265w ago - In keeping with tradition of the United States' second most gambled-upon sporting event, horse racing's Triple Crown, it's time for gamers to put their money where their mouths are and predict their choice for Game of the Year 2008.
While we've already seen a wealth of great titles, gaming's biggest season has not yet even descended upon us; with it will come a flood of excellent titles ranging from RPG's including Fable 2 to FPS's like Resistance 2 and everything in-between. Here are the choices that have ReelGamers' engines revved for 2008.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii)
We all witnessed the power of the Nintendo brand when the bulk of its stars gather for one magnificent title. To this day, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, though not typically called a fighter by the hardcore masses, has outperformed every other brawler in terms of enjoyment.
Though formulaic in its approach, SSBB is packed with an astounding amount of Nintendo content. From its unsurpassed score to its collectable trophy & sticker system, shoutouts to 8-bit era classics, and unrivaled local multiplay, Super Smash Brothers Brawl is a serious contender for the year's best. Odds: 5:2
Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360)
What more can be said about Rockstar's first effort of the "new-gen" era? Clearly undaunted by the immense scope of their creative vision, the GTA dev team created a scale model of New York City, and with a little magic brought it to life.
Not only did they expand upon what made III, Vice City and San Andreas' singleplayer campaigns so memorable, but also their implementation of 16 multiplayer modes expanded its replayability exponentially. At this stage of the race, it's difficult to see anything knocking GTAIV from its throne. Odds: 3:2
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
That's right, there's a portable title on this list. With excellent games such as Daxter and God of War: Chains of Olympus under their belt, Ready at Dawn's future looks extremely bright.
Though only experienced by a relative handful compared to its console brothers, Kratos' translation from big screen to PSP was near-flawless. With handheld titles looking as good as CoO, one could only imagine how Ninja Gaiden would have faired on the PSP. Odds: 16:1
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
For many gamers, this looming title was their number one reason for purchasing Sony's black wonder. After numerous delays, the gaming community has entered a calm not unlike that present before a torrential storm.
MGS4 is coming, and when it does finally land on retail shelves, millions will (most likely) witness an end to one of gaming's greatest figures, Solid Snake. Sony is pushing Kojima's magnum opus not only as one of the year's best, but of gaming history. We'll see how well it stacks up in just over three weeks. Odds: 3:1
Gears of War II (360)
Cliffy B (I know you want us to call you Cliff now, but it's a bitch breaking habit) is brilliant. He'll stand in front of a television camera with a straight face and build up hype for his games to no end.
He'll tell you the gaming public has never seen anything like what he's developing, and gets away with it; but there's a significant difference between Cliffy B and other developers constantly shoveling out sequel after sequel: He means every word of it. Already looking like a heavyweight champ back to defend his belt, Gears of War II is swiftly becoming one of the hottest titles of 2008. Odds: 3.5:1
One word comes to mind when a custom Sackboy makes their way across a homemade pirate ship while slapping PSEye stickers in every which direction: FUN. Media Molecule, creators of the PC indie title Rag Doll Kung Foo, has been pouring their hearts and souls into this one, and it shows.
If Sony's charmer can revolutionize the way gamers create, share, and play each others' content, LittleBigPlanet will receive serious consideration for Game of the Year 2008. Odds: 4:1
Ninja Gaiden II (360)
If Itagaki's Ninja Gaiden Black was any indication of the action we'll see in Ninja Gaiden II, Xbox 360 owners have a lot to be excited for this summer. With an increased emphasis on exaggerated blood spattering, hacked limbs and good ol' fashioned skill, NGII is a hardcore action gamer's dream.
In addition, this will be the series' longest title, clocking in at just over thirty hours. Be on the lookout one a week before MGS4 splashes down on June 12th. Odds: 9:1
Soul Calibur IV (PS3, 360)
Soul Calibur is a peculiar series. On Sega's Dreamcast, I recall seeing Mitsuri and Sophitia move effortlessly across the screen at a buttery-smooth sixty frames per second and telling myself, "This is how gorgeous all fighting games need to look." Not only was it the best looking game on the market for the time, it also featured near perect-gameplay and lasting appeal to back it up.
Since then, no fighting game has captured my attention like the original Soul Calibur had. With Namco getting a head start with their online infrastructure through Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, look for Soul Calibur IV to thoroughly impress this summer both online and off. Odds: 10:1
Fallout 3 (PS3, 360)
So mankind's survival has resorted to murder and deception in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, groovy! Those who were enraptured by Bethesda's epic Elder Scrolls offerings will have absolutely no trouble pouring dozens of hours into Fallout 3. Though Bethesda's development team has been extremely ambitious with this one, we're confident they'll satisfy their fans' hunger for a deep, enjoyable adventure. Odds: 6:1
Resistance 2 (PS3)
Not to be outdone by Epic's Gears of War series this fall, Insomniac has been hard at work finely tuning their PS3 launch shooter, Resistance 2. Much like Halo had for been a rallying cry for the original Xbox owners of yore, PS3 fans have held tightly to Resistance's solid gameplay, balanced multiplayer and memorable story.
With a revamped graphics engine, 60 player online matches and an entirely separate co-op campaign, Resistance 2 is exactly what FPS-seeking Playstation 3 owners have been waiting for. Odds: 5:1
Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
A dark horse of sorts, Sega's Valkyria Chronicles has already received excellent reviews overseas from Famitsu and the respect of importers in Europe and America.
Featuring strategy-RPG meets Gears of War style gameplay, visuals that look like they've been lifted straight from an artist's canvas, and a World War II-themed story that doesn't put you in the boots of a grizzly American paratrooper, Chronicles could very well be a stunner this Fall. With all due respect to Sega (where in God's name is Shenmue?), it's about time. Odds: 18:1
Tom Clancy's Endwar (PS3, 360)
Though largely positive, Ubisoft's Tom Clancy games are notorious for their varying degree of quality. While the first Rainbow Six: Vegas and Advanced Warfighter efforts were marquee titles, their sequels left a lot to be desired.
Having said that, the first iteration of Tom Clancy's: Endwar could finally put console based-RTS gaming on the map. Endwar's developers have done away with the point and click aspect of strategy titles completely in favor of entirely voice-activated gameplay. If all goes to schedule, our armies may collide this Holiday online. Odds: 15:1
From the brilliant minds behind The Sims, Maxis's Spore has been in development for what seems a lifetime. Similar to LittleBigPlanet, there has never been a game quite like Spore.
Though creating a title that ranges from the molecular level to the formation of space colonies seems a tad ambitious, Will Wright and Co. have certainly proved us wrong before. Look for Spore (and shortly after, 8,000 expansion packs) to be released this Holiday season. Odds: 10:1
Fable 2 (360)
Peter Molyneux has an extraordinary burden on his shoulders with Fable 2. He has been labeled one of the most resolute, ambitious developers on the planet, yet his track record has shown that sometimes he oversteps his boundaries in trying to create innovative titles.
This is not to say Molyneux's Black and White and Fable were not good titles, they were in fact some of the more inventive concepts of the era, however, no matter how avant-garde the concept for a game, enjoyment should never be sacrificed. Here's hoping Lionhead has a classic on their hands in Fable 2 this Fall. Odds: 12:1
Pic below ios of Soul Calibur IV, and more screenshots for the games can be seen at the link at the top!
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