Monday, 4 January 2010

10 Games For 2010, part 1

As if 2009 wasn't enough. The first months of this shiny new year read, rather incredibly, like the average Christmas schedules: Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2, Bayonetta, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alan Wake etc etc. And they're the games of 2010 that I didn't choose. Here are the 10 that I did, across two parts. It's going to be an expensive 2010.

Halo: Reach

Didn’t Bungie say Halo 3 was the last Halo game that they would ever work on? Proof that you can’t keep a good, er, multi-million-selling franchise down, Halo: Reach, a prequel to the first in the series, will center on the Battle of Reach that takes place near the end of the Human-Covenant war. It’s also set to be the last Halo game developed by Bungie, honest.

2009’s Halo 3:ODST was a neat summation of the Halo series to date, its generous multiplayer content supplementing the ‘greatest hits’ feel of the missions themselves, spanning as they did every previous facet of Halo gameplay. Hopefully this is a sign that Bungie are going to treat Reach like a blank slate, ready to shake the series, and consequently the FPS, with some radical ideas. Or maybe it’ll just be Halo as we know and love, albeit with prettier visuals. An emphasis on squad co-operation is likely, an epic scale certain. It’s almost certain to be the biggest entertainment launch of 2010.

Medal of Honor

EA’s last console-only Medal of Honor. Airborne, was an admirable attempt at doing something different within the WW2 FPS, introducing a relatively freeform approach to objectives and the clever idea of being able to land nearly anywhere in the level. Unfortunately it turned out that the problem EA needed to address wasn’t so much a creative stagnation within the genre, but rather World War 2 as a setting for yet another game of Nazi bashing. Halo 3 and, more significantly, Modern Warfare were released a few weeks later, and Airborne quickly became nothing more than a footnote; this must have been especially galling for a series that was once so dominant.

Now EA are back with a MOH game set in present-day Afghanistan. The trailer looks exciting if a little, well, like Modern Warfare. One issue that remains a possibility: could this new-look MOH be once again squeezed out by both Bungie and Activision? On one side there’s Halo: Reach, on the other the (heavily rumoured, not yet confirmed) Call of Duty Vietnam. Have gamers already had enough of modern-day combat? EA will be hoping not.

BioShock 2

The first BioShock of course had a lot more going on than the initial hours suggested, so I’m confident that despite a few potential negatives (Is a multiplayer mode really necessary? Will the change in development team have any effect?) this second adventure, set ten years later, will be as rich in atmosphere, mind-games and tension as the original. There’s only a little over a month now until we can return to Rapture.


A sequel to one of the most visually delicious – if structurally unoriginal – games of the last decade, Okamiden should see the central mechanic of the Celestial Brush, of watercolour as a form of attack, brought to its logical conclusion. The Wii remote was an improvement over the Playstation controller, but the stylus control will, if the implementation is right, be a refinement that makes bringing fresh blossom to the valleys as intuitive as it is to battle through dungeons in the DS Zelda games. If Capcom can come anywhere close to the brilliance of Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks then this could well be one of the games, handheld or otherwise, of the coming year.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy, but now with added Yoshi. The sequel to this current generation’s greatest game should be out within the next 12 months, hopefully sprinkled with a more-than-generous helping of Nintendo magic dust. Not much else needs to be said; likely to be amazing.

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