Best first quarter for video games EVER?

11 amazing titles you’ll be playing within the next three months

Resident Evil 5
360 | PS3 | March 13

Is there a better game to launch on Friday the 13th? RE 5 is one of the most anticipated games of the entire year and it’s coming out in March. Not November, not a week before Christmas to cash in on last-minute shoppers, effing March, home of Saint Patrick’s Day and theIdesthat spelled doom for Caesar. There’s no doubt in our minds (and yours, most likely) that this’ll be the biggest game of the season, possibly of the year, and the integral co-op should keep us playing well into Capcom’s next big offering, Bionic Commando.

Japanese players were treated to a demo late last year (we procured a copyhere) which was just recently handed out to game journos for US consumption. Our impressions of the game so far (mostly awesome, btw) are in that first link, but the montage vid below is also a good summarization of the experience:

Legends of Wrestlemania
360 | PS3 | March 17

Few wrestling matchups are as iconic as the world-famous Wrestlemania III throwdown between Hulk “In His Prime” Hogan and Andre the Giant. The image above conjures powerful memories for anyone alive in the ‘80s; even if you weren’t a fan, you knew who these two were, and to this day you still know their names and faces. THQ hopes to capitalize on your misty-eyed recollections with its latest backward-looking wrassler, conveniently the only place you can now play as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin – they, along with several SmackDown! mainstays were conspicuously absent from last year’s 2009 edition. Guess you’ll have to buy Legends, hm?

On paper, this seems like a big deal. Classic wrestlers everyone knows and longtime fans adore, the ability to play or alter decades of past Wrestlemania outcomes and a dead-on ‘80s presentation all hint at a quality alternative to SmackDown! Problem is, the last Legends game hit the mat with a sickening thud and was pinned by a dreadful55/100 Metacritic average, so we have to check our enthusiasm. Even though the publisher and developer are different, the Legends name makes us pause.

Dragon Age: Origins
PC | March 23

BioWare, the stellar wordsmiths behind Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and Mass Effect, are now focusing their talents on Dragon Age, a serious take on (overused) Lord of the Rings-style drama. We saw a brief presentation at E3 last July and the scale is certainly there, with massive battles unfolding both in-game and in fantastically directed cutscenes, but the biggest news is undoubtedly the game’s “spiritual successor” status to Baldur’s Gate, one of PC’s most beloved series.

Your spells can now affect the world around you; we saw the guide use fire to ignite a pool of flammable liquid and then a freezing spell to put said fire out (we imagine it’ll be better implemented than “fire beats water!” given BioWare’s stellar track record). Hell, if they can make a decent Sonic RPG, they can do anything.

Solid lineup, no? For comparison’s sake, let’s look back at the past two first quarters’ biggest offerings:

Above: Fewer smash hits, and fewer games overall

Yeah, 2009 has them beat.

Jan 9, 2009

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