The Tokyo Game Show 2008 promised to amaze the world with the best release schedule in the run-up to the holidays ever seen, and it certainly did not disappoint. The hardest task in compiling this list was definitely deciding which games wouldn't make the cut. Sadly, some excellent titles came up short, which is not to say that they aren't great - only that others are even better. Notable absences from the show were Gears of War, Alan Wake and Mad World, so they were disqualified from contention. Ultimately, this list considers not only how good I think a game is going to be, but also its popularity at the show, how the good the demo was, and the game's impact factor. Here's my rundown of the 10 games of the show.
10) Monster Hunter 3
This one makes it onto my list for one reason, but it just so happens that this reason is an absolutely massive one. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people all patiently waiting to play just five minutes of this game. The line was more of a mob than any organized queue, and even on the business days of the show there was an hour-long wait. Also considered in the ranking of this game were the facts that it was by far the Wii's biggest title at the show and the exclusivity of gameplay to TGS. This was the first time players got the chance to get their hands on the title, and it wiped the floor with all other competition on the Wii.
9) Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Square Enix's RPG title for Xbox 360 was in the prize location at Microsoft's booth, and there is no surprise the Japanese public were clambering over one another to get to it. The demo gave players a lot of freedom and was a refreshing experience due to its unique presentation. The game features a new type of combat, yet still retains a traditional RPG atmosphere. The title is shaping up to be high on a lot of people's wish lists, at least in Japan. This game easily deserves 9th place on my list.
8) Prince of Persia
Ubisoft's second reincarnation of the classic Prince of Persia franchise looks absolutely stunning. While not as revolutionary as some people had hoped, the solid gameplay from the Prince's last three outings returns in an all-new, cel-shaded adventure. An epic fight with a ferocious beast was good fun in the demo, and I'm sure the final game will have some truly standout moments. With of a Prince of Persia movie in production and a huge fan following, the series has never looked stronger.
7) Fable 2
For all Peter Molyneux's boasts, no one can completely trust the man when it comes to separating hype from facts. While Fable was great, it wasn't quite as amazing as I had hoped. Fable 2 looks like it will be everything it is cracked up to be and more, but a ten minute session with a game that mainly focuses on story and RPG elements is never going to do it justice. The demo didn't vary significantly from the original and there wasn't a huge amount to do, so Fable 2 only scores 7th on my list, despite looking like it's going to be totally awesome.
6) Fallout 3
This game truly has the potential to be game of the year. Although lots of Western gamers are eagerly anticipating its release, the Japanese fanbase is not so large. This relegated Fallout 3 to a smaller booth than other titles, but it didn't prevent it from playing like a dream. The controls were smooth, the graphics were pretty and the game just feels so right. The only thing preventing this game from being any higher on my list is, like Fable 2 its unsuitability with ten minute previews. With a fully capable developer behind it in the form of Bethseda and just a few weeks to release, Fallout 3 is one game I can't wait to get my hands on.
5) Far Cry 2
Here's another game from Ubisoft in my top 10. Far Cry 2 delivered everything I expected from it. Evolving from the critically acclaimed Far Cry into something arguably more realistic than we've ever seen from an FPS, Far Cry 2 storms into my list at number 5. The demo was very open, allowing you to explore and experiment with the game's excellent physics engine. The dusty plains of Africa look beautiful and are a joy to play in. The AI stood out as something special and the single player is likely to border on a classic. Add on top of this some exciting multiplayer modes and the opportunity to kill whichever NPCs you like, and you have one of the most highly anticipated FPS games in years.
4) Mirror's Edge
Our game of E3, Mirror's Edge, also places high on my list. Looking as wonderful as ever, the environments drew huge crowds to EA's stand, curious to discover just how well you can move around in Faith's world. The crowd's curiosity was sated with the first opportunity for the public to play the game on Saturday, and I'm sure they came away impressed. This game has to be played to be believed and not only is it something fresh and innovative, but it has the potential to please the hardcore and casual alike. Expect this game to set the sales charts alight.
3) Street Fighter IV
For most gamers, Street Fighter II was a part of growing up. You will be hard pressed to find anyone over 18 who doesn't know how to pull off a Hadouken on a SNES pad unless they have been living in Kazakhstan for the last fifteen years or have no limbs. Street Fighter returns to the public sphere in the form of number 4, the spiritual successor to SFII. The visual style mirrors Japanese paintings and is extremely beautiful in motion. Lots of what made the series so popular remains in this version, but not only this powerful new look has been added, but new characters, new moves and other new features have all been thrown into the mix. A new Chun-Li based film starring Kristin Kreuk won't exactly harm publicity for this game, and if the queues at TGS were anything to go by, this game is going to be red hot.
2) Resident Evil 5
It was simply impossible to avoid this game at TGS 2008. Capcom had booths, Sony had booths and Microsoft had booths all featuring RE 5. The trailer was seen on screens everywhere and huge banners and signs displaying the logo and characters were plastered all over the walls. Demand was high and it's not hard to see why. The game builds upon the high standard set by Resident Evil 4 (a Kombo 9.8) and takes it even further. Complaints about controls have been addressed, with Capcom giving players the option of two different control schemes to cater to varying play styles. Gone is the Spanish setting, instead an African backdrop is present, adding yet another layer of realism to this graphically stunning title. Throw in a massive, axe-weilding maniac or two and you have potentially the scariest, yet prettiest, game ever made. Trust us, it was this close to being number one.
Truly the jewel in Sony's crown, this game all but stole the show. With Sony offering little in the way of exclusive big hitters, LBP really needed to perform and boy did it do that. Queues weren't huge for the demo, probably as the beta is already available, but Sackboy still paraded around the show. The demo allowed the freedom to create or play or both, and everyone who gave it a whirl left the booth with a big smile across their face. With the beta already released, this game has teased and toyed with gamers everywhere and the hype surrounding it has been unstoppable. LBP has the capacity to be the defining thing in gaming this century. Not only does the 2.5D design work marvelously, but it makes us wonder if the industry going 3D was even worth it. The platforming is stellar and the presentation is perfect. The endless possibilities to create, share and play make LittleBigPlanet my favorite game of TGS 2008.