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GTA 4 & Alan Wake


Most Wanted Games 2008

2008's Most Wanted

Hurrah! A new year begins, and brings with it a load of new games to look forward to. After last year's glorious bounty it's tempting to believe that the best of this generation is behind us, but the Wii has just got going, the PS3 is only now beginning to shine, and the 360 still has plenty of power at its disposal. Meanwhile, a second wave of DirectX 10 games should give those new PC CPUs and GPUs a decent workout. With all this in mind, here's a quick preview of what to expect. The games listed here are a selection of potential highlights for 2008, but in this business nothing is certain. We'll be back to look at some other biggies and a few dark horses in the coming weeks.


Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, PC, PS3)

Why get excited?

Rockstar's blockbuster crime series makes its HD debut. We know that it takes place in a reworked version of Liberty City - GTA's alternate reality New York - and that the protagonist is Niko Bellic, a Russian gangster starting a new life in the USA. We also know that, while the overall play area is smaller than the sprawling open world of San Andreas, this will be the biggest individual city of any GTA yet. The population is understood to be more intelligent and will react more coherently to player actions, and the game is expected to take a more downbeat, realistic tone than the exuberant Vice City and San Andreas chapters.

Regular GTA bugbears like the combat system have apparently been ironed out, and elements like the pursuit AI systems have been comprehensively overhauled. What's more, this is the first proper console GTA to incorporate multiplayer online action in the game.

Curb your enthusiasm?

Can GTA cope with the changes without losing the playfulness that made it so popular in the first place? Will Rockstar's weighty ambitions crush GTA's soul? This is either going to be a staggering achievement or a major disappointment. The stakes are very high indeed.

ETA: April


Alan Wake (Xbox 360, PC)

Why get excited?

Remedy's hot new property has made jaws drop open every time it's been showcased. Fitting vaguely into the horror adventure genre, Alan Wake leaves the old haunted mansions and ruined villages behind for more expansive environments based on a small North-Western American town. You're free to roam where you wish, and the plot comes together through hints, events and sudden revelations, with some smart puzzle solving and intense combat promised along the way.

The world is dynamic, with real-time lighting and weather conditions that can be exploited for dramatic effect - nobody who has seen a demo can forget the tornado that tears a small farmstead apart before your eyes. Think an open world Silent Hill meets Twin Peaks, and you should have some idea of the potential.

Curb your enthusiasm?

Little has been seen of Alan Wake since September 2006 and there are fears - after Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed - that this could be another ambitious project that falls short. All the same, word from Remedy is that the team is simply hunkering down to produce a kick-ass game. We believe them.

ETA: 2008

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