My 360 Queue

Ninja Gaiden 2

Ninja Gaiden 2

Just spent a few minutes rummaging around at Amazon and collected a few pre-release Xbox 360 titles in my shopping cart:

Fable 2

Fable 2

I’m assuming that most of those release dates are blue-sky estimates, since anything farther out than April hasn’t been actually announced. You might also notice that there’s one big title noticeably absent: Grand Theft Auto IV, due out on April 29th. I’ve played two other GTA titles on the PS2 and that particular genre of game doesn’t seem to be my bag. I don’t enjoy playing a bad guy, and I usually found the gameplay frustrating since I’m in no way a console controller jockey. The new one looks promising, but I’m withholding judgment until someone I know and trust tells me it’s worthwhile.


Of the games coming out this year, I’m most excited about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Fable 2. The Star Wars title is a new chapter in the saga, officially sanctioned by Uncle George, and involves some pretty impressive physics to make everything go.
I just finished playing Fable for the original Xbox and it was enjoyable, if a bit reptitive. I’ve been hankering for a role-playing game to rival Oblivion and I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is it. Everything else in that genre so far has sucked big time, and I tried them all. (And, no, I’m not interested in World of Warcraft, thanks very much. I spent enough time at my computer as it is.)
There are some dark horses in the running this year, but if 2007 proved anything at all it’s that some old favorites are looking a little long in the tooth, and they’re providing ample room for new games (like Bioshock, Crackdown and Mass Effect) to take up the slack.

Fracture

Fracture

Biggest disappointment of 2007? Easily, it was Assassin’s Creed. I had high hopes for that one, which may have nailed the coffin closed before I cracked the case open, but for the most part I found it annoying, frustrating, and sometimes downright stupid. They did so much wrong in the game, from unhelpful cutscenes to really poor voice acting to almost unmanageable fight dynamics, that getting through as much of it as I did was a miracle. Oh, I tried valiantly to muck all the way through every assassination, but in the end I threw in the towel and called it a day. Maybe the next one will fix the problems, but I’m not hopeful.
Last year’s biggest surprise was Bioshock. I mean, I knew it was going to be good, because with a concept like that how could they fail? (I’m looking at you, Altier!) But it surpassed my best imagination and provided some very memorable and at times downright scary hours of entertainment. I’m looking forward to what 2K Games comes up with next.
Mass Effect also lived up to expectations — surpassed them, in fact! From the initial videos and gameplay run-throughs, I really wasn’t looking forward to it. It seemed unnecessarily complicated and, well, boring. It ended up being so good that I played through it twice just to see how the different choices played out, and I’m thinking of playing it all over a third time. It’s that good.
This year’s surprises are hard to predict. Prototype looks like a cross between Crackdown and The Darkness (another of last year’s disappointments) with you as the player taking the role of some mutant freak superman who can absorb others and morph into giant creatures, or something like that. Looks fun, but it’s all in the playing, isn’t it?

Borderlands

Borderlands

I put Borderlands on my list in the hope that it will tide me over until the next chapter of Mass Effect rears its head. There are supposed to be some downloadables coming to Xbox Live for Mass Effect that may add some new chapters or weapons to help pass that time, but an entire game is a lot more satisfying that a few drops of newness, no matter how amazing they are. (See: Oblivion: The Shivering Isles add-on for DLC done right.)
The biggest unknown? Alan Wake. It’s been in the pipeline forever and it sounds a bit too Stephen King for my tastes — frankly, he lost me at Christine, the possessed car. But I’m a sucker for scary gothic shadows and things that jump out at you, so I’m hoping for some deeply satisfying chills, there. If not, there’s always an island full of zombies awaiting me in Resident Evil 5, right?

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Anything your game genie needs this year? I’m all ears — and thumbs!

January 25, 2008

One response to My 360 Queue

  1. josh said:

    The only thing I’m currently kilt-twisted for is Bully, which I played on the PS2 and which is scheduled to come out for the 360 in a beefed-up version next month. I know that it has the reputation for being “Grand Theft Auto Goes Columbine” but a) it’s actually fairly sweet and smart, and b) it’s GTA done right, i.e., the missions are actually fun and the humor is actually funny and it’s a world you actually want to spend time in. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for high school-related entertainment (since I try to replace the memories of the real thing with fiction), but I think it’s worth a look for anyone looking for a game that’s just *fun* (and not a series of nut-punches like, say, Assassin’s Creed.). OK and I’m fired up for Lego Indiana Jones. I’m not made of stone.

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