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Genre: FPS

Hot Games of 2007 article

First Person Shooters are a growing genre, although they are relatively new compared to other genres. Contrary to popular belief, however, we have more FPSes coming out this year than Halo 3. Let's take a look at some of the bigger titles that will hit this year.

Name of the Game: Halo 3
Hotness Factor: 5
System/s: Xbox 360
Developer: Bungee Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Release: Fall 2007
Number of Players: 1-16
ESRB Rating: Mature

It's almost here; I can almost smell the Flood carcasses in the air. And I know I'm not the only one. Halo 3 is quite possibly the most highly anticipated video game ever. But such should be expected from the original Xbox's flagship game. The question now is, will this third and final installment of the Halo series clear the exceptionally high bar waiting patiently, but demandingly, in front of it?

In Halo 3, Master Chief will finish the fight with both the Flood and the Covenant. The climactic battles will take place on Earth (primarily) and promise to combine franchise classics with new muscular graphics, weapons, vehicles, and gadgets. But be aware of the following: Halo 3 will offer the same uncomplicated run and gun action that its two predecessors did. There's no new stealth system, no advanced cover system, and no squad based action. In the way Halo 2 felt like Halo with new weapons, the vehicle hijacking ability, and dually wielded weapons, so too does Halo 3 feel like Halo 2 with additional gadgets (like bubble shields), slightly better graphics, and new weapons (like the powerful Spartan Laser). This, however, is no fault. Bungee deserves credit for not trying to fix something that wasn't broken. What worked for them in the past has not been changed: the gameplay that fans have grown to love is typical Halo. But fear not, for much has been changed, and for the better. Game fluidity, graphics, and sound have all enjoyed steroidal strengthening. It is this that I for one look forward to: more familiar Halo action in a prettier (both in sight and sound), more intense, climactic package.

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: Turok
Hotness Factor: 4
System/s: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Propaganda Games
Publisher: Touchstone
Release: September 17, 2007
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending

If you're anything like me, you probably assumed years ago that the Turok franchise was dead and buried, its well played corpse laid to rest with its other successful video game brethren in the soil of the gaming graveyard. If you're anything like me, your assumption was just as wrong. The Turok franchise, as Turok himself is in the games, is damn resilient. Coming this fall is Turok to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

The story is this: Turok, a futuristic Special Forces soldier is tasked with hunting down a war criminal named Kane. Turok will track Kane to a distant, alien jungle planet reminiscent of our Earth about 500 million years ago. Not only will players battle Kane's smart minions, but they will have to fend off attacks from the planet's natives: all manner of dinosaurs (who, entertainingly, are deadly to everything they come in contact with, not just the player). Expect fast paced and complex action in Turok. The capabilities afforded by the 360 and PS3 will demand nothing less. During the E3 demonstration, Propaganda Games showed off a battle between Turok, his accomplice, Kane's men, Velociraptors, and a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was fast and utterly chaotic, and everyone loved it. Propaganda said the graphics, which were pretty good, are in the process of undergoing a big upgrade which allow for not only more beautiful scenery, but realistic, destructible environments. Needless to say, I'm ready for it. Turok will hit store shelves in mid September of 2007.

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Hotness Factor: 4
System/s: Nintendo Wii
Developer: Retro Studios, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: August 20, 2007
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending

Don't let Retro Studios' decision to delay the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption disconcert you: Retro needed the time to work out some kinks and the game that will be released in August looks like it will be worth the wait. At E3 2006, Corruption was demonstrated for fans and proved to be rough around the edges. The Wii-mote made controlling the game's heroine, Samus Aran, clumsy and aggravating. Many doubted the wisdom behind releasing such a game, a fast paced first-person shooter, for the Nintendo Wii. Graphics and sound are irrelevant if a game can not be effectively played. Thus, Corruption's release date was postponed, and wisely so. I'm pleased to say that the game later released at Nintendo's Wii event in New York City was a vast improvement. Retro Studios has become the first game developer to fully utilize the potential of the Wii-mote and prove its effectiveness at executing the duties of first-person shooters. Designed specifically for the pros, the new "expert" control method wonderfully brings the Wii-mote into its own as a fluid and effective FPS controller. Its maneuverability and speed will satisfy fans who are looking for the same level of control afforded by a computer mouse and keyboard. Testers at the event testified that they found themselves flying through levels, executing complex maneuvers with ease, achieving impressive accuracy, and were even more engaged in the game they would have been with a traditional joystick or keyboard based control system.

Now that I've convinced you that the Wii can indeed accommodate a great first person shooter, and well, let's talk about the game itself. Players control the game's heroine, Samus Aran, as she explores a vast space station undulating through deep, dark space. In beta levels that testers and the media alike have called gorgeous, Samus encounters villains new and old, morphs into the familiar Metroid ball from to navigate tight spaces, blows barriers to smithereens with bombs, and much more. Using the Wii-mote will also allow players to enjoy a level of depth not before realized with simple push button controllers: extend your arm with the Wii-mote in your hand and watch Samus' arm do the same. So, if you reach for a door handle or some sort of computer terminal, so shall she. But the gameplay and controls aren't the only things that make waiting until August 2007 for Corruption difficult. The graphics, during both gameplay and in-game movies, are fantastic. They are cinematic, immersive, and quite impressively realistic. So, now that the kinks have been worked out and the game looks great, the decision to delay its release has proven a good one, which unfortunately makes the wait all the more difficult.

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: Blacksite: Area 51
Hotness Factor: 4
System/s: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Developer: Midway Studios - Austin
Publisher: Midway Games
Release: September 10, 2007
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending

You and probably everyone you have ever met have heard about that secret facility whose existence the government will neither confirm nor deny that stands inconspicuously in the Nevada desert, Area 51. Well, in Blacksite: Area 51 you'll not only become familiar with the facility, you'll get nice and intimate with its most infamous residents: the aliens, of course. The game puts characters in control of a special forces soldier accompanied by a two man squad of his special forces brethren. Your mission is to hunt down the alien horde that has escaped from Area 51 and spread to nearby towns, killing damn near everything in its path. A demo of the game has been released on Xbox Live Marketplace and consists of a five minute battle at a gas station between your squad a group of various alien enemies. The graphics look great; weapon animation is awesome, the lighting looks realistic, and the action is fast and fluid. Throughout the game players can expect a lot of intense fighting and streamlined, simple squad based tactics. Keep the following in mind: Blacksite: Area 51 is an arcade shooter. This is not going to play like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter or Rainbow Six. With the right bumper, the squad can be directed to move to a location, infiltrate a building or other confined space, attack a target and so on all depending on the location of your aiming reticule. They are intuitive and contextual, performing different actions depending on what you're looking at when you tell them to act. Pretty easy. Another nice feature of the game is the destructibility of the environments. Nearly everything can be shot up or blown up. Gas pumps (and large tanks), road signs, parked automobiles, alien heads, everything. That makes for some great fun and is becoming the norm for FPS and action/adventure games. Check out Blacksite: Area 51 on the internet now and in stores in September.

Hot Games of 2007 article

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