Another Fall season is nearing and along with it come a large influx of new games, many of which are sequels or prequels to previously released games. In fact, all five games on this list are sequels or prequels to previous games, as new intellectual properties took a backseat this year. The five most anticipated games of this upcoming fall are as follows:
5) Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (Nintendo DS, Q4 2010)
The first two Golden Sun games, both for the Game Boy Advance, are remembered by its fans as some of the best role playing experiences on any system. Fans have been clamoring for a third game in the series ever since the release of the second game, and in 2009 they finally got what they were hoping for in the form of Dark Dawn.
Set 30 years after the events of the other two closely related games, Dark Dawn will supposedly feature the children of the original heroes from the first two games. As with the other two games, Dark Dawn will be developed by Camelot Software Planning and will hopefully delight those who have been waiting over seven years to play a new title in the series.
4) Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii, Q4 2010)
This title is perhaps the least expected of the five on the list. The previous Donkey Kong Country games were all developed by Rare, who has since left Nintendo to primarily develop games for Microsoft. Donkey Kong releases since that departure have been met with little fanfare and mediocre review with none of them containing the same platforming elements that the three Country games or even Rare’s Donkey Kong 64 possessed.
Donkey Kong Country Returns will return to series to those roots. The game is being developed by Retro Studios, the same company behind the three excellent Metroid Prime games. Unlike the Prime games, which took a successfully 2D franchise and make it succeed in 3D, Retro is keeping returns in primarily 2D style though it will also contain several new gameplay elements that will take advantage of the Wii platform.
3) LittleBigPlanet 2 (Playstation 3, November 2010)
The first LittleBigPlanet for the Playstation 3 was considered before its release to be a game that would bring about a new era of gaming, one where user-created content would drive the gaming community. While LittleBigPlanet was ambitious, and a critically successful title, there were a couple of things that held it back. Notably, users could only create platforming levels, and while the game’s playable character Sackboy had the ability to manipulate various objects which increased level variety, the levels were all still simply platforming levels.
LittleBigPlanet 2 looks to remedy this one problem by allowing users to create levels of multiple genres, with Puzzle levels, Role-Playing levels and Racing levels having been confirmed. The game will also allow players to create cutscenes and link levels to one another, essentially allowing players to create their own game. Combined with a strong online experience full of user-created content, including content from the original game which can be imported, LittleBigPlanet 2 may be what many hoped the first title would be.
2) Crysis 2 (PC/Playstation 3/Xbox 360, Q4 2010)
The original Crysis was noted for its high end system requirements, but more so than that, it was noted for being perhaps the most graphically stunning game of the time. Less noted but still present in Crysis is an open-ended game where the player can meet mission objectives in various manners determined by the player.
Unlike the first game and Crysis: Warhead which both took place in a Jungle, Crysis 2 is set in an evacuated New York City infested by alien invaders. While the developers have noted that they hope Crysis 2’s graphical capabilities will exceed even the first game, the game will also allow for lesser system requirements than the original. Furthermore, the game will also see release on the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, neither of which have seen a Crysis release to this point.
1) Halo: Reach (Xbox 360, September 14th, 2010)
There was a point, and perhaps it is still true today, that the Halo series of video games created the most polarizing of opinions, that people either loved or hated the series. The original Halo is often credited with popularizing not just the original Xbox, but the console first person shooter genre as well. The over saturation of the genre today can be traced back to the critical success of the original Halo.
Since then, Halo has had two sequels and two spin-off games, the former in particular exceeding even the original Halo in critical success and popularity. Since Halo 3, however, the console shooter market once dominated by Halo has been overtaken by games such as the Call of Duty games, notably Modern Warfare 2, and even the Gears of War series though those games aren’t first-person shooters.
Halo: Reach, a prequel to the original Halo, looks to regain the hill once enjoyed by its predecessors. The game, while originally just a branch off of Halo 3, has since mostly been redesigned from the ground up and looks to be significantly better graphically than Halo 3. Furthermore, Reach will introduce several new gameplay concepts and modes looking to separate itself from earlier Halos as well as its competitors. Bungie have put a lot of effort into this game and if it pays off, you’ll have a hard time not hearing about Reach once it comes to store shelves in September.