Frontlines: Fuel of War

Frontlines: Fuel of War Features for Xbox 360

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8Out of 10
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YES: "Gears 2 is the only must-have of the year." - Wesley Yin-Poole

When Cliffy B, revved-up chainsaw in tow, smugly trotted out on stage during last week's Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, he single-handedly saved 2008 for Microsoft. Why? Because he confirmed the worst-kept secret in gaming - that Gears of War 2, the sequel to one of the Xbox 360's best-selling and, well, just plain best games, will be coming this November.

Gears of War 2 is, for me, the only confirmed Xbox 360 exclusive I'm interested in this year. Ninja Gaiden 2 and the whole hack and slash genre doesn't push my buttons. Fable 2 talks the talk but will it walk the walk? Halo Wars is a console RTS - nuff said. We know next to nothing about Rare's Banjo-Kazooie 3. There are already reservations emanating online based on GDC impressions of Too Human, and don't even get me started on Alan Wake, or Alan Where? as I like to call it.

But that's just my opinion, which everyone is, of course, entitled too. Many will disagree with me, and say that Gears of War 2 is bottom of their Xbox 360 exclusive hit-list. But what can't be disputed is the commercial harsh reality - apart from Gears of War 2 there's nothing exclusive to the 360 coming out this year that will have the kind of mass appeal to sell consoles.

Will anything sell as well on the 360 this year as Gears of War 2? The first game has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide - a quite stupendous achievement for a brand new IP. Expect the second game to surpass that by quite some margin. We might not see Halo 3 numbers, but it will push it close, that's for sure.

Does Ninja Gaiden 2 have mass appeal? I don't think so.

Does Ninja Gaiden 2 have mass appeal? I don't think so.

If we look down the list at 2008's exclusive 360 games, there's nothing that can compete with this. For all Ninja Gaiden 2's hype online, it remains a hardcore game (Japanese gamers are still fuming it's only coming to the 360 - the console no-one out there owns). Fable 2, the sequel to the 2004's Xbox original, is somewhat of an oddity, and gamers with good memories will still feel burned by developer Peter Molyneux's grand promises for the first game that were never kept. Halo Wars should do well because of the Halo license but won't set the tills alight. Too Human is a hard sell, being a new IP and I'm not even sure we're going to see Banjo-Kazooie 3 or Alan Wake this year anyway.

Look at the hype generated online following the Gears of War 2 confirmation. We've all studied the teaser trailer, trying to spot gameplay hints and story details. And you can see from the posts on our very own forum here at that there's crazy interest in the game. Nothing coming up exclusively on the 360 can compare to that. Indeed, little coming up on any platform can compare to that.

And all this comes at a time when Sony's PS3 is starting to flex its considerable muscle. Analysts are already making noises that Sony's PS3 will have a much stronger 2008 than it did in 2007, and sales data shows it's slowly building up momentum.

Let me point out at this point that I am no Sony fanboy. Indeed, I own a 360, which for me is still, right now, the best games console out there, not because of what's in the box, but because of the quality of games available exclusively for it. This is changing, with Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance 2 and Killzone 2 coming out exclusively for Sony's beast and developers finally getting to grips with the complicated architecture under the hood (recent high profile releases Burnout Paradise and Devil May 4 are as good as if not better on the PS3). Now, for the first time, the PS3 is actually looking like it's worth the money. Although anyone who thinks MGS4 will be able to win the console war on its own is clearly delusional (don't even try to claim Final Fantasy XIII will be out this year).

Perhaps the feeling is exacerbated by the quite stupendous 2007 Microsoft enjoyed, not only in terms of sales but also in terms of critical success. 360 owners had Halo 3, BioShock, Mass Effect and Project Gotham Racing 4 to enjoy all to themselves. Perhaps we've been spoilt.

Whatever the reason, for me, Gears of War 2 and its celebrity game designer Cliffy B have saved 2008 for MS. Without it, the 360 in 2008 looked pretty, well, meh.

Read on for why Tom thinks the Xbox 360 line-up in 2008 might even match up to last year's blockbuster releases.

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User Comments

Karlius's Avatar


OOH The Sony Fan Boys are out in Force. I think this is a very good article showing both sides of the Fence.

I for one think MGS4 will not sell anywhere near GOW2 and thats pretty much a fact.

As for the comment above. It will litterally take a miracle for the PS3 to get to the equivalant sales of the 360 by the end of this Year. By out selling at 40,000 consoles a week it would litterally take 20 years to catch up. However you will find that March sales will Favour the 360 a hell of a lot. Add this to the new GTA console package that will be available on day of release and we are talking massive lead. Your Dillusional Mate.

Fact is both consoles are good and both have their advantages and disadvantages. I don't think you should comment on a game that has not been released yet "MGS4" until the reviews are out i think you should keep schtum as this could be an almighty flop and im crossing my fingers it isn't as it is a brilliant franchise.

GT5 is no better at all than Forza 2 i have played both and the Force Feedback has it to Forza. Haze will be released on 360 later this year!


Only thing i relly like the look of is Little Big Planet!

GT5 will never reach the sales of Halo 3 AND THATS A FACT!

Posted 15:41 on 26 March 2008
Jonicans's Avatar
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Ouch. Such a massive denial. Not only are L4D and SC not exclusive (PC version), BOTH are coming to PS3 later, making them timed. On the other side of the fence, we have the biggest 3rd party exclusives - MGS4 and FFXIII/Versus - all 3 exclusive forever to PS3.

GTA episodes? What? Casuals won't buy anything like that, and they make up the audience.

Let's face it, hyping up the VERY lackluster 360 lineup will lead to dreadful embarrassment. Killzone and Resistance for every Gears, MGS4 and Haze to every Too Human.
Wipeout, Socom, Motorstorm 2, LittleBIGplanet, GT5 (which puts 2x Halo and GTA sales to shame - well, that latter only on occasion), Heavy Rain, Afrika, countless more exclusive to the PS3 (not PC/360 or timed).

This year PS3 will overtake the LIFETIME 360 sales, you can count on it. That speaks such massive volumes about a console that's had Bioshock/ME/Halo 3 (biggest game it will ever have) and the best year it'll ever have. The same userbase is buying the games over and over. And they can't make a console win.
Posted 09:55 on 26 February 2008
The Closing's Avatar
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The Closing

Halo is crap when compared to most games. All you do is run around mindlessly killing people with no tactics involved, the graphics are also childish, bland, and outdated. Gears has better game play, grittier better textured graphics, team play tactics, and you actually get to know your opponent, which makes killing them that much rewarding. The only thing halo has on it is the story, but just not enough.

As for the whole MGS4 debate the game will easily sell millions so whoever said it wont clearly has no clue what they're saying. It's also easily 3 times the game that splinter cell is with an actual deeply embedded story line, characters that actually have their own personality, basically it's own unique qualities, and deeper game-play. This game has been and will continue to push the limits of tactical espionage in gaming even long after it's finished. Just stick to your opinion, and don't even try to compare the leader to the follower because it won't hold up to the facts.
Posted 05:57 on 26 February 2008
Infamouz's Avatar
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LOLOLOL. You must be F'd up in the head. Yes, Gears of War is a good game but DO NOT COMPARE MGS4 to Gears of War because Gears of War is nothing compare to MGS4. I'm no sony or ms fanboy but I am just telling you the truth. Gears of War online wasn't even that GOOD. It sucked like crap! It can never reach HALO 3 NUMBERS because Gears of War is NOTHING compare to Halo 3. Halo 3 and MGS4 are legendary games and no other games can compete with these 2 big names.
Posted 04:13 on 26 February 2008
Ginger_Jesus's Avatar

Ginger_Jesus@ ng2

Originally Posted by ng2
Let me tell you a lot of you are understimating ninja gaiden this game has a big follow up in japan and europe it will sell well in those regions I own both systems and when a game comes out on both systems I always pick the 360 bcause the controller feels more live w the rumble the ps3 feels too light and dead

Ninja Gaiden will always do better over at japan than compared to Europe and America. Like the first one, it was dominating over in Japan, it didnt last that long in the America charts and the europe charts it lasted for 3 weeks at least. While in the japan charts it stayed their for over 2 months.
Posted 19:55 on 25 February 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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Enough said back in the days when the elite came out I did the swicth from ps2 to xbox 360 and I din,t know what game to pick so I picked gears of war since than I loved the game control feel just right,there is not other game like it that is why microsoft publishis it and this game will sell more than mgs4 and killzone2 combined cause ps3 fanboys don,t buy games
Posted 19:45 on 25 February 2008
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ ng2

If I tried to present a reasoned argument vs my boss over which console had the best line-up this year I'd get fired.

In my skewed judgement however, and taking into the likelihood that my boss won't be reading this, I think Gears of War 2 is overhyped already based on one cartoon and the word Maria, and, should it launch in 2008 and sell 5 million on launch day, it won't make a discernable upwards dent in the amount of software sold for the 360 this year because there's a great lineup already.

PS3 is starting to look interesting towards the end of 2008/start of 2009, with all the dependable exclusives like Gran Turismo, Metal Gear and FFXIII starting to crop up, not to mention Home, but if Age of Conan hits the 360 before the end of 2008 I might be too busy to look at them. And lets face it, as a Sony console player for 10 years I made the switch to the XBrick so I could play something different.

Not to mention Too Human, Fable 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Viking: Battle for Asgard, Command & Conquer 3: Kanes Wrath, Elveon, Race Driver: GRID, This is Vegas, Prototype, Lost Odyssey, all of which are on my current watch list.
Posted 18:17 on 25 February 2008
ng2's Avatar
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Let me tell you a lot of you are understimating ninja gaiden this game has a big follow up in japan and europe it will sell well in those regions I own both systems and when a game comes out on both systems I always pick the 360 bcause the controller feels more live w the rumble the ps3 feels too light and dead
Posted 17:54 on 25 February 2008
Ginger_Jesus's Avatar


I agree on about the small majority of what you are saying. Ninja Gaiden its a multi platform game now, so that could generate sales for the 360 and the PS3. Meaning gameplay differences you could even say download-able content on new weapons for example or clothing thats if its online...

Gears of War 2 has pretty much saved MS this year, because the first gears out sold Halo the biggest franchise on Xbox. So you must think about that in a way if you know what I mean, also its not only about out selling another exclusive game but a storyline that has gripped people in like Gears because of the first one. Also in the new trailer to gears, Dom is mentioning his wife? or girl-friend? to Marcus and that has put a massive cliff-hanger on people. And alot of tension their as well, as the second series but they could also be a new type of locust in the game we don't know.

In my own view, I think GTA 4 will not be in the limelight for long. Like Saints Row for example yes alot of people go online, but has died out now no one really talks about it. In some sort of way I do believe that GTA 4 will be heading in that direction, this year I think FPS games will come out on top over other game genre's. RPG's this year has caught my eye, espeically being a massive Fable fan I will make sure that I get Fable 2. Not only that but their is Lost Odyssey I have already got it japanese import and its in english, also the manual book half way through is english so that is a good buy to be honest.
Posted 17:37 on 25 February 2008
I am with U's Avatar
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I am with U

I agree. I played both Metal Gear and Splinter Cell on my PS2 and realy like Splinter Cell. MGS was more talking and doing stuff slowly. Personaly, I don't know how and why this game is so popular? the only thing I like is changing costume but it gets bored after some time. Hope MGS4 will be better than be4.
Posted 17:26 on 25 February 2008
The Closing's Avatar
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The Closing

I totally agree that Gears 2 is the only must own exclusive on the 360 this year. It's going to be one hell of a game, and sell phenomenally maybe sell more copies than any other game this year with exception of gta4. NG2 also looks good, but the whole genre is not really that appealing, and is more of a rental than a must buy due to lack of online multiplayer.

If M$ didn't have this it wouldn't be much of a fight, but more of a slaughtering when compared to the amazing ps3 exclusive line up this year.
Posted 15:33 on 25 February 2008
gman3's Avatar
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Hey did you all know that in the bonus disc to gears of war limited edition under Inside Epic it actually shows a prototype of what a chainsaw duel would look like in real time...Check it out it's pretty sweet..
Posted 15:20 on 25 February 2008
Terje's Avatar
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Will anything sell as well on the 360 this year as Gears of War 2? Yep, Battlefield Bad Company!
Posted 14:14 on 25 February 2008
doobi's Avatar
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Well After GDC, APB just rocketed to the top of my must have list on the 360. That and 'Project Offset' has been in stealth mode for quite some time, but makes awesome promises.
Posted 13:54 on 25 February 2008

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Release Date: 29/02/2008
Developer: Kaos Studios
Publisher: THQ
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-32
Rating: PEGI 16+
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