As 2010 gets into motion the video game release schedules are starting to look a little more packed and February is going to see some big name updates as well as some brand new franchises getting their first chance at success.
Perhaps the first ever game to be based on a classic poem, Dante’s Inferno is going to be a bloody trip into the bowels of hell itself. Taking more than a little inspiration from the God of War series, you will be able to hack and slash your way through various demons and devils in a suitably violent portrayal of the underworld.
Star Trek Online
This is a brand new MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) that takes place in the much loved Star Trek universe. Expect interplanetary exploration, space battles and lots and lots of trading and grinding, as well as some strategy elements in what promises to be a much needed twist on the multiplayer genre.
MX vs ATV Reflex
Off-road vehicles have been popular as the basis for racing games for many years, but the genre has lost out to track-based titles such as the Forza and Gran Turismo franchises. This game hopes to redress the balance with simulation-like controls and a wide selection of dirt bikes, buggies, quads and other vehicles for some mud splattered mayhem.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
This is the third game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series, taking you once more to the desolate, radioactive wastelands in a world post-Chernobyl. The unique survivalist gameplay keeps things interesting and makes S.T.A.L.K.E.R a thinking man’s FPS.
Bio Shock 2
After the watery world of the original Bio Shock captured the hearts of millions a few years back, the sequel is finally arriving in February. Re-enter the claustrophobic confines of Rapture in this sci-fi shooter that combines elements of gunplay with role playing and supernatural powers.
Medal of Honour
This could be seen as an attempt to cash in on the success of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare titles, but with two teams working separately on the single player and multi-player experience, Medal of Honour could actually turn out rather well. There is no fictional conflict involved here, as you will be dumped into Afghanistan to try and sort out a war-torn country with nothing but your gun and a set of objectives.
Aliens vs. Predator
Another classic franchise is getting life injected into it here, with supreme violence and tons of superhuman physical abilities to enjoy. Although the game will probably ditch tension in favour of frenetic action, a considerable amount of support is expected for this release.
Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Another classic rock band is lending its likeness and back catalogue to the Guitar Hero franchise. This time it is Van Halen taking centre stage, although of course there will be additional tracks from other rock gods including Queen, The Offspring and Blink 182.
Napoleon: Total War
People who love their history and enjoy real time strategy games will have been well aware of this title’s approaching release for a while, but for those not in the loop Napoleon: Total War is the latest in a long line of realistic and deep simulations that allow you to rewrite the history of some of the most famous battles fought during some of the most dramatic time periods ever.
Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
The Wii is in need of a decent flight simulator and this title could just be it. If you are willing to ignore the slightly odd Manga-based plot, as well as the fact that your flying aces are all a bunch of children, then the intuitive flight controls and extensive mission choices will keep you high as a kite.
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
Although Mario Kart Wii is the undisputed king of console kart racers, Sonic is attempting to take the crown in this multi-platform release. If you have an Xbox 360 then you can play as additional characters including bumbling bear Banjo and his bird buddy Kazooie.
A few years ago you may have been aware of a game called Fahrenheit (also known as Indigo Prophecy overseas). It was an impressive adventure game that combined a non-linear, labyrinthine mystery of a plot with unique control mechanisms designed to make the whole experience intuitive. Heavy Rain is the next product from the studio behind Fahrenheit and it aims to bring in human emotions to the typically shallow world of video games and should come with yet another engaging plot with sex, violence and intrigue.
Way of the Samurai 3
The influence of martial arts on the video game industry is undeniable, but the number of games that actually feature ninjas and samurais has tailed off in the last few years. With tons of swordplay, blood and feudal in-fighting, Way of the Samurai 3 is going to make the case for Asian themes once more.