PC Gamer: Hottest Games of 2008

Feature: 110 reasons to be excited - part eight

PC Gamer UK has picked out its hottest games of 2008, the list totalling an impressive 110 titles. The carnage continues below, and we'll be adding the final part to the list soon. Should you have missed previous parts of the feature, you can find links to them below.


Scorpion (ETA: Spring)
In a cyberpunk future, you must explore the supposed illegal activity of a mega-corporation using first-person combat and sneaky stealth. The standout feature: using voodoo powers to control the will of your business enemies. Voodoo? You do.


Spore (ETA: Winter)
Playing with Spore's electronic clay nearly a year ago, we were struck by just how complete the character creation tools were. Spore's remit, to take a species from microbe to UFO, may be massive but back then it felt ready, and real. Stretching out flesh, bolting on limbs, arranging faces - it all worked.

Then, nothing. The game went back into development. New hires (Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Civilization 4 was the last high-profile addition), and no news pointed to a game in trouble.

It's understandable. Spore offers six stages of life to play with: beginning as a microbe, you'll swim around in primordial soup, dodging other microbes. Eating other nasties accrues DNA points, which, once you've reached a certain 'score', enable you to access the first creature editor. Graft on a face, legs and teeth to your microbial stain, and you're able to leave the sea.

This new phase has a similar goal: eat, but don't be eaten. This time, though, you're searching for a mate. Once an egg is laid, you'll have to fend off scavengers. With a baby in tow, you'll want to form packs and increase the size of your clan. Then it's time for the tribal phase.

Once your creature has found friends, you're no longer directing individuals: you now have an entire clan to play with. Arming your tribe with spears and clubs, you'll go out and beat up or befriend your neighbours. Breed 20 tribesmen, and you'll become a civilisation.

Caring for your race is about logistics, diplomacy and management. Choosing what buildings to construct is one problem, another is deciding whether to finish off the creatures next door. When you finally gather enough resources to build a UFO, you'll enter the space phase.

This is the meat of Spore - you're given a galaxy full of races and terraforming missiles to play with. Planet hopping, first contact making, death-star building: it's a game of almost unlimited scale. But like all of these phases, there are problems.

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