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10 Most Anticipated 2010 Releases

With 2009 coming to a close in an awful hurry, I decided to rank the ten games that I'm most excited about that are currently scheduled for release in 2010. Granted, with the way games have been delayed this year it's not a guarantee that we'll see all of these on shelves by this time next year (or any of these...), but here's to hoping! This should be a nice transition to my eventual list of my favorite games of 2009 as well. 
This was actually a lot more difficult to narrow down to ten games than I thought, and that immediately tells me that 2010 is already shaping up to be an incredible year for gaming. What's even more amazing still is that all of the games on this list (and all of the games of honorable mention that just missed the list) are [presumably] due out before we even hit summer. That makes me believe that the fiscal year of Summer 2009 to Summer 2010 could go down as the biggest 12 month span in gaming history, considering all of the HUGE titles that came out over the past seven months.

List items

  • The little game that could. Or can. Much like Little Big Planet, ModNation Racers is ambitious: the game is what you make of it, as you have complete control over the creation of your characters, go-karts, and tracks. Initially, the creation features seemed shallow, and the worry that all of the tracks would look and play the same did little to persuade people that this wasn't just a Mario Kart ripoff. But now that we've seen the depth within the track creator and the imagination that can exist in every aspect of the game, not to mention the reports that the actual RACING mechanic is one of the best in a video game to date, means this could be that "create your own Mario Kart" that we could have ever only dreamed of.

  • Pokemon fans prayed and wished for these remakes ever since the first rehashes of Red and Blue hit several years ago. And after seeing the games in action after their Japan releases this past year, it seems that the wait has been well worth it. Gold and Silver were the pinnacle games of the franchise, and now being able to relive it all in a stunning recreation on the DS that blends all of the innovation that came with the old and all of the necessities that exist in the new makes for what could be one of the most complete gaming experiences on the DS to date.

  • Still technically a spinoff, Birth by Sleep is the first Kingdom Hearts game that we could say is "completely new" for the series since the second game released on the PS2 several years ago. A prequel to the franchise, it follows the events of brand new characters in brand new worlds, and blends the classic Kingdom Hearts combat system with all new abilities and techniques that are unique to its different characters to expand fighting beyond just simple button mashing. A shame that it's not a full fledged console version, but a joy to see the series continuing in some way.

  • Metroid: Other M lost a bit of its luster after its incredible E3 showing with the release of the 360's Shadow Complex, which seemed of the same tone but without the iconic Metroid characters. But that still doesn't stop the fact that the trailer for Other M blew every other E3 trailer out of the water: a return to classic 2D style Metroid while bringing in the ferocity and maturity of Team Ninja? This is something that the Metroid series has longed for, and hopefully, it can use its brilliant characters and story to take full advantage of the opportunity.

  • I've never liked Splinter Cell games. Ever. But Conviction has suddenly turned the once hugely stealth based series into a dual stealth and action type adventure. 24 on steroids? Heck yeah I'll take that. The hecticness and ferocity of the narrative mixed with the cunning balance of both the aforementioned stealth and action aspects make this a game that could feel like how a Mission Impossible or Ocean's movie would play out in video game form.

  • I'm a BIG fan of the original Dead Rising, but it was a prime example of a game with incredible gameplay that got knocked off the cliff of superiority due to its crappy controls, text overlay and save system. Now, Dead Rising 2 comes along, and while the scenario of a Las Vegas gameshow isn't quite as intriguing as a giant shopping mall, the idea of killing zombies with anything and everything still exists. Capcom must have fixed all those annoying hindrances from before... right?

  • We've seen Alan Wake come and go numerous times, but after finally seeing gameplay footage at E3 last year it seems that the game actually DOES exist and actually WILL be released. I know many people aren't sold on the concept of the game yet--sort of a video game version of a Steven King novel that is quite aware of the fact that it is a Steven King novel. But after watching the chilling sequences and wonderful use of the flashlight as an actual game mechanic at the E3 demo, I'm pretty much sold on it. At the very least, it's something new.

  • The Final Fantasy series has been "off" ever since their last good release, Final Fantasy X WAY back at the beginning of the PS2's lifespan. Which is strange to think about, really, considering how dominant the series was on the original Playstation. Now, Final Fantasy XIII has a chance to correct that by ditching the online and ditching the horrible combat system of XII in favor of a more revised version of the classic battle scheme. In my opinion, that's exactly what this series needs.

  • Strange, really, that this game makes the list despite me not being a huge fan of either Ico or Shadow of the Colossus. But this is one epic trilogy that I have been intrigued by from the beginning, and now we will finally be receiving the concluding game. Already looking to be a beautifully cinematic tale, The Last Guardian is the game I'm holding on to as the "c-c-combo breaker" of the "games are not art" debate.

  • While I have certainly expressed my opinion on why I believe a return to Rapture could completely ruin the magic of the first Bioshock, I cannot deny that a part of me is very curious as to what 2K is offering up in this second take. I'm more than willing to take the chance of the narrative blowing up if it means experimenting with more plasmids and donning the Big Daddy drill myself.