Our 25 Most Anticipated Games Of The Rest Of 2010
All things considered, 2010 hasn’t been a terrible summer for gamers. We’ve had one or two really outstanding titles (sup, StarCraft II), a steady stream of solid releases, and only a handful of weeks that were full-on new game droughts. Even with such an excellent first half of the year, though, the fall and winter months of 2010 are as packed as ever. To help you start preparing for the rush of exciting games, we put together a list of the 25 titles we’re most excited about from September on.
Want to hear some audio discussion of some of our choices? Check out this week's episode of the Game Informer Show podcast.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Wii, DS) – September 7
Last year’s Arkham Asylum proved it’s possible to make a great Batman game. We’re looking to The Brave and the Bold to prove that it’s also possible to make a great game based off of a superhero cartoon. This colorful 2D brawler looked great at E3, so we’re hopeful that the mix of simplistic action and awesome comic book team-ups will turn out.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (PSP) – September 7
Hardcore Kingdom Hearts fans are still eagerly awaiting the announcement of a proper KH3, but Birth By Sleep should tide them over. This prequel contains graphics and gameplay comparable to its console brethren, plus three playable characters.
NHL 11 (360, PS3) – September 7
The best sports title on the planet for two years running looks to improve its game with an all-new physics driven animation system that makes every hit look unique. Add to this the introduction of a new face-off system, broken sticks, and the inclusion of the CHL amateur league, and NHL 11 looks like a strong contender yet again.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS) – September 12
Who would’ve guessed that Level-5’s brain-teasing puzzle series would be so charming and engaging that we’d eagerly await more? This time around, the puzzles won’t be the only thing twisting our brains into knots; the plot involves time travel and interacting with future versions of the Professor and his young assistant, Luke.
Halo Reach (360) – September 14
Whatever your feelings on where Microsoft’s epic sci-fi saga has gone with Halo 3 and last year’s ODST, it’s going to be hard to miss out on Reach. As Bungie's final Halo game, the studio is pulling out all of the stops with Reach, promising a huge story that serves as a prequel to the franchise, overhauled and rejuvenated multiplayer, and, for the first time in the series, space combat.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V (PC) – September 21
Just in case StarCraft II wasn’t enough to make you invest in a gaming PC and learn to love one of the few genres that works best on this platform, Firaxis is also bringing us a new Civ this year. The gameplay has been tweaked to focus on smaller armies and more diplomatic options, but the addictive, “just one more turn” structure is the same as it ever was. We’re expecting to lose some sleep over this one.
Dead Rising 2 (360, PS3, PC) – September 28
It’s been a long time since we fell in love with the huge zombie hordes and everything-is-weapon setup of the original Dead Rising, but we’re hopeful that new developer Blue Castle Games can capture that magic with the sequel. In case running around the Las Vegas-esque location of Fortune City slaying zombies isn’t enough, there will also be some unique multiplayer modes where players must kill more zombies than their opponents.
Final Fantasy XIV (PC) – September 30
Whatever our mixed feelings on the previous Final Fantasy MMO or this game’s alpha, it’s difficult not to get excited about a second numbered Final Fantasy game being released less than a year after the last. Final Fantasy XIV features combat based on the classic FF Active Time Battle style as well as a unique class system where you change roles by equipping different weapons.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (360, PS3) – October 5
Heavenly Sword proved that developer Ninja Theory knows how to make action games. We’re excited to see them prove it again with Enslaved. Sure, a main character named “Monkey” is a little goofy, but we’re hoping the game being based on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West will help create a worthwhile plot to aid all the punching, kicking, and climbing around.
NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, PC) – October 5
No player can turn the tide of a game quite like Michael Jordan. Rather than simply use the retired legend as a marketing shill, 2K Sports took this opportunity to place gamers in his shoes for the 10 defining moments of his remarkable career. Each of the games features historically accurate commentary, period uniforms, and a dream roster of competition featuring hall of famers like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Isaiah Thomas, and Clyde Drexler.
Fallout: New Vegas (360, PS3, PC) – October 19
Despite having a new developer in Obsidian Software, New Vegas’s gameplay and world-building looks on par with Bethesda’s fantastic revival of the Fallout series. It’s not all just more of the same (though we’d welcome that). New Vegas adds tons of new weapons and items, hardcore mode for the truly insane, and an extensive reputation system that gives you more reason to work with (or against) certain characters.
Fable III (360) – October 26
Fable III looks awesome, and we’re not just saying that because we fell for another hyperbole-laden speech from Lionhead leader Peter Molyneux. This game progresses the world of Albion in to the future and puts players into the shoes of a popular hero who ends up overthrowing the king and taking over as ruler. Instead of just making decisions for yourself, you’ll be able to control the fate of your whole kingdom.
Rock Band 3 (360, PS3, Wii, DS) – October 26
Harmonix’s latest effort transcends the label of “just another music game” with a few incredible features. In addition to tons of new tracks and some nice tweaks to the core game, Rock Band 3 introduces Pro Mode, an ambitious attempt to bridge the gap between fake plastic guitar players and real musicians by having gamers use the equivalent of real instruments. Throw in the new keyboard instrument, and you’ve got some compelling reasons to consider it for your next rhythm game.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC) – October 26
While we enjoyed the first Force Unleashed, there were a few issues that LucasArts has hopefully had time to clean up for the sequel. Give us dual lightsabers, an army of stormtroopers to slice through, and a handful of crazy Force powers (such as the new mind trick ability), and there’s a good chance we’ll have big, stupid grins on our faces.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP) – November 2
After the insane fun of God of War III, we’ll take more adventures with Kratos in whatever form we can get them. What form better than another handheld action game from Ready at Dawn, a developer that proved its capability with Chains of Olympus? So far, we know that Ghost of Sparta contains some new weapons and spells and a longer adventure than the last PSP outing, as well as first appearances from some new mythological figures like the cursed King Midas. Sounds gold to us!
Dance Central (360) – November 4
Of the various games launching with Microsoft Kinect, Dance Central was the E3 standout. If you’re not even remotely interested in dancing, this simply might not be your thing. But for everyone else, Harmonix has demonstrated a clear understanding of some simple, functional, and dare I say groovy use of the new motion control device.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, PC, Wii) – November 9
Every time we want to throw up our hands and say we’re done with the Call of Duty series and Activision’s questionable treatment of those working on it – and trust me, there have been a few times – they put out another incredible trailer that reminds us why these games remain at the top of the charts year after year. Case in point. We could pretend that we’re not going to pick it up because of the Infinity Ward mess, but there’s still millions more gamers who will, and we’d hate to miss out on that party.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (360, PS3, PC) – November 16
I’m still on the fence about Assassin’s Creed becoming a yearly franchise, but based off of its showing so far, Brotherhood may be worth the speedy release schedule. The single-player story will have players returning to the role of Ezio as he heads to Rome, but the series debut of multiplayer is the real star. Unique modes such as “Wanted,” where each player gets a different opponent as a target that they must stealthily hunt down, set Brotherhood apart from the shooter-heavy multiplayer norm.
LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) – November 16
We thought player-creation-focused games couldn’t get much more impressive than the original LittleBigPlanet, but Media Molecule decided to go all out for the sequel, introducing tools for players to create levels from virtually any genre of gameplay. Like the original, the real test of LBP 2 will be the quality of user-created levels months after the game has launched. If the first game’s creative audience migrates over, we have nothing to worry about.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (360, PS3, PC) – November 16
EA’s Need For Speed franchise has remained relatively stable, but it’s been in need of a shot of adrenaline for a while now. If there’s one team that can put the “speed” back into Need For Speed, it’s Burnout developer Criterion. Expanding on the series’ roots, Hot Pursuit features a full career mode for both cops and racers and an open-world city that’s even larger than that of Burnout Paradise.
Rounding off our list, we have a few titles that have been promised for late 2010, fall 2010, holiday 2010, or some combination thereof. These games have yet to receive an official release date, so it’s possible that they could be pushed back to 2011. But even with the crowded list we’ve presented already, we’d love to be playing these five this year.
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
Anybody with nostalgia for Rare’s classic Donkey Kong Country games back on the SNES should be psyched about DKC Returns. What we’ve seen so far looks familiar but fun, with some cool modern additions such as the ability to move into a second 2D plane in the background. For those old-school gamers in the audience who love a challenge, Donkey Kong Country Returns seemed plenty difficult in the short time we’ve spent with it.
Epic Mickey (Wii)
Deus Ex designer Warren Spector creating a Mickey Mouse game still sounds like some sort of fever dream, but we couldn’t be happier that it’s reality. Epic Mickey looks to continue Disney’s recent push into gaming with a 3D platformer that includes the ability to paint items into existence in the world.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)
It’s been a long time since we’ve been this interested in a Kirby game, but Epic Yarn was one of the most visually unique titles at E3. Yet another old-school 2D sidescroller for the Wii, Kirby’s world is now rendered in the form of various types of cloth and yarn. We’re excited to see how this unique style plays into gameplay as well.
The Sly Collection (PS3)
Maybe it’s odd to be looking forward to a collection of years-old games, but the Sly Cooper series never got enough love when it came out on PlayStation 2. Now that developer Sucker Punch has grown in notoriety with the Infamous series, we’re hoping more people will check out this incredible deal – three great 3D platformers on a single, cheap Blu-Ray with updated graphics, Trophies, and more.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)
Blizzard’s third World of Warcraft expansion may also be its most ambitious. The level cap is only raising by five instead of ten, but the whole old world of Azeroth is being reshaped. Tons of old zones and questlines will be mixed up and given new life, along with the introduction of two new playable races, the Worgen and Goblins. Clearly Blizzard is targeting new players and those who have strayed away just as much as the millions currently addicted.
Those are our choices! Now how about you? What games from our 25 are you most excited about? Are there any we didn’t list that you think will be awesome? Let us know in the comments!