In the first of a mini regular feature we take a look at our most anticipated games of 2005. With 2005 possibly being the year before next-gen consoles appear, fear of platform shifting is inevitable, but there is still no shortage of great games scheduled for release this year. Today we will take a look at the games you can look forward too for the PlayStation 2.
We don't have to wait long into the New Year for a dose of great gaming action. Pandemic and LucasArts bring us Mercenaries in February and it looks like they have an explosive hit on their hands. Set in a future war torn North Korea, you are a mercenary, taking missions for rival factions. Mixing GTA style vehicle jacking with some intense on-foot action and enough fire-power to bring down the toughest buildings, Mercenaries won't disappoint action junkies.
I'll admit that I have never been a fan of the Ace Combat series, or any other flight sim. I just don't get on with them, much preferring to be on the ground firing a gun. Anyway, other people at Pro-G are looking forward to this very much, and with some stunning visuals, deep storyline and hectic dog-fighting action, I can kind of see what that excitement is about.
While Konami decided that European gamers didn't want the third game in the series, we obviously do want the fourth, as it is scheduled for a late February release date in Europe. With a new graphics engine and more of the great gameplay that has given the series a large following, Suikoden IV will give European gamers the RPG fix they are clambering for in the usually quiet post Christmas months.
Online play or not, Gran Turismo 4 is one of the biggest PlayStation 2 titles set for release this year. With more cars than you could possibly dream of parking in your driveway, improved car dynamics and visuals that once again look leaps and bounds ahead of anything else on the console, this will undoubtedly be the racing game to own this year.
European gamers may have had to wait for months while American and Japanese gamers were enjoying the latest Metal Gear game, but in March the wait will be over. Set in the jungle you can now adopt various outfits that give you altering levels of camouflage depending on your environment. With some added bonuses for us suffering Europeans, Metal Gear Solid fans won't be disappointed with what looks to be the last time the series will appear on the PlayStation 2.
Pandemic appear again, this time with their human destroying, Alien playing action game. Seemingly combining the explosive action of Mercenaries with a quirky Alien invasion gameplay concept, Destroy all humans looks to be one of the most entertaining games of the year. Making use of the Havok physics engine, humans are sure to be destroyed in a realistic looking way.
Eye Toy Antigrav
Being the first 'game' based around the eyetoy probably gives this more appeal than it would otherwise have, but it does look genuinely entertaining. A first for an eyetoy game is the lack of your ugly mug plastered all over the screen; instead your movements control an actual character that is flying on this antigravity board. Sure, it looks simple and will hardly set the gaming world on fire, but it is original and will make your friends look like idiots.
Devil May Cry 3
Devil May Cry was one of the first titles to show what the PlayStation 2 was capable of, delivering stunning visuals and non stop weapon based action. The sequel was therefore top of most peoples wanted list, but to their horror, failed to live up to the original's greatness. Thankfully, the third game looks to recapture that brilliance, making it one of our most anticipated games of the year. Please don't disappoint us again Capcom.
After enjoying much success on the PC, Far Cry comes to the Playstation 2 in this console specific game. Screenshots show a visually stunning game, but whether or not the aging PlayStation 2 hardware will be up the task is still to be seen. The PlayStation 2 is still waiting for a great first person shooter (the mainly multiplayer brilliant TimeSplitters not withstanding), and this could be it.
It is fair to say that the PlayStation 2 version of Rainbow Six 3 wasn't the best port of the great Xbox version. With number four in development simultaneously for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, hopefully we won't be given a lacklustre port. Focusing around gaining revenge for the death of a Team Rainbow member, this could also be the first game in the series to have strong single player campaign.
Being developed by Ubisoft Montreal - the team behind the original - gives us hope for great things from this true sequel to the original game. While Pandora tomorrow was great, it was more of a mission pack than a full sequel, but it did include some excellent online gameplay. With state of the art visuals and new cooperative online play, this certainly looks like a sure-fire hit.
This is on here more on name than anything else. Admittedly, Contracts was rather a letdown, but we hope the deadly assassin will be back on top form for his next set of missions. The Hitman series has always been a pretty mixed bag, never really living up to its potential, but we have a feeling that four games in, the developers will have finally figured out how to make a game that will please more than just the hardcore fans.
Lego Star Wars
Surely designed as a kids game due to its Lego design and simplistic gameplay, we perhaps shouldn't be so excited about this, but it is just so much fun. From the brief time we had with an early build of the game anyone who longs for a bit of their childhood back will have a hard time not liking this game. Whether you are using force powers on unsuspecting Lego Storm Troopers or just duelling with your lightsaber, you can't help but have a good time. And the Lego men don't loose limbs, they lose Lego Blocks. Great.
Making a First Person Shooter based around a not so classic arcade light-gun game seems like an odd move, but that hasn't stopped this from being one of our most anticipated games this year. Luckily this appears to have nothing to do with the aforementioned blaster, looking more like a first person Altered Beast with guns. Use special powers to attack your enemies and go online and battle with real life opponents. It's another FPS, but looks to be different enough to stand out from the crowd.
God Of War
After making a stunning appearance at last years E3, God of war could be one of the years surprise hits. Tracing the weeks preceding your death you play through an intensely brutal third person action game. Mixing Prince of Persia style gameplay with Mortal Kombat style violence and some system defying visuals, Sony doesn't need any higher powers to make this game a success.
Kingdom Hearts 2
Again, I was never a fan of the first game, and I have a dislike of most things Square (Yes, even Final Fantasy VII), but it is hard not to like the look of this game. I am assured that the first game was very good, and that this will be even better, with more Disney characters making an appearance, in an even more beautiful game world.
Battlefield: Modern Combat
EA delayed this game to include a single player campaign, but experiencing the Battlefield gameplay online on a console is what interests us about this title. The PlayStation 2 has pretty much had to rely on the S.O.C.O.M series for quality online gaming, but if the PC gaming experience can be translated to a joypad and a TV, this could be an essential purchase for online console gamers late this year.
With little more to go on than a CGI trailer, we have no idea how this game will turn out, but with EA's production values and one of the greatest movies ever made to work with, we have high hopes. Of course, most people will have nothing but fear of mediocrity for this game, seeing as it comes from EA, but given their recent turn of form, we aren't so pessimistic.