The time of the year that gamers love but their bank balances hate is upon us. Over the next few months handfuls of high-profile games will be released each week, each one vying for your attention and cash. Despite the fact that we're already a few weeks into August, the remaining days will see plenty of competition. Read on to see what games we think will be big this month.
Trauma Center: Second Opinion - Wii
Wii games that have made great use of the motion controls are pretty scarce. Trauma Center impressed gamers in the US last year, but we had to wait until this month and it was well worth the wait. Playing as a surgeon, you must save lives on the operating table, using all the tools of the trade: scalpel, tongs, syringe, suction and more. Things soon get pretty hairy, with heart rates dropping and tension rising.
Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery - DS
One of the dark horses of the month, Anno 1701 has none of the glamour of the big next-gen titles, but this DS sim is the perfect title for handheld management fans. From the team behind the critically acclaimed PC title, Anno 1701 is addictive and deeper than its handheld format suggests.
Bioshock - PC and Xbox 360
If you're going to buy one game in August, make sure Bioshock is on your short list. Seen as the spiritual successor to creepy PC shooter System Shock, this underwater FPS is brimming with atmosphere and style. If the stunning visuals aren't enough to get you excited, then the unique enemies, weapon upgrades and storyline should 'wet' your appetite.
Blue Dragon - Xbox 360
The Xbox doesn't get good Japanese developed RPGs, or does it? While the PS3 is still limping along with Enchanted Arms, the Xbox 360 will receive three exclusive JPGs this year. The first to see a release in Europe is Blue Dragon from Mistwalker and Microsoft Game Studios. This shadow battling adventure comes from the man behind the Final Fantasy series and the creator of the hugely popular Dragon Ball.
Madden NFL 08 - Multi
American Football might seem like a hard to understand mess for most UK gamers -groomed on the smooth flowing beauty of Pro Evolution Soccer (and FIFA) - but for many people Madden is the biggest event in gaming each year. This year's game sees improvements to the Xbox 360 version's frame rate and a brand-new player weapon system. It might be time you invested in an NFL rule book.
MotoGP 07 - Xbox 360
The MotoGP series from THQ is as closely tied to Microsoft consoles as Halo. The first game in the series was one of the debut releases for the then brand-new Xbox LIVE service and has built up quite a following over the years. MotoGP 07 promises more of the same thrilling racing action, but with a smoother frame rate and updated season info.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 - PS3 and PSP
PS3 owners have had a rough time of it with multi-format releases, but Ubisoft's GRAW 2 seems to be every bit as exciting as the Xbox 360 original. With the same campaign that wowed 360 gamers in March and plenty of new multiplayer content, action junkies looking for some military combat should look no further. The PSP game is also on hand should you need to leave your military bunker.
Blazing Angels: Secret Missions of World War II - Xbox 360
OK, so the first game didn't impress as much as we'd have liked, but it was a solid WWII aerial combat title. The sequel looks to up the ante with improved visuals, more intense missions and online multiplayer. The big addition is the inclusion of prototype planes that are seeing combat for the first time.
Boogie - Wii
Boogie is unlikely to score well across the specialist gaming media, but with EA behind it and an inevitable strong marketing campaign it should sell exceedingly well. Capitalizing on the Wii's status among casual gamers and families, Boogie's simple dancing gameplay and colourful visuals might be just what people are after to replace Wii Sports.
Brian Lara 2007: Pressure Play - PSP
The rainy summer is partially responsible for England's Test Match series defeat to India, but Codemasters will be hoping for a sunnier reception for their debut PSP cricket title. The home console game didn't quite meet our expectations, but if the core gameplay is ported to the PSP then this could be the perfect title for an afternoon lounging in the sun.
Guild Wars: Eye of the North - PC
If sunshine is the last thing on your mind, then this MMO expansion might be more your cup of tea. Billed as the first proper expansion for NCsoft's Guild Wars, Eye of the North introduces many new features including the Hall of Monuments - the place to show off all your achievements in the game. This should be the perfect tonic for those waiting for Guild Wars 2.
Stuntman: Ignition - Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2
Some games thrive on the idea that gamers will keep trying until they get something right. Stuntman Ignition is such a game, asking players to perform a series of stunts in sequence without making too many mistakes. It sounds simple but it's anything but. We've already wasted countless hours figuring out ways to rack up a few extra points and the prospect of intense online competition should give this some legs.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 - Multi
Tiger certainly knows how to time his victories to tie in with his latest video game. Last weekend the great man won the PGA Championship and the game is due in the last week of August. As well as offering improved visuals, more courses and enhanced gamer face options, the big addition is GamerNet. This allows players to upload challenges for other online gamers to compete against, whether it be a single round, hole or shot.