Brutal Legend

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Expected release: Q3 2009

This is the second year running that Brutal Legend has featured on our yearly games to watch list, but we’re still massively excited for Tim Schafer’s latest title. He makes us go weak at the knees, that man.

The latest game from the brain behind Psychonauts and Full Throttle is as eccentric and eclectic as you might expect, with players being cast as roadie Eddie Riggs who gets pulled down into a parallel universe by his cursed belt buckle. Stranded in a strange land full of demons and rock goddesses, Eddie sets out on a quest to get the girl, save the day and all that jazz heavy metal.

Playing as a third person action adventure, Brutal Legend offers players the chance to charge around with a guitar as a weapon, tearing across the spiky and bone-riddled desert in a sooped-up hot rod.

Games to Watch in 2009 Games to Watch in 2009 - Best of the Rest

The main theme behind the game however is that music is magic and that by playing the right chords wounds can be healed and enemies obliterated. Bobbin Threadbare would be right at home.

Brutal Legend has had a tough ol’ time over the last year, what with it being one of many titles that were abandoned when Activision and Blizzard merged a while back, but the quality has remained high despite the problems and we’re sure that Brutal Legend will soon have us moshing like no other gamer this year.

F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Expected release: February 2009-01-05

F.E.A.R 2 has had a difficult time of it since the release of the first game all those years ago, with lack-lustre expansions like Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate really damaging the franchise and disappointing fans.Thankfully though, Monolith is back at the helm and is hoping that they can reinvigorate the series by getting back to the relevant parts of the story and using a new graphics engine to propel things forward.

The new game then eschews the canon of the poorly-received expansions and gets back to the main plot, further exploring the reflex powers and creepy little ghost-girl that drove the first game. A new approach though requires a new character, so players will find themselves put in the boots of Delta Force operator Michael Beckett – a surgically enhanced operative with a secret and a grimace to rival Arnie’s.

Games to Watch in 2009 Games to Watch in 2009 - Best of the Rest

Sent in as part of a team tasked with arresting Genevieve Aristide, the corporate villainess in the first game, Beckett soon finds himself predictably separated from his unit and being stalked by a very little girl in a very red dress. The story starts off running alongside the plot of the first game, but by the time the first hour or so is up you're plunging on into the unknown after having witnessed the huge explosion that marked the end of the first game.

One of the major advances in the first F.E.A.R was of course the AI, which let enemies smash through windows and intelligently use cover even in the claustrophobic indeti-kit offices that filled the original. Monolith are being keen to further build on those strengths this time around by reworking the AI even more, as well as opening up the levels and not limiting things to ‘Things you might see in a Dilbert cartoon’.

With more gory scare tactics and slow-motion gunplay than a John Woo film starring Bruce Campbell (if only!), Project Origin should be the first chance we've had in a long time to see the F.E.A.R franchise done some real justice.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04