Glimpses Of Great-looking Games

May 25, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

As each year brings a new Electronic Entertainment Expo (the most recent one wrapped up earlier this month), so does each year bring a sneak peek at hundreds of games to come.

The games below looked particularly interesting, either based on their show-floor demos or video-only presentations. Be aware that some of these have working titles, and release dates are subject to change.

Alone In The Dark (Atari for various platforms): Forget the appalling Alone in the Dark movie from last year. The original survival-horror franchise looks set for a return to creepy greatness in this version, set in modern-day New York's Central Park -- where evil slumbers. Ghostbusters has nothing on this one, from the look of things. ETA: 2007

Bioshock (2K Games for Xbox 360, PS3, PC): A first-person game set in a decrepit underwater utopia gone wrong, BioShock is made by many of the same people who worked on the classic System Shock series. This one looks just as chilling, with its decaying, leaking art deco environment, creepy little girls protected by large, ominous figures in rusty deep-sea diving suits and a backdrop of genetic experimentation gone awry. ETA: 2007

Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix for PS2): There have been delays and more delays, but the 12th installment in Square Enix's signature role-playing series should finally arrive late this year. The game play looks like a major shake-up for the series, combining the stellar visual style and storytelling of past games with a play system that resembles an online game like World of WarCraft as much as it does the turn-based mechanics of past games in the series. ETA: Late 2006

Gears of War (Microsoft for Xbox 360): Microsoft showed off a multiplayer demo of this anticipated shooter -- and the demo was great stuff, with lots of cool maneuvers, nasty weapons and diving behind cover. The single-player game involves war against a race of evil aliens called the Locusts. ETA: Late 2006

Halo 3 (Microsoft for Xbox 360): All Microsoft showed of this one was a short trailer, but that's all most gamers needed. The game seems to take place on Earth, and should wrap up the story that dropped off abruptly at the end of the last game with hero Master Chief stowed away on a Covenant ship headed for Earth. This one's a sure hit. ETA: 2007

Indiana Jones (LucasArts for Xbox 360, PS3): Here's what we know: Indy is back. He'll spend at least some of the game battling on top of San Francisco cable cars. And the game's makers have developed a sort of virtual nervous system for the characters so they react realistically to being thrown into crates and cars and so on -- it looks really cool in motion. ETA: 2007

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo for Wii, GameCube): The next Zelda game ditches the cartoonish look of the last one (though that aesthetic will remain in the coming DS Zelda title, Phantom Hourglass). ETA: Late 2006

Viva Piqata (Microsoft for Xbox 360): What's this? A kids' game on the Xbox 360? Indeed it is. The super-cute title will have players trying to attract piqata-animals to a garden by filling them with things the animals like. ETA: Late 2006

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

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