Friday, January 9, 2009

Parapper the Cracker: Incoming 2009

To kick-off my gaming journalism for 2009 I've decided to compile a list of what I think will be some of this year's most exciting games for the 360 and the PS3 (I'm ignoring the Wii because I don't own one).

Skate 2 (360 & PS3): After the major success that was EA's Skate it's hard not to be excited about this game, and better yet it comes out later this month! Blackbox (EA's development company behind the game) are promising us a marked improvement over the original in the form of the ability to skitch cars, get off your board and even move objects around any area of the New San Velona. It all sounds like the Skate franchise is developing in a similar way to the Tony Hawke's franchise, but with such vastly different (and way better) control mechanics Skate 2 is promising to once again take the genre to a whole new level. Expect to see a review very soon!

Heavy Rain (PS3): In 2005 French developer Quantic Dream released the very unique Fahrenheit, a game that challenged the way gamers get involved in the story by actually making being directly involved in how the plot unfolded, creating what can only be described as an interactive movie. Four years later Quantic Dream are poised to release another game that allows you, the gamer, to decide how the story is told with the PS3 exclusive Heavy Rain. The plot and characters are still hazy at this point in time - something about a taxidermist serial killer - but with David Cage behind the helm of Quantic Dream I expect great things.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3): Uncharted: Drakes Fortune was among the establishing game for PS3 owners when released, developer Naughty Dog (behind the original Crash Bandicoot series as well as Jak & Daxter) combined third-person shooter elements with platforming exploration to create a game that felt like the quirky love-child of Gears of War and Tomb Raider. While the original introduced us to the flawed hero Nathan Drake and his company in some very pretty Pacific island settings Uncharted 2 has appeared to present a polar opposite setting - the Arctic (gotta love puns eh?). While fighting mercs in a snowy landscape may not sound as visually impressive as a tropical paradise infested with pirates I have full confidence in Naughty Dog.

God of War III (PS3): Kratos makes his long awaited debut to the PS3 with the fourth game in the uber-bloody God of War franchise that promises to be as unrelenting and violent as its prequels. Trailers for this game have everyone's favourite Spartan-turned Greek god badass taking on everything from centuars and ogres to entire skeleton armies in the pursuit of one thing and one thing only: vengeance.

Final Fantasy XIII (360 & PS3): Long have I been a Final Fantasy nut and long have I waited for the infamous J-RPG franchise to make its appearance on next-gen consoles. After the initial shock announcement that Final Fantasy 13 would be released on 360 as well as traditional PS3 it seemed that Square Enix had sold out, but Sony lovers rejoiced when news emerged of not one FFXIII being released, but three to be released with the other two to be PS3 and PSP exclusive. Another reason why I'm very excited about this game is because of the return of one of my favourite Final Fantasy weapons, the gunblade - albeit in a slightly different form changing from blade to gun, as opposed to Squall's in FFVIII. Square Enix have a reputation for making visually impressive games with some of the prettiest settings you will ever see in a game, and with the great battle mechanics of Final Fantasy 12 hopefully remaining, Final Fantasy XIII could very well be the best role playing game of 2009.

Note: As much as I'd love to throw in the darker PS3 exclusive Final Fantasy XIII Versus into this list I don't even know for sure if it will even be released this year as no release date has even been hinted at. However if I do hear word of it being slated for release this year it will be on this list!

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3): The original Gran Turismo one the PlayStation was one of those games that got me hooked on gaming: the sheer amount of cars available, the realistic physics and the pretty visuals. Fast-forward and in 2009 I am eagerly awaiting GT5 with much baited breath. Earlier in 2008 Gran Turismo 5: Prologue was released to whet the appetites of racing nuts, and it certainly did the job. Gran Turismo 5 includes more manufacturers (Ferraris!), greater graphics (including a very nice in-car view, something which is very hard to come by), and, the crowning achievement, exclusive Top Gear content including episodes and the mighty Top Gear test track. Forza, eat your heart out.

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