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)
In Darksiders: Wrath of War, you control one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and beat the piss out of demons with your trusty, oversized sword. If, like me, you don't necessarily play action games for their deep, meaningful stories, that somewhat vague description alone should either pique your interesting or have you saying "thanks, but no thanks."
In case you wanted a bit more to work with, Darksiders is an action-adventure game with plenty of exploration and a hub world thrown in for good measure; specifically, it's said to play like a mixture of God of War, Devil May Cry, and even The Legend of Zelda. I firmly believe there aren't enough (good) games like this out on the market today, so I have got nothing but excitement for Darksiders. Don't fail me, Vigil Games!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Fall, 2009)
What do we know about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2? Quite literally, two things: the game will once again focus on a modern conflict (duh), and Infinity Ward will reclaim the role of developer. For anyone who has had the opportunity to play Call of Duty 4 as well as Call of Duty: World at War for comparison's sake, this is all the information you need to get pumped for Modern Warfare 2.
If I were to write up a wish list of things I want to see in the next Call of Duty, it would probably consist of the following: more location variety, online co-op support, drivable vehicles, and … that's about it. With those additions plus retaining everything that made Call of Duty 4 as good as it was, Modern Warfare 2 could possibly live up to the absurd amount of hype it's bound to get. This is all hypothetical, of course.
Red Faction: Guerrilla (Q2, 2009)
I had the opportunity to take part in the Red Faction: Guerrilla multiplayer beta, and calling it an absolute blast would almost be an understatement. The level of destruction shown even in the beta build of Guerrilla was impressive, and the full game looks to deliver an all-around mightier punch.
Long story short, if you enjoy watching large structures collapse and are partial to an explosion every now and then, Red Faction: Guerrilla is going to be a dream come true. Hell, even committing suicide in an attempt to knock out a building's foundation in Guerrilla was enjoyable for me, and I can't think of the last videogame that allowed me to make such a morbid claim. It might seem strange for this relatively low-key game to appear so high up on my list, but I honestly believe it will be one to watch for fans of open-world gaming.
Brütal Legend (Q3, 2009)
What's this, another big action-adventure title slated for 2009? Yep, and it's coming from none other than the legendary Tim Schafer himself. Since the last one of these top ten most anticipated games lists, only a single new trailer for the game has been shown to the public, but everything on display oozed personality.
While my enthusiasm for Brütal Legend is based more upon optimism than anything else, I think the folks behind the game (Double Fine) have the experience and talent to pull off such a unique project. From the music references to the wacky art style to the humor itself, Brütal Legend is just so incredibly metal.
Resident Evil 5 (March 13, 2009)
Thanks to the Japanese Resident Evil 5 demo's default language being set to English, I got what I hope to be a small taste of the overall game. Since Resident Evil 4 was as spectacular as it was, it's hard for me not to expect the same treatment with RE5. What I'm looking for from Resident Evil 5 is simple: more twisted bosses, memorable set pieces, and good pacing.
From what Capcom has teased so far, fans have got nothing to fear as far as boss designs are concerned, and my hope is that the marketing campaign is purposely avoiding revealing the game's later environments in an effort to surprise us. There's not much else to say about Resident Evil 5, other than the fact that the game needs to hurry up and hit retail already; it was announced in what, 2005? I'm a patient guy and all, but seriously, if the wait was any longer I would probably go insane.
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