June Bugs

During the first half of 2008, things are looking a bit quiet on the racing front as far as new releases are concerned. The second half doesn't look to be too active either, save for the one or two of the usual suspects that release a new game in a series each year. But if you focus your attention to the year's midpoint, you'll find Race Driver: Grid. From the team at Codemasters that brought us DiRT in 2007 comes a very promising looking racer. Although the game stems from a series, Race Driver has not seen the light of day on consoles or PC since the release of TOCA Race Driver 3 in early 2006. Now sporting a full crash engine that will have parts of your car flying all over the place upon impact, Grid takes you on a solo career initiative to locations in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Unlike many more recent racing games, Grid's focus will not be on car customization. There's no pimping your ride, so to speak. Instead, the game is all about the racing experience with fully licensed vehicles that can be added to your garage as you progress. While it's totally possible to destroy your vehicle during a race, Grid offers a "flashback" feature that allows you to rewind the race ten seconds before your crash and hopefully avoid what was once certain death. Some may view this feature as a cheat, but it may very well be appreciated during some of the longer races. We can better make that determination when Grid ships in June.

Metal Gear Solid 4, titled "Guns of the Patriots", was announced in 2005, long before the PlayStation 3 hit the market. While many hoped that the new game would be the first of a trilogy in the long running series, the folks at Konami assured us that this was not the case. In fact, Guns of the Patriots was named as the final game in the Metal Gear series. While this may disappoint, the game should not -- it looks incredible.

In Metal Gear Solid 4, hero Solid Snake returns in odd but rare form. As the result of a faulty cloning process, Snake is now aging rapidly with looks that could pass for the father of the Solid Snake we've seen in previous games. The final adventure finds Snake using stealth mechanics and an OctoCamo suit to blend in with his surroundings as he attempts to assassinate long time rival, Liquid Ocelot. Expect to be reintroduced to the many familiar characters that made the series great when the game ships in June.

Also slated for a June release is Alone in the Dark. Now here's a title we haven't seen in quite a while. While many believed that The New Nightmare released in 2001 marked the end of the series whose title was synonymous with the survival horror genre, the developers at Eden Studios confirm that this is not the case. Fans that enjoyed Alone in the Dark since its debut on PC in 1992 will be pleased to see the return of protagonist Edward Carnby as he investigates supernatural occurrences that are shaking up New York City's Central Park.

While adventure elements such as puzzle-solving will most certainly make their way into the latest installment, an entirely new way of experiencing the series has been implemented. This time around, the game will be broken up into 30-40 minute episodes. While episodic gameplay is nothing new, it is most commonly offered in separate releases a la Half-Life 2 or Sam and Max. However, in this case, gamers will get the entire saga in a single package. Each episode's cliff-hanger ending will be followed by a quick recap of the events specific to your game and the routes you chose to take on your way through that episode. This seems like a cool feature, but only time will tell if gamers will react favorably or see it as a hindrance to the overall experience. And that time is slowly but surely drawing near. As for me, I have seen this game in action and it certainly has all the elements that should appease fans of survival horror and action junkies alike.

Index The Doldrums of Summer
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  • BladeVenom - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    This is the list I use. http://www.systemwars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...">http://www.systemwars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...

    A DRM warning about Mass Effect and Spore.
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    No way in hell I'll be buying Mass Effect or Spore with that DRM.
  • mmntech - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    Agreed. I was looking forward to Mass Effect on PC. I feel like I wasted $170 on the HD 3850 I bought to play it. PC gaming is dead and DRM is the box they're burying it in.

    There were two huge games missing from the list. The first is LittleBigPlanet which is probably one of the most anticipated PS3 games coming out this year. The Force Unleashed is another big one, even just from a technical standpoint with Euphoria and DMM. 2008 is going to be a good year for consoles. I'm glad I finally caved in and bought one rather than suffering with PC and SecuROM.
  • Heatlesssun - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    You're making way to much of the SecureROM thing. I've got a couple of games using it, Call of Juarez and DirT and I'm not having any issues on Vista, both x86 and x64.

    Also you're failing to realize that most PC games are available via a download service, which use net authentication schemes. PC gaming is far from dead. With out PC's, there'd be no hardware to go into consoles as consoles are loss leaders. AMD and nVidia wouldn't make it on console sales alone. They need to be able to sell dedicated GPU's to make money and have some for the R&D that ends up in consoles.

    Viva la PC Gaming!
  • EddieTurner - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    Was reading about that earlier. Man, what a freakin' killjoy. Somebody whould be shot for making that decision.
  • Spacecomber - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    I latch onto a handful of PC games a year that I play, and I recognize that there are many other games out there that I'll never get around to playing, especially since I have no plans on a picking up a console any time soon. So, it's nice to have a kind of overview of the electronic gaming universe. I'll never be able to explore it all, but I'm sure some of these new games will find there way onto my hard drive.
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    That sums up my feelings too. I only play a few games but play them a lot. I also have no need or desire to buy a console for the sort of games I like most, and judging from the fact that 12 of the 16 games listed are shown as getting a PC release (and one or two of the other four may well get a PC release later on), PC gaming is far from dead.
  • Griswold - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    Well said.
  • Rocket321 - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    I really liked the article, keep them comming!
  • vexingv - Thursday, May 8, 2008 - link

    This list makes me hesitant to put a $500 investment into buying a PS3 solely to play MGS4 and GTA4 (which will probably be ported to PC). So many of these games are multiplatform and being released on the PC as well. However, I'm concerned whether the PC ports are even comparable to their console counterparts as the PC is hardly the lead platform anymore and usually winds up as the bastard child.

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