God Of War III
After our hands-on with Kratos final adventure back in November, many of you will have had a chance to tackle the same section via the God of War III demo. Not looking to rewrite the genre, the slick and gruesome combat weve come to love over the years is definitely back in full swing. As the demo sums up, this is going to be a fast-paced and ultra violent finale to a series that has been single-handedly carrying the flag for hack n slash titles since it first landed on the PS2 in 2005. Already its clear this title is looking to pit gamers against fiercer enemies that are all begging to meet a QTE based end. If our experience is anything to go by, God of War III is going to be bigger, tougher and bloodier than ever before. If ripping Helios head straight from his neck is in the demo, we can only imagine what the full quest has in store.
Final Fantasy XIII
Although already released in Japan, for many of us the first time Final Fantasy XIII will land in our consoles is March 9th. Announcing the release date at the end of last year has only served to build excitement for this monster release, as the realisation that the next instalment is only weeks away is swamping internet forums and discussion boards with unmatched excitement. Final Fantasy XIII couldnt be more important, as its the first time an entire generation will get hands on with the influential series. As reports spill out from Japan that the title isnt quite matching up to its billing (and trailing behind Dragon Quest XI), the arrival of Final Fantasy XIII in the West is surely going to be significant when deeming the title a success or a disappointment.
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Another title we previewed in November, Heavy Rain is full of originality and moral choice. The games graphical prowess may have worn off since the first trailer was released, but its destined to be far more than a visual splendour. Making players accountable for their own actions, Heavy Rain brings a sense of humanity to a console scene that is full of over-the-top gun battles and alien threat. From what weve seen, decisions need to be engaged within seconds, meaning youre forced to think on your feet and adapt accordingly. Heavy Rain is no doubt going to get gamers talking about their experiences, as already, we have stumbled across journalists whove had hugely varying results on the same stages as us. Just like Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain is destined to be applauded for its inventive approach to story-telling.
The Last Guardian
For many PS3 owners, the next project from Team Ico is the main reason to own Sonys console. After the breathtaking Ico and Shadow of Collosus, the release of The Last Guardians first trailer had the internet in raptures. Immensely creative, the trailer already hints at a story of heart-warming companionship and loyalty. Theres sure to be heartbreak involved, as the relationship between man and beast stretches, but that is part of the intrigue. If you havent seen the trailer, I urge you to go watch it now. Its already full of elegant animation and beautifully designed ruins that the team are known for. Somewhat sinisterly, we can tell this is going to tug at the heartstrings, as the guardians bond with the child (who we presume is the playable character), is going to be Team Icos third stab at pushing a gamers relationship with their companion into increasingly emotional grounds.
Gran Turismo 5
Last year the Xbox 360 received a sterling effort from Turn 10 in Forza Motorsport 3, so 2010 is a big year for the GT franchise. If youve played the demo or even sampled GT Prologue, its fair to say the series isnt pushing any boundaries, but that wont stop it being a huge success. Its achingly beautiful, full of opportunities to customize and tune your car to perfection, and is sure to give the 360s big-hitter more than a run for its money. GT5 has been a hell of a long time coming, with tech demos and trailers aplenty, but 2010 is the year it finally stops talking and starts purring.
If you were fortunate enough to get on the beta, youll already understand how tactical wizardry and efficient teamwork rules the day in MAG. 256 players online is not only a landmark for the console world, it also holds great potential with regards to team interactivity and planning. MAG simply isnt a game where gung-ho antics are going to work, as the scale of the battlefield and toughness of objectives are far more pressing than the average shooter. More often than not, youll be assaulting an enemy base (or indeed, defending a base), and looking for cracks to appear in their human defence. Capturing bunkers pushes your opponents spawn points further towards their main fortress, and provides a chance to galvanize a full scale attack if proceedings are planned properly. MAG certainly is an important title for the future of large scale online multiplayers, as many other developers could be inspired to try their hands at battle involving over the standard 32 players if its successful. Whats for certain though, is that the clan scene is going to be big on this one, so get practising and fall in line if you want to be the best.
It seems like we have waited an eternity for a confirmed release date outside of Japan, but rest assured, Yakuza 3 is hitting the US and Europe in March 2010. Its predecessor arrived at the end of the PS2s lifespan but still managed to gain rave reviews and commercial success, so the first current gen release is shaping up well. Yakuzas brutal fist-fights and gripping narrative is going to be brought to a whole new generation who may not have given it much notice in the PS2 days. Often cited as Japans Grand Theft Auto, exploring the cities and cleaning the streets of rival gang control is going to look gloriously neon later this year.
Its never a surprise when a karting title generates so much hype, and ModNation Racers is no different. After its reveal at last years E3, theres been a steady influx of interest for this chirpy title. Similar to LittleBigPlanets ethos of Play, Create, Share, ModNation Racers gives gamers full control of a world full of weird and wonderful characters. Its insistent similarities to LBPs charming graphical style is by no means a coincidence, as developers United Front Games employ the same engine that ran Sackboys adventures. ModNations most interesting aspect comes from the creativity it allows players to have. Just like in LBP, youll take full control of your avatars style and appearance, and also the world they participate in. Creating custom tracks has already proven to be simple from the US beta, meaning before long, the artistic flair of the gaming public will undoubtedly create some intelligent levels to race through. Expect famous movie scenes, tracks copied from other titles to perfection, and probably the odd game parody, as ModNation is looking to be an absolute blast.
With seven of the eight aforementioned games exclusive to the PS3, theres already a lot to look forward to. As ever, a host of multi-platform titles are also ready to dance in your console. Titles such as Bioshock 2, Max Payne 3, and Red Dead Redemption (providing Rockstar San Diego overcomes recent difficulty) look set to make this one of the biggest years in gaming.
Of course, the release schedule for 2010 is subject to change, and we wouldnt be surprised if a number of titles are pushed back towards the latter part stages of the year. With that said, theres also an awful lot of room for announcements to be made. Microsoft plan to tackle the FPS market with the release of the much-anticipated Halo Reach, so the revelation that a PS3 exclusive series is getting a sequel may be on the cards. Right now, we would hazard a guess that Heavenly Sword 2 could be in the works, and possibly with Resistance 3 to back it up. If they fail to appear, then surely Nate Drake or the Helghast will be lined up for a 2011 release, with the first details arriving sometime this year.
Whats for certain though, is that already, 2010 is shaping up to be an absolute corker.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Get ready for 2010.
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