds up to a conclusion you won’t want to miss; Assassin’s Creed is addictive and an interesting new IP. The ending screams out for a sequel, and we cannot wait to see what Ubisoft is going to do. But, it really needs to improve and pack a ton of variety into the game for it to fulfill its potential as a great IP.
Portal – PS3, Xbox 360
Everyone loves cake… and everyone should love Portal. Packed inside The Orange Box, this little beauty will provide you with a few hours of revolutionary gameplay that most full games cannot provide across their whole package. Thankfully, this package is a superb one, and Portal is indeed the icing on the cake (it was too hard to resist). When you play Portal, you’ll come to recognize the value of cake – we’re not crazy.
Portal is, as the name suggests, all about portals. In a similar style to Prey’s system, the goal of this title is not to shoot aliens, but make your way through puzzles using your portal gun. This gun is your ticket to the exit point of each room you enter, and you can guide the player or items around the World to certain positions unreachable by conventional means, using the portal gun. This is vital to completing the game. Also did we not mention the brilliant conclusion and ‘‘Cake Song’? Even more reason to play this game. Although it’s in The Orange Box, it’s a great value package that every gamer should delve into.
Now that we’ve got this year out of the way, click the next page to see what is about to rock your gaming life in 2008…
Yes, it’s time to look forward, not downwards; upwards, not sideways, and most certainly not backwards. In explanation, let’s look at the brand new IPs that are coming to our current-gen consoles (it isn’t next-gen if we already have it) in 2008! A lot of tough choices were made, and a few titles were omitted from the running. Yet, that’s not to say we’re writing them off; just that we think these titles have more potential than the others. So without further ado, here they are!
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty – PS3, Xbox 360
Another first person shooter, eh? Well, get used to it. Despite what is being said, the most innovative stuff in the game market at the moment comes from the shooter genre. And yet again, we have another fine example of changing things. Turning Point is set in an alternate reality. Here, the quick-witted, warmonger, wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill died in 1931; apparently knocked down by a cab. We bet he still had something witty to say before his death…
So when Britain went to War in 1939, they had no leader, like Churchill, to show them the way in such a crisis. As a result, the Nazi and Axis forces overcome Europe and seize power. Then they, of course, set their sights on America; the Eastern Seaboard in particular.
In 1953, New Yorkers are hit by a surprise attack. The Axis Powers have made their way to the Big Apple. Surprisingly, you’re not playing a soldier in this FPS. You’re a mere construction worker, trying to save his own bacon. Although that would require some effort against a force as powerful as the Axis in this game. Since it is 1953, fabled German weapons and vehicles are now a reality. Don’t expect to see your standard German World War II guns as viewed in other WWII shooters such as Call of Duty; expect to see advanced versions.
The game has an interesting premise, potential and may prove to be an unlikely hit when it arrives next year.
The Club – PS3, Xbox 360
Bizarre Creations is best known for their racing game series’ Project Gotham Racing and Metropolis Street Racer… and yes, we all know Geometry Wars too. Yet, this is most certainly the studio’s most audacious title yet: a shooter with a point based system that allows you to combo kills and such. ‘The Club’ is an underground blood-sport, funded by those rich business type men who like to watch a good fight.
Offering eight playable characters, nine multiplayer modes and 16 players online; we’re sure that this is going to be lighting up Xbox Live and the PSN in 2008.
Legendary: The Box – PS3, Xbox 360
Yup, another shooter. Coming from the development team behind Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, it is also set in New York. Gosh, sounds similar, doesn’t it? Ah, wait… modern day New York. Actually, that’s not the only difference. You play the role of a thief named Charles Deckard, who opens Pandora’s Box (eek). This, of course, releases hell on Earth as mythical creatures come to life and look to bring about the World’s destruction! Thankfully, the box has released some power to you with it. These abilities allow you to take down the creatures. But Deckard must also face cultists who want the box for their own evil scheme. On top of that, you see some jaw-dropping graphical splendor and you have something that really looks fresh. But unfortunately, the publisher is Gamecock… yes, those clowns who ruined Ken Levine’s (the man behind Bioshock) acceptance for a Spike TV award by dressing up as roosters. Regardless, we have hopes that Legendary: The Box will prove to be every bit as epic as the premise.
Army of Two – PS3, Xbox 360
The last Army of Two footage we watched wasn’t that promising. The game looked shabby, completely unfinished – no surprise that it was delayed until March 2008. We’re hoping that extra time will deliver the polish that the final game needs. With the main focus on co-op and shooting, the title has great appeal to casual and hardcore gamers alike. There are also weapons galore as you can fine-tine and customize your arsenal with larger magazines, new grips etc.
The game will also feature an online co-op multiplayer mode, with four players (two-on-two) competing to take down an AI lead terrorist on different maps. We’re still interested in Army of Two, so let’s hope it delivers!
Prototype – PS3, Xbox 360
Let’s move away from the FPS genre and to this little gem. Prototype tells the tale of Alex Mercer, an amnesiac. He wakes up on an experimentation table in an underground New York lab, with no clue as to how he got there. But Alex soon finds out that there is more afoot in New York (what the hell is it with this City, first-person shooters and trouble?) than his bout of Amnesia: he’s a prototype.
Our protagonist, or ‘anti-hero’ as he should be called, has been mutated. He can shape shift into and consume the memories of his fallen enemies. Taking the Grand Theft Auto route of go anywhere/kill everything, and offering multiplayer, we’re sure Prototype is going to excite PS3 and 360 owners everywhere, closer to its release.
Borderlands – PS3, Xbox 360
Back to the FPS for the final title on our list – but with a twist. Borderlands is an FPS wrapped with RPG like qualities and a dose of Mad Max. The story is revolved around a mysterious vault, hidden in land known as… well, we guess, the Borderlands. Bounty Hunters, criminals, adrenaline junkies and gold-diggers litter the land and we presume we’re going to be ultimately looking for this vault. Although, with it being an RPG too, we’re also expecting plenty of side-quests too for you to fight your way through. And you won’t need to fight alone either; the game will offer four player co-op, plus other multiplayer modes. With the game in the hands of Gearbox, we’re confident that this title is going to deliver. And with it also tipped to be a new series of games under the ‘Borderlands’ title, we expect this to become a well-loved franchise.
To conclude, there are plenty of new IPs to look forward to in 2008. Although we couldn’t list them all here, there are still some that interest us. ‘The Last Remnant’ from Square-Enix being one example. And we didn’t include ‘Lost Odyssey’ due to it arriving in Japan this year.(Plus we stuck it on another list) But that’s not to say these games are not worth looking forward to either – that’s why we are taking the chance to give them honorable mentions now! So while 2008 looks to be – yet again – another year of the shooter, there are still plenty of other new IPs arriving that look like they have the potential to hit it big with critics and gamers alike. Roll on 2008!