If 2006 was the year of the Xbox 360 and 2007 the year of the Nintendo Wii, 2008 promises to be PlayStation 3's turn in the spotlight going by the number of titles, across genres, that are expected to be released on the platform. Titles cost anywhere between Rs 1,500-2,500, depending on the console they are released for and the gameplay they offer.
By far the most awaited game of the year, Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) takes gamers on the streets of Liberty City, a dystopic version of New York City in 2008. What propels this violent, intelligent, profane, endearing, obnoxious, sly, richly textured and thoroughly compelling work of cultural satire is the fun factor weaved into every scene.
GTA IV has vehicles that look even more fantastic. The squeaky car animation used when hookers do their thing is now accompanied by foggy windows. If riding is not your scene, try admiring the city from the windows of a taxi.
Race to the finish
If you are a passionate Nintendo Wii-owner, then chances are you'll love the Mario Kart Wii as well. Nintendo has added motorcycles and dirt bikes to a game series that popularised the genre of weapons-based go-kart racing.
The main event of Mario Kart is the Grand Prix which pits you against 11 computer-controlled competitors in this four-course cup event. Mario Kart Wii includes support for every possible controller configuration under the sun.
Age of Empires has evolved into a solid pillar of real-time strategy gaming. The latest includes Asian nations like India, China and Japan. The Indian campaign is particularly interesting as it involves besting the East India Trading Company.
The player has to provide the villagers with three primary resources, food, wood and gold, needed to build buildings, recruit units and research upgrades, before advancing to the next technological age.