#63: Halo Wars
2008: Xbox 360 PC strategy specialist Ensembles Studios takes the reigns on Halo Wars, and with it, a host of gameplay challenges. This strategy spin on the Halo shooters had some special requirements: Ensemble had to flesh out the human's UNSC vehicle fleet to make it better-equipped to handle the Convenant armada in a strategy setting. Here are the new stars of the UNSC fleet.
• 1. Cyclops: A sly homage to the Cyclops unit in Age of Mythology, this prototype UNSC unit is a powered exoskeleton capable of pulverizing enemy buildings with its smashing blows. It's surprisingly nimble and can race across the map faster than most vehicles.
• 2. Wolverine: A new anti-aircraft vehicle that can shred through Banshees and Hornets with fast-moving rockets. Unfortunately, the Wolverine is nearly helpless against ground attacks, so you've got to protect it.
• 3. Cobra: The Cobra excels at piercing enemy armor. Their high-powered rockets can drive back enemy tanks. In a pinch, you can deploy it for artillery strikes on nearby buildings.
• 4. Vulture: When the UNSC needs some heavy firepower, it calls in these bad boys. The slow-moving Vultures take time to position, but can harass enemy troops with devastating rocket volleys.
#62: Halo Chronicles
2009: Xbox 360 Microsoft and film developer Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) will be collaborating on Halo Chronicles, a mystery project that promises to blur the lines between film and video game. The title was announced in 2006 and, since then, precious little information has filtered out. Microsoft recently confirmed that Halo Chronicles will be delivered episodically, although there's no indication as to whether new episodes will be delivered on discs or via the Xbox 360 Live online service.
#61: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
November: PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, DS EA is taking a huge risk in translating this obscure fantasy book into a video game. It features a small, pallid English boy named Harry Potter who, as a magician, has all sorts of fanciful adventures. In this third-person adventure, players get to take the role of Harry and his magician pals Ron and Hermione as they cast spells, brew potions, explore the grounds of a magic school, duel with other wizards, battle fantastic monsters, and play a broom-based game called Quidditch. Oh, and someone gets killed in the book, so it's expected that this game will contain the same tragedy.