While 2009 is drawing to an end, and with all the great AAA titles only weeks away, keep in mind that 2010 is going to see more top-notch titles released than the last few years. Here are 20 games that should/will make an impact next year, and while a lot more games are coming out, we obviously couldn’t include them all — our list grew from ten games to twenty games simply because even we were surprised how many title are lined up for 2010. Here’s our 20 games for 2010, in no particular order.
Postal 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Running With Scissors, Q2, 2010)
The original Postal was both hailed and damned for its controversial content, and the sequel, Postal 2 only made it better (or worse, if you’re a politician looking for some media attention). Postal 3 will expand on the sandbox style gameplay, and will even feature director Uwe Boll (who made the 2008 Postal movie) in a cameo role.
APB (PC, Xbox 360, March 2010)
After developing Crackdown for the Xbox 360, which has since become a cult classic on the console, Realtime Worlds shifted all their manpower to APB (All Points Bulletin), a revolutionary MMO set in a huge city where players battle each other as either law enforcement agents, or criminals. A kind of GTA online, as creator David Jones (the man behind GTA) is noted saying APB is “the bastard child of everything we’ve been striving towards over the 15-20 years”.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, March 2, 2010)
Battlefield: Bad Company almost managed to perfect something no other FPS had done before: creating a fully destructible battlefield, where walls would no longer provide infinite cover — one tank shell and you better be looking to hide somewhere else. Coupled with a single player campaign and a solid multiplayer, Bad Company has been one of the most played FPS on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Bad Company 2 will bring “destruction 2.0″, taking destruction to a whole new level, this time, entire buildings and towns can be leveled to the ground.
Heavy Rain (PS3, February 2010)
Heavy Rain has been highly anticipated ever since it was first showcased at E3 2006 for the PlayStation 3, the film-noir, thriller-styled game will feature an intertwined storyline, with four playable characters, all looking for a serial killed going under the name “The Origami Killer”.
Halo Reach (Xbox 360, Q4 2010)
The next chapter in the Halo series and Master Chief’s battle against the Covenant was unveiled at E3 2009, without any further details other than the game would be the last Halo game to be developed by Bungie. Owners of Halo 3: ODST will have a chance to check out the game’s multiplayer beta in the middle of 2010, by then we should have more details on Reach.
Red Steel 2 (Wii, February 16, 2010)
The original Red Steel was the very first Wii game that was revealed, and rode a wave of anticipation until its release — as a Wii launch title — where it showed a flawed control scheme, dated visuals and uninspiring gameplay. Red Steel 2 is said to correct all those issues, and will require (and be bundled with) the Wii Motion Plus accessory, giving it a true 1:1 control input, paving the way for some great sword fights. We sure hope so.
Crysis 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Q4 2010)
The original Crysis is still bringing even the most powerful PCs to their knees, and is still hailed as the best looking game available, at least if a tropical island is what you crave. Crysis 2 continues the story where the original left off, and will use the new CryEngine 3, creating an even more immersive world. There aren’t many details of the game yet, but one thing is for sure: start saving for a new PC rig.
BioShock 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, February 9, 2010)
BioShock took the gaming community with storm in 2007, offering an amazing look at the steampunk/retro-futuristic world of Rapture, coupled with a story similar to Half Life, and in BioShock 2 — which takes place ten years after BioShock 1 — players can take control of the infamous Big Daddy, and will be able to step outside of the underwater city of Rapture. On top of that, BioShock 2 will include multiplayer as well, bringing a whole new dimension into the series.
Alan Wake (PC, Xbox 360, March 2010)
Alan Wake was originally a title known for its pretty visuals, actually, gorgeous visuals, but it soon became apparent that the game had much more to offer, as it showcased the first gameplay bits at E3 2009. It’s a psychological thriller, and draws inspiration from Twin Peaks and countless Stephen King novels, and is one of the most anticipated original games of 2010.
STALKER: Call Of Pripyat (PC, February 2010)
STALKER, and its expansion pack, was a promising action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world of Chernobyl, but both games were hammered by technical issues and a merciless difficulty. Call of Pripyat is set to correct those issues, and is set to become a more accessible game for both action and RPG fans. On top of that, the game will utilize new DirectX 11 technologies, offering an even more grittier-looking Chernobyl than before.
Crackdown 2 (Xbox 360, March 2010)
Crackdown was one of the sleeper hits on the Xbox 360, where some gamers eagerly purchased the game only for the bundled-in Halo 3 beta. They soon found out that Crackdown was a viable GTA contender, with its own unique style and gameplay. Crackdown 2 was revealed at E3 2009, and is set to expand on gameplay and destruction of Pacific City, complete with a new visual overhaul.
Deus Ex 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Q4 2010)
Deus Ex and Deus Ex 2 have pretty much solidified their cult status among gamers, and especially, fans of dystopian cyberpunk. Deus Ex 3 will take place in 2027, 25 years before Deus Ex, so its views on a cyberpunk culture might dwindle a bit, but we’ll see — developer Eidos Montreal has yet to release any screenshots or videos of the game.
Max Payne 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, March 2010)
The original Max Payne and May Payne 2 were hallmarks of noir storytelling in vidoegames, and when the new look and feel of Max Payne 3 was announced — with a new, bald Max — taking place in Brazil, loyal fans to the series got worried. After all, what’s Max Payne without a gritty New York City, rain, and lots of voice over acting? It’s even got a new developer, and the original writers are not on board. Lots of things can go wrong, but new developer Rockstar Vancouver seems to be on top of things, both story and gameplay wise.
God Of War 3 (PS3, March 2010)
God Of War has been one of the most successful franchises on the PlayStation 2, and it was never a secret that Sony was bringing the third game in the series on the PS3. If screenshots and gameplay videos are anything to judge the final product by, PS3 owners have something very special waiting for them next year, as God of War 3 is looking to be the biggest PS3 release of the year, second only to Gran Turismo 5, perhaps.
Gran Turismo 5 (PS3, Q2 2010)
Arguably the best racing sim franchise in history, Gran Turismo 5 will flex its muscles in beautiful high def for the first time, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to differentiate GT5 screenshots from real life photos of the cars. Compared to arch rival Forza 3, GT5 will have over twice the amount of cars (950 vs 450 in Forza 3) and more racing tracks as well. In addition, GT5 will include both NASCAR and World Rally Championship racing options.
Supreme Commander 2 (PC, Xbox 360, Q3 2010)
Supreme Commander, the spiritual successor for one of the greatest RTS games ever, Total Annihilation, revolutionized the way the battlefield was viewed, with a huge map that could be zoomed in and out to any point, effortlessly. That feature alone took gameplay and multitasking to a whole new level, and the game even had a proper support of multi-monitor setups. Supreme Commander 2 was unveiled during E3 2009, and takes place 25 years after the ending of SupCom: Forged Alliance.
Mass Effect 2 (PC, Xbox 360, January 26, 2010)
One of the many games delayed from late-2009 to early-2010 due to the clogging of several AAA titles this year, Mass Effect 2 continues the story from Mass Effect, this time, it’s a lot darker, according to the developers at BioWare. The game features an updated combat system, improved AI and more detailed characters and animations.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day (PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, January 10, 2010)
While the premise for a great co-op game was laid out in Army Of Two, poor execution and AI crippled the gameplay. The sequel, like all sequels should, will try and make up for those shortcomings. The 40th Day will feature refined controls, the ability to use human shields and to fake a surrender in order to outflank the enemy (meaning you better trust your teammate).
MAG (PS3, January 25, 2010)
MAG (short for Massive Action Game) is trying something no other FPS multiplayer game has been able to pull off before: massive 256 tribes and matches. It’ll feature 128 players per teams, divided into 8-player squads, 4 squads into a platoon, and 4 platoons into a company (8*4*4=128, see?). With 256 players on the map, MAG is set to deliver some of the most intense and frantic combat yet, and will offer detailed stats and rankings, where higher ranked players will be able to command the battle and give orders to individual squads and platoons.
Rage (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 & OS X, Q4, 2010)
Id Software’s first original game in decades, Rage is a fusion between a first person shooter and a racing game set in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max styled world. It’s built on the brand new ID Tech 5 engine, and will ship on 3 DVDs for the Xbox 360 and PC versions, while the PS3 edition will ship on one Blu-ray disc. Id Software legend and Rage developer John Carmack revealed that the game takes up a whopping 1 TB in space when not compressed. 3 DVDs don’t seem that much of a big deal now.
Honorable mentions: LA Noire, Fable 3, Far Cry 3, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Ghost Recon 4, Guild Wars 2, Command & Conquer 4, Thief 4, Dead Rising 2 and Just Cause 2.