2010 has arrived, and the CBR Games Roundup is back to usher in the New Year with a look at January’s video game releases. The month is fairly busy compared to Januaries of years past, with a great balance of new IPs and big sequels alike. This month’s headliners include "Mass Effect 2," "Bayonetta," and the epic 256-player "MAG."
Before we jump into the list, we’d like to remind you that this list is not inclusive of every release for the month, and release dates are always subject to change. Now let’s take a look at what January has to offer.
Bayonetta (PS3/Xbox 360) - January 5 - Website: http://www.sega.com/platinumgames/bayonetta/
"Devil May Cry" and "Viewtiful Joe" creator Hideki Kamiya unleashes his latest vision in the action game genre this month. Bayonetta is a shape-shifting witch whose own hair acts as both her clothing and a weapon. The game's combat is fast-paced and frenetic, and Bayonetta can dispatch foes with guns, melee attacks and magic attacks, as well as weapons she picks up from fallen enemies. Lots of color, pulsating music, huge enemies, big finishes and all around chaos pretty much guarantee that you won’t be bored while playing.
A demo of the game is currently available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Darksiders (PS3/Xbox 360) - January 5 - Website: http://www.darksidersvideogame.com/
Another new entry into the action genre being released this month, "Darksiders" puts players in the role of "War," one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse. As War, you become the scapegoat for starting the apocalypse early, and he has to contend with both angels and demons as he tries to uncover who is behind the conspiracy to frame him and his fellow horsemen. Armed with guns and a giant sword, War will battle a variety of enemies through a devastated world that players can explore in whatever manner they choose.
Vigil Games’ co-founder Joe Madureira (Battle Chasers) is the Creative Director on the game, and CBR spoke to Joe about his work on the game at the Big Apple Comic-Con 2009. You can see what he had to say here.
Army of Two: the 40th Day (PS3/PSP/Xbox 360) - January 12 - Website: http://www.armyoftwo.com/home.action
Private Military Contractors (PMCs) Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios are back in action with a story that picks up three years after the events of the original game. While on a mission in Shanghai, the city is attacked by another PMC and Rios and Salem are caught up in the conflict. The cooperative tactics from the first game have been improved, and players will have a "co-op playbook" that will allow them to use a variety of tactics in different situations. The original game's "aggro" system will be featured in "The 40th Day" as well, allowing one teammate to draw attention away from the other, creating opportunities for flanking and other strategic techniques. Multiplayer will accomodate up to 10 players competing against each other in teams of two across several modes.
A demo of the game is currently available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. In addition, IDW has teamed up with EA for an "Army of Two" comic. The series is being written by Peter Milligan with the first issue hitting stores in January.
Dark Void (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) - January 19 - Website: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/
Capcom’s new IP centers on a pilot who ends up in a parallel universe known as the Void by way of the Bermuda Triangle. Once there, he has to band together with a group of humans to fend off an alien race called the Watchers that have set their sights on Earth. "Dark Void" will combine air and ground combat, as players can take to the air via jetpack and engage in dogfights, use cover vertically and take out ground forces from above.
Capcom will also be releasing an 8-bit game called "Dark Void Zero" for the DSi in January, with mobile and PC versions to follow in February. The retro game follows the story of the first human born in the Void and his battle against the Watchers.
Blood Bowl (Xbox 360) - January 26 - Website: http://www.bloodbowl-game.com/
The medieval fantasy game based on American football finally makes it to consoles in America this month. "Blood Bowl" is an adaptation of sorts of the 1987 board game of the same name, pitting teams of fantasy races like orcs, elves, goblins and dwarves against each other in an ultra-violent version of football. Teams earn points for scoring touchdowns, but they can also win by destroying all of their opponent’s players. The game can be played in real-time or turn-based strategy modes, and a leveling system allows players to upgrade their team over the course of their career. The game will also feature online play over Xbox Live.
MAG (PS3) - January 26 - Website: http://www.mag.com/
Zipper Interactive’s gigantic shooter arrives this month depicting life in the year 2025, where a worldwide military accord is reached that dictates no nation’s military can cross its own borders. Nations then turn to Private Military Contractors (PMCs) to get their dirty work done, resulting in those PMCs aggressively competing with one another for contracts. "MAG" will have players enlisting in one of three PMCs, each of which has their own weapons and styles. The online-focused game will feature battles of up to 256 players, with players being grouped into 8-man squads. "MAG" also has a ranking system that will allow players to advance and take on leadership roles within their squads, platoons and companies.
A public beta of the game went live on January 4, 2010, and is downloadable now through the PlayStation Network.
Mass Effect 2 (PC/Xbox 360) - January 26 - Website: http://masseffect.bioware.com/
BioWare’s epic sci-fi RPG trilogy returns with its second installment this month with the bulk of the story in "Mass Effect 2" taking place two years after the original. Players will once again assume the role of Commander Shepard and lead a team against a new threat to humanity. Enhancements made to the gameplay this time around include regenerating health and a revised skill system, and the game will feature new races, vehicles and weapon types. Players who completed the original game will be able to import their save files into "Mass Effect 2," as some of the decisions they made in the first game will impact the second one.
Dark Horse is publishing a six-issue limited series called "Mass Effect: Redemption" that explores events occurring at the beginning of "Mass Effect 2." The series is written by "Mass Effect 2" lead writer Mac Walters, with art by Omar Francia ("Star Wars Legacy").
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii) - January 26 - Website: http://nomoreheroesgame.us.ubi.com/
One of the more unique titles to be released for the Wii gets a sequel this month. "Desperate Struggle" starts three years after the events of the first game, after protagonist Travis Touchdown has left the assassin business. Travis’ rank in the United Assassins Association has plummeted to 51st, but the death of his friend, as well as some coercing by his agent, convinces him to return to action. Using his beam katana and a variety of wrestling moves, Travis will battle the fifty assassins ranked higher than him, as well as those trying to tank his ranking from below him.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Wii) - January 26 - Website: http://tatsunoko.vscapcom.com/
Capcom’s latest brawler to hit consoles pits their stable of characters against those of anime giant Tatsunoko Production. Characters like Viewtiful Joe, Ryu ("Street Fighter") and Frank West ("Dead Rising") will face off against the likes of Gold Lightan ("Golden Warrior Gold Lightan"), Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan ("Gatchaman"). The four-button fighting control scheme is designed to be simple to pick up, but the combo and assist system should provide more depth for fighting game veterans. In addition to the Wiimote and nunchuck controls, players can also choose to use the Wii Classic controller, a GameCube controller or third-party controllers, including the new "Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars" fightstick from Mad Catz. In addition to offline play modes, online play will include international matches, ranked battles and leaderboards.
And so ends the Games Roundup for the first month of 2010. Did we miss something? Was your most anticipated game of the year left off the list? Head to the boards and let us know. And don’t forget to stay tuned to CBR for continued coverage of the upcoming year’s biggest games, including exclusive interviews with creators and developers.