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It’s been over 10 years since the original StarCraft redefined the real-time strategy genre – and we’re ready to dive back into perfecting our build orders to orchestrate the ultimate zerg rush. Wings of Liberty, the first of three installments for sequel, will follow the story of Jim Raynor and his band of mercenaries aboard the battlecruiser Hyperion.
Expect Blizzard’s reputation for perfection to shine through when Wings of Liberty releases later this year, marking StarCraft’s return as the RTS king. After all, if the past is any indication, we could all still be playing this in 2020.
The above image was stealthily revealed during a behind-closed-doors session at E3 2009. We were there, naturally, and quickly noticed Link’s missing sword, seemingly replaced by this ethereal, pointy-headed girl. Further inspection suggests this being looks a lot like the personification of the Master Sword (even the cloak dangling over its shoulders looks like the hilt and ornamental handguard). Could we be in for a very waggle-y Zelda game revolving around Link and his newly anthropomorphized blade?
Above: It’s not exact, but there’s enough to suggest a connection
That’s literally all there is to say. Info is so scarce, in fact, we question if this still-untitled Zelda will even release in 2010, instead making way for Other M and Mario Galaxy 2. Satoru Iwata said just last week it was still on track for this year, but a few days later NOA main man Reggie Fils-Aime said the game will ship when it’s perfect, which is a not-so-subtle way of saying “not this year.” However, if it does make it out the door, there’s no doubt in our minds it’ll end up as one of 2010’s most sought-after releases.
The excitement over Batman: Arkham Asylum was a slow burn; initial cynicism over another comic book license gradually sparking into excitement, and then full-blown fanboy hysteria as we realised just how right Rocksteady was getting it. Arkham Asylum 2 enjoys no such luxury. After the brilliance of the first game, it has to deliver from the start. Fortunately we so far have no fears at all in that area.
First up. Rocksteady already has Batman nailed in terms of world, tone, character and game mechanics. Secondly, it has proven that it can innovate in terms of dramatic narrative, pacing and action set-pieces, with nary a single boss fight required (we’ll try to forget Poison Ivy). Thirdly, all of these things are now going to be brought to the centre of a crime-torn Gotham City itself by a team no doubt far more confident than it was a year ago. This is going to be amazing. We’re sure of it.
Last year Mass Effect 2 was our fifth most anticipated game. A full 365 days later it’s climbed up three spots to number two. Why the bump? After a painfully brief demo at E3, we were utterly floored by the quality of not just the visuals, but also the way in which the intricate story is told. Yes there’s still reams of text to read, but it’s all relevant, and now important conversations occur while characters walk around, lean, chatter, basically behave like people in actual dialog, not stiffly animated box-people. This presentation will be copied, no doubt.
Gameplay is changing for the better as well. The clumsy inventory is totally abolished this time around, replaced with numerous storage lockers and a streamlined use-me-anywhere interface. Add in new characters, new Force pow… er, Biotic powers and another brilliantly epic sci-fi tale and there’s next to zero chance of this falling short of expectations. The first game was big, but this one looks to be… massive. Oh and it’s out in 12 days.
This one might seem like a strange choice for our absolutely most-anticipated game of the year, seeing as we know relatively little about it apart from what was revealed in its wordless, achingly adorable trailer. But we know enough to get excited: it’s from the same team that brought us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, two of the best and most memorable experiences the PS2 had to offer. And that trailer – which was so captivating that we gave it its own award – tugs on the heartstrings so fiercely that we can only imagine how strongly we’ll get attached while playing the actual game.
The centerpiece of it all is Trico, a gigantic “erne” (sort of like a cross between a puppy, a kitten and a towering griffon) who serves as pet, protector and transportation for the as-yet-unnamed main character, a young boy who has to fight, outwit and evade some armored soldiers who apparently have it in for him and Trico. Whatever twists it brings, however its all-too-likely tragic ending saddens us, we’re already confident we’ll be waxing nostalgic about this one for years to come.
Jan 14, 2010
The Platinum Chalice Awards 2009
The best games of 2009, as chosen by the infallible geniuses at GamesRadar
The Anti-Awards 2009
Celebrating the crappiest games, moments and dumbass dickery of last year
Top 7... RPG towns that explode
Buy a few potions, chat up the locals and then watch it all burn
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