Economy of Effort

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2007 Best Of, And 2008's Most Wanted

Recently, the founder of a certain gaming website shot some barbs at me about writing something that’s updated only once a month (very unfairly ignoring my four post October). With my favorite football team unable to provide me any prized smack-back fodder, I can only hang my head and mumble, and begin to post more. I hate not having the upper hand. :(

I posted a 2007 Top 10 games list in a thread on said gaming website, which looked like this: Team Fortress 2

  1. Team Fortress 2 (PC)

  2. BioShock (PC)

  3. Portal (PC)

  4. World in Conflict (PC)

  5. Half-Life 2: Episode Two (PC)

  6. Call of Duty IV: Modern Warfare (360)

  7. Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

  8. Supreme Commander (PC)

  9. Mass Effect (360)

  10. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)

However, in my haste to respond to the thread, I think I may have filled out the bottom of my list poorly. After having played more of Sam & Max: Season 1 on GameTap, I think I would have to move that in around the #8 spot in place of Supreme Commander. I could also easily see Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Sid Meier’s Pirates (PSP), or even Peggle challenging for the spots on the bottom of the list.

A list doesn’t give a sense of scale to the different slots. If it did, my list would have Team Fortress 2 at #1, and the next game wouldn’t come in until about #18 or so. Then, the next four games (BioShock, Portal, World in Conflict, and Half-Life 2: Episode 2) would have a wide gap between them and the rest of the crowd.

A lot has been said about whether 2008 can be even half of what 2007 was, in terms of new games. I don’t know about that, but I do know two of my most-anticipated 2007 games ended up getting pushed into 2008. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this year:

The A-List

  • Left 4 Dead - My prediction for Game of the Year 2008. Finally, a co-op game built with staying power. Valve being involved in development even before buying Turtle Rock Studios only helps matters.

  • SOCOM: Confrontation - A return to classic SOCOM, the only franchise still doing non-respawn team-based tactical shooters (unless you count playing Counter-Strike, like I used to eight years ago)

  • LittleBigPlanet - The most exciting part of this game is the fact that the game that ships could suck rocks and it wouldn’t matter, the community will take those powerful tools and make a better game.

  • Spore - My fondest Sim-related memories are actually playing Sim Earth and Sim Life. And while I doubt we’ll be able to create a world destroyer like the Ratigator was, I still look forward to it.

  • Fallout 3 - I call the first two Fallouts The Greatest Games Ever Not Named System Shock 2. Yet, I’ve got reasonable expectations for this title. If it’s post-nuclear Oblivion, that’s still a good enough game for me to enjoy. Anything more will be a great bonus.

  • Alan Wake - I loved the Max Payne games, and I love the concept behind this game.

  • Battlefield: Bad Company - I think there’s a tendency to automatically write off a console Battlefield game, given that the Modern Combat games were quick and rough attempts at migrating the Battlefield gameplay to the new platform. Bad Company looks like the first BF console game that’s fully realized. The videos are amazing looking. I’m extremely interested.

  • Brutal Legend - Any Tim Schafer game is A-List material for me.

  • Grand Theft Auto IV - I don’t get why so many people are down on this, as it has me anticipating a GTA game for the first time since Vice City (I didn’t even bother with San Andreas, and only played the PSP games a little).

  • Dragon Age - Hopefully the long-standing silence will be broken soon.

  • echochrome - A very neat looking puzzle game for my PSP.

  • More Team Fortress 2 content - More maps, more game modes, and a new set of unlockable weapons. I’m there.

The B-List

  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 - It’ll be typical Ubi shooter fare, no doubt. But at least this franchise is the one with functioning networking code. Despite numerous flaws, R6:V was an awesome co-op game, and I’m sure R6:V2 will be great co-op fun for us again, especially with a spring release date.

  • Splinter Cell: Conviction - There’s been so much doubt and naysaying over the new direction of Splinter Cell, but the team handling this one includes the lion’s share of the Chaos Theory core team. I like that the project has been delayed to allow sufficient time to go into it, and I like that they look to be taking the Assassin’s Creed crowd mechanics and doing something that’s hopefully better with it. I will miss the classic shadow crawling gameplay, though… especially with no other title that I can think of stepping in to fill the void.

  • WipeOut HD - This is almost A-List material for me.

  • WipeOut Pulse - WipeOut’s return to form has been wonderful.

  • Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena - Would be an A-List game if it were brand new instead of a remake (of which I completed the original version). Still, I’m awfully excited to see this great game in “next-gen” glory, and with additional content.

  • Tomb Raider: Underworld - Crystal Dynamics must be Jesus, because they sure have Lara doing a great Lazarus.

  • Civilization: Revolution - The reason my wife won’t see her DS for months.

  • Condemned 2: Bloodshot - The first Condemned was an excellent game, especially for a 3rd party console launch title.

  • LEGO Indiana Jones (and LEGO Batman) - It’s like LEGO Star Wars except with licenses that I’m less burned out on.

  • Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, Far Cry 2, Project Origin: None “wow” me, but I like shooting stuff.

  • StarCraft II - I won’t jump into the fanatical multiplayer fray much, but it should hold my interest in solo play.

  • Space Siege - I like Chris Taylor games.

The Maybe List

  • Fable 2 - I am actually starting a play-through of the first Fable game, which I just didn’t get around to before.

  • Too Human - Even with all of the baggage, I’ve got a feeling there’s a good game in there.

  • EndWar - Someone will get console RTSs right.

  • Halo Wars - See above.

  • Dead Space - Looks neat but has 2009 written all over it.

  • Metal Gear Solid 4 - I hear they’ve removed the suck from the combat.

  • Resident Evil 5 - We don’t know much about the game yet.

  • Army of Two - Interesting enough concept.

  • Borderlands - Smells like 2009 to me.