The Chinese may call 2006 the Year of the Dog, but when it comes to video games, this is the year of the next generation of consoles. Microsoft’s decision to release their next-generation console, the XBOX 360, early in 2005 could prove to be a great mistake when Sony and Nintendo step up to the plate this year. However, the great battle between the three superpowers in the game industry will not take place until midyear.

Fortunately, the upcoming games for the current generation console, PC, XBOX 360 and handheld will keep gamers occupied before the largest console clash of the century.

5. “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” (PS3) – Whenever a “Metal Gear Solid” game is announced, the world simply freezes. Little is known about the game, aside from the apparent gray hair of the main character Solid Snake, but fans refuse to stop salivating over the little that is known. The graphical powerhouse console known as the PS3 is sure to bring an entirely new experience to this ever-popular series.

4. “Final Fantasy XII” (PS2) – The upcoming installment in the tremendously popular “Final Fantasy” (FF) namesake is one of the longest awaited titles in the series. With the overflowing anticipation from fans of the series, “FFXII” and its entirely revamped real-time battle system could be one of the last best sellers for the PS2.

3. “Kingdom Hearts 2” (PS2) – “Kingdom Hearts 2” and “FFXII,” two widely popular role-playing games for the PS2 scheduled for early 2006, could keep many gamers distracted from the XBOX 360 as Sony prepares its own next-generation console, the PS3. “Kingdom Hearts” is a role-playing game that blends Disney characters and the spirit of classic role-playing games (RPG) into one highly memorable experience for gamers of all ages. Capt. Jack Sparrow and Jack Skellington are among the diverse new cast of characters in “Kingdom Hearts 2.” Fans like Melissa Larson, a business administration freshman, cannot wait for Sony’s blast of role-playing games to arrive and said, “I imagine a lot of other people can’t either.”

2. Sony PS3 and Nintendo Revolution – These may not be games, but the games that will accompany them are greatly anticipated by gamers ready to move into the next generation of gaming. Most of these games will not be announced until the largest gaming event of the year, E3.

The Nintendo Revolution will sport a controller similar to a T.V. remote that can be connected to various peripheral devices. The games for the Revolution are completely unknown, but certainly deserving of being on this list due to their revolutionary gameplay.

The PS3 is sure to deliver various titles after its release that could possibly blow the XBOX 360 out of the water. With much speculation and only a gaming expo to lift gamers’ anticipation, the next-generation consoles of 2006 are sure to contain the most anticipated titles of the year.

1. “Halo 3″ (XBOX 360) ” Bill Gates has done his best to convince the public that “Halo 3” will be released when it is completed, not when the PS3 is released. Unfortunately, the world is in speculation and many are convinced that “Halo 3,” easily the most anticipated game of the year, will be released around the time of the PS3’s arrival. Any news on the game is being kept highly secretive, but market analysts are convinced that once E3 arrives, “Halo 3” will be no secret. Game retailer GameStop began taking preorders for the game last June and currently has the game slated for October 2006. “Halo 3,” if anything like its predecessors, will not only deliver some of the most thrilling and memorable gaming experiences of the year, but will play an important pawn in the console wars of 2006.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *