The year 2007 should be an interesting year for gaming. With Microsoft's already established Xbox 360 going against Nintendo's innovative Wii and Sony's powerful but lagging PlayStation 3, the next-generation of console wars has begun in earnest. All three consoles are going to have to bring out their big guns to earn and establish their footing, so we can expect some great games this year, and there are almost too many to choose from. However, if we, the staff of Cheat Code Central, had to choose, these would be our choices.
D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director:
Grand Theft Auto IV (PlayStation 3; Xbox 360)
I'm most looking forward to Grand Theft Auto IV. Even though there's almost no information about it currently, I still believe that it is a shoo-in for Game of the Year. Every Grand Theft Auto since GTA III has been a great and open experience, with witty dialogue, most of the most memorable characters in gaming, fun gameplay, ingenious soundtracks, and a giant gaming world. I'm sincerely expecting GTA IV to be a momentous event in gaming.
Bioshock (Xbox 360; PC)
I'm also looking forward to Bioshock. This game is gorgeous and promises to bring incredible innovation to the standard FPS formula. With a unique storyline about a fallen, underwater utopia, the ability to customize weapons, and a nonlinear story, Bioshock is definitely one of the games to keep an eye out for in 2007.
Maria Montoro, Co-Site Director
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360; PlayStation 3)
I have been waiting for the Wii and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for so long that now I can't even think of a game that I want nearly as much as I wanted that sweet, sweet package.
However, I'm really excited about playing Assassin's Creed. The main reason I'm so interested in this game is that it's being developed by the creators of the Prince of Persia and I really loved that trilogy.
The game's story is a bit more complex, set in a XII century Middle-East scenario where a political and social conflict takes place. Altair, the main character in Assassin's Creed, borrowed the acrobatic abilities from the Prince of Persia in order to fight the rebels and dissolve the conflict in his region. Then again, his behavior is a little sneakier and maybe more hostile, since his main goal differs greatly from that of the Prince of Persia. After all, we're talking about different games. If you take a look at the screenshots, Ubisoft Montreal has done a really good job creating an attractive environment and visuals that will draw us into the game in no time. This title looks promising and I really hope it delivers an exceptional experience.
Mario Party 8 (Wii)
I would probably place Mario Party 8 in my number two spot, as it will (hopefully) allow me to have some fun multiplayer parties at home with the new style of gameplay that the Wii brings to the table. I know, I know, they have released many Mario Party titles already, but this one should be exceptional, particularly for people like me. What can I say: Wii love the Wii!
Mike Wagner, Freelancer Writer
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PlayStation 3)
I would have to say that the most anticipated game of 2007 in my mind is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for PS3. Ever since Metal Gear Solid was released in the States in 1997, it has set the standard for gaming.
In terms of graphics, gameplay, music, voice acting, and story, MGS always excels and sells well. This is partially because of the emphasis on stealth, the use of real weapons in the game, and great voice acting from the likes of Cam Clark, David Hayter, Paul Otis, and Christopher Randolph. The music by Harry Gregson-Williams is awesome and brings the emotion to the characters and stories. The stories have always tied into many events in history and set the stage for the game. The Cold War, the Gulf War, Y2K, and Hiroshima are used in addition to complex themes like genetics, cloning, and the continued threat of nuclear arsenals.
This installment will be apparently the last one with Solid Snake, as hinted by Konami. This game is going to have many characters from MGS1 and 2. Meryl, Otacon, Naomi, Vamp, Liquid-Ocelot, and a new powerful Raiden are back. Hideo Kojima always brings dramatic, compelling stories that tie into real-life issues, history, and struggles.
Some questions we can expect to see answered include the role of the Patriots, what they represent and what they will do to ensure their domination. A lot of the characters had/have complex histories that had connections with real-life issues. Sniper Wolf, a Kurd endured many horrors in the Middle East after the U.S. withdrew after the Gulf War. Raiden was a child soldier in the 1980's during conflicts in the Middle East for example. Otacon's grandfather was involved with the Manhattan Project. Kojima brings a world that is complicated with many shades of grey and lives that have been woven with tragedy.
I look also forward to seeing David Hayter playing the character he was born to do in the possible final appearance of Solid Snake. This time around, he has been rapidly aging, due to his illness of rapid aging since he was a clone of Big Boss. As Naomi rushes to find a cure, he must make one last stand against Liquid Snake. Liquid Snake at this point has taken over the body of Ocelot. Liquid-Ocelot is forming an Outer Heaven and wants to wage war. As a result, Snake is called back into battle by ex-colonel Roy Campbell and his friend Otacon. Raiden provides backup as the new Cyborg-Ninja and we can expect to see a tougher Meryl Silverburgh as well.
Jacob Joel Hullett, Freelance Writer
Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)
Ever since Sonic the Hedgehog moved from the 2-D world to the 3-D world, the games have been, well, sub-par when compared to our expectations. One of our most beloved 2-D superheroes has met his kryptonite, graphics and a free roam environment. This time Sonic, with a little help from the Wii-mote, is running back at us with another try. Sonic and the Secret Rings takes the beloved mammal out of the free roam world and plants him firmly on a set path. This is great news; it is more like the Sonic from the glory days of his 2-D adventures. The Wii-mote controls Sonic by tilting to the left or right, sending Sonic to the desired direction you lean the Wii-mote. The game itself looks beautiful. The background is littered with stunning scenery like beaches, deserts, palaces, and sunsets. I am holding on to my Sonic boots for this title to reach stores because I hope that it will bring the respect that Sonic deserves. By placing Sonic back onto a set path and the clever use of the Wii-mote added to the mix, Sonic and the Secret Rings looks like a comeback in the making.
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Another game that I'm anticipating is Super Mario Galaxy. Nintendo will test the Wii's boundaries with Super Mario Galaxy, just as they have done with every Mario previous to this one. Mario is Nintendo's namesake; they build Mario games to fully envelope the player into the abilities of the console that it is released for. Mario's next adventure on the path to righteousness will find him in space, where worlds of opportunities abound. Princess Peach has been stolen by some space creature and Mario must find and rescue her. America's favorite Italian plumber ends up on worlds outside of his own. With such low gravity levels, expect higher jumps, levels that test Mario in ways that have never before been possible, and striking attacks that can launch your opponents into the Kuiper Belt of Mario's extensive universe. The Wii-mote is utilized when performing attacks by shaking, twisting, thrusting, and pointing the Wii-mote. Super Mario Galaxy promises to stretch your imagination and maybe even split a few sides.
Amanda Kondolojy, Freelance Writer
Super Smash Brothers: Brawl (Wii)
The game I am most excited to play in 2007 has to be Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. I basically grew up playing the Super Smash Brothers' series, and I still play the Gamecube version from time to time. First of all, I'm excited to see how the Smash Bros. gameplay style will translate to the Wii. I'm really hoping for some new ways to play this old favorite, along with perhaps a standard mode where I can just beat up my friends and family. Of course, not much is known about this title yet, and the anticipation is only fueling the fire. I'm also equally excited about the new characters, in particular Wario, who I believe is a long due addition to the series' roster. Hopefully, more information will be available on this title soon!