Monday, January 7, 2008

2007 a great year for new Video Game IPs

Here are some of the best:

Mass Effect - Xbox 360

One of the most engaging Sci-Fi RPGs to come out in a long time. Mass Effect, by Bioware is perhaps the best selling of the new IPs and for good reason. An epic story line combined with visceral combat and an engaging chat system make this game hard to put down. Some deficiencies have been noted like a spotty frame rate at times, a confusing inventory management system and long elevator rides, but those are minor issues compared to the game as a whole. I would look for at least two more games in this series and I am hoping these minor issues will be addressed.

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune - PS3

This game is stunning in almost every way that one can measure in a Video Game. Stellar graphics with zero slowdowns, fun intuitive gun fights and Tomb Raider-esque puzzles make for an experience no gamer should miss. This game took me totally by surprise. I got a PS3 for Christmas and having been mostly an Xbox 360 guy, I hadn't kept up on the PS3 exclusive games very much. I have been playing this game for the last week and I don't want it to end. One great thing I like about it is the fact that if you make a mistake and fall to your death on a climbing puzzle, you don't have to go back and redo a half hour or more of the game you just went through. The cut scenes are gorgeous and the gun battles are very fun albeit there are a lot of them. PS3 owners finally have something to crow about and show their Xbox 360 buddies a reason to upgrade their old PS2s.

Assasin's Creed - Multi-platform

This one might have gotten a tiny bit of a pass since the producer, Jade Raymond is such a hottie. However, there is a solid game here with the addition of a much needed control scheme to do the kinds of things the main character, Altair can do. The controls are extremely tight and I found myself doing some free running through medieval cities like Jerusalem and Damascus with ease. Ubisoft should be commended for doing such an excellent job on the control scheme. Overall I think the game is fun with a few minor annoyances. For instance, it is way too easy to hide right after you have killed someone. I could brutally murder a guard with another guard standing within six feet and as long as I held down the "blend" button, the other guard would leave me alone. Also, guards seem to hate horses being ridden too fast. I guess there is some sort of Crusades Era speed limit I never read about. With that being said, this IP has a lot of potential and since it sold so many copies I think there is no doubt that we will see more.

PORTAL - Multi-Platform

I guess you could call this one a new IP although it is set in the Half Life Universe. This game is too good and too much fun to go without mention though. You will need to play it for yourself to see why. I would expect to see more from this IP in the future as well as being integrated in the upcoming Half Life games. Best computer voice in any game ever.

Bioshock - Xbox 360

Seriously, if you haven't played this game. Go out and buy it now and play the damn thing! This was my vote for game of the year. It has incredible graphics, an engaging storyline and tight game play. When you fight your first Big Daddy, be prepared to change your underwear. The sense of weight and power that they have is amazing. Once you kill your first Big Daddy, you will take a deep breath and gleefully plan your next assault. This game has some very interesting moral choices (I saved all the Little Sisters), a great soundtrack, excellent dialog and a lot of variety. Bioshock 2 has already been announced although without Ken Levine unfortunately. If the sequel is half as good as the original, gamers are in for a treat.

I can't remember a better year for new IPs or for gaming for that matter. It is gonna be hard for 2008 to compete with 2007. I think it is a bit telling that there were no Wii games on my list. Don't get me wrong, I love my Wii, but at this point it is distancing itself from mainstream gaming which can seen as either good or bad.

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