With a lot of games put back until next year in a bid to avoid clashing with the might of Modern Warfare 2, it’s no surprise that 2010 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for gamers, but which games should you be looking forward to the most? Well, we’re not presumptuous enough to tell you that, but here are ten that are looking pretty darn good. Any we’ve missed, tell us in the comments.
10. Sonic And Sega Allstars Racing
Yes, it may be a Mario Kart clone, but if you’re going to clone something, you may as well clone something awesome, right? Sega have a habit of making incredibly addictive, playable, memory laden games. Take Sega Superstars Tennis, it’s just Virtua Tennis with a lick of whimsy coloured paint, but you can’t tell me hitting giant tennis balls at zombies isn’t hilarious fun. If they can take that same joyous accessibility and transfer it to the racing genre, then this will be one of those casual guilty pleasures that even real gamers can’t say no to.
9. Halo: Reach
Even with no real details, no confirmed release date and nothing to go on save for a logo and a baffling teaser trailer, Halo: Reach is still guaranteed to be one of the biggest, most exciting releases of next year. It will probably go through a name change, Internet flamers the world over will say terrible, scandalous things about it on forums and others will defend it to the hilt. Still, it’s Bungie, it’s Halo, it’s a pattern that works and for an awful lot of people, that’s more than enough. Far be it from me to start over hyping something, let’s be honest, that started with Microsoft’s conference at E3, but Halo: Reach could be the end of something special.
Released in the same month as Crackdown 2, the sequel to Realtime Worlds’ massively underrated Xbox 360 sleeper hit, APB is the developer’s next bite at the sandbox genre, this time with an MMO twist. Playing as either cops or robbers, you battle it out in a city, building up your character and your allegiances and generally having a ball. In development since 2005, with David Jones, designer of Crackdown and the original GTA as lead designer, and classified more as an MOG, or Multiplayer Online Game, APB is exactly the sort of experience that could breathe life into PC gaming again. As long as you can get past all those initialisms that is.
7. Mass Effect 2
The masters of the RPG return with another sci-fi epic, this time darker, deeper and more action packed than the original. But it’s not simply the bigger story or the refined combat system that makes Mass Effect 2 so exciting. It’s the links back to the first game. The choices you made, the characters you’ve let live or die, the relationships that you’ve forged, all of these will have resonance in the sequel. In other words, it’s a true sequel, affected as much by the events that you, the player, experienced in the first game, as it is by the developers. As steps forward go, that’s pretty important.
Even without the credentials of the team behind it, Bayonetta would be a game to watch, but when you take into account that Hideki Kamiya is the man behind the original Devil May Cry and Okami, one of the best games you’ve never played, the high kicking witch-a-thon starts to look even more promising. Playing as a Wiccan with magically powered hair and an arsenal of heavy weaponry, including gun shoes, you’ll blast your way through a horde of angels gone bad, summoning giant dog beasts and guillotines to aid your slaughter. With a ramped up difficulty level and enough action to shred your eyeball skin off, Bayonetta is the hardcore choice for next year.
5. Metroid: Other M
Not just another Metroid game, which would have been awesome in itself, this is a Metroid game developed by Team Ninja, the people behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive. The fact that Nintendo have let someone else take control of one of their babies is amazing in itself, but that it’s the team behind some of the toughest, most violent videogames of recent years is something else altogether. It may be an attempt on Nintendo’s part to placate the legions of fanboys who feel betrayed by its move towards the casual market, but even so, if this is half as good as it could be, it’s going to be incredible.
4. Star Wars The Old Republic
I know it’s another MMO. I know it’s another Bioware game, but it’s Bioware returning to their crowning glory and turning it into an MMO. It’s like Leonardo DaVinci returning to the Mona Lisa and making her smile even more enigmatic. If APB is changing the way we experience massive online games, then The Old Republic is giving gamers what they’ve been dreaming of for years, a Star Wars MMO that isn’t hopelessly boring. From what’s already been revealed, it’s obvious that Bioware are making a game that’s going to please an awful lot of people, and maybe even claw a few away from the behemoth that is World Of Warcraft. And even if they don’t, being a Sith Bounty Hunter is going to be amazing.
If anyone’s allowed to reinvent the FPS, then it’s id. After all, they pretty much invented it in the first place. Rage is a mix between shooter and racer, set in a barren futurescape populated with mutants, freaks and plenty of other cannon fodder. The game looks amazing, as you’d expect from id, who seem to be second only to Epic in squeezing every drop of performance from whatever system they’re using. But it’s not just graphical advancements that id are famous for; they’ve designed some of the most memorable and playable games of the past twenty years, and it’s looking like Rage could be joining that pantheon.
2. I Am Alive
I Am Alive is the rarest of things, a game that doesn’t simply redefine a genre, but creates a whole new one. Stuck in Chicago in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, you’ll be faced with the dilemmas that anyone in that situation would: thirst, hunger, fear, huge chunks of falling masonry. It’s a refreshing change to see a game dealing with things other than terrifying ghouls or burly, bullet spraying space marines and focusing on more human pursuits. Whether or not it’ll work is another question, but fingers crossed it can live up to its potential.
1. Splinter Cell: Conviction
After disappearing almost completely from sight for a couple of years, Sam Fisher made a dramatic return at this year’s E3; degrunged, leaner, meaner and shockingly violent, Splinter Cell grabbed a lot of attention, and rightly so. Stylishly breaking the fourth wall, the game has a distinctive aesthetic all of its own. This is stealth grown up. No longer constrained by the rules of Third Echelon, Fisher can use any means necessary to reach his goals. Anyone who’s seen the bathroom interrogation scene in the trailer, in all its sink smashing glory, will know that this is one man not to mess with, and one game to look forward to with bated breath.