A gamer’s glimpse into 2009

Since my childhood — when Nintendo 64 and Zelda were king — I’ve been working to defy the stereotype that there are no girl gamers. I love the worlds the gaming industry has been creating through the years: They have always been a welcome getaway from my own boring life. After a successful 2008 gaming year, my hopes are high for 2009. Here are my top picks for games to play this spring.

F.E.A.R. 2 (1)
I spent most of the first award-winning F.E.A.R. game screaming like a little girl, and I have high hopes for its sequel. F.E.A.R. 2 still has excessively bloody moments, frightening creatures and that dead psychic girl who makes missions both difficult and terrifying.

The story has changed and the graphics are slightly better, but overall it’s looking like more of the same from F.E.A.R. I’m not complaining — why fix something that’s working just fine anyway?

Release: Feb. 10

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360

Street Fighter IV (2)
Capcom is boldly rehashing its 1990s fighter with an artistic twist in the long-anticipated Street Fighter IV — and it works. I haven’t gotten my hands on a preview copy, but screen captures have sold me already.

The game promises the return of beloved characters like Ryu, M. Bison and Chun-Li, but also adds some new faces. With both new and old moves — complemented by breathtaking backdrops — Street Fighter IV is guaranteed to please old fans and attract new ones.

Release: Feb 17

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360

Sims 3 (3)
No game has me more excited for the new year than Sims 3. As a die-hard Sims fan, I’ve been pleased with each new installment in the series — and the newest version looks flawless.

The levels of customization border on the infinite, allowing each Sim to be completely unique with options ranging from a Sim’s body weight level to the paint job on his or
her car.

Neighborhoods are no longer limited and the open world of Sims 3 lets characters move freely from lot to lot, leaving more opportunities for chance encounters and events.

Sims 3 is all about unending possibilities, which is what gamers have been clambering for from the series since its birth.

Release: Feb 20

Consoles: PC

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop (4)
Dead Rising was released for the Xbox in 2006, but in 2008 someone at Capcom read my mind and thought that bashing zombies with a Wii remote would be the best direction for the series.

Unfortunately, sacrifices will be made in graphics, and picture-taking is no longer a part of the game thanks to the new first-person camera, but these losses are made up for with adjustable difficulty and multiple save slots.

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop isn’t innovative or new — it’s just fun. My recommendation: Find a park bench, fashion it as a weapon and go crazy on the undead.

Release: Feb 27

Consoles: Wii

Killzone 2 (5)
Released just in time for those finishing up the batch of 2008 first-person shooters, Killzone 2 continues the popular trend of sci-fi war games.

Players with a small budget or an Xbox will be out of luck with this PlayStation 3 exclusive. The graphics and gameplay are stunning, featuring an interactive environment complete with climate and all the conditions expected from a war-tattered planet.

Another great addition is the online multiplayer, in which up to 32 players can face off against one another. But don’t expect to splatter online friends on the front of a vehicle or defeat the story co-op right away — these features won’t be available until they distribute a patch sometime after the game’s release.

Release: Feb 27

Consoles: PS3

MadWorld (6)
Tuck the kids in early before playing MadWorld — it is not your average Wii game. MadWorld takes place in a city quarantined after a deadly virus that forces citizens to fight for their right to live.

What’s really unique about this game, though, is its art style. The cartoonish graphics are reminiscent of Sin City and are strictly black and white — except for the blood. No More Heroes needs to get its act together in its sequel or MadWorld will take its place as the most graphic, disturbing game on Wii.

Release: March 10

Consoles: Wii

Resident Evil 5 (7)
RE5 takes what was great about Resident Evil 4 — like the style and the battle system — and adds to it. Though some gamers were disappointed by the game’s Japan-only demo released last December, I feel they set their sights too high.

RE5 has enough changes to keep you interested, and the story line is phenomenal. This new installment also has a co-op mode — with main characters Chris and Sheva — where players can shotgun their way through story mode with a friend.

For fans of Resident Evil 4, this game only looks better. And gamer gals like me can look forward to the ladies of RE5 kicking some major butt.

Release: March 13

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360

Batman: Arkham Asylum (8)
A trailer hasn’t gotten me this excited for a video game since Kingdom Hearts. It’s dark, it’s creepy and it’s Batman.

I’m not a fan of superhero games — usually because they seem poorly made and have no point — but this game looks too good to pass up. From what I’ve seen so far, the game has moved away from standard comic-book game stereotypes and is leaning more toward the feel of the Silent Hill series.

Though not much has been released on this game, there are rumors of a free-roam Gotham City, and some classic characters are expected, like the Riddler, the Joker, the Penguin and Killer Croc. For more information and rumors, check out the Eidos forums at batmanarkhamasylum.com.

Release: May 1

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360, PC