2009 is done and dusted, but there's an awful lot to look forward to in 2010. Over the next week we'll bring you our 50 most anticipated games of the year. It's fair to say that gamers appear to be in for quite a treat in 2010, should most of these titles make their expected release dates and deliver on their early promise. The year will bring everything from MMOs and single-player JRPGs to mature adventure games and visceral first-person shooters. Read on for games 40-31 and head here for the titles ranked 50-41.
40. MAG - PS3, January 29
The thing about MAG, right, is that it's going to be really big. The clue is in the name: Massive Action Game. How massive are we talking? Try "256 players in a single match" massive. With that that many people taking part, there's bound to be someone worse than you - someone you can pick on for easy kills. Then again, there will probably be at least a 100 people who can blow you away with a perfectly-aimed headshot from halfway across the map. This is the first game we've seen in four years from SOCOM developer Zipper Interactive, but something tells us it'll be worth the wait.
39. Darksiders - Xbox 360, PS3, January 8
Vigil Games' third-person post-apocalyptic hack and slash action exploration adventure thing is out this Friday, and we've already played it a whole bunch, but it's still worth a mention in our most anticipated games of the year list. Darksiders is Zelda meets Metroid meets Spawn meets Devil May Cry meets the in-laws (that last one's not true). You play WAR, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who slices and dices his way through millions of demons as he attempts to clear his discredited name. He's got a big sword, chucks cars about and eventually gets to ride a flaming horse. Win.
38. UFC 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3, May 28
UFC: Undisputed is easily the best thing that Yuke's has made in years - a meaty one-on-one fighter that offered plenty of tactical options while making good use of its license. We're now hoping that the Japanese developer will build upon these foundations and give us a sequel that fixes the original's few shortcomings. An expanded career mode is top of our wishlist, but we'd also like to see better online support (particularly a mechanic to stop cheaters) and a better control system for pulling off submissions - those painful moves where you bend someone's knee behind their tonsils, and the like. And with EA's new MMA title also warming up in the locker room, the scene is set for a sweaty clash of the titans.
37. Bad Company 2 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, March 5
It will take sizeable balls for any military-themed FPS game to stand up to the might of Modern Warfare 2, but Bad Company 2 has sizeable cojones tucked away in its man pants. The first game served up a double whammy of shooter action via its single-player campaign and multiplayer crate-snatching, and it threw in some pretty fine destruction effects, too. The latter will be supped-up to the nth degree for this year's sequel, and DICE's open-form playgrounds of death seem to be as yummy as ever. When it comes to FPS action on this kind of grand scale, few other developers can compete.
36. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - Wii, February
After the solid-but-unremarkable horror of last year's Homecoming, it was evident that the Silent Hill series needed a shot in the arm. As luck would have it, Shattered Memories is now creeping towards us with a massive, demonic needle in its cadaverous hand. While it's strictly a remake of the original Shill, Shattered Memories introduces a whole slew of gameplay innovations; players must now run and hide from monsters, rather than fight them, while a series of interactive therapy sessions allow the game to build up a psychological profile of you and your fears - data which is then used to reshape the game world and the behaviour of NPCs. It's already picked up some strong reviews in the States, and we've loved what we've played of it so far.
35. Kane and Lynch 2 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 2010
We're on thin ice here, as due to an embargo we're not allowed to fully disclose what we've seen of this game, but let's just say that Kane and Lynch 2 looks utterly mental - and not just because it features a psychopath who looks like a homicidal version of Rufus from the Bill and Ted films. Regardless of how you may feel about the divisive first game, we can tell you that people will definitely be talking about this project when it arrives later this year. In the meantime, stay tuned for a preview in the near future that will spill the beans faster than a beans chef trying to pour out a tin of beans into a bean stew during an earthquake. Or something.
34. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Xbox 360, PS3, 2010
Metal Gear Solid legend Hideo Kojima might be in charge of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and he might have announced the game as a Castlevania title during Konami's E3 2009 press conference, but it's producer and overall big Konami cheese David Cox, along with Spanish developer MercurySteam, who are charged with the nitty gritty of making the rebirth work. What are we expecting? Action, adventure, whips and vampires, all in lovely modern day third-person 3D. It should be great. Blood sucking immortals are enjoying a popularity surge fuelled by the excruciatingly sexy True Blood, so Castlevania's got a real chance at superstardom. Also, Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter's doing a voice. What could possibly go wrong?
33. Spec Ops: The Line - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Q4 2009 or later
Spec Ops shouldn't be sending our spider sense crazy. It's yet another third-person, cover-based shooter, it's set in a modern warfare environment, and it's being developed by a studio we'd never heard of. But that trailer grabs you by the balls and shakes you so hard you can't help but spew excitement-filled vomit all over your computer monitor. The game's described as a "provocative and gripping third-person modern military shooter that challenges players' morality by putting them in the middle of unspeakable situations where unimaginable choices affecting human life must be made". Sounds like South London.
32. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 - Xbox 360, PS3, 2010
Games are funny. New "intellectual property" (snore) are, most of the time, merely proof of concepts, test beds, publishers dipping their toes in water. If they send tills ringing, they'll get a sequel, a sequel that allows the developers to make the "director's cut" of the first game. This, we reckon, is what we'll get with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, a game we doubt will rewrite the Force Unleashed rulebook - more add better written pages. All we have to go on is a kick arse trailer in which "The Apprentice" faces off against a towering beast. Shadow of the Colossus plus The Force Unleashed equals potential!
31. Metroid: Other M - Wii, 2010
It's got a dumb title, but it's being developed by smart people. Team Ninja, the guys and girls behind the gory Ninja Gaiden series, are trying their blood-soaked hands at one of Nintendo's most cherished franchises, and we can't wait to see what happens. Ninty's Reggie has said Other M will return to the style of the traditional series as opposed to the Prime series, and it'll have a "harder edge". We're not sure what that means, we expect a strange cross between Ninja Gaiden's hack and slash action and the Prime series' exploration. We anticipate Other M like we anticipate the Large Hadron Collider - it'll either solve the mysteries of the universe or suck us into a black hole.