Sleeper Hits: The games of 2008

Sleeper Hits: The games of 2008

We reckon these less-than-hyped titles might just be the real stars of 2008. Yes, and we're not just talking about GTA IV.

Sure, you're probably more than aware that Grand Theft Auto IV is out on April 29th, but there are plenty of potential hits in store for gamers in 2008 that don't quite share GTA IV's marketing budget. Here's eight somewhat lesser known titles that we reckon could be the quiet achievers in 2008:

Empire: Total War (PC, November 2008): It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to declare that your game is going to be (and we quote) "the greatest and most awe-inspiring Total War experience ever". Still, developers Creative Assembly haven't let us down before, and their latest Total War experience -- which promises detailed battles across the planet in the 18th and 19th century, including naval combat -- should be just as much addictive fun as Rome and Medieval II were.

Lego Batman: The Videogame (Every format known to mankind, September 2008): Sure, Lego Indy's getting the hype right now -- but after somebody's picked Indy in his Nazi-free sanitised Lego realm, who are you going to choose? Short Round? We don't think so. Better suited is Gotham's Dark Knight, his perky teenage sidekick and a host of villains strangely suited to blocky format.

Alone In The Dark (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, May 2008):
Technically Alone in the Dark 5 -- has it really been sixteen years since the original game? Anyway, Atari's update promises to mix puzzles, horror and, strangely enough, New York's Central Park into its gameplay mix. While Resident Evil get most of the kudos for survival horror, it was Alone In The Dark that started it all, and hopefully the latest instalment won't disappoint.

TNA: Impact! (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, June 2008): THQ's Smackdown series might rule the sales charts for wrestling games, but it's undeniably stale, with a ton of broken gameplay mechanics. TNA Impact! (the TNA stands, rather stupidly, for "Total Nonstop Action", and not what you were thinking...) should give it some solid competition -- there's very little more fun than creating a ridiculous wrestler and diving all around a ring -- six sided, in this game's case.

Sins Of A Solar Empire (PC, April 2008): The Australian release date for this isn’t until the end of the month. Right when GTA IV launches. Which do you think will sell better? That aside, Ironclad’s real-time strategy/micromanagement/space sim has managed plenty of solid reviews in the US, where it's been available since January. If Master Of Orion style games are your thing, this could eat up your entire year.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3, September 2008): Plenty of drooling is being aimed at Gran Turismo 5 right now, but that's not due in full until 2009. Meanwhile, LittleBigPlanet -- a quirky, semi-user-generated physics-based platformer is due for release in September 2008 in European PAL territories -- and although an Australian release date is still pending, it's hopefully not too much further away than that.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC, Late 2008): Can anything beat World Of Warcraft in the MMO arena? Warhammer at least has the pedigree -- Games Workshop's been selling tiny lead Orcs and pitting them in mass battle for a quarter of a century now, and with EA's marketing muscle behind it, Age Of Reckoning could be something special. On the other hand, the world's millions of WoW devotees might not even look up from their keyboard grind long enough for it to register...

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Late 2008): By the time Ubisoft's done paying for the exclusive Tom Clancy rights, we will have seen all sorts of games -- can Tom Clancy's Raving Rabbids be far away? Anyway, the next TC game on Ubisoft's roster is a multiplayer combat flight simulator -- so presumably nobody has to play the role of harried stewardess. With four player co-op or up to sixteen planes screaming through the air in deathmatch style, this could be rather special.

Hm. Is there space enough to note that "Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!" probably has the best game title of 2008? No? Pity...

Also checkout our article on "Violent video games - the worst of the worst"

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