Angry Robot

Games to Care About on the 360 This Year

The obvious biggies are Halo 3 and GTA IV. The appeal of these two monsters is so great that we need not say any more about them here.

It seems like much of the innovation in games these days comes from role-playing games, in areas like non-combat gameplay i.e. dialogue, non-linear storytelling, and character customization. Bags is looking forward to Two Worlds, an Oblivion-esque RPG that offers all of the above in an enormous, 32 square mile world.

But as great as orcs and elves are, sometimes you need to escape the world of D&D cliches, and so we both eagerly await Mass Effect. It’s from Bioware, the makers of Jade Empire, which we both loved, and it’s an RPG in space. It has squad-based tactical shooter aspects, and a nice-looking dialogue system as well. Even the overall world navigatin’ map looks well thought out and slick as hell. Check out some demo footage here=, or better yet get it off Live Marketplace at way better quality.

The other thing I’ve been missing since going xbox-only – a situation that will not last forever – is Japanese storytelling. I realized at one point a few years ago, when I had only a PS2, that all the games I owned originated in Japan. It’s pretty hard to have that happen on the 360, a platform flooded by PC shooter ports. That should change though, with a couple of games from Mistwalker Studios, a Japanese studio with roots in Square: Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. Both of them sound packed with the original ideas, bleeding stones, pastiche artwork, and childhood tragedies that only Japanese games can provide. Yes, but will they have gun-swords?

So what in a non-RPG is there? My biggest crush has got to be Too Human, as I’ve mentioned here before. Again, reading this IGN piece was enough to make me pretty durn interested, not only because of the subject matter (Norse cybergods!) but because of the control scheme (one stick for movement, the other for directional melee attacks) and the subsequent potential for gameplay innovation.

Also, Alan Wake sounds like it has potential. A horror game with a writer as the main character has obviously been done before by Silent Hill, and for all I know right now the plot is entirely lifted from In the Mouth of Madness, but it’s worth seeing how it turns out. And finally, I hadn’t realized that another game I’ve mentioned here, Age of Conan, will be released on the 360 as well as the PC. (Does that make it the first MMORPG for the 360?)

Disclaimer time: this list is from our perspective, not necessarily yours – obviously neither of us are big into racing games. Also, trying to judge games before they are released is a fool&#82#8217;s game – I’ll still be waiting to read some reviews for all of these before I jump out and buy. That said, it’s still worth looking ahead so as to not sleep on anything when it does get released.