Video Games to Watch for in 2010: Jeff's Picks

By Jeff Mattas, Dec 31, 2009 12:30pm PST With the New Year upon us the Shacknews editors looked at the upcoming release calendars and chose our three most anticipated games of the lot. There's nothing remotely scientific or analytical about it. These are the games, though, that as gamers we're already wishing we had in our systems. Here's what's got Jeff going for 2010:

Mafia 2
Mafia II, Illusion Softwork's open-world organized-crime adventure comes out " sometime before July" on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. How's it looking? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (2002 PC version) remains one of my fondest gaming experiences of all time. It spoke to me in the same language that made Vice City a fan-favorite in the GTA canon: they're both period-pieces with fantastic settings and atmosphere, epic stories and memorable characters. Mafia II's story spans the late 1940's and early 1950's, and while looks aren't everything, they sure don't hurt in this case.

In the sequel, Sicilian-born Vito and his best friend Joe try to become "made men" in the 10-square-mile city of Empire Bay. Gunplay, car-chases, and street pugilism all return in the sequel, though unlike a certain other open-world crime simulator, I'm pretty confident that Joe won't ask you to go bowling every five minutes.

God of War 3
Only a few short months are left until SCE Santa Monica's God of War III March release on the PS3, and unless you've somehow managed to miss out on the first two parts of the series, it's pretty easy to understand all of the hype.

After recently checking out the E3 demo again from the comfort of my couch (Thanks, District 9 Blu-Ray!), I can confidently predict that playing God of War III will be like slipping into an incredibly comfortable pair of your favorite blood-soaked shoes.

The action is still the visceral combo-laden smorgasbord fans are used to with some significant technological improvements. These include an increased number of on-screen enemies and dynamic lighting. The addition of "Zipper Tech" allows character models to be split open and "Gut Tech" enables fully modeled giblets and entrails. If you've played the demo, disemboweling the centaur is a great example of these improvements in action.

Kratos the angry Spartan continues his rampage on the PS3 in March, and I'll be there with bells on.

Splinter Cell: Conviction
Sam Fisher returns on the PC and Xbox 360 in February when Splinter Cell: Conviction finally sneaks onto the scene. I've enjoyed each of the games in the long-running series from start to finish (a rarity for me), but still haven't completely quenched my thirst for super-spy badassery.

The gameplay seems a lot more fluid and action-oriented this time around, and the presentation has been beefed up a couple of notches. As a fan of the series, Conviction has been on my radar for a while, but seeing the new game in action at E3 kind of blew me away. The hand-to-hand combat now seems brutal, quick, and satisfying, and cool presentational touches like having mission objectives projected onto the environment are most welcome.

Take the single player experience (revenge stories are always engaging), combine it with a wealth of great looking co-op modes, add the dulcet tones of Michael Ironside, kick those stuffy Third Echelon NSA types to the curb, and it looks like the folks at Ubisoft could have another hit on their hands.

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  • The first mafia was and still IS one the most special games for me i have played.It was not just a beautifull sandbox game in the 1930's new york.It was MUCH MORE as it really had a lot of love and emotion and style given to it by its makers.From the swing music,to the beautifull cars,to the fancy 30's dialogs and to some trully unforgetable scenes and missions.Spoiler Alert....Mafia brought to life some of the best things from the 30's decade...From the river partys,to daredevil car races,to early civilian airports with zeppelin trips,to cars that were more a work of art then a simple transportation method,stylish suits,fancy music,grand hotels and the list goes on.....
    It is a both a dissapointment that mafia 2 timeline are the 50's but at the same time i am truly curious if the devs hit the 50's vibe the way the did with the 30's

    In any case this is a masterpiece not to be skipped by anyone.....