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PC Gamer's Hottest Games of 2008

Feature: 110 reasons to be very excited

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Age of Conan (ETA: Spring)
Funcom's first MMO since Anarchy Online and rated M for barbarism, Conan wants to be the first adult MMO, with exciting-sounding guild-based siege warfare. Alas, 2007's beta was rapidly taken offline, and it's been delayed another six months.

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Aion (ETA: Summer)
"Believe in Angels. Believe in Demons. Believe in Aion." Using technology from Crysis, this new MMO lets us play as either angels or demons as heaven and hell go to war. Best bit: you can fly thanks to a pair of fluffy, spine-mounted wings.

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Alan Wake (ETA: Winter)
Alan Wake is the man who would be (Stephen) King: a horror writer living out nightmares in a sleepy white-picket-fence town. After the disappearance of his fiancé, Alan retires to Bright Falls hoping to get over his writer's block. No such luck: his nightmares follow him there. So far, so Silent Hill.

But Alan Wake, and the town of Bright Falls, are built on the very latest technology. We've seen the developers summon hurricanes to batter and bruise the tiny town, turn daylight on and day off Truman Show style, all while Wake is fleeing 'things' shrouded in shadow.

The only question is whether the developers can marshal their impressive technology around a creepy ghost-town ride without resorting to cliché. Given that Remedy's last game was the hilariously tongue-in-cheek shooter Max Payne, we kind of hope not.

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Alone in the Dark (ETA: Spring)
Something wicked wanders New York's Central Park at night, and is not just the doggers. Alone in the Dark offers a new breed of horror thrill: its free-roaming horror adventure focuses on fighting demons with improvised weaponry. Why fight a monster with a shotgun when you can fill a bottle full of bullets and bodge a molotov cocktail?

Or, for secondary school thrills, combine the antiseptic spray from a health kit with a cigarette lighter and create your first flamethrower. And those flames spread realistically, thanks to a bleeding edge physics-led fire model. If the fire should spread, it will.

Even more interestingly, the developers are hoping to 'episode-ise' their game. No, don't expect to fork out extra for a barely disguised expansion pack: each self-contained level is meant to be finished within an hour or so, giving you natural places to pause. Think of it as a DVD box-set that you play.

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American McGee's Grimm (ETA: Summer)
Released in 24 episodes over the next year, Grimm is a retelling of kids' stories by a developer renowned for his twisted tales. We'll meet Rapunzel, Snow White and co - just not as we might have imagined them before.

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APB (ETA: Winter)
This could be the biggest thing since World of Warcraft. It's a carjacking-and-crime MMO, built by one of the creators of the original GTA, Dave Jones. You have every right to be sceptical, but this team knows sandbox gaming.

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Assassin's Creed (ETA: Spring)
How do you get out of the politically awkward fantasy of playing a Hashashim murdering Christian crusaders in the holy land? Simple: pretend it's sci-fi, and hope no one twigs.

Assassin's Creed casts you as a devious assassin named Altair, travelling between the cities of Acre, Jerusalem and Damascus in the 11th century. Hop, skip and jump across the rooftops, use the vantage-point of windowsills and ledges to scout your target, before moving in for a silent, brutal kill. Escaping means sneaking into hay bales and darkened doorways.

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