Is PC gaming dead? Not on this evidence. One has to be realistic and realise PC gaming will never dominate the market, but there are plenty of games on the horizon thatâ€™ll justify keeping your hardware up to date over the next year.
1. Spore (Maxis â€“ Simulation): Will Wright; anyone who has heard him speak about making video games will tell you that every word is drenched in passion. Itâ€™s no accident then that Spore, his current project, has garnered so much interest. A god game at its most basic level, Spore uses procedural generation to create a constantly changing and entirely organic gameplay experience where the player moulds the life of a species from its beginnings as a single-celled organism. If you only play one game this year, this ought to be it.
2. Crysis (Crytek â€“ FPS): As the first PC title to utilise DirectX 10 for Vista, all the preview footage has proved to be stunning to look at. In the gaming community this is generally all that is required to cause a stir, and Crysis is certainly doing just that. Set on an island in the South China Sea, Crysis has you playing the role of Jack Dunn whose team are investigating a fallen meteorite. Whether Crytek, that was recently bought by EA, can match its great looking visuals with great gameplay is something weâ€™ll have to wait to find out.
3. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage â€“ Online FPS): With Unreal Tournament making a return this year itâ€™s only natural to expect an online Quake game to compete with it, and Quake Wars is that game. Developed by Splash Damage and set in the same fictional universe as Quake 4, Quake Wars takes a class based approach to online multiplayer where players must work together to hold their front line against the enemy. Splash Damage, in case you didnâ€™t know, were the team behind the critically acclaimed Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and as such have serious pedigree in online multiplayer.
4. Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (EA LA â€“ RTS): The Command and Conquer series has lost its way somewhat of late. Yet, despite these problems, itâ€™s a series that remains close to the hearts of a large proportion of the gaming community. Tiberium Wars marks the return to the Tiberian lineage and, among a number of streamlined gameplay elements, will see the return of the legendary Kane as part of the storyline.
5. Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios â€“ FPS/RPG): History shows us, or rather Deus Ex shows us, that first-person shooters and RPG gameplay elements can work very well together. Hellgate is another game thatâ€™s tapping into this niche, and with a development team made-up of high profile ex-Blizzard employees thereâ€™s serious momentum behind the idea this could be something exceedingly special. Better yet, the game is set in a future version of London so you might pass by your house thus adding further resonance to those us who live in the UK. Much like Crysis, Hellgate will also be optimised for DirectX 10 so get your chequebook out if you want to enjoy it as itâ€™s meant to be seen.
Also Look Out For: S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Supreme Commander, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Dragon Age and Left 4 Dead.