274w ago - The drought has officially broken for gamers. This upcoming Christmas is set to be one of heartbreak for many as tough decisions are made as to which titles will make it into the collection and which will have to wait or become a weekend rental.
Someone has to do it as friends and relatives will be soon asking what we want for Christmas. And so as not to disappoint them, this list has been developed to give you the games that will make it, and those that will fail (probably...).
Let's start with the biggest title to be a cannot miss, sell a relatives organ to purchase, must own smash hit, to the one that will cause the most anguish over having to be sacrificed...
KING HIT: Fallout 3
EPIC FAIL: Mirrors Edge
Fallout 3 speaks for itself. Although some of the content may sound questionable to casual gamers, the sheer scope and word of mouth will sell a burnt out bus load of units. Bethesda are masters at creating the type of world that will be able to handle the diverse story. Will be a massive hit and a deserving one.
Conversely, Mirror's Edge is starting to sound like a tech demo. You could argue that Geometry Wars and Portal started out in a similar way. The big difference though is that those had compelling gameplay, whereas we have heard very little of the reason behind this games existence. Sure it looks kinda cool, if it were a Nike ad, but as a twenty hour game?
HITS Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway
Guitar Hero: World Tour
Mortal Kombat vs DC
Gears Of War 2
Left 4 Dead
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Saints Row 2
Rock Band (Aus release)
Red Faction: Guerrilla
The deciding factor between most games was the amount of choice in each genre. Crysis Warhead, Red Faction 2 and Mercenaries 2 are fairly solid, but in the face of Gears Of War 2, Resistance 2 and Brothers In Arms, it will be a case of empty multiplayer servers pretty quickly.
And as much as I love it, S.T.A.L.K.E.R just cannot survive in the face of Fallout 3. Reportedly buggy (still!), Clear Skies is similar in concept but the lesser game in execution from what we have seen.
Spore huddling in the Fail category might raise a few eyebrows, and although it will initially be successful, The Sims players won't cross over and hard core gamers will become bored.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a game before its time. LucasArts are rightfully miffed about not getting the lowdown on the Wii Motion Plus, it makes this game pretty redundant.
Guitar Hero to own Rock Star. Nuff said.
Silent Hill might do fairly well, but there is no chance that you would pick it over Dead Space. Hype alone will make you choose.
The Hits column shouldn't surprise too many, and still adds up to around $1200 of your Australian dollars. I just couldn't find any more to cull. The new Viva Piñata will be great, it's unique, and you know Microsoft will be pumping up this franchise in the face of LittleBigPlanet.
Fracture is the sleeper hit of the season. Not a lot is out about the title just yet, but with LucasArts at the helm, near future weaponry and terrain deformation on a scale not yet seen, this is sure be be a massive online gaming hit.
So there you have it. Start hounding Grandma for gift vouchers, this is going to be a Christmas for gaming. And to all of you who live in the hemisphere of the perpetually snowing Christmas, having an excuse to stay in and play them makes you some lucky SOB's.
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Viva Pinata 2 a hit? I'd call it a miss. The first one was technically a miss itself and was only found by niche gamers. The second one offers virtually nothing new and different from the first and feels more like an expansion pack. I'd call this a miss even though I'm playing and loving it.