Way back in 2006, Grim and I started the tradition of praising our most anticipated Xbox 360 games each year, and this year we're starting things off nice and early. Last year we both picked some good ones and had the pleasure of seeing most of our choices reach their expected release dates. This year we see a few games return, plenty of new faces and a very promising early schedule for Xbox 360 owners.
Check out both our full lists below, and be sure to add a list of your own in the comments!
5. Prototype (Q2, 2009)
This game almost made my 2008 anticipation list, but after seeing more polished graphics and more gameplay it has jumped far up on my 2009 list. Its developers say its story will be incredibly deep; I don't believe that at all. Its developers say it will be incredibly fun; I don't doubt that at all.
Essentially this looks like a game that's not that great, but addictively fun to play, and Left 4 Dead last year has proven there's nothing wrong with that at all. If you're like me, you ignored missions in GTA III for hours to instead see how long you could fend off a city full of cops trying to stop your rampage. Prototype promises to offer this and more, and a game that focuses on that form of entertainment is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
4. Darksiders: Wrath of War (Q2, 2009)
I've seen how gorgeous this game looks in person. Not to mention its opening (video above) is one of my favorite cinematics in a long time. As soon as I heard the artist Joe Madureira was involved I Samberg'd my pants and have been awaiting this game ever since. I prefer action adventure games that focus more on the adventure than the action, but when games like God of War do the genre right, I'm just as pleased. Remember how Lost Planet looked epic but turned out not to be? I am confident Darksiders will make Lost Planet look like LittleBigPlanet.
3. Red Faction: Guerrilla (Q2, 2009)
By picking this game, I'd like to point out my frustrations with the game industry again. Once again we have another near-decade-old title that took a huge leap in the right direction, with plenty of praise and moderate success, only to turn around and see no one following in their footsteps. A decade later we have 100s of “interactive environments” that are full of shit, dozens of games that half-assed destructible environments, Black, some others that aren't worth mentioning, and some annoying “terraforming” crap that only adds simple 3D noise modifiers to their levels.
Volition has been having a lot of fun with the well received Saints Row games, and I guess they finally got fed up with the industry and decided to show us all how it's done once again. Volition, could you please take the time to also raise the bar with advanced A.I.? Sometimes it feels like I'm just playing really good looking PS2 games, and that's sad.
2. Bioshock 2: Sea of Dreams (Q3, 2009)
When the movie Matrix came out, it was so agreeably Chad-mazing that Laurence Fishburne did something unheard of for him. He signed a contract to be in Matrix 2 and 3 without first reading a script or knowing anything about the films. 2K Boston/Australia/Marin -- I'm looking at you. Please do not have a mid-life crisis sex-change and make me out to be Laurence Fishburne. I'm going out on a limb here, and calling your mostly unseen sequel one of my most anticipated titles of 2009. Both BioShock's underwater and above ground 1984-ish world still have so much flavor left unexplored. Make me proud.
1. Dragon Age: Origins (November 3, 2009)
Diablo III is going to be an epic event, but while I can't wait to play it online with all my friends, I actually have always preferred offline games that focus on the one player experience. The reason I picked Fallout 3 as my game of the year was because of the exploration combined with the character interaction system that was so fulfilling. Hopefully this will fill my appetite and achieve my 2009 game of the year award, although it will (hopefully) have a lot of competition with Heavy Rain.
It makes me sad that games like Grim Fandango showed the world how to handle dialogue over a decade ago, and we rarely see companies follow in their footsteps to this day. I hate praising games like Mass Effect and Fallout 3 for what they did right, because these kind of mechanics should be rampant and common in the industry by now. Until we get that far, I'll continue to support games like Dragon Age.
Ninja Blade. This game will give so many people urinary tract infections from peeing their pants. Just watch this video. It's like Onechanbara had sex with Mirror's Edge to make a Ninja Gaiden baby, then had an incestuous relationship with it while masturbating to Earth Defense Force 2017. The sensational c-section result is this game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. World at War isn't as bad as everyone likes to think, but it sure as hell has nothing on its CoD 4 predecessor. Keep raising the bar, but this time around, could you please please please not make your game so short?
Alan Wake. Okay, so what's the deal? I put you on my 2008 list and I have heard nothing new about your game since then. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and . . . and . . . you . . . thank God Bush will be gone forever soon.
It's no secret that I feel you have been the next generation winners by far. You came out of the gates strong, outlasted the initial Wii excitement, and your online setup and game library thus far have made it really easy for me to almost completely neglect my PS3 from its launch. I'm not bias though, and things have changed this year. Sure, we're not very far into 2009 at all, but as of now, there's no 360 exclusive that I'm really stoked about. Making this list wasn't easy. I hope you realize that 2009 is really looking like the year PS3 finally wears the crown. If you have to throw more money at developers, do it. Make it happen.
Darksiders: Wrath of War (Q2, 2009)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Fall, 2009)
Red Faction: Guerrilla (Q2, 2009)
Brütal Legend (Q3, 2009)
Resident Evil 5 (March 13, 2009)
Also, here's the top picks of a few other Destructoid editors:
Nick: It's interesting to note that only one of the games on my list is an Xbox 360 exclusive, barring the PC. Microsoft, get your act together for 2009. (List is in no particular order.) Alan Wake (this may also be on my list for 2010), Darksiders: Wrath of War, Resident Evil 5, Red Faction: Guerilla, Brutal Legend.
CTZ: Bionic Commando, Halo: ODST, Resident Evil 5, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix