Welcome back to day two of our look at 100 PS3 games likely to shape 2010. If you missed the inaugural article outlining with this is all about, then this link comes highly recommended.
Today we continue with another ten future titles we’re sure will at least pique your interest to some degree. If nothing else, a naked witch should raise an eyebrow or two.
Assault Heroes – Developer: Wanako Studios | Publisher: Sierra Online | Out: TBC
Who knows why it’s taken four years for this XBL game to receive the PSN treatment. Maybe they take exceptionally long coffee breaks over at A2M’s Wanako Studios. As recently discussed, Assault Heroes is less about compelling, nuanced plot, and more about shooting everything in sight in an array of vehicles (and on foot) from a top-down perspective. Vehicles, explosions, flamethrowers – if it’s favourably priced, PSN fans might welcome the tardy action title with open arms.
Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 (tentative title) – Developer: Rocksteady Studios | Publisher: Warner Bros. | Out: TBC
Every once in a while a game comes completely out of left-field and surprises everyone with its quality. Such was the case with this year’s addictive, moody and sublimely polished Batman: Arkham Asylum. Reaching the lofty heights of #4 on TSA’s Staff Games of 2009 list, if we were to sit around a table back in January of this year and predict that a super-hero game from fairly unproven Rocksteady Studios would feature so highly on a list of the year’s top titles, people would have claimed we were off our meds. More fools us. Proving the age-old super-hero adage of “With great sales comes inevitable sequels,” Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 was officially confirmed during this year’s (deeply flawed) VGAs. From the footage shown, it would appear The Joker is a bit worse for wear, either from the recent beating Old Bats delivered in the first game or due to the virulent effects suffered at the hands of the Titan virus. Either way, he’s as maniacal as ever and voiced wonderfully once again by the unsurpassable Mark Hamill. Interestingly, this time out of the Bat Cave Warner Bros. will be handling publishing duties, obviously scurrying SquareEnix Europe (the artisans previously known as Eidos Interactive) back into the shadows now that the allure of big money is on the table. Finally, for those wondering: “Isn’t Arkham Asylum pretty much done? What would cause Batman to go back to the nuthouse again?”, a new website goes someway in addressing the possibility of Batman lurking further afield and into the Greater Gotham area itself. Rocksteady’s Paul Denning has also come out and admitted that Arkham Asylum, as a location, has probably run its course. Just don’t go expecting the sequel to be an open-world sandbox caper similar in fashion to the likes of GTA. Just wouldn’t work, apparently.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Developer: EA DICE | Publisher: EA| Out: March 5th
Showing some much-needed PS3 love, DICE’s recent exclusive Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta on Sony’s platform was deemed a resounding success with thousands of you jumping up and down on the servers and giving Arica Harbor a thorough pounding in the process. With 45 million confirmed casualties and more buildings destroyed than a Roland Emmerich movie, all signs indicate that BF:BC2 is looking like something very special indeed. In fact, didn’t a particular TSA Staffer who participated in the trial announce on Twitter that Modern Warfare 2 had just been owned by this beta? Oh my, strong words. The rest of us get to voice our own opinions on the matter come March.
Bayonetta – Developer: Platinum Games (Sega) | Publisher: Sega | Out: January 7th
When two respected publications both grace a title with their elusive maximum scores respectively, you have to sit up and take notice. Apparently the game creator Hideki Kamiya always wanted to make, Bayonetta follows the story of the titular witch who just so happens to be covered head to toe with magical hair and can shoot guns from her feet. We admit that we were a tad sceptical when Bayonetta’s concept was first mooted, but with Devil May Cry, Okami and Viewtiful Joe under his belt, it’s pretty hard to doubt the pedigree of Kamiya-san. Of course, we can’t mention Bayonetta on the PS3 without bringing up “Port-Gate” – the revelation that Platinum Games happily handed the 360 code-base over to Sega and were only involved in the PS3 version in an advisory capacity. The fact is, Bayonetta on the PS3 does not perform as good as it does on its lead-platform, the 360. That said, it’s still a kick-ass title and worthy of your time and hard-earned cash. And with Sega recently coming out intimating that the Western PS3 version will contain numerous tweaks over its Japanese cousin, maybe the gulf between the warring console versions will have narrowed. We find out next month.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 – Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier | Publisher: Ubisoft | Out: TBC
One of this writer’s all-time personal favourites on the original Xbox console (it also saw a release on the PS2, PC and GameCube), Michel Ancel’s subtle and nuanced Beyond Good & Evil became a cult-classic to those who place infectious gameplay as the paramount factor when classifying what makes a great game. Though a sequel was always planned from the getgo, poor sales of the first title resulted in Ubisoft becoming quite noncommittal toward the project’s three part arc. When a few images surfaced last year only to be followed by deafening silence in the subsequent months (until that leaked video of Jade running through a city materialised), portents suggested that the global recession had killed off yet another possibly great game. Not so apparently, as though Beyond Good & Evil 2 is not officially announced (didn’t we have rules for this list?), General Director of Ubisoft France, Geoffroy Sardin, recently confirmed that rumours surrounding the game’s demise or a moratorium on its development are false. The game is still being actively worked on – they just don’t know if they’ll ever release it. Colour us perplexed.
BioShock 2 – Developer: 2K Marlin/ 2K Australia | Publisher: 2K Games | Out: February 9th
It seems everyone and his dog is developing the follow-up to one of the best games of 2007 (or 2008 considering this is a PS3 list). With two 2K Studios and Digital Extremes also chipping in with the do-we-really-need? multiplayer element of the game, everyone is pretty excited to get a chance to return to Rapture and see what else the aquatic dystopia has to offer. More Little Sisters no doubt. This time out players embody the first ever Big Daddy and will be able to move around the ocean floor thanks to the bulbous diving helmet provided. The first BioShock was a landmark game in the history of gaming. We have high hopes for its successor.
Blue Toad Murder Files : Episodes 3 – 6 – Developer: Relentless Software | Publisher: Relentless Software | Out: TBC
Hats off to Relentless for pushing the envelop (oh no, I didn’t just type that, did I?) with their family-oriented whodunnit, the Blue Toad Murder Files. Already Masters of the Couch™ thanks to their Buzz! franchise, taking bold strides and pretty much creating a new genre has to be admired – even if the new venture isn’t necessarily targeted at the likes of you or I. If you’re looking to get a taste of some Miss Marble-esque tomfoolery (seriously, think before you type Kovacs), the first couple of BTMF casual homicide hunts are available right now, with more episodes planned throughout 2010. Check out our recent impressions of the first murder-mystery here.
Blur – Developer: Bizarre Creations | Publisher: Activision | Out: Q1 2010
With four letters in its title, it can only mean one thing: a new racing game. Joining the ranks of FUEL, Pure and a whole host of other titles that probably support this opening paragraph’s theory but we can’t recall right at this moment, Blur comes from the same team behind the most excellent Project Gotham Racing on the Xbox platforms. Crossing the platform divide to work on their first racing PS3 game (they also created the somewhat forgettable multiplatform title The Club), Blur will face tough competition in 2010 if it wants to reach the heady heights of the racing genre podium. Of course, if anyone can take home the chequered flag, it’s the PGR guys.
Brink – Developer: Splash Damage | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks | Out: Q3 2010
Having cut their teeth developing the multiplayer aspect on some of gaming’s most recognisable IPs (Doom 3, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Return to Castle Wolfenstein), the mite silly sounding Brink is Splash Damage’s first original property to come out of the UK developer’s London studio. Taking place on The Ark, an isolated floating city in a futuristic and drowned Earth, Brink features two opposing factions fighting it out in a utopia turned hell-hole. With overcrowding and survival of the fittest kicking into a new level, the result is mankind perched on the very brink of total annihilation. Hmm, maybe that name wasn’t so silly after all. What attracts us most to Brink is two-fold. First, the character customisation system is one of the best we’ve seen (admittedly we’ve only got an early glimpse) with the ability to create some truly unique and colourful denizens of The Ark at a level we’ve not seen since the APB presentation at this year’s Develop conference. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s truly mesmerising.) Second, the recent footage showing off Brink’s SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system reminds us of Mirror’s Edge but injected with 200cc of rhino testosterone. In case you’ve missed it, here’s what we’re talking about:
We’ve still got a long wait before Brink finally hits. In the meantime, we’ll be dreaming up freaky looking characters to unleash on The Ark when it opens its doors to visitors around Autumn 2010.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Developer: Mercury Steam | Publisher: Konami | Out: TBA
It’s irrelevant at this point whether or not Lords of Shadow started off as a legitimate Castlevania game or not. The fact is, it is now. Developed by Spanish studio Mercury Steam, the title’s most newsworthy fact is that game legend Hideo Kojima is acting as some sort of advisor/producer. With the Metal Gear maestro having long suggested an interest of being involved in a Western style game, we’re assuming he twigged Castlevania: Lords of Shadow on Konami’s list and thought: “That’ll do nicely.” (Actually, more likely “Sō desu ne” considering he probably thinks in Japanese). It’s all very peculiar as, at least ostensibly, the game’s hack’n'slash style is a huge departure from Castlevania’s traditional and hallowed aesthetic and tone. It does boast a stellar voice cast including Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle and Natascha McElhone. In the minus column, however, Mercury Steam have yet to set the gaming world alight with a kick-ass title. Clive Barker’s Jericho has a Metacritic score of 61% for instance.
We’ll be back tomorrow where things turn nasty. Not in game quality per se. There just so happens to be a shed-load of games coming out next year with the word “dead” in their titles.