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Yes, this list is still mostly the same and stays terribly true to what it was earlier in the week, however due to the fact that Take 2 Interactive has announced that Grand Theft Auto IV has been delayed to 2008, it created a rather spacious gap for the number one seat in our fall preview. So, without further ado, here’s our top fifteen pick, with the exception of Grand Theft Auto being substituted for a game the readers have assiduously requested for us to add.
15. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground
Release: October 9, 2007
PlayStation 3, XBox 360
Before anyone starts throwing pencils and pocket protectors at their monitors, let me assure you that this game deserves to be on this list for several reasons: It has a new revamped create-a-character that gamers can take through a story that they create, based on their choices and skating abilities. There’s also the addition of a new tricks, a more realistic skating system and a video editor to help gamers create dynamic, promo videos of their skaters to sell to sponsors or to show off over Xbox Live and the PSN. With several locations to visit and lots of custom options to enhance or change the playing experience, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground has more than proven itself worthy of the list.
14. Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat
Release: November, 2007
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Activision’s Call of Duty series was once known, and famous, for being a great World War II shooter. Now, Call of Duty will be known for being a great modern-day shooter. Hopefully. From the looks of it, the series has taken on elements of being a completely different beast from what it once was. But hey, why complain? If it’s bigger, better and plays like butter, then that’s just groovy. With devastating new weapons at the player’s disposal, tougher AI opponents to combat and multiplayer modes and features that are too many and too great to list here, I can’t see why Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat shouldn’t be on this list.
13. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Release: November, 2007
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Ah, there’s nothing like the smell of fresh psycho in the morning. In this case, you can double that morning brew of psychotic rampage with a heavy dose of mercenary apathy. Stir that all together and you can Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Like many other shooters that are getting primed and ready for release later this year, K&L features environments that deconstruct during shootouts, and a well-thought-out cooperative mode that’s created all the buzz around the game in the first place. Let’s not forget about the 8-player deathmatch options and squad-based combat, because let’s face it, psychopathic mercenaries are the only kind of squad-mates a gamer needs.
12.Super Mario Galaxy:
Release: December, 2007
Some of you might be wondering why this game is not closer to the bottom of the list. Well, it’s really quite simple: Super Mario Galaxy is a good game, but not necessarily a game that’s going for anything spectacularly big. For Mario fans, there’s going to be more stages, bigger platforming puzzles, more worlds to venture to and lots of different activities to partake in, using the Wii-mote. More than any other Mario game before it, Super Mario Galaxy is a true platformer game. If you’ve never been good at hopping from one tiny cleft to the next, this probably isn’t the game suited to change your mind, trust me. However, it should be a great game within its genre.
11. Heavenly Sword:
Release: September 4, 2007
This game is considered a late summer submission, but let’s just call it a premature fall title. Besides, it’s our list and we can do what we want with it, gosh dang it. Anyway, Heavenly Sword is a tale of revenge and murder. Really, it’s just that simple. Gamers will be in command of Raiko, as she administers fierce justice and innumerable amounts of casualties to the King’s invading army. Featuring God of War-esque gameplay and silky smooth combat mechanics, Heavenly Sword has the makings of being a cult-classic, just like God of War.
10. Blue Dragon:
Release: August 28, 2007
Again, this is more of a late summer sort of thing...but how many times must you be reminded that CB Games can break all the rules? Besides, rules are for pansies. Blue Dragon however, is a game for die-hard RPG fans that have been longing for some long-overdue JRPGs on an Xbox console. Players assume the role of a young buy who is accompanied by his friends as they venture to save the world from great evil. It’s an old story with a few new gimmicks, including anime-style special attacks and the ability to harness shadow powers.
9. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release: August 27, 2007
Okay, we’re pretty much throwing fall gaming out the window, so far, but trust me, this list will have games that truly embrace fall release dates. Now Metroid Prime 3 is supposed to be the final outing in the Metroid Prime collection. It’s quite a shame because Halo 3 is also on its final outing. With that, I can’t help but recall a disturbing comment by one of our readers who suggested that Samus Aran and Master Chief should celebrate by grinding metal...and I don’t really mean metal. Anyway, Metroid Prime 3 will feature more first-person puzzles than you can shake your Wii-mote at, and will also be the first Metroid game to make full use of Nintendo’s motion-sensor wand. Bigger stages, beautiful graphics and first FPS game on the Wii with an extremely refined control scheme, easily makes this one of the top picks for fall gaming.
8. Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008
Release: November, 2007
Nintendo DS, Wii, PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360
Oh, it looks like this game officially falls within the confines of fall. And while a lot of people out there aren’t big on professional wrestling, consumers have time-over and again proven that regardless of the pro-wrestling stigma, Smackdown Vs Raw is a series that gamers love. But of course, what’s not to love about a game with a create-a-character featuring 1600 custom parts, a deep reversal system, five different fighting styles, and the inclusion of ECW wrestlers? With more than 30 playable wrestlers and a new 24/7 story mode that sees the player trying to attain the status of a wrestling legend, you can bet that SD vs Raw 2K8 is going to be a surefire way for this game to go platinum, again.
7. Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway
Release: November, 2007
PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
After the amazing E3 2006 trailers there was bound to be a lot of talk about this game. With players joining back up with Baker and Hartsock, it’s no wonder that there’s going to be a lot heartfelt gunning and plenty of close calls. The unbelievable detail put into the physics engine allows for some of the most dynamic and intense shootouts featured in a first-person shooter. Add in the ability to strategically command troops and face off against some of the most intelligent AI opponents that Ubisoft can buy, and you have a game that still gives shooter fans a reason to stay interested in World War II.
6. Assassin’s Creed
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
No one really needs to tell a hardcore gamer how cool this game will be. While some people complained about its showing at this year’s E3 summit, you can rest assured that there was nothing on display that came off as disparaging to gamers. Assassin’s Creed always looks great (and it doesn’t hurt that Jade Raymond always does interviews for it, either) and with the ability to venture through the middle ages with Hitman-like freedom and fighting mechanics that are leaps-and-bounds beyond the typical hack-and-slash scheme, it’s no wonder that Assassin’s Creed made this list. Whether it’s scaling walls or leaping like Spider-Man over rooftops, Assassin’s Creed is a rare mix of adventure and action that easily make it one of the most anticipated games coming out this fall.
5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Release: December 3, 2007
Looks like Samus gets double exposure in this list, as she’s also featured in this newest iteration of Smash Bros. Only, this time she’s wearing a lot less than usual and she’s facing tough competitors; including Wario, Fox McCloud and Kojima’s own Snake Solid. That’s not to mention that Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi are also among the cast of characters who will battle through all new interactive battle grounds, and mini-game levels. A lot of hardcore Nintendo fans have been waiting a long time for this game and I’m sure Nintendo has no plans on disappointing their fans once this game hits store shelves this fall.
4. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Release: November, 2007
As a PS3 exclusive Naughty Dog wanted to ensure that PS3 owners were receiving something that just wasn’t going to be available on the other consoles this fall. And quite right, this game is definitely not like anything else being released this year; given its complex platform adventuring and Indiana Jones-esque fighting, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune brings something entirely new to the table of the action-adventure genre. Realtime shootouts, a semi-romance angle and countless encounters with ruthless pirates, makes Uncharted a modern day version of The Jewel of the Nile fused with Tomb Raider. We don’t get many games like this and I sure hope Naughty Dog’s PS3 exclusive creates a new trend for gaming in the action-adventure department.
Release: August 21, 2007
PC, Xbox 360
Dang it, you guys are persistent. You just kept on begging for it and now you have it. Are you happy now? The list has been specially revised to accommodate this game, simply considering that another game has unfortunately been delayed until April, 2008. Anyway, Bioshock features plasemids, which work a lot like disgusting magic balls, and there’s lots of different enemies all waiting to lay waste to your feeble body. Luckily, there’s the option to upgrade yourself and enhance your unnatural abilities. The game features a retro, mid-century, science fiction art deco visual style and chilling environments. Not to mention that there’s enough water running and dripping all over the place that it’ll probably have you going to the bathroom more often than a giant slushy from 7 Eeleven.
2. Halo 3
Release: September 24, 2007
I’ve never really been a big fan of the Halo games. Yes, they were good games, but they weren’t quite living up to the hype they had been caste in...that is, until now. Halo 3, without a doubt is the best looking game in the series (it better be) and the best featured game in the series. More weapons, more vehicles, an optional third-person view, a four-player coop, refined multiplayer online features and a massive story that spans the likes of the galaxy. It may be “just another shooter” in the eyes of the naysayer, but at least Halo 3 is delivering the kind of gameplay goodness a lot of action fans have longed for in a game like this. The only thing that could have put this as the number one game on this list, is bots. Because then it would be the complete, all around greatest game of any hardcore gamer’s collection.
1. Mass Effect
Release: December, 2007
This easily could have tied for the number one game on this list, but let’s face it, the number two spot is not a bad place to be unless it’s the best out of two. Featuring a truly massive story told through what will hopefully be a compelling saga...Mass Effect is the first of several games to come, in which Bioware will grant players an unprecedented take on a great space adventure. Building on the success from the likes of Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, Mass Effect is a game that brings along character customization, RPG elements and compelling interactive dialogue sequences that looks to be rivaled by no other game on the market. Squad-based shooting, vehicular combat and magic-esque skills and abilities all makeup for what is bound to be a game that will be cemented in the history books of gaming.