Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Top Five Games of 2010?

Concluding my top 5 lists I present my five most anticipated games of 2010 and my five to watch in 2010.

Most Anticipated Games of 2010

1. Infinite Space (DS)
I have been looking forward to the European release of this Starship-based JRPG for some time. It is my most anticipated game of the year.


2. Mass Effect 2 (360/PC)
Mass Effect created a world that I really wanted to spend a lot more time in. Thankfully, I now don't have long to wait to don my N7 suit again.


3. Split/Second (360/PS3)
I played Split/Second at Eurogamer and was instantly won over. This could be the best arcade racer since Burnout Paradise.


4. Red Dead Redemption (PS3/360)
If someone could make a decent Wild-West genre game then you would expect it would be Rockstar.


5. Professor Layton & The Final Time Travel (DS)
With two fantastic adventures under his belt surely the Professor can be trusted to give us a third memorable game?


Five to Watch in 2010

1. Bioshock 2 (360/PC/PS3)
Most people are expecting it to fail to live up to its predecessor, but it could once again be a surprise package?


2. The Eye of Judgement Legends (PSP)
No fussy camera or fiddly cards necessary in this portable reinterpretation of the game.

3. Tower of Shadow (Wiiware)
A really interesting concept (using shadows) is at the heart of this future Wiiware title.


4. R.U.S.E (360/PC/PS3)
Can an RTS on a console actually work?


5. Fallout: New Vegas (360/PC/PS3)
It has yet to build any hype, but if it is as good as Fallout 3 no one will be complaining.


Other games I'm really interested in...
  • Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 (All)
  • Dead Space 2 (PS3/360)
  • Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake (PSP)
  • Hot Shot Tennis (PSP)
  • Picross 3D (DS)
  • Dragon Quest IX (DS)
  • Alan Wake (360)
  • Splinter Cell Conviction (360)
  • Fable III (360)
  • Joe Danger (XBLA)
  • Heavy Rain (PS3)
  • ModNation Racers (PS3)
  • Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360)
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars (All)

Friday, 18 December 2009

Five Great Games Everybody Played in 2009

Continuing my top 5 games for 2009 I’m moving on to the 5 great games that everybody played: a collection of games that grabbed the headlines as well as being the cream of the crop.


Easily took the crown as the most enjoyable and rewarding racing game of recent years. DiRT 2 is the best pure racer –with focus on racing rather than simulation- since Project Gotham Racing 4, and much more fun than the cold and anaesthetic Forza 3. Amazing graphics, a solid frame-rate and a pumping soundtrack complete the package on one of the games of the year.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

The real outstanding feature of Uncharted 2, in addition to the jaw-dropping environments and non-stop action, is the quality of the dialogue, narrative and general writing. It really does raise the bar in interactive character driven story telling: there is little exposition, well rounded and believable characters, and a story that propels itself without the need for clumsy prolonged cut scenes or back-story. At no point do you think “what am I doing?”.

Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box

The Professor and Luke are back again to unravel the mysteries of Pandora’s Box and a train full of crazy characters. Like the previous game in the series the puzzles range from the very easy to the fiendishly hard. In this second outing the puzzles are much better integrated into the main story and its events. With three more Layton games bound for Europe, we can look forward to many more years of intriguing stories and addictive puzzles.

Battlefield 1943

Battlefield 1943 excels as a fun and enjoyable multiplayer first person shooter. Stripped of complexity and perfectly balanced, it proved to be a hit with both shooter aficionados and more laid back players alike. The easy to master controls (with the exception of the plane) and non-stop action mean there is never a dull moment and no frustration. A sub £12 price-point made Battlefield 1943 one of the best value games of the year.

The Beatles: Rockband

I really don't like the Beatles: I don't enjoy their music and I find their whole mythology an irritation. Somehow Harmonix have managed to sell me something I don't like and have a great time playing it? I think it is in no small part to the quality of the production, and the visual flare used in the presentation of many of the songs. It hasn't made me a fan of the band, but I can honestly say I really enjoyed playing their music in the game.

(At the time of writing I have yet to start playing Assassin's Creed 2 or Batman Arkham Asylum in any depth.)

Read part 1 of this series: "5 Great Games Nobody Played"...

Five Great Games Nobody Played in 2009

In what is rapidly becoming a seasonal feature, I am once again going to reveal my top 5 games for 2009. We start with the 5 great games that nobody played: a collection of games that passed under the radar or that sold poorly.

Anno: Create a New World

Shamelessly overlooked by most of the gaming press, Anno: Create a New World (or Dawn of Discovery in the US) is the first Anno game to have been specifically designed from the ground-up for the Wii. The result is a first rate Civilisation-style game with arguably the best control system yet devised on a console. Playing the game with the Wii Remote and Nun-chuck is simple, intuitive and an absolute pleasure. If only all games were as well produced and designed as Anno: Create a New World.


Dead Space Extraction

The Wii has hosted some excellent games this year that cater for all gaming tastes. Dead Space Extraction is the year’s surprising twist on the survival horror genre. Mislabelled by those who haven’t played it as “on rails”, Dead Space Extraction proves to be both intelligent and frightening in equal measure. Clever use of cinematic techniques and brilliant voice acting add depth and quality to the presentation; whilst the level design and ammo conservation deliver tension with the frights.


Swords & Soldiers

Wiiware has really taken off this year and has seen some remarkable independent games - such as the Bit Trip series and Art Style: Orbient. However, the real star was this unusual 2D side-on real-time strategy game. It could well be the best real-time strategy game conceived on a console. Its design overcomes the limitations of using a control pad, whilst retaining all the necessary features for a fun and challenging strategic game. What makes Swords and Soldiers really stand-out is the charm and humour of the characters, which are clearly inspired by Hagar-the-Horrible.


Tropico 3

Who wouldn’t want to be a dictator and run their own mini Cuba? Think of it: cigars, mojitos, and all night salsa! Tropico 3 is a clever blend of Sim-City and Theme Park set in the 1950s Caribbean. Available for both the PC and Xbox360, it made a refreshing change to the “flash-bang-wallop” that most of November’s games were all about. With a wonderful soundtrack, decent graphics and more satire than an episode of “Have I Got News For You”; Tropico 3 is a real winner.


DJ Hero

A combination of a devalued “Hero” brand, a high price, animosity towards Activision and some bizarre marketing decisions (Emimen and Jay-Z - their music is hardly in it) has put off most people. It is a real pity as DJ Hero is an absolute gem and goes a long way in refreshing the tired rhythm game genre. DJ Hero’s eclectic soundtrack has music in it to sort all tastes, whilst the combination of tight controls and excellent mixes makes for a really enjoyable game. Even the Turntable peripheral is solidly constructed and well designed – aside from a slightly loose cross-fader.