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Top 11 Fall 2004 Releases (updated)

written by Shaun McCracken

At about the same time last year (August 2003), we saw a great number of high-profile releases hitting store shelves in the fall season such as SSX 3, Viewtiful Joe, Project Gotham Racing 2, Need For Speed Underground, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time and much, much more. There were so many games, that the season actually started in late August with Soul Calibur II and F-Zero GX. This year seems to be no different, as the fall season seems to be approaching with just a couple of weeks with SRS: Street Racing Syndicate being the first big game to come out (you could say that the big fall season already began with Madden 2005) on August 31.

This year also happens to be a year where each console has a must-have, high profile title. Two of which were supposed to be out LAST year. The PS2 will FINALLY see the release of Gran Turismo 4, The Gamecube will have Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and the Xbox will long at last have Halo 2 debut. There's also many other big-name franchises making their way into fall 2004 such as Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Need For Speed and another 007 game, among other things.

But it's hard to know what to look forward to. Enter the Top 11 Games Of Fall 2004. It's not exactally the "definitive" guide of what there is this season. This is a list of the Top 11 releases that I, personally am looking forward to this fall. There will be some suprises as what I think are the ones to look for, and which games are left out. It was a bit tough to narrow down which 11 games I believe to be noteworthy, but what does make the cut are the ones I beileve are worth looking into. Perhaps you may come across a game or two you didn't know you wanted.

So, are you ready to see which 11 games you should take note of this fall? Well, do you have a choice?

** Updated: It looks like not every game on the list made their date. Next to those games, I posted a "delayed" note beside it.

  1. 11- Halo 2 (November, Xbox): In a way, I feel like I have to include this. But also, I DO want to include this game. Halo 2 definitley has a lot to live up to, seeing how phenominially well the first one did. I think it might be safe to say that this will meet the fan's expectations with new worlds, a new story, more multiplayer modes, and most of all, Xbox Live support. Those who are into online gaming, or Halo, may not be seen or heard from for months.

  2. 10- Second Sight (September, GCN-PS2-Xbox): Out of many action games and shooters to come out this fall, you may wonder why this one makes the cut. Well, for one, it's been developed by Free Radical (the ex-GoldenEye and Perfect Dark developers who created TimeSplitters). Another reason is that it seems to be a deviation of a typical action shooter. While it does seem like Psi-Ops from earlier this year, Second Sight promises to be a deeper and more story driven game. And no, you can't make peoples' heads explode in this one.

  3. 9- Mortal Kombat: Deception (October , PS2-Xbox): Back in 2002, Midway released Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, which was a complete turn-around for the waning franchise. It seemed almost like a rebirth for the aging series, with a lot more depth to the fighting design, and a SoulCalibur-like konquest mode, plus the same gratuitous violence we come to expect from the series. I'm curious to see how much they've upped the ante on the 6th MK game. It's already sounding better than Deadly Alliance, with more gameplay modes and a new online component for both systems. We'll have to wait and see.

  4. 8- Viewtiful Joe 2 (November, GCN-PS2): It's still up in the air wether or not this will make the new November date. It was originally slated to come out this fall, but then had been delayed until next year. Now, the game has a November 2004 date, again. Hopefully, it will make the date (now, how about Resident Evil 4?). VJ2 promises to be the same great action we saw in the original, but with a lot more. I also hope the AI goes a little easier on us this time around, too.

  5. 7- GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (November, GCN-PS2-Xbox): I'm hoping that GoldenEye: Rogue Agent will be more than just a cash-in on the GoldenEye name. Actually, the premise sounds downright intruiging. Instead of being Bond and saving the world, you are now the villian! Plus, you get to interact with past Bond villians such as Goldfinger. The idea sounds great, and if the game is anything like Everything Or Nothing from earlier this year, this is one worth waiting for.

  6. 6- Silent Hill 4: The Room (September, PS2-Xbox): With each new Silent Hill game being announced, I kind of worry. I really never thought of this franchise going longer than two games. But Silent Hill 4 seems different. Instead of wandering around an empty town smacking the crap out of demon dogs with the "board with a nail in it", you are confined to your apartment. Of course, in the world of Silent Hill, this won't be an ordinary apartment. Each room has a gateway to a mysterious place. Even the bathroom.

  7. 5- Anything On The Nintendo DS (November, DS): Here's to hoping that the DS will actually make it's November release date. Although we still really don't know what's coming out for the system, I just want to play one of the games made for the system. The DS seems very promising, and the buzz is looking very good. It's also nice to hear that a lot of developers are given something new to play around with, and are actually thinking of ways to put this system to use. Who says innovation is dead?

  8. 4- Forza Motorsport [DELAYED] (November or December, Xbox): The Xbox has a lot of racing games, from Project Gotham to Rallisport Challenge. It seems like most bases in the racing genre is covered except for one: the racing sim. Sure, you could say that Sega Gt 2002 was a racing sim, but it was too short and kind of lacked depth. Forza is claiming to be much more that a Gran Turismo killer, with more accurate physics and handling (we'll see), more ways to tune your car (even swap engines), totally customize the look of your car, and some ACTUAL car damage. Oh, and the game doesn't look so bad, either. Let's hope that the Xbox will see something that is equal to Sony's GT4. Let's also hope that this game makes the fall date.

  9. 3- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (November, GCN): Luckily, Nintendo is not making us wait until the next console to see a follow-up to one of our favorites. Metroid Prime was pretty much the best game of 2002, not to mention that it was great to play. Metroid Prime 2 may be looking like the first MP (like that's a bad thing), but there's a lot more going for it. For one, there's a whole "light world/dark world" thing going on, and it's much more than something cosmetic. Another thing is that there is an enemy who looks just like you (but dark), kind of like Metroid Fusion. Then there's the whole multiplayer mode, which should work well in it's favor when being compared to Halo 2.

  10. 2- Gran Turismo 4 [DELAYED] (November, PS2): At laaassst..... Gran Turismo 4 will finally hit store shelves this November. It should have been out last year, but with an extra 10-11 months development time, there's a lot more in GT4 than there ever was offered in the past. 600 cars, over 50 courses (many new), a camera mode to which you can actually print up pictures via a USB printer, and an online mode. Plus, I've heard everthing has been built from the ground-up. It's without question that this is going to be one of the greatest racing experiences this year, and I am really looking forward to seeing everything in the game we haven't been told about.

  11. 1- Burnout 3: Takedown (September, PS2-Xbox): As many have said, "September 8 just doesn't come fast enough". The Burnout franchise has seen a lot of changes and improvements within each new installment. The first one established that is was an arcade racer with a penchant for dangerous driving. In Burnout 2, you were encouraged to drive dangerously. Burnout 3, believe it or not, has shown a good deal of evolution over it's previous installment. The graphics are the best the series has ever looked. I'm suprised how sharp the textures are in the PS2 build. On top of that, the crashes look even more realistic. There's a great deal of particle effects, with shattered glass, chunks of metal and more parts that fall off of cars and trucks. On top of that, the framerate is still fluid.

    But it doesn't stop at the graphics. There are more cars to choose from, and actually look like real-world vehicles (they're not). There are more courses, with new locations. There are now 100 crash junctions, and a much deeper crash mode. The racing itself is a bit deeper. And now, there's an online mode where you can race against 5 other people with FULL traffic. I've put in over 40 hours in Burnout 2, so I have no idea how much time I will spend in this one. All I know is it will be a hell of a lot of fun. And seeing how this is published by EA, there had better be THX certification. The crashes sound great now, but with THX, it'll be gut-wrenching.

    That does it for my list of the Top 11 Games For Fall 2004. Gee, I bet you were expecting (or hoping) to see Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Metal Gear Solid 3 on the list. Well, sorry to disappoint. These are the games I'm looking forward to, and I'm not including anything in here just to make some people happy. Look to IGN for that.

    Of course, it was tough picking just 11 games for the list. Here are the games that barely missed the list.

    Honorable Mentions: Need For Speed Underground 2, SRS, Midway's Arcade Treasures 2, Mega Man X: Command Mission, Colin McRae Rally 2005, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload, Baten Katios, Fable, Gradius V, OutRun 2, T. Hawk's Underground 2.

    Oh, and the release dates for the games in the actual list are subject to change. If you're at all familliar with the gaming world, then you know no real date is set in stone. Right, Nintendo?