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The Other 25:
The OTHER Games Iím Looking Forward to...
Written By:
J. Michael Neal

Part Five

Well, weíre finally at the end. The alphabet has run its course. Weíre at the final five. Weíve seen some pretty promising titles along the way. Weíve had some sequels to games no one played, a spattering of intellectual properties, even a licensed game of all things, and they all look to be pretty noteworthy, even on a small scale. Will you pawn your copy of The Sims 2 or Jade Empire or Counter-Strike: Source or Smackdown vs. Raw to get any of them? Probably not. Heck, even I wouldnít, but yeah, you might put in a little over-time at the In-n-Out Burger or go without a few text books this semester, if you know what I mean.  Out of the 25 games on this list, I can guarantee that at least half of them youíll want staring back at you from your library after the final tally is made and weíve all put away our PS2s and Xboxs and GameCubes for the next crop of consoles to be had. So take note, listen up, and keep an eye out for these releases, because a sleeper hit is a terrible thing to waste.


Second Sight

Why Iím Excited: This game looks wicked! Itís the first third person title weíve seen from Free Radical, but that doesnít mean the people behind GoldenEye and TimeSplitters stumbled in their transition from the 1st to the 3rd person. Second Sight seems to have all the markings of a great action/adventure title Ė excellent story, cool puzzles, lots of action, and of course, kick-ass psychic powers! It looks like itís going to be a blast tossing around enemies like rag dolls and possessing people at will. Heck, look how much fun you can have in a game like Psi-Ops doing that kind of stuff and think what Free Radical can do with it!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Second Sight is being released at the beginning of one of the busiest 4th Quarters in recent memory. It will no doubt drown, being sandwiched in between sure-fire hits like Silent Hill 4, WWE Day of Reckoning, Call of Duty: United Offensive, The Sims 2, Def Jam Fight for NY, Star Wars Battlefront, Rome: Total War, Dead or Alive Ultimate, and of course, Fable. I expect this one to hit the bargain bins pretty hard. And for the record, Psi-Ops gets absolutely no respect either.

Systems: Xbox, PS2, GC.


TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Why Iím Excited: TimeSplitters 2 rocked. I personally got more out of that game than I did out of Halo. No, really. Halo was a good game, donít get me wrong, but all the time Iíve put into that game is solely due to the fact that as soon as anyone enters my home and see that I have an Xbox, they ask to play Halo. While Halo 2 will no doubt own us all, Future Perfect looks good enough to earn some attention in its own right now that EA has picked up the franchise. Expect the TimeSplitters franchise to get the same kind of make-over EA gave Burnout, i.e. higher production values, better visuals, and more of everything that made it great in the first place. If I were you, Iíd save room on my FPS plate for this little underdog.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Although the TimeSplitters franchise has always been a solid seller, itís never quit gotten the respect it deserves, and with the stiff competition from other FPS it will receive when itís released (Doom 3, Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Unreal Championship 2, just to name a few) I doubt Free Radicalís little-shooter-that-could will emerge victorious. At least not in the long runÖ

Systems: Xbox, PS2, GC.


Under the Skin 

Why Iím Excited: If Iíve said it once, Iíve said it a thousand times Ė any game coming out of Capcomís Production Studio 4 will have my immediate attention until it proves to me that it sucks. Under the Skin (formerly ďPanic MakerĒ) looks like some sort of wackyÖ I-donít-know-what. Its bizarreness defies description. It looks insane, and goofy, and complicated, and terribly Japanese Ė how could you not want to play it? Whether itís fun or not is a whole Ďnother thing, but for now, I canít wait to get my hands on a copy.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: It looks insane, and goofy, and complicated, and terribly Japanese Ė how many games like that have broken into the mainstream? Not many, I can tell you that. I expect people to just scratch their heads and walk on by no matter how this game turns out.

System: PS2.


Viewtiful Joe 2

Why Iím Excited: Itís Viewtiful Joe 2!!! Few games have rocked my socks off as hard as Viewtiful Joe.  It was the stiffest gust of fresh air the gaming industry has seen in a very, very long time. It breathed new life into a genre that was pretty much dead as dead and gave GameCube owners one more reason to be grateful they bought that little purple (or black, or silver, or whatever) box.  In all honesty, if VJ2 was just the original game, with like 8 new levels thrown in, Iíd still pay $40 bucks for it!  Joe was just that good! Anything new this game has to offer (and it does have a few tricks up its sleeve), Iíll lap up like a hungry dog and beg for more.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Letís face it, quirkiness and 2-Demonsiality aside, Viewtiful Joe was flat-out too difficult for most prospective buyers. That game is a ball-breaker, and I doubt its sequel will be any more forgiving. This alone will put off most people.  Add to that the fact that itís so righteously over-the-top, add to that the fact that itís a side-scroller, add to that the fact that itís on a system that gets zero respect, and add to that the fact that the first one didnít sell anywhere near what it should have, in my opinion, and you have yet another soon-to-be-forgotten modern day classic.  Poor, poor CapcomÖ

System: GC.


WWX Rumble Roses

Why Iím Excited: Shameless hormones aside, this game actually looks very cool. In short, itís a scaled down Smackdown with hot babes and more exaggerated, acrobatic maneuvers. Iím sure it will be fun, given how amazingly Yukeís wrestling engine lends itself to multiplayer mayhem, and, you know, the mud wrestlingís kind of interesting. As a big fan of the Smackdown series I am looking forward to this one, if for no other reason than itís always cooler to see two hot, greased up, half-naked women fight than two buff, greased up, half-naked men. At least for us guysÖ straight guysÖ

Why It May Go Unnoticed: If you can only buy one wrestling game this yearÖ make it Smackdown vs. Raw.  But if you can buy twoÖ Iíd consider saving $50 bucks for this one. The problem is, how many people are in the neighborhood for two wrestling games, especially when THQís Smackdown vs. Raw indulges nearly every squared-circle fanaticís geekiest desire? I doubt this game can compete with SvR when it comes to online, and create-a-player, and create-a-ppv, and match types, and multiplayer, and so on and so on. It could, sure, Iíd love it if it could, but I will sure as heck be surprised. This game would certainly serve as a nice appetizer for the main course though, but curiously, this game is being released by the same developer, from different publishers, within the same week, with no possible hope of stepping out from under the shadow of THQís monster of a franchise. I donít get it. It would be like releasing NFL Blitz and Madden on the same day. Oh well. My advice? Get this one done by early October and weíll all be the better for it.

Systems: PS2.

<-- Part Four

Posted: 9-8-04
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