2007 could be the year that many classic games are released. We've already had S.T.A.L.K.E.R for the PC wowing gamers, along with several console titles to whet our appetites.
But looking to the following few months shows a good selection that are sure to become bestsellers, earning the classic title in the not-too-distant future:
- Forza 2 (XBOX 360) - Adamskii showed me the delights of Forza 2 via a few videos on GameTrailers.com and I was pretty amazed as already mentioned, but today I found a recently released screenshot from the game, which highlights how great it looks. The 360 appears to have a lot of great racing games already - with this adding to the pile.
- GTAIV (Various) - The 4th instalment (by name) of the Grand Theft Auto series promises to be amazing. Rockstar recently released a trailer that only showed a glimpse of the new game. However, many sites across the interweb have ripped the trailer to pieces - dissecting it in extreme detail to work out where the game will take us. A recently published interview highlights the correct predictions along with new information about GTAIV.
- Unreal Tournament 3 (Various) - We've had UT, UT2003, UT2004 and now we're getting UT3 - or should that be 4? Confusing us with another numbering scheme but hopefully reinvigorating the fast-paced FPS experience.
- Crysis (PC) - This will surely be the best looking game this year as a recent forum thread on bit-tech proved, showing Crysis screenshots alongside real-life photographs. But, as with many new PC games, it'll demand the most from your rig - requiring an upgrade no doubt.
- Colin McRae: DIRT (Various) - Another racer, this time from the good ol' retired Rally driver, McRae. OK, so he doesn't spend 23 hours a day coding his games, but the branding pretty much guarantees a great game.
- Alan Wake (Various) - According to the official site, Alan Wake is A Psychological Action Thriller. Cool. Putting that aside, the screenshots show a fantastic landscape that will give Crysis a run for its money.
- Halo (Various) - We're being treated to Halo 2 on the PC in the coming months, but soon after we'll be able to enjoy Halo 3 on the XBOX 360 too. Judging by the success of the original and Halo 2 on the XBOX, 3 should be a blast (literally).
- GRAW 2 (Various) - OK, so it's available on the XBOX 360 right now, but the PC version is to follow in June (according to Amazon). I have the original for the PC, but found it too 'arcadey' for my liking. But I'm still looking forward to the sequel, which I'll probably opt for the 360 version of. Adamskii's Demozone review showcased GRAW in all its glory.
- Lord Of The Rings Online (PC) - Another MMORPG, this time set in the Lord Of The Rings universe, as such. Will it be as successful as WoW? Or will it flop like Matrix Online and SWG? Two things I can say is that I like the idea of a lifetime subscription, but I wont be playing it.
- Sims 2 (Various) - As with the original, Sims 2 is everywhere - becoming one of the bestselling games on pretty much every platform. Sure, it has been out for 2 years or so now, but on a recent trip to PC World I realised how big it actually was. There are many expansions appearing on the market at a rate of 1 a day (almost). Whatever next? Sims 2 - toilet cleaner? I'm not knocking it, as I've enjoyed a few hours in the game and have observed Anneka playing it for many more hours - I'm just amazed by the size of it all.
- PS3/XBOX 360/Wii - the big 3 have all released their next-gen consoles now and are battling it out to become the ultimate choice for our living/bedrooms. I thought it was an obvious winner from the outset - with the 360 having a head start. But, the Wii appears to have dominated the casual/family gamer market, leaving the PS3 and 360 to try and entice the hardcore following. The PC will always remain, pushing technology to its limits and evolving it as much as possible. We're starting to see a rise again from the recent slump that plagued the PC.
- PSP/DS Lite - Sony and Nintendo are still providing us with hand-held solutions to our gaming addictions. I doubt the latter will ever stop producing a product continuing from the success of its Gameboy.
- HD-DVD/Blu-Ray - This one is a close call. The European market appears to have taken a liking to Blu-Ray, whereas across the pond in the US, Wal-Mart are already announcing a success for HD-DVD. Surely the driving force behind both formats is Sony's PS3 with the built-in Blu-Ray capabilities and Microsoft's XBOX 360 with the add-on HD-DVD drive. Though I think Microsoft themselves are already admitting defeat, as they've not included a built-in HD-DVD drive with their latest XBOX 360 Elite and have halved the price of the external HD-DVD drive.
Ninja Edit: It appears that Blu-Ray is in fact outselling HD-DVD by 2:1 according to bit-tech.net
I've used the name Lazlow as my online nickname for several years now. Many people utilise the semi-anonymity of an alias when signing up to forums; newsgroups; mailing lists; blogs and so on.
I chose the name Lazlow back in 2002 when we were gaming in what was dubbed, the 'Geek Lab' at our Uni. In the past, I didn't have a need for a pseudonym to identify me, but during online or LAN games, nicknames became compulsory.
If you've never heard of the real Lazlow before, then have a quick read of Wikipedia's article. He's basically a Technology Journalist from the US, who has provided a lot of the vocals and produced many of the radio stations for Grand Theft Auto, amongst other things.
I believe I originally opted for the name Fernando, who was one of Lazlow's radio guests on Grand Theft Auto 3's Chatterbox - but I then settled on Lazlow as I didn't want people to associate me with a Latino pimp.
Why am I rambling on about my own alias? Well, whilst Googling for random words/phrases, I realised that my profile on bit-tech is 6th on google.co.uk and 5th on google.com - does it make me the number 1 Lazlow alias user? Probably not, but it's something to tell the grandchildren in later life.
I've also highlighted something that I never realised before - Google.com and Google.co.uk (with the latter set as 'Worldwide') produce different search results.
One final point is that Google's spiders take a lot longer to update listings compared to MSN - not that I'd ever think of using an alternative to Google, no matter how many fewer characters it uses in its URL. But Google still lists slickhouse.com's description as my list of header links, whereas MSN has updated it to reflect the meta I recently added.
Which search engine do you constantly use - and why?
I've been enjoying the wonders of Project Gotham 3 (amongst others) this week, as Anneka bought me an XBOX 360 for my 23rd birthday (May 14th). However, I couldn't have it sitting there for a few weeks, wrapped up - so I opened it on Sunday evening and have been tinkering with it ever since. She picked up a bundle from Comet, which includes an extra wireless controller; Call of Duty 3; Project Gotham 3 and XBOX Live Arcade - which included Bejewelled 2.
Speaking of racing games, Adamskii showed me a few videos of Forza Motorsport 2 recently, which looked great; but they've just released a complete list of all the cars, within the game. As you can see, it looks a lot like Gran Turismo's, which is a good thing in my eyes - especially as there are plenty of Skylines to keep me happy.
I've bought Tony Hawks Project 8 this week, to add to the fun. Having only played it for an hour so far I can't comment on it much, but I'm loving the slow-motion when pulling tricks, fuelled by the special bar. I also grabbed a Mad Catz HD VGA cable that included an optical lead. The leap from 640x480 to 1280x1024 was insane, though I get a weird black bar appearing on the right-hand-side of the monitor. It could be down to using a 3rd party VGA lead I suppose.
For those of you, like myself, running Windows Server 2003 (or 2000) on your Media Server, then try TVersity - as I've found it flawless at sharing my media library with my 360 - which brings me to the only flaw with the XBOX 360's blades - it needs a search facility for media, as trawling through 14,001 songs is a nightmare. I'll be organising it into playlists, but a search facility would be the cherry (on the icing) on the cake.
I'll write an article sometime soon, documenting the first few weeks of my XBOX 360 experience.
If you're reading this Adamskii, sign into XBOX Live for a little surprise - oh and remind me of your method for obtaining a year's subscription for cheap! For anyone else, I'm MJLazlow, but am yet to achieve anything noteworthy.
I promised some pictures, but I'll post a project log sometime soon to sort that out.
But I can post a screenshot:
As you can see, it's Apache and PHP running successfully on Dinky - as the screenshot is taken from Red19 via Firefox. MySQL is on there too, so I'll be using it in the very near future for development.
I've got together all the hardware I need for my next project, ubuntu. I've just got to finish planning how it'll all look in the Enermax server case.
To conclude my short article on S.T.A.L.K.E.R I'll start by saying that THQ and more specifically, the developers Game World have a lot to answer for if the rumours are true - apparently there are Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 textures within the game.
But, many have pointed out that developers use textures from other games as a fill-in until their textures are complete. It appears to be more of a mistake than deliberate.
Looking at the game itself, I was pleased to find that it ran smoothly at 1280x1024 at pretty much high-maximum settings on my rig. However, after applying the 1.001 patch, I found that my frame-rate dropped to an almost unplayable rate. After spending 20 minutes or so experimenting, I ended up with high settings at 1280x1024 but with standard (DX8) lighting. No more nice sunshine shining through the gaps in old rickety buildings; no more flames leaping at me as I pass a campfire.
It's a pity, though perhaps the next patch will sort out the performance issues - otherwise I'll be looking into an 8800 series sooner than I expected.
The storyline appears to be taking shape, even after only a few hours of gameplay. Actually, if you install the 1.001 patch, all previous saves are null and void, requiring you to start afresh. So, whereas I've probably spent 5 hours in total so far, it amounts to around 1 hour actual progression since this morning.
My only disappointment with the game is that all the side-missions seem to echo the run-of-the-mill rpg missions you see in SWG and the like. Go here, destroy this lair; go there, deliver this package; find this, return it to me. They'll probably become more apparent as the game progresses - and at least they're allowing me to pick up a nice stash of weapons, med kits and cool items (Russian Vodka anyone?).
I'm enjoying S.T.A.L.K.E.R a lot more than I expected and it's more addictive than the aforementioned Oblivion. Only time will tell if I like it enough to complete it...