Thirty Most Wanted of 2009: #30 to #16
2008 may not have quite been the best year for gaming ever, but it was undoubtedly a strong performance by the industry. A wealth of high-rated titles came out, especially during the fall when gamers were ridiculously spoiled by their choices. There are those who doubt 2009 can live up to its predecessor’s mighty legacy, but we here at TheGameReviews have faith in our young annum. After all, the PS3 is finally settling into its stride, the 360 is looking to broaden its horizons and the Wii aims to build upon its runaway success. There’s also a stack of games coming out for the PC, DS, PSP and 2009’s new challenger, the iPhone. We’re unashamedly excited, and now we’re going to declare the thirty best reasons you should be excited about this year too. We present to you the first part of TheGameReviews’ thirty most wanted of 2009, from #30 all the way up to the halfway point of #16.
We’ve only gone with games we think are going to come out in 2009, so don’t ready the fanboy cannons just because Mass Effect 2, Diablo III et al aren’t on the list.
#30: Lord Of The Rings: Conquest (PS3/360/PC/DS)
Developer: Pandemic Studios Publisher: EA Release Date: 15 Jan 09
Most Likely To: Be considered inferior by misguided LARPers.
Pandemic Studios have done something simple but inspired. They’ve taken the vastly popular Star Wars: Battlefront series and transplanted it onto another beloved universe, namely that of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Could this be the Lord of the Rings game that does justice to its source? With great-looking combat, 16-player skirmishes drawing from years of developer experience and the choice of playing as either good or evil, it’s probably the one with the best chance yet.
#29: Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
Developer & Publisher: Nintendo Release Date: Q2 09
Most Likely To: Sell more than the highest number you can think of.
There’s a strong chance that you’re completely uninterested in Wii Sports Resort, but there are plenty of folk who are thrilled by the sequel to the highest-selling video game of all time. Wii Sports may be undeserving of such an accolade, but it’s still fine, trouble-free fun and we’re excited about getting our hands on the bundled Motion Plus. Also, kendo looks kind of cool. Maybe.
#28: Flower (PS3 PSN)
Developer: thatgamecompany Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: TBA
Most Likely To: Make you wonder why you ever killed a space marine.
Flower and fl0w creator Jenova Chen recently described his latest project as “haiku gaming” but we think it may actually be closer to Zen gaming. Players will guide a flower petal using the Sixaxis, sending it on its windy way to collect other petals and reinvigorate the landscape with color and beauty. It’s simplistic yet ambitious and it’s idyllically gorgeous. In a year full of sequels centred around whose violence is the most brutal, Flower stands out as a new IP that will take players away from all that and let them meditate as it soothes their weary minds.
#27: GTA Chinatown Wars (DS)
Developer: Rockstar Leeds Publisher: Rockstar Games Release Date: 20 Mar 09
Most Likely To: End up on Fox News.
It’s easy to be skeptical of Chinatown Wars. Nintendo and Rockstar must know that the game will sell like crazy, regardless of its quality. This is Rockstar, though, and they don’t do things half-assed. Chinatown Wars will feature a 3D engine that’s viewed from a 2.5D top-down camera, harking back to older GTA games. It will incorporate the DS touchscreen controls throughout the game. Maybe most significant of all is that it won’t hold back just ‘cos it’s on DS. It’s easy to be skeptical, but like Fox Mulder we want to believe.
#26: Fat Princess (PS3 PSN)
Developer: Titan Studios Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: TBA
Most Likely To: Not feature in anti-obesity campaigns.
Fat Princess will see 32 players duking it out to keep control of, you guessed it, a fat princess. The best way to keep the other team from capturing the lardy, regal lass is to stuff the poor girl full of yummy deserts to make her even fatter and therefore harder to haul around. We’re hoping this proves to be capture-the-flag gaming like we’ve never seen before, and we’re also pleased to finally see the recognition and representation that fat princesses around the world deserve.
#25: MadWorld (Wii)
Developer: Platinum Games Publisher: SEGA Release Date: 10 Mar 09
Most Likely To: To make the Wii cool again
We can’t be certain that underneath the controversy surrounding MadWorld there remains the decent new IP that drew people in with its stylish art direction. Is it just going to be violence for violence’s sake or could this be the mature action game the Wii desperately needs? We’re prepared to give Platinum Games the benefit of the doubt, but we’re not about to place bets on it.
#24: EyePet (PS3)
Developer: SCE London Studio Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: 2009
Most Likely To: To force parents to buy a PS3
Don’t underestimate EyePet. If Sir Howard Stringer can get the control he needs at Sony, we could see and hear an awful lot more about it in the very near future. What little we’ve seen so far, showing the PlayStation Eye camera being used to create a virtual pet players can interact with, has stunned us. This could be exactly what Sony needs, but whether or not they know that is another thing entirely.
#23: Bayonetta (PS3/360)
Developer: Platinum Games Publisher: SEGA Release Date: 2009
Most Likely To: To satisfy hair fetishists everywhere
Platinum Games and SEGA are putting it out there with MadWorld and this game, which caught our attention at E3 2008. It’s there where we first saw its highly sexualised and outstandingly suggestive trailer showing off the flexibility (and other things) of central character Bayonetta (aka Dante with boobs and a catsuit made of her own mystical hair). This may just be Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kayama making a clone of his own conception, but Bayonetta is still very much on our radar for 2009.
#22: FEAR 2: Project Origin (PS3/360)
Developer: Monolith Productions Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: 10 Feb 09 Most Likely To: Make games developers re-think asinine naming strategies
FEAR 2 is one of many sequels to appear on this list, but Monolith Productions are really looking to build upon the original game. They’ve listened to the fanbase (maybe inadvisably for the name choice) and are trying to make FEAR 2 a lot less ‘samey’ – we’re talking more enemies, more things to do and more thing to see whilst retaining the trademark massive weaponry and creepy undertones.
#21: Alpha Protocol (PS3/360/PC)
Developer: Obsidian Publisher: SEGA Release Date: Q1 09
Most Likely To: Make you want to wear a tux, go to a casino and order silly drinks.
When SEGA proclaimed that they were making an espionage action RPG that would take and mix up elements of 24, James Bond, and The Bourne Identity, a million grown men the world over felt a little tingle on the backs of their necks. On paper it all sounds amazing but in practice this is Obsidian’s first IP that’s really theirs and this is a genre which has its doubters. We’re optimistic that Obsidian can prove the naysayers wrong and that Alpha Protocol will kick the ass that it should.
#20: The Sims 3 (PC/iPhone)
Developer: EA Redwood Shores Publisher: EA Release Date: 20 Feb 09
Most Likely To: Break world records for numbers of expansion packs
What’s new, pussycat? Well, the cool cats at EA have certainly amped up the graphics, and there appears to be a lot of fresh paint being applied to the traditional features of the series. However, the big focus is on neighborhood exploration, with The Sims 3 set to let players free their Sims from the confines of their homes and discover the world around them. As much as we’re looking forward to re-entering the Sims’ world, we’re unsure whether EA have provided enough incentive to keep us in it a bit longer this time. Time will tell.
#19: Brutal Legend (PS3/360)
Developer: Double Fine Productions Publisher: EA Release Date: Q3 09
Most Likely To: Make you wish it was the 70s all over again
We knew that Brutal Legend would bounce back from the Activision drop and sure enough the pet project of Tim Schafer and Jack Black found a new home at EA. With their marketing power, Schafer’s extreme imagination, and Black’s star quality, Brutal Legend could prove to be the dark horse of 2009. If you’re unfamiliar with Brutal Legend, here’s a quick summary of the plot: You play a roadie who gets transported to a Nordic fantasy world where you will use heavy metal to save the girl and the day. Standard stuff, really.
#18: Bionic Commando (PS3/360/PC)
Developer: GRIN Publisher: Capcom Release Date: Q1 09
Most Likely To: Spawn a thousand ‘grappling with’ puns
The Capcom/GRIN partnership has already brought dividends through the marvellous Bionic Commando: Rearmed, so we’re confident that they’ll do the business again with the main dish. The visuals seems to be sturdy, the hookshot mechanics have earned their early plaudits, and the multiplayer looks to be nothing short of swing-and-shoot mayhem. Still, can it live up to the might of the NES classic? We’re sure that Super Joe (and only he) knows the answer.
#17: Prototype (PS3/360/PC)
Developer: Radical Entertainment Publisher: Sierra Entertainment & Activision
Release Date: Summer 09 Most Likely To:
We’ve just watched the CES gameplay trailers for Prototype and it’s shaping up very nicely. Radical Entertainment boasted some ambitious plans for this game back at GDC last year, but they may well have come good on them. GTA IV let players tear it up in a faithful recreation of New York, but Prototype will let them do it with badass superpowers such as shapeshifting, super-strength, and the ability to absorb enemy abilities. It’s still lacking in prostitutes, though.
#16: Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PS3/360/PC)
Developer: Terminal Reality Publisher: Atari Release Date: 16 Jun 09
Most Likely To: Ruin a part of our childhood.
We’re trying to keep cool and restrain our excitement for this one. Huge oversights like the lack of co-op and absence of driving sections with Ecto-1 help. Despite all this, it’s hard. With Dan Akroyd on the writing team and most of the cast, including Bill Murray, on board, our inner eight-year-olds are screaming to be let loose and fawn all over this. Still, it could go completely the other way and destroy the memories of one of our childhood treasures. Please, please don’t let that happen, Atari.
Tune back to TheGameReviews tomorrow for the second segment where we’ll be counting down from #15 to our most anticipated game of 2009.