July 27, 2007 - This is going to be one crazy fall for gamers. Never have so many AAA titles hit store shelves in a six month period. For 360, it begins in August with the release of Blue Dragon and BioShock and continues through November when Call of Duty 4 and Mass Effect arrive. Every month -- heck, every week -- is going to bring must-buy titles to store shelves. At the start of the year, IGN editors listed their Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2007. Now that we've seen almost all of this year's titles at E3, some of those opinions have changed. We're revisiting the list, with our own picks for the top must-have titles from now through the end of '07.
Hil's Post-E3 Most Anticipated Games of 2007
10) skate Genre: Sports Developer: Black Box Publisher: Electronic Arts Why?: One of my favorite games as a kid was 720 in the arcades. One of my favorite games of all time is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. What I'm getting at is that I love skating games. And having played three straight hours of skate, I am fairly confident it will give the action sports genre the kick in the pants it needs. Plus, skate has the Megaramp, perhaps the coolest thing in a skating game since THPS2's Spider-Man unlockable.
9) Assassin's Creed Genre: Action Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Why?: Go anywhere and kill anyone? Sounds like every GTA rip-off from the past five years. The difference is the setting. You're in the Mideast during the Crusades and rather than having guns, you're equipped with a blade. And "go anywhere" doesn't just mean running around the streets of a big city. You can climb almost every surface and interact with just about everything in the environment. If Ubisoft can smooth out the framerate and squash the bugs, Assassin's Creed will be one killer title.
8) Eternal Sonata Genre: Role-Playing Game Developer: tri-Crescendo Publisher: Namco Bandai Why?: A lot of attention has been given to Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey as the big JRPGs coming in '07. From what I've seen, Eternal Sonata may just outdo them both. Taking place inside Chopin's dreams, this gorgeous RPG has an intriguing battle system, a fantastic art style and (of course) beautiful music. If you can only play one JRPG this year, I'd recommend you make it Eternal Sonata..
7) GTA IV Genre: Action Developer: Rockstar North Publisher: Rockstar Games Why?: Sometime around the twentieth hour of GTA: San Andreas a bulb popped in my brain and my desire to play yet another Grand Theft anything plummeted. Then Rockstar gave me a 45 minute demo of GTA IV and suddenly my love for the series was renewed. This is not your daddy's GTA. Grounded a bit more in reality, GTA IV is grittier, prettier, and more exciting than ever. This is the true sequel to GTA III and I can't wait to make Liberty City mine.
6) Halo 3 Genre: First-Person Shooter Developer: Bungie Studios Publisher: Microsoft Why?: What a shock, eh? What will become the best-selling game on Xbox 360 also has the potential for being the best game to date on the system. Finally, we get to finish the fight with Master Chief and that other guy. And while the campaign story is compelling (who doesn't love the Gravemind??), it's the multiplayer that is likely to keep Halo 3 in my Xbox for the next six months.
5) Call of Duty 4 Genre: First-Person Shooter Developer: Infinity Ward Publisher: Activision Why?: This is the Maria Sharapova of first-person shooters. It's beautiful, intriguing, and a winner. While I wouldn't go so far as to say I would like to have sex with Call of Duty 4, I do have a screenshot hanging over my hope chest. With Infinity Ward in charge, there's really no doubt that COD4 can and will deliver the goods. The only question is whether the innovative new multiplayer will surpass the single-player experience in terms of quality.
4) The Orange Box Genre: First-Person Shooter Developer: Valve Software Publisher: Electronic Arts Why?: Half-Life 2, Episodes One & Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. That's what you get for the price of a single game. This is the best deal in videogame history, the likes of which we may never see again. The Half-Life 2 is one of the best first-person shooters ever. Add in the next-gen puzzle game Portal and the addictive multiplayer of TF2 and you may just have 2007's Game of the Year.
3) Mass Effect Genre: Role-Playing Game Developer: BioWare Publisher: Microsoft Why?: Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR, Jade Empire. BioWare has never made a bad RPG, so there's no reason to expect anything less than the best from Mass Effect. This title had dropped a little earlier in the year, but following the stunning E3 demo, this is, without question, my most anticipated RPG of the year. I just hope I don't have to wait too long for the release of the promised downloadable episodic content.
2) BioShock Genre: First-Person Shooter Developer: Irrational Games Publisher: 2K Games Why?: Set in the ruins of an underwater city, BioShock looks to be the perfect blending of action and atmosphere. Though there are RPG elements and what promises to be a deep storyline, make no mistake; this is a shooter. But it's not the gameplay that has me geeked for BioShock. The world of Rapture is what has me intrigued. The killing and the puzzles and the story will certainly be nice, but exploring Irrational's unique world will be the real treat.
1) Rock Band Genre: Music Developer: Harmonix Publisher: MTV Games Why?: There have been guitar games in the past. There have been karaoke and even drum games, too. But no one has managed to pull them all together into one kick-ass package. Any concerns I had faded away at E3, when I played a few songs with Rock Band's various instruments. With 40 songs in the box and new DLC coming every week, Rock Band could be the first game to last me an entire year. Why is it my #1 most wanted game? Because it's friggin' awesome.
Other Games Worth Noting: Putting together a list of ten 360 games was not an easy thing. My initial list had two-dozen games, each worthy of being hyped. This is going to be an insane year and fans should embrace it, because who's to say a fall lineup this strong will ever come again. Along with my top ten picks, I'm always looking forward to: Blue Dragon, Guitar Hero III, Lost Odyssey, Madden NFL 08, Mercs 2, NBA 2K8, NHL 2K8, Project Gotham Racing 4, Stranglehold, Undertow, and Virtua Fighter 5. And that isn't even the full list of worthy games. This holiday is going to bankrupt some folks. Hallelujah.