Coming Attractions: Strategy and Simulation

Part 2: More on what's coming in 2008.

Part one of our strategy and simulation roundup covered Halo Wars, Civilization Revolution and Football Manager Live, amongst others. Here's the rest of the best.

Spore

Lovely old Will Wright, with his funny glasses and his asymmetric hair and his brain full of quantum physics and advanced biology and art history. He'd probably be good at developing devastatingly powerful biological weapons, so thank goodness he decided to make videogames like The Sims instead.

Now here comes Spore, arriving on Mac and PC this spring. You start out with a single microbe you customise to design your own unique creature, which then evolves into a species. Next you'll be building vehicles, buildings, villages and cities. Eventually you can launch your civilisation online and explore worlds created by other players.

You can read what some bint thought of Spore when she saw it at Leipzig last year, or wait for a proper preview as we're sending a man to see it next week.

Spore subject: EA has yet to confirm or deny rumours Spore is also coming to Wii. All we have to go on so far is the hint Will Wright offered last year when he stated, "We're doing Spore on the Wii." A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma underneath a big flashing neon sign and no mistake.

Empire: Total War

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I thought the third Pirates film was quite good actually.

The latest instalment in Creative Assembly's hit RTS series is set in the 18th century, back when industry was revolutionising, America was fighting for independence and the French were chopping posh people's heads off like in those nightmares we have where an army of Jeremy Kyle guests rises up and lays waste to every Waitrose in the land.

Empire will be the first Total War game to feature 3D naval combat. You'll be able to command single ships and vast fleets, doing over enemies with cannon fire before sending your men on board for hand-to-hand combat. Weather conditions will be an important factor in how battles play out.

Gunpowder is being introduced to regular combat, so you'll have to develop new tactics and work out the best ways to use the cannon and musket. The Campaign Map will feature improved Trade, Diplomacy and Espionage systems, better UI, more intelligent Advisors and the chance to muck about in India, Europe and North America.

"We're genuinely excited about what we're achieving with the naval battles and also by the scale of the improvements being made to the core of the game - the land battles and the campaign," says studio director Mike Simpson. "This will undoubtedly be the biggest and best Total War game we've ever made."

Jolly good. Empire: Total War is out on PC later this year.

Defeat Imminent: Who will join our campaign to bring back Time Commanders? There's nothing so entertaining as watching an estate agent screaming at an interior decorator for failing to spot the advance of the Batavian auxilaries.

Tom Clancy's EndWar

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According to newsmeat.com Tom Clancy is the Republican party's biggest celebrity donor, having shoved USD 237,000 their way.

Not to be confused with Jodi Picoult's EndWar, this game is set in the year 2020. The world's superpowers are engaged in a full-scale land war and you get to fight it out across 40 battlefields. These are based in recognisable real-life locations including Washington D.C., Paris and Moscow.

EndWar is billed as the first of "an all-new breed of strategy game", boasting high production values and maximum replayability. It's also got voice command. As Johnny put it last year, "Yeah, it works. Really well, actually."

So that's good news, but how's the game looking overall? "If you've never cared for RTS before, but find Clancy's murky universe of global intrigue compelling, then EndWar's radical interface might just be the thing to tempt you," apparently.

But will die-hard strategy nuts find enough to satisfy their demands, Johnny? "Whether die-hard strategy nuts find enough to satisfy their demands remains to be seen." Oh. "But Ubisoft has promised us depth." Hooray!

For more on EndWar, including footage of EGTV's trip to Shanghai to see the game, visit the gamepage.

Did you know: Tom Clancy is the world's only American Beefeater. This was revealed on an episode of US TV show Ace of Cakes, when his wife orders him a special birthday cake shaped like the Tower of London. Apparently Clancy describes the other Beefeaters as "Just a terrific bunch of guys".

Battalion Wars 2

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Season 3 of Lost certainly does end with a twist.

Like the GameCube original, Battalion Wars 2 bears a fair bit of resemblance to Advance Wars. However, as well as overseeing the action you can jump in and take direct control of your units.

And because this game is for Wii, you can use the remote to target enemies precisely while moving round the battlefield. Vehicles include tanks, gunships, battleships and submarines. There are 20 single-player missions to play through, plus online co-op, skirmish and assault modes.

BW2 - sorry Nintendo, we meant BWii - is a substantial improvement over its predecessor, according to Keza, thanks to the better pacing, funnier jokes and the addition of online multiplayer. "Serious warmongers should stick to games with realistic explosions and greater tactical depth," she warns, "But if you're in the mood for a varied, good-hearted third-person blaster with a few strategic elements rather than a gritty combat simulator, you'll have a few greatly entertaining evenings with this."

Battalion Wars 2 is out on 15th February.

Do you see me as a circle?: Astonishingly, there are no interesting bits of Battalion Wars 2 trivia or erotic fan fiction on the Internet. So you might as well watch an amazing explanation of why Celine Dion Is Amazing.

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