The 10 most anticipated games of 2009

We take a look at some of the hottest games heading for shop shelves this year.

  • 1. Mafia II
    Release date: 2009
    The sequel to 2002's best gangster-related sandbox shooter is almost upon us and the excitement is palpable. Though some of us still haven't completed the original — thanks to that infamous racing level — the sequel is a hotly anticipated addition to 2009's gaming collection. 2K Games promises a sandbox featuring 10 square miles of New York–inspired landscape to explore, as well as historically relevant cars and newspapers to add to the player's immersion in the game's setting. Though there is still no concrete release date for the game, we just can't wait to join the Family.
  • 5. Resident Evil 5
    Release date: March 13, 2009
    The fifth instalment in the survival horror series sees a return to control of the game's original protagonist, Chris Redfield, as he investigates the possible origins of the T-Virus in Africa. Accompanied by sidekick Sheva, Redfield's exploration of Africa places him in danger from both familiar and new, more dangerous enemies. The game will explore Redfield's life after the events in the original Resident Evil.
  • 9. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
    Release date: February 2, 2009
    The fifth instalment in the successful Splinter Cell franchise portrays Sam Fisher's continuing slide towards vigilantism. On the run from the NSA, Fisher no longer has access to Third Echelon and the intelligence that aided players in previous Splinter Cell games. Conviction has suffered several development delays since late 2007 and information on the game is still scant, but what little details have been revealed point to it being a great stealth game.
  • 8. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
    Release date: February 10, 2009
    Local release wasn't certain for a while, but after surviving the treacherous classification process of the OFLC, the anticipated sequel to F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon is heading to Australian shores. Scheduled for a February release, the game's storyline overlaps slightly with that of the previous game. Though taking control of a different character, players will still encounter Alma — the creepy child everyone has come to love — as she wreaks havoc across the city.
  • 10. L.A. Noire
    Release date: Sometime this year...
    The only game on our list that isn't a sequel or part of an ongoing series, L.A. Noire has gone through some tough times. The game faces the axe at Take Two, but if it survives it could be a great title for the PlayStation 3; the game's release would also give the Australian developer community a boost.
  • 7. The Sims 3
    Release date: February 20, 2009
    The Sims franchise has always been a source of joy, with players assuming control of a virtual family's every whim and desire. The Sims 3 continues the dream with enhanced visuals, revamped gameplay and the ability to fully control your Sim both inside and outside of his or her home. The Sims 3 offers the ability to seamlessly venture from house to neighbourhood.
  • 6. Street Fighter IV
    Release date: February 20, 2009
    Everyone's favourite arcade fighter finally returns. Nearly 12 years since the original release of Street Fighter III, the fourth game in the series sees a return to retro form. The game boasts a combination of features from Street Fighter II and III, as well as a mix of everyone's favourite characters, with some new characters to keep things interesting. The addition of online multiplayer is sure to keep players engaged for hours on end.
  • 4. Killzone 2
    Release date: February 25, 2009
    It may be four years since Killzone 2 was first demoed, but it looks like players will finally get their hands on the franchise's third instalment come February. Though no one is quite sure whether the final product will match the graphical masterpiece previewed at E3 2005, players will still be in for a treat with the game's amazing portrayal of a chaotic battlefield. With destructible environments and a storyline that puts the player in the action, the game should satiate the bloodlust of fanboys everywhere.
  • 2. Halo Wars
    Release date: February 26, 2009
    Add "Halo" to any title and you're sure to get a hit, but basing a strategy game on an established FPS franchise is still a risky business — a strategy game built for the console is even riskier. Still, backed by an innovative control scheme and the established Halo backstory, the game has the potential to alter opinions on console-based strategy games. In any case, it's a Halo game so it's bound to be fun, right?
  • 3. Empire: Total War
    Release date: March 2009
    We're suckers for strategy games, and Total War has proved its superiority over competitors time and time again. Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War were both great, but Empire is shaping up to be even better, with an improved campaign and enhanced visuals. Drawing our attention most, however, is the addition of naval battles, allowing players to build empires by sea as well as land.
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