Are you rich? For the low cost of roughly $5000, you can either purchase one Segway (you tool) or the following 100 games that the GamesRadar staff is looking forward to most this year. Yeah, we know everyone’s got a list of games they want to see this year. But no one’s written about 100 of them! Your order of preference may vary, but we at the GR towers used a complicated process combining democracy with an Excel formula to calculate our most wanted games.
If you didn’t see the game you’re looking forward to on this list, pretend it's number 101. Better luck next year. Oh and by the way, Diablo III isn’t on this list because we’re almost completely sure you won’t be playing it this year.
We don’t know the story. We don’t know the setting. We don’t know any of the characters. We haven’t seen a single screenshot or a single frame of actual gameplay footage. The teaser hinted at the involvement of a grown-up Little Sister, but we don’t know if she’s the protagonist, antagonist, sidekick or twisted love interest of a seriously confused Big Daddy.
No matter. Our enthusiasm and anticipation for this prequel/sequel was set at maximum from the moment we finished the first game. That experience was so mind-bendingly unique and original, it’s almost impossible to imagine a follow up... which is the exact reason we’ll be so damn curious for most of 2009.
Sure, there may have been the non-PS3-exclusivity uproar, but what important upcoming release doesn't have its share of controversy? The recent flow of stunning new trailers, screenshots and battle system details all point to XIII's heading in a direction we like. When it comes to the pure emotive power of storyline, impressive cinematic scenes, immersive worlds and music, the Final Fantasy franchise promises to deliver a new installment that'll be hard for others to beat.
Four years in the making, RE5 is without question Capcom’s most anticipated game of the year. Our various hands-on accounts and guided tours of the game’s sweltering African setting have revealed it to be a vastly prettier experience, but not necessarily as revolutionary as Leon’s head-‘sploding encounter with Las Plagas.
Similar gameplay cannot keep this game down though – like part four, RE5 will undoubtedly be a gore-soaked rollercoaster ride through entrails, brain matter and all sorts of horrific innards seeping out of building-sized monsters. The best part? The whole damn thing’s co-op, meaning we finally get a decent RE-online experience.
From arcade hit to worldwide phenomenon, Street Fighter has more than proven its staying power. Case in point: Street Fighter III came out 12 years ago, and despite that massively long gap, the fighting game crowd is freakishly aflutter for part four. Every time we see the game in action, we witness gamers falling in love with Ken and Ryu all over again, even if they haven’t touched the franchise since its mid ‘90s heyday.
It sounds cheesy, but there is a little bit of magic buried in this revival. It’s rewarding, challenging and above all else, as fun as you remember.
Above: Image from first Mass Effect
The first Mass Effect was the absolute definition of a sci-fi epic, the best Star Trek RPG that’s never existed. The universe was vast, rich and filled with wonder. The story was galactic in scale. Your companions had deep personalities and widely varied powers, and the graphics and music were fantastic. Several of us finished it and immediately started it over – how many RPGs can you say that about? Yes, as we write this, Mass Effect 2 hasn’t technically been scheduled for 2009. But is it any wonder we’re willing to take its upcoming GDC appearance as evidence that it’ll hit late this year?
Above: Image from first Mass Effect
It’s been over ten years since the original StarCraft introduced “Zerg rush” into the lexicon of gaming, and we’ve been desperately waiting for a sequel since. We can’t wait to see Jim Raynor’s fall from grace into a disgruntled hard-drinking mercenary, tour the galaxy in his battlecruiser, and lay down a strong lines of suppressing fire to stave off endless waves of Zerg. Expect StarCraft II to rekindle your love for the RTS genre, improve your sex appeal, and make you a better person - and if it doesn’t, you can at least expect to see some awesome cutscenes.
Above: Image from Call of Duty 4
Activision’s yearly publishing routine proudly continues this year with yet another CoD, though this time it’s a direct sequel to 2007’s astonishingly solid Modern Warfare, not another jaunt through World War II. Ever the risk taker, Activision’s commissioned a follow-up that, as far as we know, will continue its ancestor’s exceptional online pedigree and senses-shattering single-player campaign.
Above: Image from Call of Duty 4
Given World at War’s relatively warm reception, we fully expect Modern Warfare 2 to implement four-player (and competitive) co-op, which will add even more addictive gameplay to a formula that’s kept millions of people playing the first entry 14 months after its release.
The first two God of War games redefined slash ‘em-ups and cinematic action to the point that, to make us happy, all God of War 3 would really have to do to is add a coat of current-gen paint and maybe tack on a few physics puzzles. We’re not yet sure if Sony will leave it at that or go above and beyond our expectations, but the last GoW3 trailer – which shows bald anarcho-villain Kratos once again ripping his way through the Greek pantheon while drunk on rage – looks to offer more of the same, only with cooler weapons and prettier gore. Whatever the case, we’re already excited.
Whatever your personal feelings about Grand Theft Auto IV, an all-new storyline starring a different cast of characters is nothing to sniff at – especially if it gets off to a faster start than Niko Bellic’s I-don’t-want-to-kill-OK-fine-you-convinced-me meanderings. And given the expansion’s biker-gang trappings, we’re pretty confident we won’t have to spend the first few hours playing lookout for any stupid fat cousins. The promise of Lost and Damned (and future episodic content) has always been the biggest edge that the 360 version held over its PS3 counterpart – and now that it’s almost here, 360 owners will have one more thing to hold over their PS3-owning friends.
Starring actor/musician Jack Black as a headbanging roadie whose magic belt buckle sucks him into an alternate universe, Brutal Legend is every heavy metal album cover ever, blended together and packed into a game. You want battle axes, demons, skulls and swords? There are piles of them. Looking for gorgeous babes and swarthy men? They’re everywhere. Shredding guitars so powerful they spew lightning and cause earthquakes? Choppers and hot rods painted with flames or massive beasts that actually breathe fire? It’s all here. Get ready to throw the horns and bang your head.