2004 was a banner year for games in terms of the quantity and quality of the games that were available. While games are still recovering from the avalanche of games released in 2004 there are still a lot of high visibility games and gaming technologies that will be hitting shelves in 2005.
Here at GamingNexus we have an annual ritual of looking at the upcoming year in advance and telling you five things that we we are looking forward to in the yeaer ahead. Sometimes we are right (Half-Life 2
, sometimes we are kind off (Doom 3
), and sometimes we are completely off the mark (Unreal 2
). Without further adieu here’s a list of what our writers are looking forward to this year.Phillip Ellis
- Staff Writer
1. Xbox 2
, Playstation 3
- Yeah, I know it's not the year it is supposed to come out, but by now we should be seeing information roll in about the Xbox 2, and Playstation 3. Some of the shots I have seen of graphics from the next-gen consoles looks SCARY good. 2. First To Fight: Close Combat
- The first person version of Full Spectrum Warrior basically, but with Marines. This game looks to be one of the best military simulations in many years, everything coming together. Obviously I'm a big military game buff, and I can't wait to add this one to my collection.
3. MVP Baseball 2005
- MVP Baseball 2004 left me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next baseball season. It was easily the best baseball game ever created, and there was plenty of reason to see that EA was actually trying to take it in the right direction. Now if only Take-Two doesn't get the MLB license...4. NCAA Football 2006
- It's never too early for me to fantasize about my favorite series of games of all time. The NCAA Football series has undoubtedly been my life for the past few Summers as I work through school, only to enjoy the summer days playing NCAA with people from all across the world online. The game can only keep getting better can't it?5. Battlefield 2
- EA is bringing Battlefield 2 to the consoles this year, so I won't need a supercomputer to run one of the best military games ever made. This version is set in the present day war, and that's got me more amped for a game than I have been in a while. What could be better than me fighting a war in cyberspace?Cyril Lachel
- Staff Writer
1. Sony’s PSP
- Anybody that knows me knows that I am a sucker for both portable games and brand new hardware, so it’s almost as if Sony read my mind when coming up with their PSP. Not only does it appear to be light years ahead of anything else on the portable market (even the recently released Nintendo DS), but it also does just about everything you could possibly want. It plays music, it let’s you watch movies, it’s even a portable photo album, the PSP does it all. But knowing all that is fine and good, I’m most excited about the brand new line up of games; especially WipEout Pure, Twisted Metal, Grand Theft Auto, and a brand new Metal Gear game. But even if all of those games fail to live up to expectations, the PSP marks a change in the portable market and I am excited to see where it goes from here.
2. Racing Games
- Outside of Burnout 3 and Rallisport 2, 2004 was a mediocre year for racers at best. But things appear to be different this year, thanks to at least three major profile racers that will surely set a new high water mark for speed freaks like me. No matter what system you own (unless it’s the GameCube) you’re going to have head over heels for this year’s line up. For one thing, we finally have the release of Gran Turismo 4, a game that has been in development for what seems like forever and just not getting it’s release. On the Xbox there’s Forza Motoresport, which will show off the Xbox Live better than any other racer on the market. And if you’re not into traditional races, there’s always Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, the sequel to 2003’s best racing game. I’m looking forward to all three and can’t wait to see what these companies can pull out of a hat.
3. God of War
- I love adventure games, but these days they never seem epic enough and always seem to go over the same terrain a lot. But God of War is different, it promises to take you places you have never seen with graphics that are so good they can’t possibly be running on a PlayStation 2. And I’m not just talking about amazing level designs and highly detailed graphics, the bosses and foes are stunning, easily the best reason to play this game. Although I have only seen the demo, I can honestly say that this is shaping up to be one of the best games of the year. Plus, it’s made by the same guy who gave us the revival of car combat games (Twisted Metal Black) and one of the few good Disney games (Mickey Mania). How can this go wrong?
4. Xbox Next
- Last year it seemed all but certain that the next generation Xbox would launch in 2005, but with only months to go it’s anybody’s guess what is actually going to happen. But no matter whether Microsoft is actually able to get the system out or not, 2005 is going to prove to be an exciting year for people charting the next generation battle. We’re going to learn a lot about the future in a very short amount of time. What games will it play? What format will it use? Will it be online from the get-go? What about a hard drive? How much better are the games going to look? These are just a few of the questions I have about the system, questions that will surely be answered the closer we get to the end of the year.
5. Wonderfalls DVD
- That’s right; my final pick for 2005 is not a game at all. It’s a TV series that just about nobody saw, but everybody should check out. Wonderfalls is the story of Jayne, a young gift shop worker who really isn’t happy with how her life is turning out. But then one day her stuffed animal starts talking to her and giving her suggestions and clues … only to find out that they mean something. Is Jayne crazy? Is it God, or something much more sinister? I actually don’t know, because Fox decided to kill the show only four episodes in. Now on DVD you can see the four episodes they aired as well as the nine they decided to scrap. Sure it’s quirky, but it was one of the most creative shows on TV and well worth checking out on DVD in February. There are a lot of DVDs I want, but few more than Wonderfalls.Tyler Sager
- Staff Writer
This year doesn’t look as exciting for gaming as 2004 did, although I might be pleasantly surprised. Actually, a bit of a breather would be a good thing, as I didn’t have nearly enough time to work though all the amazing titles from last year. Still, there are plenty of noteworthy releases planned for the upcoming months, and quite a few have me impatiently waiting.
First off, Sony’s PSP is piquing my interest. While I haven’t seen my “must buy” title for the system yet, I’m sure it’ll just be a matter of time. Assuming no major hardware glitches or system shortages, I’m sure this will be one of the hottest things going this year, and I’m sure I’ll be a few hundred dollars poorer in the near future.
Looking to Sony’s other platform, I see one of my most highly anticipated games of 2005—Kingdom Hearts 2
. I’m currently working my way through Chain of Memories, and that’s just fuelling my hunger for the next installment in this incredible series. I just hope this one manages to hold onto its release date, and doesn’t fall into 2006.
On the PC side of things, Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich
is looking fantastic. I had a blast with the first, and can’t wait to get back into the campy, four-color superhero squad-based strategy.
Once I give my computer a bit of a tune-up, I’ll be ready for the PC version of Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
. I still haven’t run the Dark Side on the first game, but I may have to fire that back up and give it a go in preparation for the sequel. With RPGs a little sparse lately, I’m ready to sink my teeth back into some Bioware goodness.
Finally, Galactic Civilizations 2
is opening a beta in the next few months. I’m not sure if the final version will be here before the end of the year, but I would be a very happy boy indeed if it was. The beta alone will most likely keep me addicted for more hours than is probably healthy. John Yan
- Hardware Editor
When doing this piece, I usually have a few sports games that I'm really looking forward to. EA's NCAA Football
usually makes this list and this year I was going to include SEGA's next football game. But with the recent news and how things are shaping out in the sports gaming world, there's really nothing there that gets me excited. NCAA Football
will probably disappoint me again this year and there won't be an ESPN NFL 2K6
title. It was hard coming up with game titles as the big ones (DOOM 3, Halo 2, Half-Life 2
) that I was looking forward to the past few years have been released. So let's move on to five things that I'm looking forward to this year:Xbox Next
– Or Xbox 2 or Xbox Part Deux or whatever they decide to call it. I'm a gadget geek anyways and I'm pretty excited to see what they have in store for the next generation console with rumors of it debuting this Thanksgiving. All I really want besides the usual upgrade in graphics and processing power is hard drive capability whether it be solid state or traditional platter style and backwards compatibility with my old Xbox games. That's one of the best things when I got the PS2 and was transitioning over as all my old PSOne games weren't useless. Sure, I could've kept a PSOne but then I couldn't have taken part in some of those trade in deals for the new console. And the trade in was a lot easier to swallow with backwards capability. If Microsoft can do those two things, I'll be very happy.The Movies
– If there's one profession I'd love to get into is making movies. Peter Molyneux's latest idea, The Movies
gives you the power to create movies from the script to the premiere.There's options of making all types of genres so you can create a winner like Spider-Man 2 or a stinker like Star Wars II : Attack of the Clones. There are two modes so you can go through a story mode to build up your studio or a sandbox mode where you can do what you like.I liked what I saw at last year's E3 and I'm anxious to get my hands on this one.NVIDIA and ATI's dual card configurations
- NVIDIA's SLI technology has some pros and cons to it but it's still damn cool.Currently, there seems to be only 15 or so products that will work with the technology. With the few that does work, some show promise and it's a nice little upgrade path. ATI hasn't announced their dual card technology but there have been rumors and rumblings about it so there's a good chance we'll hear something in the near future.ATI All-in-Wonder products using the Theater 550 chip
- I've always liked the All-in-Wonder line from ATI. Combining great gaming performance and TV capabilities, the AIW line gave the best of both worlds. Now, the Theater 550 chip promises to push the AIW line even further with hardware mpeg encoding so that you can experience high quality TV with low CPU usage. That was one of the few things that I thought held ATI's AIW line back in terms of being a one card solution. I'd never give up a Hauppauge PVR card and a high end video card in favor of an AIW card if I wanted great TV and gaming. That will change when the AIW cards use the Theater 550 chip though.Battlefield 2
- I know, the last game was a big disappointment.But from what I saw it has some potential. It's also got some of the Desert Combat guys helping develop this. I enjoyed Battlefield 1942
somewhat but I'm a more modern combat fan. So with that, I'm looking forward to seeing how DICE handles it with this game.Charles Husemann
- Editor in Chief
1. Quake IV
- Sure Doom3
was a bit of a let down but this will be one of the first games to utilize the Doom 3 engine and I’ve got a good feeling about what the folks at Raven can do with it.
2. Xbox Next/2/Xenon/whatever
- We don’t know for sure if Microsoft is even going to release it this year or not but most of the signs point that we’ll have a new wireless S controllers in our hands by the holiday season. Microsoft’s got some cool new ideas for it and it will be interesting to see if they can deliver on them and if this is their opportunity to take the lead in the console market.
3. Jade Empire
- Another action RPG from the folks at BioWare? Do I really need to say more?
- This will be one of the first non-NFL branded football games to hit the market later this year and I’m interested to see what Midway does with the license. This is the perfect opportunity for them to thumb their noses at both the NFL and EA
5. Auto Assault
- This is another game that may not make it out this year but I wanted to put it on my list just in case it does. This is going to be another killer MMORPG along the lines of City of Heroes
that will open the genre up to new audiences as well as satisfy fans of Autoduel and Car Wars.
Because I’m the one editing this piece I’m going to use that to add one more game to this list and that’s Bio Shock
the next game from the great guys at Irrational. The game is being billed a spiritual successor to System Shock 2
so it’s hard not go get amped about something with that pedigree.Charlie Sinhaseni – Senior Editor
It’s really tough to state my most anticipated games of 2005 because Electronic Arts has already put a huge damper on the year. Its Goliath vs. David mentality towards SEGA Sports has really started the year off on the wrong foot. With no ESPN NFL2K6
to look forward to and the other SEGA Sports franchises in limbo, it’s tough to really be excited about this year’s lineup of sports games. Instead I’m looking towards other genres to satiate my tastes; I’m not what you’d call a fanboy but I’ve developed an affinity for the Final Fantasy
franchise in the past decade or so. What I saw at E3 was impressive and the developers seemed emotionally attached to their project. Generally I get these hot shot developers telling me about how great their games are. These guys were a little different; they didn’t just tell me why I’d love the game, they showed me. They were true gamers who were in love with their project and video games in general. Besides, the Final Fantasy games are always good and I see no reason why Final Fantasy XII
won’t live up to expectations.
Two games that really caught me off guard at E3 were flying under the Sammy Studios banner. First up is Darkwatch
, a first person shooter that takes place in a Vampire Western setting. The atmosphere in the game is just amazing and the set pieces were great. It’s one of the rare instances where I can truly say that it’s something that I haven’t seen before. Just watching the game reminded me of LucasArts’ classic shooter Outlaws
, except with a much darker and brooding tone.
The other Sammy Studios title to look out for is The Shield
, a 3D action/adventure title based on FX’s award-winning drama. Again, the atmosphere plays a crucial role here, especially in the way that the designers have captured the feel of the show. Like Final Fantasy XI
, this was a project that the developers genuinely seemed interested in. They were fans of the show and they showed me why other fans will want to lose themselves in this game as well. They’re working closely with the staff and writers behind the show and have promised to deliver a product that stays true to the course. Look out, it could very well be the
sleeper hit of 2005.
While the console realm is fun, I generally spend more time in front of a PC. Lately I’ve been throwing away countless hours towards The Sims 2
. After I reviewed it last summer I kind of threw it on the shelf because I was so overwhelmed with the holiday rush. The other day, my girlfriend booted it up and I’ve been hooked for the past two weeks. The social aspect of the game is so deep and just when you think you’ve done everything, something else pops up and shows you that you’ve just begun to scratch the surface. The recently announced Sims University
expansion pack will add even more depth, essentially adding an entirely different gameplay aspect to the game. I can’t wait to take my Sims to school and see what kind of trouble I can create.
One of the companies that have really impressed me as of late is Midway. In my mind, the company had the best 2004 in the industry. Games like Psi-Ops
, The Suffering and Shadow Hearts 2: Covenant
came out of nowhere to wow audiences while Mortal Kombat: Deception
was a great addition to the franchise. This year looks to be even better with the amazingly polished Area 51
. Instead of making another lame light shooter, the guys at Midway have taken their game to the first person shooter realm. In terms of visuals it looks like Killzone
but it plays more like HALO
or Red Faction 2
. In line with Midway, I’m also looking forward to playing NARC
and Blitz: Playmakers
. NARC is a high-budget, top-tier type title that will be sold at the $19.99 price point. Blitz is the first foray outside of the NFL and will feature all of the dark side that the NFL likes to cover up. A writer for the hit show Playmakers
(which was taken off the air because it was too realistic) is working with the developers to ensure that the game has that extra added edge. You can quote me now, it’s the only football game I’ll be buying this year.
I can’t end this article without mentioning a shooter and if I had to choose just one, I’d reluctantly pick BattleField 2
. Not because of my disdain towards EA, but because BattleField Vietnam
was such a horrible game that it caused me to lose faith in DICE. I loved BF1942
and spent countless hours with the Desert Combat Mod. To me, it looks like BF2 is Desert Combat version 2.0 with beefed up graphics and more features. If it turns out right it’ll be one of the best games of the year.