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PSU's top 10 most anticipated games for Q4 2009

1 September 2009

With so many games getting pushed back to 2010, it may appear we have nothing new to look forward to between now and the New Year. We’ve already seen the likes of BioShock 2 and Singularity receive delays, and now many gamers are waiting anxiously for the release of Final Fantasy XIII, Heavy Rain, ModNation Racers, and MAG – none of which will arrive on store shelves until next year. In actuality, however, there are probably more new games coming out in the coming months than we know what to do with.

The staff at PSU decided to compile our list of the Top 10 most anticipated games coming out before 2010. It’s filled with some great PlayStation 3 and PSP exclusives, along with highly anticipated sequels, and brand new entries. So, take some time to look through our list and let us know what games you are most looking forward to for the rest of the year.

 

 

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10. Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines (PSP)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: Nov. 17 (North America) Nov. 20 (Europe)

The first stop in our Top 10 list takes us to the first Assassin’s Creed game launching as a PSP exclusive. Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines links the gaps between the first game in the series, and the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed 2. As with the original title, players assume control of protagonist Altair. Bloodlines’ storyline occurs shortly after the events of Assassin’s Creed, tasking Altair with tracking the remaining Templars to the island of Cyprus.

We picked this title because we can’t wait to get our hands on a PSP version of this dynamic, high-action, stealth experience. The game promises to offer the same fluidity as in the first title, allowing you to seamlessly run and jump from rooftops to avoid oncoming enemies. The game is also believed to be one of the first titles to truly take advantage of the PSP’s visual capabilities.

Finally, the game will have tremendous connectivity with the PS3. As you collect Templar Coins and Treasures on the PSP, you will be able to share those rewards on the PS3 as well. Health and weapon upgrades in Assassin’s Creed 2 for PS3 will unlock the same upgrades in the Bloodlines.

 

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9. Demon’s Souls (PS3)
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Atlus
Release date: Oct. 6

With RPG fans complaining about the lack of PS3 offerings in the genre as of late, Demon’s Souls may just be the answer many are looking for. The game was launched earlier this year in Japan, and received very positive feedback. Atlus is bringing the game to the North American audiences on October 6. The open-ended dark fantasy game allows you to customize your character in typical RPG fashion. You’ll get to choose from the usual array of heroes, including knights, priests, magicians, hunters, and more, as you fight off a horde of demons. 

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What truly sets Demon’s Souls apart is its unique online mode. Not only will you get co-operative game features, but also a messaging system which will allow you to leave hints and advice in the game to help other players. On the other hand, players can force themselves into another adventurer’s game and play as an opponent.

 

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8. Alpha Protocol (PS3)
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Sega
Release date: Oct. 6

Obsidian Entertainment has a knack for making intriguing RPGs like Neverwinter Nights 2. Its latest effort is Alpha Protocol, an espionage based game that has recently gone under the radar given its October 6 release date. The game, which will be available on multiple platforms, puts you in the shoes of Michael Thorton, a rookie CIA agent.

Alpha Protocol is a third-person action game with RPG elements, such as the ability to develop your character through Advancement Points. These points can be spent on 10 skills that increase Michael’s abilities, such as the power to examine a group of enemies in slow motion. The game will have multiple outcomes based on your actions and conversations with NPCs. 

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We chose this game because, apart from the visuals and gameplay elements, we are impressed with the modern, non post-apocalyptic setting. You do not play a mutant or superhero; instead you are a relatively average CIA agent. Utilizing safe houses in cities like Rome, Moscow, Taipei, and a Saudi Arabian city help this game feel realistic. 

 

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7. Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
Developer:
Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Release date: Nov. 10

Many shooter fans will likely argue with our selection of Modern Warfare 2 at the number seven spot on our list. Then again, some readers probably don’t think it should be on the list at all. Whether or not you are a fan of Call of Duty games, it’s hard to deny that the series has had a significant impact on shooters and gaming in general. Infinity Ward hopes to continue its multi-million selling franchise with a direct sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

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Modern Warfare 2 is set for a November 10 release date across multiple platforms. In classic Call of Duty style, MW 2 will have a standard single-player campaign. Its real bread and butter is the multiplayer elements. The Special Ops mode allows you to play through missions cooperatively with a friend, locally on a split-screen, or online with another player. In the multiplayer mode, you’ll get the same style of experience points and unlockable rewards as in Call of Duty 4. Modern Warfare 2 will add 15 different kill streak rewards, including the ability to call in an airstrike by an AC-130 gunship.

What's more, the new IW 4.0 game engine is said to be a generation beyond the one utilized in Call of Duty 4, allowing for higher resolution texture streaming, resulting in larger game worlds boasting huge amounts of detail.

 

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6. Gran Turismo (PSP)
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: Oct. 1

Five years is a long time to wait for any game, even if it is a portable version of one of the most acclaimed racing franchises in history. That long wait is finally over as Sony plans on releasing Gran Turismo for the PSP on October 1.

You may recall that the game was teased at Sony’s press conference during E3 in 2004. It was announced at the same time the company revealed the PSP. At this past E3, Sony once again wet our racing appetites with gameplay footage of Gran Turismo for the PSP. 

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Developed by Polyphony Digital, longtime Gran Turismo series developer, the PSP version will feature an astonishing 800 cars. For the first time in the series, Lamborghini cars will be introduced, giving sports car fans something to look forward to. In addition, you’ll be able to play with up to four players in ad-hoc multiplayer. You can also play online through a free downloadable PS3 application called Adhoc Party for PlayStation Portable. The game’s engine is based on Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.
 

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5. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3)
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: Oct. 27

The first game to crack the top five comes in the form of platform romp Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Our list wouldn’t feel complete without this venerable series, developed by Insomniac Games. This latest title is the last game in the Future trilogy, and is the sequel to Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty.

Most PlayStation fans are more than a little familiar with Ratchet & Clank games, featuring a unique blend of action, platforming and puzzle solving gameplay. The protagonists pack quite a punch for such little creatures, and A Crack in Time seeks to up the ante with new features like time travel and manipulation. In a recent video, we saw Clank wield a staff that allowed him to forge copies of himself, which in turn enabled him to solve various puzzles. Insomniac promises a greater emphasis on space combat with a more open-world format. The game will be complete with side missions, big boss battles, and of course, an enormous amount of new gadgets to tinker with. 

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An assortment of pre-order bonuses only sweetens the deal for this PS3 exclusive. Pre-ordering from Amazon.com, Best Buy, Game Crazy, and GameStop will land you various bonuses, like the discovery package, which is a level developed to look like the Insomniac Game’s offices. If you haven’t yet indulged in any of the games in the series, we suggest starting from the beginning to get you up to speed. On the flip side, there’s nothing wrong with jumping in at the deep end and working your way back if you’re that eager to do so.

 

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4. LittleBigPlanet PSP (PSP)
Developer:
Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: TBA 2009

When thinking of the most anticipated games coming out before the end of the year, we didn’t even need to consider whether or not SackBoy’s portable debut would make the cut. LittleBigPlanet was an enormous success when it was released on the PS3, so it was only a matter of time before the series made the transition to Sony’s handheld platform.

Reworking a modern classic to a portable device is sometimes dangerous, but we have confidence that Media Molecule will get it right. Based on our experience with the PS3 version, we can’t wait to get our mitts on the handheld iteration of SackBoy’s platforming adventures. Like the PS3 version, you’ll be able to play through heaps of stages, including brand new levels and environments specifically developed for the PSP, in addition to creating and sharing the worlds that you build.

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This game may have been higher in our list if it weren’t for the lack of multiplayer support. A producer for the game recently said there were strong physical limitations to allowing multiplayer on the PSP version. Yes, you will still be able to share your levels, upload your levels, and use an ad-hoc connection to share, but you will not be able to play through those levels in multiplayer.
 

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Even without multiplayer support, we feel confident that LittleBigPlanet will translate more than adequately to the handheld device. Long car trips will be made all the more enjoyable as you run your SackBoy through various artistic and quirky levels.

 

 

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3. Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)
Developer:
Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: TBA 2009

The acclaimed racing series is finally coming to the PS3 with a full game. Gran Turismo 5, developed by Polyphony Digital, takes the Prologue teaser and greatly expands upon it. The series is known for its highly realistic, almost lifelike vehicles, and blistering fast rendering rates that make you truly feel in the driver’s seat.

We first learned about GT5 back at E3 2006, where it was provisionally being called Vision Gran Turismo. Creator Kazunori Yamauchi has said some 150 people have worked on GT5 over the past four years. The game is believed to cost more than 50 times that of the original Gran Turismo released back in 1997. 

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With GT5 comes the addition of the all-new online mode featuring 16 players racing at once. For the first time in the series you’ll get damage modelling so you can truly see the impact of your accidents. Also recently teased is YouTube integration and the mention of some 1,000 vehicles. Racing fans will also be happy to see the inclusion of WRC and NASCAR in the Gran Turismo series for the first time ever. 

Among the 1,000 cars, are newcomers from Saturn, Kia, Geo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. Green energy gamers can look forward to trying the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and the latest Tesla Motors vehicle. Nothing says Gran Turismo like an electric car.
 

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We are still waiting for an official release date for GT5, but past interviews have revealed the game will likely be released shortly after Gran Turismo PSP, which is slated for October 1. In addition, Yamauchi-san recently divulged that the game would ‘probably’ receive a simultaneous worldwide release. Watch this space. 

 

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2. Assassin’s Creed 2 (PS3)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: Nov. 17 (North America) Nov. 20 (Europe)

It seems like every good game deserves a sequel, and in the case of 2007’s Assassin’s Creed, a follow-up was certainly in line. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed II follows its predecessor’s open world gameplay. This time around, you play Ezio Auditore di Firenze, another distant ancestor of Desmond Miles. You’ll have the same abilities from the first game, plus loads of new features. Instead of roaming around the Holy Land, you’ll take to the streets, rooftops, and canals of 15th century Italy.

One of the biggest additions to Assassin’s Creed II is the use of water to hide both yourself and the bodies of your foes, so as not to arouse suspicion. The canals of Venice offer a veritable water-locked maze with only stone bridges and gondolas around to navigate the city, providing one of the most unique, historic, and beautiful settings of the Italian Renaissance. You’ll drive small boats and dive deep into the canal to feign death.
 

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Leonardo da Vinci is recreated within the game. It’s believed da Vinci will aid you through the game, providing weapons and contraptions, including a flying machine. For a game that recreates a portion of history, bringing in da Vinci as an ally will certainly give you a strong advantage as you fight-off hordes of enemies.

As mentioned earlier in our list, the sequel will tie-in with Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines for the PSP. You’ll get access to new weapons by linking the console game with the portable version.

 

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1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Developer:
Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: Oct. 13

Our top pick was fairly simple – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The PS3 exclusive follow-up to 2007’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune takes place a few years after the events of the original action-adventure romp. This time around, our cocky hero is in pursuit of potential treasure lost during Marco Polo’s doomed voyage home from China in 1292. Of course, locating the treasure is easier said than done, and Drake soon finds out that the great explorer was actually in search of the mythical kingdom of Shangri-La.

Drake will be accompanied by several new faces during his search for Marco Polo’s lost fleet, including feisty Chloe Frazer, camera man Jeff, and an elderly chap named Karl Schafer. Fan favorites Elena and Sully will also be putting in appearances after assisting Drake in his original adventure. 

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You can expect some incredible visuals as Naughty Dog says it will maximize the use of the Cell’s SPUs. You’ll find more realistic environments and animations, providing lush settings for an already stunningly beautiful game. As many fans may recall, Uncharted 2 utilizes roughly 90% of the Cell processor, along with a whopping 25GB of Blu-ray disc space, meaning it would be practically impossible to replicate on Xbox 360 hardware.

In addition to a meaty single player campaign, there are plenty of multiplayer options to keep you occupied, including competitive and co-op modes. The co-op mode will allow up to three gamers to play Nathan, Sully, and Chloe, and will involve missions where teamwork is needed. You’ll also be able to assist your fellow comrades should someone become injured.

Competitive multiplayer allows for up to 10 players to compete. As of now we are aware of two modes, Deathmatch and Plunder. Deathmatch puts two teams of five against one another. One team acts as the heroes and the other plays the villains. The Plunder mode is like capture the flag, and has each team attempt to capture treasure from a central point on the map. Return to your base to win, but beware, the treasure will slow you down.  

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At Comic Con this year we learned about Gold Rush, a co-op mode that lets two to three players team up to get randomly spawned treasure, and escort it back to their base. You’ll have to fend off oncoming foes, so it’s important to assist whoever is carrying the loot. It should be mentioned that for the time being, there is no local multiplayer because a split-screen would drastically reduce the game’s visual quality.

With a mountain of awards already, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will likely take the crown as the best title coming out on a Sony format before the year’s end. Keep in mind, release dates are subject to change, but if all goes as planned, we’ll all have a lot to play in the next few months. Before too long, we’ll have another batch of hit games to play in early 2010 - but that’s another list all together.


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