Before we get deep into the end-of-year wrap-up stuff, let's take a look ahead at the notable titles of early 2010. The first five months have some great looking stuff.
Two very large titles for me in January. First off there's Darksiders, the first title from Vigil Games. What finally sold me on it was a series of developer walkthroughs you can find on GameTrailers. Everything I'd been hearing about Darksiders crystalized into sheer game-lust. It is what they've been saying it is! It is Zelda with big, spikey steel balls!
It will take some truly horrendous early reviews to keep me from picking up Darksiders at launch.
Of course, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that Bayonetta drops the same day as Darksiders - January 5th - as would I be remiss if I showed the North American cover that doesn't present her posed posterior. I've explained this a zillion times, so one more won't hurt me: Bayonetta is the new action game from legendary director Hideki Kamiya (Devil May Cry), and the first HD game by his new studio, Platinum Games. Platinum Games is made up of the folks behind Clover Studio, the absolutely brilliant but commercially disastrous ward of Capcom that gave us cult classics like God Hand and Okami.
The only game that could stop Bayonetta from being the best brawler action title of 2009 is the mighty God of War III, and I'm not positive that God of War is up to it.
If you have a choice in the matter (unlike say, me), you definitely want to pick up Bayonetta on the 360 - the PS3 version is, by all reports, an astonishingly bad port by Sega - but that's hardly going to stop me from picking it up regardless.
In January, there's also the jetpack-propelled third-person shooter Dark Void and Zipper Interactive's MAG, but I must admit I lost all interest in MAG shortly after I was able to try it out.
BioShock 2, February 9th. What more can I say?
It's fine to say that BioShock was an astounding experience, an incredible narrative that needs no sequel - for a sequel is surely just a cash-in on the crossover popularity of the original. Which is true.
But, when I gave my older brother a copy of BioShock for his birthday, I told him "I'm so jealous of you. You get to play BioShock for the first time - I can never do that again."
And that, to me, is the whole reason for investing in BioShock 2. Go back to Rapture, and explore it for the first time again.
February is also sporting the looks-okay Lost Planet 2, the "Director's Cut" of Resident Evil 5 and Visceral Games' (EA Redwood Shores, of Dead Space fame) self-hyped God of War clone Dante's Inferno. Despite their... questionable promotion methods, Inferno is likely worth a rental.
God of War III will be absolutely remarkable, if the phenomenal lengths to which Sony Santa Monica pushed the PS2 are any indication.
March also brings with it Battlefield: Bad Company 2 from Mirror's Edge studio DICE, and an under-the-radar RPG called Final Fantasy XIII. I know it's something of a gamer sacrilege, but I can't say FF13 is a day-one for me. More like a day-when-it's-twenty-dollars.
Ah heck, maybe I'll rent it - just to see.
Rockstar San Diego's sequel to Red Dead Revolver seems to be a sequel in name only, and that's fine by me. Give me a gigantic, sprawling open world to explore on horseback, an adults-only, pulpy, lowest-common-denominator story and a soaring Sergio Leone/Akira Kurosawa-inspired soundtrack and I'm a happy camper.
I'm mildly interested in 3D Dot Game Heroes for its premise - it is a shameless Zelda clone and a self-proclaimed love letter to classic gaming. What gets me more than mildly interested is the fact that it's the new game from Demon's Souls developer From Software, and once again localized by the King of All Localizations, Atlus USA.
Clearly, 2010 has some good times in store for us. I wonder when Heavy Rain is getting a release date?