Andrew's Shortlist of Upcoming PC Games for 2010 You Should Be Aware Of

A shortlist of 2010 PC games that should be on your radar.

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2010 is finally here. On an unrelated note, there are plenty of promising new PC games coming out this year. Those of us who play PC games should already be aware of most, if not all, of these games, but I'm putting this out there, in no particular order, just in case.


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Supreme Commander 2


Projected release date: March 2010
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Q&A - Gameplay, Units, Technology, and More

Supreme Commander 2: bigger and smarter than the original?
Supreme Commander 2: bigger and smarter than the original?

First up: Supreme Commander 2. The upcoming sequel to Gas Powered Games' massive successor to Total Annihilation will have all the massive scale of the original game, plus smarter gameplay enhancements that will make starter units continually useful throughout a match, and new additions, like a unit cannon that fires actual units across the battlefield, to help jumpstart the action, as mentioned in our recent interview with GPG frontman Chris Taylor. It will also apparently scale better to older computers, which is not a bad thing for those of us running an older rig. Speaking of scaling down, the game will also be on consoles. Supreme Commander 2 will ship in March.


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METRO 2033


Projected release date: Q1 2010
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Recent Preview Coverage: Hands-On Impressions

From part of the team that brought you S.T.A.L.K.E.R. comes Metro 2033.
From part of the team that brought you S.T.A.L.K.E.R. comes Metro 2033.

Metro 2033 will be a new postapocalyptic shooter that takes place in post-nuclear-cataclysm Russia. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because several of the creative staffers at developer 4a-Games apparently worked on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games--the original postapocalyptic Russian shooter. Metro 2033 looks like it will take the ragtag scavenger lifestyle of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and bring it to the next logical step: a postapocalyptic society, where survivors hole up in underground settlements and try to scrape out a living beneath a world ruined by nuclear fallout. The brief demonstration of the game shown earlier this year suggests it will be just as atmospheric as the games that arguably inspired it. (Speaking of which, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is also scheduled for release this year.) Metro 2033 will be released...sometime this year and will also have a console version.


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Napoleon: Total War


Projected release date: February 23, 2010
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time + Turn-Based
Recent Preview Coverage: Impressions - First Look

Someday, all this will be mine. Yours, I mean. All this will be yours.
Someday, all this will be mine. Yours, I mean. All this will be yours.

Next up: Napoleon: Total War, a project that started off as an expansion for Empire: Total War and ended up becoming its own stand-alone game. While Empire introduced a lot of new gameplay and concepts and brought the Total War series into a new era, it also had some issues, most notably with its AI. Developer Creative Assembly is pushing even harder to build in a smarter AI into a game that will take place on a much smaller scale, following the illustrious career of Napoleon Bonaparte, rather than the massive unification of the Old World or of the Roman Empire. Having seen Napoleon for myself and covered the game in our last preview, I have to say that I'm intrigued by the idea of the more-intimate scale of the game, partially because I'd like to see how the Total War engine handles smaller-scale conflict, and partially because it will be good to not have to manage 12 different conquered countries every turn for a change. Napoleon will ship in February.


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Mafia II


Projected release date: TBA 2010
Genre: Third-Person Shooter + Open World
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Impressions

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in again.
Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in again.

Mafia II will be the sequel to (wait for it) the original Mafia, an underrated sleeper-hit PC game from 2002 that never got its due. Mafia II will revisit the idea of early- to mid-20th-century big-city gangsters in a story that will span World War II. I enjoyed the original Mafia, because although it also had an open world to explore (like the Grand Theft Auto series, which has its own charm), your exploration was mostly directed and purposeful, and you weren't getting arrested every 20 seconds for running someone over. (Or, maybe that's just me.) Mafia II seems like it will have an intriguing story, modern third-person shooter mechanics, and more than a little style. The game will also appear on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, and will ship out...sometime this year.


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Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty


Projected release date: Q2 2010
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Hands-On - Single-Player Campaign

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. 'Nuff said.
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. 'Nuff said.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Any explanation needed here? No? Great, let's move on, then. I won't be providing a release date here for reasons that should be obvious to us all.


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Diablo III


Projected release date: TBA
Genre: Action RPG
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Hands-On -- The Monk

Diablo III. Again, 'nuff said.
Diablo III. Again, 'nuff said.

Diablo III. No explanation needed here either, yes? Assuming the game makes it out this year, which it may or may not. All right, then.


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World of Warcraft: Cataclysm


Projected release date: TBA 2010
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online RPG
Recent Preview Coverage: Hands-On Impressions

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Are we starting to notice a pattern here?
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Are we starting to notice a pattern here?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Let's call a hat trick on the whole "it's self-explanatory why these particular PC games are on the list" thing here. Ditto on the release date for this one.


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APB


Projected release date: March 2010
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, Third-Person Shooter
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Impressions

A highly customizable massively multiplayer Grand Theft Auto? Tell me more.
A highly customizable massively multiplayer Grand Theft Auto? Tell me more.

Next up, APB. Believe it or not, this is a game I've been chasing for a while, back before developer Realtime Worlds even announced Crackdown. It had quietly been in development for so long that many of us had forgotten about it until it made its grand redebut at last year's E3 and then at GamesCom.. I have to say that the premise of creating a customized gang sounds intriguing. I'd like to see more. APB will apparently launch this year, and it will also be coming to the Xbox 360.


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Max Payne 3


Projected release date: Q3 2010
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Recent Preview Coverage: N/A

Hoping this will be good. Need more info.
Hoping this will be good. Need more info.

Max Payne 3. The first two games were excellent on the PC (it's where the series debuted), and the idea of an even older, even more haggard Max could be an even more interesting development for our friend Mr. Payne. Unfortunately, information on this game has been hard to track down, but since it's scheduled for release this year on the PC, as well as on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, we'll hopefully know more soon. (The same actually goes for the next game from the original developer of Max Payne, Remedy. I'm talking, of course, about Alan Wake, whose PC version is who-knows-where.)


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Deus Ex 3


Projected release date: September 2010
Genre: Third-Person Action, RPG
Recent Preview Coverage: N/A

Et tu, DeusEx3.com Web site?
Et tu, DeusEx3.com Web site?

Deus Ex 3. The sequel, the myth, the mystery. A game that has been passed around from generation to generation, and apparently development studio to development studio. We know that Eidos established a new Montreal development house last year and that this group is tasked with the game. And we know that the game is also planned for release on the Xbox 360 and PS3. And...that's about it. The original Deus Ex was a quirky, open-ended RPG/shooter hybrid that became a cult classic on the PC. The sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, was developed from the ground up as a console game and in my opinion, and the opinions of other people as well, suffered for it. Which path will Deus Ex 3 take? We'll find out this year. Hopefully.


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R.U.S.E.


Projected release date: February 2, 2010
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time + Turn-Based
Recent Preview Coverage: Updated Impressions

A strategy game where dirty tricks are built right in as part of the game? Hmm.
A strategy game where dirty tricks are built right in as part of the game? Hmm.

Up next: R.U.S.E., an interesting new strategy game with a really confusing video trailer. For the record, I've seen this game in motion, and you don't get a really cool flat-panel TV table that you slide your fingers over. Instead, you fight out World War II in a real-time strategy game with a tactical map that you can use to set up different stratagems and feints, such as guarding a territory with phony units while you sneak your real troops into battle under radio silence. I'm looking forward to seeing and playing more of the game--it will also appear on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 and will ship in February.


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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising


Projected release date: Q2 2010
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time
Recent Preview Coverage: Hands-On Impressions - The New Campaign

The forces of Chaos return in this expansion for Dawn of War II.
The forces of Chaos return in this expansion for Dawn of War II.

Rounding out the list is Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising, the first expansion for Dawn of War II. I wanted to really enjoy Dawn of War II and got a lot out of it, and I felt that the 15-minute single-player campaign missions were a great idea in theory, even if they may not have worked out in practice. As I mentioned the last time I saw the game, Relic is clearly working to flesh out the campaign to make sure missions feel less identical and offer steeper challenges. Plus, Chaos is back, which means more ways to wreak havoc in multiplayer. That isn't a bad thing.

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I'm about out of time here, so I'll sign off at this point. Feel free to share your thoughts, and any other 2010 PC games on your radar, with me by leaving a comment. For the record, if I left your favorite game off the list, it's not because I'm "biased," or because I was bribed by another company, or even because your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries (though that last part about your parents is true, and I have the police documents to prove it). No, it's because of that one time that you didn't introduce me to Jerry, who I understand is a major player down at the sewing store.

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