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Hot Games of 2007 article

So, what makes a hot automotive game? In a highly competitive gaming market, it's an essential question. There's tons of games on the market that deal with cars, dirtbikes, and the like, but what out there looks good? Here are some criteria:

First, you've got to be inventive. Racing some cars around a track has been done to death, and is just boring. Automotive games have to bring something unique to the table that'll avoid them looking like "just another racing game."

Second: In the event of a series, upgrade and enhance features as much as possible. We all know series are the new thing in gaming, and franchises these days turn out endless sequels. Many automotive sequels suffer from being repetitive and resembling their past incarnations a little too much. Finally: Make it fun. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but an automotive game being no fun can happen and has happened. What attracts people to the automotive genre is not plotlines or substance, it's about creating a need for speed fantasy where there are no repercussions for driving fast or crashing cars. It's about being able to zoom past the competition that in real life sometimes zooms by you and relieving the stress that we all succumb to every once in a while. So, without further ado, I present to you my list of the Hot Automotive games of 2007!

Name of the Game: Forza Motorsport 2
System/s: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: MS Game Studios
Release: May 29, 2007
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Hotness Factor: 4

Finally, Forza Motorsport makes the jump from the Xbox to the 360! Though it's taken quite a while, it looks like the wait may have been worth it. With a complex and varied career mode, more intuitive racing assists, greatly enhanced physics, and gorgeous graphics, this may be the Forza Motorsport you've been waiting for!

The career mode in Forza Motorsport strives to create a very life-like racing experience. You'll begin by choosing what world region you want your home to be, and based on where you live, you'll be able to choose from the domestic cars available. So, for example, if you decide to live in Japan, don't count on too many Volkswagens being available. From there, you'll be able to drive free-range in your neck of the woods, running into various races and challenges that, if completed successfully, will afford you the credentials you'll need to begin upgrading.

But, as fans of the original know, Forza doesn't make driving easy. It's not as much of a traditional racing game as a high-speed driving simulation. And with that comes the complex controls and physics that really give a believable tenet to this game. You'll have to use tricks and strategies that are only really known to professional drivers. Luckily for those of us who aren't on NASCAR's payroll, the game includes "driving assists" that give you real-time hints on how to win races, keep your vehicle in control, and shave those few precious seconds off your drive time.

Forza Motorspot 2 looks like it will be a must-own title for the Xbox 360 this year simply because of its use of realistic driving physics and complex simulation system. But remember kids, don't try this at home!

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars
System/s: PSP
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Release: June 26th 2007
Number of Players: 1 (with ad-hoc multiplayer option)
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Hotness Factor: 2

This summer, Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars will arrive for the PSP. Rather than being an all-new game, Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars will contain updated versions of the Dreamcast favorites Crazy Taxi and Crazi Taxi 2. The original premise, gameplay, even the visuals will all be kept intact, with only a few upgrades, and will provide gamers with more of a vintage gaming experience rather then a newer approach to the Crazy Taxi series.

For those new to the series, the premise of Crazy Taxi is to race against the clock to pick up fares and get people to their destinations in the quickest way possible. The faster you get people to where they want to go, the more the money you get, which translates into time extensions.

The new version for the PSP will tote a new environment, an additional jumping ability, and the ability to pick up more than one fare at the same time. The new version also improves on the sound department by adding some higher-quality music, and redone voicework. Another really cool thing about the PSP edition of the game is the ability for players to customize their soundtrack using songs that they've downloaded to their PSP memory stick.

Perhaps the most compelling feature will be the ad-hoc multiplayer mode. You'll be able to test your skills against other PSP owners. You'll have the choice of either competing against your rivals or playing cooperatively. If you choose competition, you'll be able to burn other cabbies, steal fares, and race around to see who the craziest taxi driver is. However, if you play cooperatively, you'll be able to combine forces and form a strategy to earn the best ranking.

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: DiRT
System/s: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Release: June 30, 2007
Number of Players: Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Hotness Factor: 4

Codemasters' Colin McRae series has consistently delivered a fun and unique automotive gaming experience ever since its debut in 2000. It's been gone for a little while (two years to be exact), but now the Colin McRae brand of Rally Racing is back in this year's rally racing spectacular, DiRT.

Developer Codemasters promises that, though this is the Colin McRae you love, the Rally racing will be completely redone to fully utilize the potential afforded by the next generation. First of all, there's the amazing graphics. The framerate is excellent, and if watching early video is any indication of the finished product, then your eyes are in for a real treat. The sophistication of the models, in addition to the extremely detailed environments is enough to make you really take notice of this one.

This game will also feature a multiplayer mode that allows up to 100 people to play the same track to see who can get through it the fastest. Don't have 99 friends? Don't worry, there will some online support to find you some competition. However, there is one catch which may turn off some players. Not all the players will be on the track at the same time. It's not quite known right now how many will be able to share the track at the same time. When you hear about a 100-car race, deep inside you're probably hoping to smash through 99 other players, and sadly, that's not the experience that DiRT is offering.

The controls have also been tweaked to be at peak performance, and boast superior handling and acute control over your vehicle. Hopefully, everything about this next-gen rally racer will be on-par with or even exceed expectations for the newest entry in the Colin McRae Series.

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: MotoGP '07
System/s: Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 2
Publisher: THQ
Developer: THQ
Release: July 17th, 2007
Number of Players: 1-multi
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Hotness Factor: 4

MotoGP '07 is going to be the 2-wheeled game of the year. Well, it's actually the only exclusively motorcycle-based game this year, but that aside, MotoGP looks like a pretty awesome game nonetheless. This year's entry in the MotoGP series looks to include some new features to the genre, including an intriguing new mode of gameplay, dubbed the "pink slip" mode.

Among the new features are the all-new Misano track which looks to replicate the Italian version of underground motorcycle racing, an exotic locale which has not been fully realized until now. The game also features new 2007 model bikes that utilize the most realistic and lifelike controls in a motorcycling game to date.

However, one of the real breakout features here is the inclusion of the "pink slip" race. Here's how it works: you go online, and the game (through a seeding system) gives you an opponent that has comparable skills to yours. Then, you look at their stats and decide if you want to race or not. But here's the catch: if you hit the accept button, and then subsequently lose the race, you lose your car. Instead of something silly like losing your online ranking, you just might lose that car you've been working on getting for weeks. It really ups the pressure in this type of gaming situation, and that's definitely a good thing.

Although motorcycle racing is another one of those mini sub-genres that doesn't have many titles, this one looks like it'll be right up your alley…or track, even if you don't think you really like motorcycle racing. You'll never know until you try!

Hot Games of 2007 article

Name of the Game: Burnout Paradise
System/s: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Criterion
Release: August 11th, 2007
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Hotness Factor: 5

By far, my most anticipated automotive game of 2007 has to be Burnout Paradise. I've been a fan of the Burnout series' dangerous driving mechanics for so long, and it seems that Burnout developers Criterion know exactly what to provide die-hard Burnout fans with to keep them hot with Burnout!

First of all, the Burnout team has completely reworked the formula, and instead of using a menu system to select challenges, Burnout Paradise gives you an entire open world system to explore and complete different missions the way that you want to.

Another really exciting feature in the newest installment of Burnout is the ramped up explosions. Instead of having 12 crashable parts to destroy, cars now have over 80 different parts to blow up, and explosions are accompanied with A.I.-engineered sound that makes each crash look and sound different from other crashes.

Burnout Paradise is also incorporating an all-new merit system which utilizes "driver's licenses" to determine how good you are at driving badly, and whether you qualify for new, tougher challenges.

And of course, no preview would be complete without mentioning the graphical leap Burnout will be making with this title. Although some graphical improvement was made when Burnout jumped to the Xbox 360, this one's really overhauling the game's visualizations. You can bet I'll be smashing and crashing all night with this one when it comes out this August!

Hot Games of 2007 article

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