The year 2006 was fantastic for games--we had two new consoles launch, plenty of fantastic games for the PC and the Xbox 360 console, and some great handheld games as well. But 2007 could be an even bigger and better year. Just take a look at this year's Most Wanted list, which calls out the games that GameSpot editors the world over are most looking forward to.
My anticipation for God of War II began shortly after I beat the first game, when I watched the bonus videos in which David Jaffe detailed some of the levels and abilities of the protagonist, Kratos, that didn't make it into the final version of the game. There was some really cool stuff in there that proved the sequel could be more than just "more of the same." Sure, Kratos supposedly finally found peace when he took his place among the gods at the end of God of War, but he didn't seem like the type who would be happy simply sitting on a golden throne--so it seemed like just a matter of time before a sequel would end up in the works.
I'll be the first to admit that I was more than a little disappointed when it was announced that God of War II wouldn't be a PlayStation 3 title. That disappointment was short-lived, however, as it took just 60 seconds of the game's trailer to convince me that this game would indeed rock. Seeing Kratos mount and climb a giant cyclops was cool enough, but when he managed to wrench the eye from the great beast...now that was intense.
Of course, Kratos has some new powers and abilities at his disposal. What powers, you ask? How 'bout the power of flight? Does that do anything for ya? Using "Icarus wings," Kratos is now able to fly for short amounts of time. Even time is no obstacle for this god, as he can wield the amulet of fates to freeze time and attack foes while they're immobilized. Kratos still has the fabled blades of chaos chained to his hands, so the combat should feel familiar, though the antihero has learned some new attacks, can switch weapons on the fly, and can use his blades to grapple and swing from hooks.
I could go on and on about why I'm psyched for God of War II. The game looks amazing; the intense, dramatic music in the trailers is fantastic; and the new creatures are awesome. Be it yanking a rider right off the back of a minotaur, fighting while flying on the back of a griffon, or taking on a giant rocklike creature many times his size, there doesn't appear to be any shortage of ways for Kratos to let out his aggression.
All signs point to God of War II being released in the first quarter of the year. It's been a long time coming, but it looks as if Kratos' next adventure will be worth the wait.
Rlease Date: Q2 2007
Developer: Splash Damage
We haven't heard much about Enemy Territory: Quake Wars since Activision announced that the game would be delayed until 2007, but that extra time has hopefully given developer Splash Damage a chance to fine-tune the game and really make good on its potential. We last saw the game at E3 2006, where we were shocked by how well the game seemed to strike a balance between depth, variety, and all-out action.
At a glance, the game might seem like a takeoff on the Battlefield team-based shooter series, particularly last year's Battlefield 2142, since that was a sci-fi game with plasma guns and walking mechs. Also, Quake Wars takes place around the time of the events in Quake 4 and Quake II--the soldiers of Earth are fighting the Strogg, a not-that-scary race of aliens that resemble the Borg from Star Trek. However, we had a blast trying out the game's many different character classes for both factions, all of which seemed to be useful on the battlefield and strong enough to hold their own in the right situation. The Strogg also seemed to have some really unorthodox abilities (including the power to heal their teammates by draining life-giving chemicals from human corpses), as well as the ability to disguise themselves as human soldiers, like the spy class from Splash Damage's last game, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. These abilities aren't all guaranteed to make the final cut, but if the final game looks anything like what we saw, then both sides should be interesting and worth playing.
Quake Wars will offer plenty of different options for each character class, as well as drivable, armored vehicles (plus Strogg jetpacks). But what was probably most surprising to us was that despite all these different features, the game was incredibly fast and action-packed. The vehicle physics seemed pretty lenient, and even though there were engineer players building stationary turrets and sniper players hiding on rooftops, shooting down enemies seemed much more like a hectic deathmatch game of Quake III than the kind of slow, methodical deal you'd expect from a realistic team-based game with in-depth player classes. Obviously, shooters have come a long way since the days of simpler games like Doom, and many players expect more depth and complexity from new games; but not many games have tried to combine in-depth team tactics with classic, arcade-style shooting action. We hope Quake Wars pulls it off.
Rlease Date: Q2 2007
The 2004 announcement of Twilight Princess and its realistic visual style was great wish fulfillment for a lot of diehard Zelda fans, but to me it just felt like backpedaling on the part of Nintendo. The company made a bold move in conceiving The Wind Waker's childish, cartoonlike graphics (which admittedly received an ambivalent response), but I thought the game's visuals represented a pleasing evolution of the similarly colorful graphics in past games like the resplendent Link to the Past. So I was disappointed to see Nintendo move away from The Wind Waker's style so quickly--and then just as delighted to find out last year that a new Zelda game, Phantom Hourglass, would reprise that whimsical approach on the DS.
Then again, when you look at what little we've seen of Phantom Hourglass so far...well, there's not much there. It doesn't look so impressive. Link is his same floppy-hat-wearing, foppish self, but the dungeons are made up of boring-looking corridors with a lot of 90-degree turns and not so many unique puzzles. The overworld and sailing sequences also look bland. Lastly, I've been a little concerned that Nintendo was trumpeting the touch-screen-only control scheme--at least give us the option to use the D pad.
If I'm so down on Phantom Hourglass, why is it on my most anticipated of 2007 list? Because it wasn't even supposed to be a 2007 game. We expected it to hit shelves this past holiday season, but Nintendo has pushed the game back a full year, and is supposedly revamping it extensively. Phantom Hourglass sounded great in concept when it was first announced, but as I saw more of it I became less impressed. However, with all this extra development time--and more importantly, with the knowledge that Nintendo never lets anything out the door until it's reached the utmost level of quality--I'm hopeful that Phantom Hourglass will be one of the best DS games yet, and a fitting return to the overhead Zelda action that made the series great in the first place.
GameSpot's Most Wanted '07
Find out which games GameSpot editors from around the globe chose as their most anticipated games of 2007.