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games preview 2005
A taste of things to come.World Of Warcraft
The US reception to this game from developers Blizzard has been hugely enthusiastic, with the title critically topping its competitors in the area of life-eating, high-fantasy, massively multiplayer role-player gaming. Solid, diverse, accessible and visually striking, it may well open up the genre like never before. If nothing else, it'll get a vast and loyal community. Released 25 February on PC.
Ico 2 (working title)
Ico remains a benchmark for PS2 gaming, a title that took players into a uniquely atmospheric and artistic world of adventure. The (spiritual) sequel has visuals that echo those of the original, but promises to expand the Ico world, with hero Wanda taking on a series of giants (the other known alias is Wanda And Colossus). Release date tbc on PS2.
The Legend Of Zelda (working title)
The charismatic cel imagery has been scrapped in favour of a dark, detailed aesthetic (“realism” isn't quite the right word) that connects more with Ocarina Of Time. Link resumes his more teenage incarnation too, though enemies, elements and moves look familiar from the awesome trailer. Horseback adventuring across a vast land is promised. Release date tbc on GameCube.
Advance Wars DS
The UK DS launch line-up is still to be confirmed at time of writing, but titles that exploit its two-screen and touch capacity, like WarioWare Touched! and Sega's Feel The Magic, are making a strong impression in other territories. Personally, I can't wait for the latest Advance Wars, the franchise that has been the icing on the cake of Nintendo handheld gaming during the past few years. Release date tbc on DS.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
Following in the high-spec footsteps of Far Cry and Half-Life 2, this looks like the key upcoming PC first-person shooter (with role-playing elements). The fact that it's inspired in part by Andrei Tarkovsky's enigmatic 1979 masterpiece Stalker and set in 2012 in the disaster zone, a world of decay and mutation, makes it all the more intriguing. Released 01 March on PC.
A dark, fascinating-looking graphic adventure with an arcane twist set in a freezing New York City.
Release date tbc on PS2.
Resident Evil 4
Don’t be put off by those silly movies or the farce of the online Resident Evil Outbreak being released offline in the UK, this looks set to take the classic franchise into fresh territory. Released 18 March on GameCube.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater
More Hideo Kojima serious stealth, featuring action in the Soviet-controlled jungle in 1964 (so no radar – it's not been invented). Released 29 July on PS2.
Dead Or Alive Ultimates
Tecmo's Team Ninja are back with retooled and revamped versions of DOA 1 and 2. Here's the big, big deal though – they're playable on Xbox Live. Released 11 March on Xbox.
Knights Of The Old Republic II - Sith Lords
Looks set to build on the acclaimed original with new characters, new Force powers and a new set of moral decisions, despite a different developer. Released 11 February on Xbox and PC.
Read members' comments.
nintendo: legend of zelda
metal gear solid: snake eater
dead or alive ultimates
knights of the old republic ii
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