New year looks good for gamers



Most critics agree that 2007 was the best year ever for video gamers. The question now: Can 2008 top it? I’ve pored over the schedules of all the major game publishers to assemble this list of 2008’s most intriguing games. I’ve only seen previews, so I can’t guarantee they’ll all be good, and a few will inevitably be bumped back to 2009 (or bumped off entirely). But, the games I’m psyched about:

“Fallout 3” (Bethesda Softworks): The long-awaited continuation of the classic post-apocalyptic role-playing series was the best-looking thing at last year’s E3 trade show. If it’s as good as Bethesda’s “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,” it will be a Game of the Year contender.

“Brutal Legend” (Sierra): Jack Black stars in this heavy metal odyssey from “Psychonauts” mastermind Tim Schafer.

“Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” (Konami): Industry legend Hideo Kojima finally delivers the latest installment of his stealth-action epic.

“Spore” (Electronic Arts): “The Sims” creator Will Wright simulates the entire history of the universe. PC gamers get first crack, though Wright has promised a Wii version.

“Grand Theft Auto IV” (Rockstar): The freewheeling crime epic returns to annoy would-be censors and delight bloodthirsty gamers.

“LittleBigPlanet” (Sony): The gameplay looks delightful, but it remains to be seen what citizens of the PlayStation Network will do with the level-building tools here.

“Lost Odyssey” (Microsoft): “Final Fantasy” veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi presents his second Xbox 360 role-playing game — which I hope will improve upon 2007’s “Blue Dragon.”

“Super Smash Bros. Brawl” and “Mario Kart Wii” (Nintendo): Two more of Nintendo’s prized franchises make their Wii debuts.

“Wii Fit” and “Wii Music” (Nintendo): Get a workout or conduct an orchestra as the Big N tries to expand the Wii’s audience a little further.

“Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution” (2K): The beloved PC franchise gets a graphic makeover and easier-to-use controls as it moves to consoles.

“No More Heroes” (Ubisoft): Goichi Suda, creator of the ultraweird, ultraviolent “Killer 7,” is the mad genius behind this surreal, stylish swordfighting adventure.

“Culdcept Saga” (Namco Bandai): Board game meets collectible card game in this follow-up to 2003’s cult favorite “Culdcept.”

“The World Ends With You” (Square Enix): Besides a great title, this RPG set in modern Tokyo has the “Kingdom Hearts” team behind it.

“Professor Layton and the Curious Village” (Nintendo): Level 5, the studio responsible for “Dragon Quest VIII,” developed this collection of brainteasers.

“Tom Clancy’s EndWar” (Ubisoft): The Clancy brand name could persuade console players to give real-time strategy games a shot.

“Dead Space” (Electronic Arts): Think “Alien,” think “Pitch Black” as an engineer stumbles across an alien infestation ... in space!

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