#72: Final Fantasy XIII Agito
TBA: Mobile phones Final Fantasy XIII Agito offers handheld role-playing action, but Square Enix has said current cell phones aren't sophisticated enough to handle this game. As a result, Agito is being planned for the next-generation of cell phones and -- go figure! -- a release date has yet to surface. Agito begins in a magic school, and players can play as one of 12 characters, each of whom wields a different weapon. Some of these characters have yet to properly grasp the definition of weaponry, however; two of the 12 have been seen wielding a deck of cards and a flute.
#71: Final Fantasy XIII Versus
TBA: PS3 Conflicting reports out of Japan have alternately stated Square Enix has put development of the PlayStation 3-exclusive Final Fantasy XIII Versus on hold and that reports of the game's development cessation are, in fact, bunk. The game is one-third of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII series (along with Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII Agito), and Square Enix representatives have stated Versus is very dark in tone. The game's director says Versus will be more action oriented in its role-playing, with elements of third-person shooting. Its mysterious main character will have access to a variety of weapons and, oddly enough, his eyes and hair color will change as he fights.
October: PS3, Xbox 360 In 10 words: special grenades build barriers, dig holes. Destructible environments FTW...kablooie!
#69: Fable 2
Octomber: Xbox 360 Peter Molyneux wants to teach you about love. So he's giving you a dog, a faithful companion who will crawl to be at your side even after you've left it in the dust to go hit on barmaids. An action role-playing game, Fable 2 lets you choose a male or female protagonist and then wholly customize him. Your deeds will determine if he's thought of as a hero or heel, but be warned: In Fable 2, heroes are going to have make real sacrifices, such as suffering deformities or going without gold and prestige. The game will also have pregnancies (and venereal disease!); one-button combat for magic, shooting, and swords; choices that impact the game world (do you help the town sheriff or the thieves' den?); interactive cut-scenes; the option to purchase every building in the game; and cooperative play.
#68: Gears of War 2
November 2008: Xbox 360 Gears of War 2 is going to be the must-own Xbox 360 game of 2008. Why? Because Gears 2 still feels like the good 'ol original third-person shooter but much improved, and it's awesome! You run around, tactically seeking cover and shooting the crap out anything that moves. The biggest difference in Gears 2 lies in the notion of "stopping power," which impacts your speed as you continue to take bullets. This impedes your ability to rush an opponent hoping for a last second grenade stick or shotgun smattering. Along the same lines is the new grenade "concussive force," which stuns you for a period of time depending on your proximity to detonated grenades. Standing on top of a grenade will still blow you to bloody bits, but most of the time you will find yourself lying face down in the dirt, struggling to stand back up before an attacker rushes to chainsaw you. And speaking of sawing chains of death, if you smack into another player with chainsaws raised and ready, you will lock into a chainsaw duel. You'll want to immediately mash the B-button as quickly as you can, and to the fastest masher goes the bloody spoils.
There are also more ways to embarrass and harass "downed" opponents. Downed players crawl around on all fours, unable to shoot and spill blood in their wake. But just because you're down does not mean you're out. Press the A-button rapidly to crawl away to safety in hopes a nearby teammate will revive you before... well, you know. For instance, Gears 2 features multiple forms of executions, or fatalities as I like to call them. There are weapon-specific fatalities, a brutal brain-bashing melee fatality, and the infamous curb stomp returns. But that's not all you can do with downed opponents; pick them up to use them as a human meat shield for as long as want. When you're done, a simple neck snap will finish them off.
Many returning weapons from Gears 1 have been fine tuned for optimal balance, and the introduction of such weapons as the 5-round burst Gorgan Pistol and Scorcher flamethrower are welcome additions. Active Reloading has been tweaked too, not only increasing damage but accuracy and range as well. Active Reload is a reloading mini-game featured in the first Gears of War that rewarded the player with more powerful bullet damage if timed correctly.
And finally, three new multiplayer modes have been thrown into the mix: Guardian, Submission, and Wingman. Guardian is the new Assassination from Gears 1 where you are broken up into two teams and one player is assigned the role of team leader. As long as the team leader is alive, you will continue to respawn in waves. The goal is to take out the other team's leader, while protecting yours, and then eliminate the rest. Submission, formerly known as Meat Flag, challenges you to take hostage a feisty non-playable character and carry him to a secure zone. The challenging parts of Meat-Flag Submission are that the hostage totes a shotgun and his own kill count on the leaderboard and the secure zone is surrounded by lasers that must be turned off by your teammates. Wingman is a simple team deathmatch mode where teams are broken up into two-player attack squads. For instance, a ten-player lobby would consist of five teams of two. You and your teammate sport the same character model and the goal is to kill anyone that doesn't look like you.
#67: Guitar Hero World Tour
October: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PC All hail the musician methos: "We play together." That means your entire band is hopping on the tour bus this year for Guitar Hero World Tour - guitar, bass, vocals, and drums. And guess who's in the spotlight? Shred masters step aside, because drummers are the new hotness. So without further adieu, we introduce you to the new Guitar Hero drum set.
POINT 1: Look and feel. There is an extra pad on the World Tour drum kit compared to Rock Band's setup. The high hat and crash cymbals are elevated directly above the snare and two tom pads, which looks and feels more authentic. The bass kicker is located on the floor underneath the drum pads.
POINT 2: Shhhh... Synthetic rubber cushioning makes the GH drum kit quieter than the competition and allows for fast-action drum rolls. From the snare and tom pads to the cymbals, rubber is better than plastic.
POINT 3: Bands and tracks. World Tour leaves the cover songs behind and jam packs over 80 master tracks into this year's set list. Confirmed bands and songs include Linkin Park, The Eagles, Van Halen, Sublime's "Santeria," Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," and Foo Fighter's "Everlong."
POINT 4: Music Creator. Finally! No more 12-step computer hacks to tab out your own custom tracks. In World Tour you can record and release your own songs using a full-featured, in-game recording studio and mixing program. And that's not all! GH Tunes allows you to share your music with other Guitar Hero players online.
POINT 5: Wired or Wireless? It has been confirmed that the drum set will be wireless. There will, however, likely be a cord that connects the bass kicker pedal to the rest of the drum kit, but how can you complain about that?