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There’s a lot to digest here. It’s an action game set in the Bermuda Triangle, where you discover a jetpack created by famed real-life inventor Nikola Tesla. Once there, you fight aliens/gods/robots while soaring through varied environments, occasionally hijacking UFOs while in the air and taking Gears-style cover while running and gunning. If it all comes together, Capcom could have another franchise on its hands – if not, well, maybe Airtight will crank out another badass Crimson Skies.
Far from the Fallout 3 knock-off that it appears in static images, Metro 2033 is a densely atmospheric and really rather clever FPS with a cracking narrative heritage. Based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s acclaimed novel of the same name, it tells the story of Moscow’s subterranean post-nuclear survivors via a punishing survival horror regime. From what we’ve played so far, Metro is old-school hard, and with a host of demanding real-time survival mechanics at play – gas mask maintenance can be fun, really – one of the more intriguing shooters of this year.
The Supreme Commander series has always been about impressive technology, and Supreme Commander 2 is staying the course. As with the original, Supreme Commander 2 will put you in control of thousands of detailed units on the field at once. Eat your heart out StarCraft. Sometimes size matters - and there’s nothing like zooming the camera in to watch thick swarms of tanks and planes clash against walls of giant turrets.
The Agency is spectacularly ambitious, pitting you as a globe-trotting spy doing exactly the kind of things secret agents do in films: collecting intel, exercising your licence to kill, utilising all manner of gadgets and gear and generally acting like a double-crossing, philandering playboy slut. The question is whether Sony Online Entertainment is able to rewrite the gaming rulebook and produce a breakout MMO on a console. History is not too persuasive; SOE may be world-class when it comes to PC MMOs - you can't argue with EverQuest, Planetside and Star Wars Galaxies - but on console it's not too clever.
We can groan for weeks on end, but that won’t change the fact the next Final Fantasy is another MMO. Millions are undoubtedly excited, as most of the key minds behind FFXI are on board for the HD-update, though a new world (Hydaelyn) replaces the well-worn land of Vana’diel, allegedly bringing a blend of techno-future machines and traditional fantasy vistas. Plus, for the time being, it’s PS3/PC only – sorry Xbox.
Brink is a near-future first person shooter with a taste of the currently super-popular freerunning (ala the “Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain” system), 8 player online co-op, strategic character customization, and a pretty-darn-neat selective objective system. The game takes place on a floating city and one-time utopia called, unsurprisingly, Ark, which has become overpopulated and low on resources, and is nearing total civil war. The tech demos look fantastically impressive - a little Fallout 3 and a little Mirror’s Edge - and with Splash Damage’s multiplayer experience and Bethesda’s prestige behind it, we anticipate Brink to be a formidable fall contender.
An invading race of hyper-aggressive creatures known as the Lutador have arrived on Earth, committed mass genocide and rounded the remaining humans up into concentration camps… but they’ve also brought with them odd gravitational anomalies that begin to pop up all over the planet. Without warning, these gravity pockets can be affixed to your legs, to multi-story buildings or even render you weightless entirely. Think Wall-E jettisoning through an M.C. Escher painting with a fire extinguisher - now add machine guns, grenades, floating obstacles and a grapple arm, then you’ll start to get the idea.
There’ve been tons of games that have aped Grand Theft Auto, but none have the respect commanded by (the PC version of) 2002’s Mafia, which set aside random mayhem in favor of a more reserved, subtle approach to 1930s crime. The overdue sequel, set in the ‘40s and ‘50s, follows new characters in a new city, but promises to retain a similar balance of methodical, character-based storytelling and explosive action. And this time, the missions are much more elaborate, the cars are faster and the whole experience is structured to immerse you in its 1950s atmosphere as much as possible.
No one quite delivers an intense war zone like the folk from DICE – and yes that includes Modern Warfare – and with Bad Company 2 EA are upping the stakes again. Gone is the jokey nature of the original and in comes a more serious turn as you rejoin Bad Company. The online Beta depicts a frantic experience that features tons of vehicles from tanks to quad bikes to remote control choppers that act as recon for your attacks. Yikes.
Starship combat in Star Trek Online is a beautiful thing. Your very first mission charges you with joining an armada of Federation ships to repel an assault from several Borg cubes - and it only gets better from there. As you progress, you’ll be able to upgrade and customize your ship with various components like weapons, engine upgrades, and consoles. But you can also unlock space combat abilities, which are also affected by your choice of bridge officers. It’s also gorgeous, with brilliant particle effects from phasers and photon torpedoes crashing against shields and ship hulls.