Most Anticipated Games of 2009  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , , ,

Behold the 11 games that we're looking forward to the most in 2009. Yes, 11. Because 2009 is going to be one louder.

In choosing the games that should make waves this year, Game|Life contributors Nate Ralph, Earnest Cavalli, Chris Baker and I made sure to select titles that we were personally excited about.

The types of games that pack the most appeal will naturally be different for each of us. For example, Nate is too young to remember Punch-Out!!, but when I get the Wii version of the game, I am going to tear open the shrink-wrap with my teeth.

We also tried to constrain this list to games that will actually come out this year. So no Alan Wake, no God of War III and certainly no Duke Nukem Forever.

With these factors in mind, we present the 11 most anticipated games of 2009. Time to sharpen your incisors.

Punch-Out!! (Wii)

This revival of Nintendo's classic puzzle-sports-rhythmic-punching game has been a very long time coming. The original is probably my favorite 8-bit game ever, and no boxing game has ever been as much fun. Probably because Punch-Out!! never had anything to do with boxing. It was about perfecting your twitch reactions while trying not to fall over laughing at the ridiculous ethnic stereotype cartoons that served as your opponents.

Punch-Out!! for Wii will continue that storied tradition: Watch the croissants fly from Glass Joe as he's knocked to the canvas. Will the addictive gameplay be as perfectly replicated? I hope and pray that it will. The game might go off the rails if it makes too much use of Wii waggle controls and feels too much like aWii Fit exercise minigame. But the return of Punch-Out!! is reason enough to get excited. — Chris KohlerInfamous

Infamous (PlayStation 3)

Fact: Sucker Punch makes excellent action games -- the Sly Cooper series was a great addition to Sony's PlayStation 2 lineup. Fact: Grand Theft Auto plus superpowers can equal an amazing experience — I don't think I need to remind anyone of Crackdown.

Sucker Punch is billing Infamous as the ultimate superhero simulator, a game that lets you choose your path, saving the city or wreaking destruction. I'm really interested to see how the story plays out and how the open world environment is used — is it just window dressing for your destructive amusement, or will you really feel like the most powerful being in a living, breathing world? We know so little about howInfamous will play, but as it is likely to be Sony's marquee title for 2009, I imagine we will be hearing a lot about it. — Chris Kohler

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Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned (Xbox 360)

I'm sick of hanging out with Niko Bellic. I mean, I know he had a rough adolescence in Serbia and all, but that can only excuse so much murderous, sociopathic behavior. But man, oh man, I sure do miss kicking it in Liberty City. What a place! The sights, the sounds, the insane stunt jumps and plentiful rocket launchers! I'm itching for the chance to visit again, this time in the company of grizzled biker Johnny Klebitz.

The new Xbox 360 downloadable expansion to GTA IV offers a lengthy new narrative, and upgrades my favorite virtual metropolis with new weapons, missions, vehicles and multiplayer modes. What's that you say? Klebitz is probably a murderous sociopath just like Niko? Yeah, well ... as long as he doesn't have an annoying cousin that's always phoning him, I think I can put up with that. — Chris Baker

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Resident Evil 5 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Until we zombie purists convince George Romero to open a game development studio, Capcom Entertainment is our best substitute in the pixelized fight against the undead. Metal Gear Solid 4-level visual polish, a nicely modified strain of the Resident Evil 4 control scheme, online co-operative multiplayer and the woefully underrepresented setting of the African Savannah all indicate that Resident Evil 5 almost has to be something special.

Honestly, I'm just giddy for a chance to pop off heavy munitions into the brains of some undead foes. At the end of a long workday, nothing is more satisfying than the wholesale slaughter of shambling hordes. — Earnest Cavalli

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The Beatles Game (Multiplatform)

We don't know what it'll look like, how it'll play or even what it'll be called. But Harmonix's collaboration with The Beatles is the odds-on favorite to be the biggest thing to happen to videogames, and maybe even music, in 2009.

The creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band have turned millions of gamers into faux rockers with plastic instruments, letting non-musicians experience the joy of jamming. And what better way to put on a show in your living room than with the legendary music of the greatest band of all time? Harmonix is forgoingRock Band 3 this year to concentrate its efforts on re-creating the Fab Four's music in interactive form. Even if this were just downloadable content for Rock Band, it would be one of the best things to happen this year. As a standalone game, it'll be unstoppable. (As long as Harmonix includes an option to sing the entire B side of Abbey Road without stopping, I'll be happy.) — Chris Kohler

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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (Windows)

For more than two decades, the tabletop game Warhammer 40,000 has captivated countless fans with relentless miniature figurine battles waged between hyper-religious superhuman space fascists, space Orks, space Elves and savage, genetically engineered insect-things that are also from space.

The transition to the real-time strategy genre on the PC went fairly well, but the onset of sequel-itis has left the original Dawn of War looking a bit tired. Fortunately, Relic Entertainment is bringing players back to the basics with Dawn of War II — namely, control of small, elite squads embroiled in close-quarters combat, with a number of traditional RPG mechanics rolled in. Dawn of War's gleefully excessive brutality and visual flair have been revamped, adding tantalizing levels of detail to the act of vigorously throttling enemy units before hurling them through the air like a large, wet sack. There will also be bits of traditional base-building and resource gathering on the multiplayer side of things, but confess: We're all really in it for jetpacks and chainsaw-swords. — Nate Ralph

BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

I'm anticipating this game in the sense that I'm anxiously holding my breath. 2K says that BioShock can be its Star Wars, meaning that this episode could be as awesome as The Empire Strikes Back. But the original BioShock worked so well because it had such a unique story. Will a trip back into the world of Big Daddies and Little Sisters be as interesting this time around, now that we've already experienced it?

More worrisome than that: Will the fact that Ken Levine and 2K Boston are passing off development to the new 2K Marin studio in Northern California change things? Developing the BioShock sequel is a tall order for a rookie developer. The original's blend of intelligent political commentary and riveting human drama had me hooked, and I'd fall in love with a game that managed to recapture that feeling. I can't wait to find out if Sea of Dreams can pull it off. — Chris Kohler

Darkvoid

Dark Void (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows)

Gears of War's cover system is getting a bit tired these days, so when I heard at E3 that Capcom's upcoming shooter Dark Void lifts it, I had to stop myself from yawning. But then the developer giving the demo twisted the camera angle to reveal that we weren't walking down some dark hallway blasting enemies — we were flying up the side of a tower, leaping from cover point to cover point courtesy of a veryRocketeer-ish jetpack.

Moments later, the protagonist leaped off the side of the tower, cutting a beeline toward a wildly maneuvering metal disc. Try as it might, the disc couldn't get out of his path, and when he alighted on top of the frame, a familiar sequence of button presses popped up just as they might in God of War. Triangle, X, Square and the craft's pilot had been beaten soundly and thrown from the disc — only to have his ride hijacked, Grand Theft Auto-style, by our hero. Three minutes of gameplay and Dark Void had cemented itself in my mind as the sleeper hit of 2009. — Earnest Cavalli

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StarCraft II (Windows, Mac)

Let's review: The original StarCraft, released in March of 1998, was one of the deepest, best balanced, most addictive real-time strategy games ever made. It had three richly varied races, an actual story and near-limitless potential for strategic variations. Now, Blizzard Entertainment — a developer that has never released a bad game — is finishing up a sequel with gorgeous graphics, new unit types and abilities, and improved online matchmaking.

What's not to anticipate about StarCraft II? I mean, except for the fact that I'll be losing my job and my friends and getting scurvy because the game will end up devouring every waking moment of my life. Some people are griping because Blizzard has already announced plans to hold back some content for expansion packs. But come on, do you really think you won't get your money's worth? People are still playing the original, 11 years later. — Chris Baker

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Killzone 2 (PlayStation 3)

With a name like Killzone, you'd be forgiven for dismissing this first-person shooter as yet another hypermasculine, shades-of-gray gorefest. Don't get me wrong — there'll be plenty of blood sprays and vulgar ├╝bermenschen, but Guerrilla Games' next stab at the good-guys-versus-space-Nazis formula promises to deliver much more.

The run-and-gun mantra of console shooters past has given way to a focus on tactical supremacy, with a snappy cover system giving you time to plan your next move. The slower pace should let us really appreciate the eerily hypnotic reloading animations and the stunningly realized crackle and pop of machine-gun fire. Right up until those brutally clever baddies either flank your position, or blow chunks out of whatever it is you were hiding behind. Good looks and brains to match. Where do I enlist? — Nate Ralph (full Story)

This entry was posted on Jan 9, 2009 at 11:53 PM and is filed under , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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