What the remainder of 2009 has to offer

Ah, the good old Christmas run-up. Nothing beats the frenzy caused by publishers releasing their biggest titles of the year, just as we all seem to be strapped for cash. After the incredible run-up in 2008 with the likes of Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: World at War, Fable 2, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge and Fallout 3, high hopes were raised for 2009, in which gamers would once again be purchasing some AAA titles, despite a global recession.

Unfortunately, in recent weeks, many of the titles expected to release within the next few months received setbacks and have now been given a 2010 release date. Such titles include the likes of Splinter Cell: Conviction, I Am Alive, Bayonetta and (quite painfully) Bioshock 2. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are a number of great video games out in the next few months to make amends for the loss of some big titles.

Below are just a number of the titles releasing within the next four months on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, along with some game information and (more importantly) its release date. Please note that the release dates listed are subject to change. Therefore it is advised the dates are used as a guideline, rather than a definite date.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Release Date: 28th August 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Square Enix Europe
Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum – Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum. Using a wide range of Batman’s gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker’s demented scheme.

Guitar Hero 5
Release Date: 1st September 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision, RedOctane
Elevating the Guitar Hero series to new heights with unmatched social gameplay, an enhanced style, new in-game artists and more rock legends, Guitar Hero 5 features new surprises and challenges that will fire-up long-time fret board fanatics and create a new generation of addicts. Players take complete control as Guitar Hero 5 allows gamers to personalise and customise how they experience music with any in-game instrument combination – multiple vocalists, guitarists, bassists and drummers, in any game mode. With the game’s all-new Party Play Mode, getting the band back together has never been easier. Players can now jump in or drop out of gameplay seamlessly, without interrupting their jam session. Guitar Hero 5 puts the entire set list at players’ finger tips from the start, featuring genre-defining hits from some of the biggest rock artists and bands of all-time, including Tom Petty, Kings Of Leon, The White Stripes, Stevie Wonder, Iron Maiden and Vampire Weekend.

Rock Band: The Beatles
Release Date: 9th September 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: MTV Games
Rock Band: The Beatles is the music game experience that allows players to follow the legendary career of The Beatles from Liverpool, to Shea Stadium to Abbey Road. Featuring the ability to play drums, lead guitar, bass guitar or sing three part harmony with up to three microphones, Rock Band: The Beatles will focus on authentically recreating the feeling of performing The Beatles music on stage and in the studio.

Colin McRae: DiRT 2
Release Date: 10th September 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will take players on a World Tour of adrenaline-fuelled extreme off-road events in stunning real-world locations. Events include exhilarating rally cross in the massive Los Angeles sports stadium’s “Stadium King Shootout”, edge-of-control canyon racing of Utah’s “Creek Trailblazer” event, the “Rawang Rally Run” along treacherous Malaysian rainforest tracks and the “Battersea Battle”, where night races are staged at the iconic London power station. Building on the technical and gameplay benchmark of Colin McRae: DiRT and borrowing from snowboarding and skateboarding lifestyle and culture, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will also add full online multiplayer functions to extend the gaming experience and build a thriving community.

Release Date: 18th September 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
WET is a highly-stylised third-person shooter that seamlessly blends gunplay, sword kills and over-the-top acrobatics to create the ultimate interactive action experience. The game allows you to shoot anywhere, anytime. You will have the freedom to shoot while running, sliding down ladders, sliding across the floor, or performing any number of acrobatic moves. Featuring an ironic mix of humour and violence, unique retro film visual treatment, and original 70’s inspired music, WET is a third-person shooter experience unlike any other.

Halo 3: ODST
Release Date: 22nd September 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
The year is 2552. Covenant forces control the city of New Mombasa. They are searching for something beneath its darkened streets. You are an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. Your orders: stay alive, meet up with your scattered squad, and escape the embattled city.

Forza Motorsport 3
Release Date: 23rd October 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Forza Motorsport 3 is the definitive racing game. All 400-plus cars in the game have been built with more than 10 times the amount of polygons as Forza Motorsport 2. This includes painstakingly researched cockpits and interiors for every vehicle. But realism isn’t just about pretty graphics. Turn 10 takes realism to new heights, with the most advanced physics model, artificial intelligence and damage calculations. Whether it’s the differences in how each car handles through the corners, how the engines sound at top speed or how different tires and upgrades impact your car’s performance, you’ll find yourself leaning into your turns as if you were really behind the wheel of your favourite ride.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Release Date: 30th October 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a pulse-pounding third-person action-adventure/shooter created by award-winning developer Naughty Dog. Down on his luck, Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who’s after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything – but has his luck finally run out?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Release Date: 10th November 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to the Multiplayer Game of the Year winner ‘Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’, continues the gripping and heart-racing saga with an unprecedented level of action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse.

Assassin’s Creed 2
Release Date: 20th November 2009
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Truth is Written in Blood… “I will seek vengeance upon those who have betrayed my family, and uncover a conspiracy bigger than I could have imagined. I am Ezio Auditore di Firenze. I am an Assassin.”

Left 4 Dead 2
Release Date: 20th November 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation
Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel to the best-selling and critically-acclaimed co-operative multiplayer smash from Valve. The title adds melee combat to the award-winning L4D style of play, with items such as a chainsaw, frying pan, axe, baseball bat, and more. The setting is at roughly the same time as the original – just after the outbreak that turned most of the population into various zombie mutants. Players assume the role of 4 new “Survivors,” each with their own personality and new dialog. The game leads these Survivors through the south-eastern region of the US – from Savannah, Georgia thru the bayou country, and climaxing in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Left 4 Dead 2 offers a much larger game than the original with more co-operative campaigns, more Versus campaigns, maps for Survival Mode at launch, and more…

It’s hard to believe there are so many great titles releasing within the next few months, especially with the amount of delays occurring… and that’s not all. Believe it or not, there’s even more titles releasing before the year is out. This includes: Katamari Forever (PlayStation 3), FIFA 10 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Brutal Legend (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Lips: Number One Hits (Xbox 360), Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360), Dragon Age: Origins (Xbox 360), DJ Hero (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Tekken 6 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Borderlands (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), LEGO Rock Band (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Tony Hawk’s Ride (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) and The Saboteur (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360).

Having viewed the masses of titles already on offer, our wallets may find the delays more beneficial than we first thought. Which titles will be making their way to your consoles for the remainder of 2009? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

David Wriglesworth

David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.

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