Tomb Raider: Anniversary
- Release date: Late 2007
Already one of the best games of the year on PS2, PC and Xbox 360, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is ready to swing and Keeley Hawes its way around the recycled Coke can innards of Nintendo's money-spinning waggle-slab this year. Eidos promised us in an email and everything. What makes it good? Well, the controls are almost perfect, the puzzles are massive, ingenious contraptions that never fail to amuse and you can shoot animals in it without somebody calling a vet.
And how can anybody resist investing in Keeley Hawes ongoing, meteoric rise through the world of British TV, cinema, mostly TV though and voice acting? Already involved in films we're all waiting for in 2008 like "The Bank Job", and attached to reprise her role as the voice of Lara Croft in the next game after Anniversary, it's surely only a matter of time before they officially oust fat-lips Jolie and the Top Shop one and make Keeley Hawes 100 percent Lara.
Timing: Tomb Raider: Anniversary actually came out 11 years after the first Tomb Raider.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
- Release date: 30th November
One of the first games to take advantage of the Wii Zapper thing Nintendo announced in its big school assembly room thing at Not-E3 earlier this year, Umbrella Chronicles transplants the shambling zombs of its survival horror brethren to the Wii and asks: would it make sense to use the Wiimote like a gun oh actually we can just stick it in this plastic grip thing which looks a bit like an SMG and that'll do?
I had the pleasure of taking it for a spin at Not-E3, and either I wasn't very good at it (unlikely - I have completed over several levels in games), or something about the Santa Monica aircraft hangar I was standing in disagreed with it, because it crashed when I tried to unplug the Zapper and put it on eBay. Fortunately Kristan got some more time on it and declared it "undoubtedly a polished, well executed light-gun-style shooter, but it's one of those where you'll probably only be able to play in short bursts before the inevitable arm ache kicks in" with a snake in it.
Hyper Link: If you fancy practising for Umbrella Chronicles then you could always play Link's Crossbow Training, which has skeletons AND fruit in it and comes with the Zapper.
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
- Release date: 16th November
During the shambolic UbiDays conference (where games were announced but apparently not announced, and vice versa, and then the beer ran out at the party after 15 minutes), Ubisoft's various executives made light of the occasional "wacky" rabbids animation beamed across the walls. If we'd been them, we would have made a bigger deal. We would probably have said things like, "HA! We told you it wasn't rubbish! But you doubted us!"
Well, it's true, we were a bit cynical about the first Rabbids when we first heard about it, but then it turned out to be alright. As Keza put it, it's "very good fun, especially in the right company" and "has a genuine sense of humour", rather than a lying one like ours. Good news, then, that there's a sequel out this month. And thankfully Ubisoft's ditched the rubbish PC version, etc, to focus on the systems with control schemes funky enough to match the mischievous "rabbids" rabidity.
Hutch control: We'd had enough of Rayman, but now we sort of miss him. Or perhaps we just miss Michel Ancel. Time for our yearly plea for another Beyond Good & Evil.