After a record year for game sales in 2008 - up 17% on the previous year despite the recession - we've got some hot sequels to look forward to in the first quarter '09.
Here are some of the big ones I'm hanging out to play:
F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, out February 13): The survival horror FPS returns with the story picking up from the end of the first game after encountering a powerful psychic named Alma.
Street Fighter IV (PC, 360, PS3, out February 20): the old arcade classic moves towards 3D with new characters and moves.
The Sims 3 (PC, out February 20): promises easier tools to create any Sim you fancy and seamless open neighbourhoods.
Halo Wars (Xbox 360 February 26): set 20 years before the original Halo universe, moves the franchise to a real time strategy game in which you command the armies of the UNSC warship "Spirit of Fire," consisting of familiar and new UNSC units in its initial encounters against the alien Covenant. It's been developed by Microsoft's Ensemble Studios, not Bungie.
KillZone 2 (PS3, February 27, pictured above): the intense galactic FPS PS2 title finally moves to PS3. Now the humans take the battle to Helghan, the home planet of the Helghast forces.
Resident Evil 5 (360 and PS3, March 13): Chris Redfield from the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, returns and goes to Africa where a new bio-terrorism threat is changing both people and animals into crazy creatures.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS, March 20): It will be interesting to see how this original chapter about fighting Triad crime works out using a DS touch screen for the first time in the franchise.
Wolfenstein (PC, PS3, 360, April 24): The legendary supernatural thriller from id software using its tech 4 engine and promising great graphics. You play agent BJ Blazkowicz battling combat troops, otherworldly forces, and the dark science created by a supernatural Nazi force wanting world domination.
Wii Sports Resort (mid-yearish): Wii Sports is still driving the console to be the biggest seller of the big three but it's time for some more games. It'll come with a Wii MotionPlus - an expansion device that allows the Wii Remote to more accurately capture complex motion.
Bioshock 2 (PC, 360, PS3, Sept 25): One of the most original games for some years follows up with a prequel according to hints from the developers.
On the let's hope-so list:
Halo 3 ODST (Xbox 360): is like an FPS expansion to Halo 3 from Bungie and named after the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers in Halo 3.
Socom Confrontation (PS3): promises exciting multiplayer with up to 32 player battles and massive player tournaments.
Final Fantasy XIII: Square Enix is now indicating this won't be this year after all.
God of War 3: promises to be in full 1080p for the PS3 and will be the final chapter in the trilogy.
Mass Effect 2: one of 360's most exciting original sci-fi releases may see a sequel late this year.
Guild Wars 2: Now in "alpha production" it will include four new playable races.
Guitar Hero: Metallica (most consoles, said to be first quarter), like the Aerosmith version, focuses on the one band.
Godfather 2: Sees the Don of your family killed in Cuba so you take the reins of a battered organization to re-establish the mob family power base.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
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