These are the months you've been waiting for all year! After a very light summer of new game releases, the next three months will feature a constant onslaught of big-budget hits that deserve a place in your GameQ. No matter your console or genre of preference, the fall of 2011 has something for everyone. Below is a look at the 10 biggest games that are coming out between September and November 2011.
I cannot wait to play this game! Over the past few years, Rocksteady Studios, creators of Batman: Arkham Asylum, have slowly released details on this massive sequel. Set in an open-world Gotham, Batman: Arkham City will be less linear than its predecessor and deeper across many dimensions - including combat and gadgets. The cast of characters also expands, with confirmed villains including The Penguin, The Joker, Hugo Strange, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, and surely more that are being held as surprises. Add in playable Catwoman for certain missions plus the rumored appearance of Robin, and the result may be the most interactive and comprehensive Batman experience ever authored. The game arrives in mid-October.
The sequel to 2009's Game of the Year, Uncharted 2, this PS3 exclusive promises both a cinematic single-player campaign and a deep multiplayer experience. But let's face it: Uncharted fans are mostly looking forward to the story about explorer Nathan Drake's newest adventure. There are promises of burning buildings, plane crashes, underwater sequences, and more. Whereas Naughty Dog revealed a lot of Uncharted 2's campaign before launch, this time the team is being careful not to spoil too much. If you own a PlayStation 3, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the must-have title for the holidays. It arrives at the beginning of November.
The Penguin joins the cast of villains in Batman: Arkham City.
id Software, creators of Doom and Quake, return with Rage.
This month brings the release of the finale in the Gears of War trilogy. Epic Games has taken the extra time to deliver what they say is the most polished Gears game yet, with plenty of big-budget action and Gears' trademark duck-and-cover mechanic. New additions including a playable mech suit, the Silverback, and a storyline that will let you play as characters other than Marcus at times. Co-op throughout the campaign is a big focus, and multiplayer receives extra attention with a new update to Horde Mode (where waves of enemies attack your position). Gears 3 is the big Xbox 360 exclusive for the holidays, not to mention the first big game releasing this fall.
Assassin's Creed is a game franchise that has gotten better with each subsequent release. This fall's entry, Revelations, is the final game starring Italian hero Ezio. But it will also feature gameplay in the modern day with Desmond, and during the Third Crusade with Altair, the star of the original game. This time around, the team has upgraded the graphics - the cutscenes look phenomenal - and added new gameplay, including the ability to craft bombs which can be deployed as weapons or distractions. The team is also teasing that the way you play as Desmond in the modern day will be unique. He is now trapped in the "Black Room," a part of the Animus time-travel device that has never been explored before in an Assassin's game. Revelations arrives in mid-November.
If you've been playing games for a long time, you no doubt remember the classic first-person shooters DOOM and Quake from the 1990s. Now, id Software, the creator of those games, is back with its first major multi-platform game based on an original world. Rage combines id's classic corridor-crawl action with something new: vehicles. I've played the first few hours of the game, and the combination of racing with action creates an experience that feels like a light role-playing game with epic, fast-paced battles. Rage is due out in early October for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Here's a game that you might have to rent for a few months! Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the follow-up to the hugely successful Oblivion from Bethesda Game Studios. This absolutely gigantic role-playing game promises hundreds of hours of gameplay. You'll assume the role of the hero Dragonborn in the region of Skyrim, where Dragons have returned to the land. Oblivion was a great game, but the graphics were the weak link. Skyrim features a fully upgraded graphics engine as well as a bigger focus on action combat with dual weapon wielding. You can also learn 'dragon shouts' that are used throughout the game to summon magic and other powers like teleportation. Skyrim arrives in mid-November.
Let's face it: Your Wii is probably collecting a lot of dust right now. Nintendo hopes to change that this November with the long-awaited released of the much-delayed The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The latest Zelda adventure will require use of the Wii Motion Plus accessory, and is based around the idea of sword combat where you slash enemies using the motion controller. It may seem a little gimmicky for a Zelda game but creator Shigeru Miyamoto has spent years refining the action, which is set up as a prequel to Ocarina of Time. Besides swordplay, you'll also get to use a bow and a slingshot to battle against evil forces. Skyward Sword arrives right before Thanksgiving for the Wii.
EA's Battlefield 3 is planning an all-out assault on Call of Duty this holiday season. The basic pitch: Call of Duty is running on the same engine as always, but Battlefield is built on a next-generation engine called Frostbyte 2 that delivers better visuals and technology. This modern-day military shooter is also different because of its focus on vehicles, which play an important role in multiplayer. A level shown recently at the European Gamescom conference demonstrated huge military jet battles in addition to ground combat. Battlefield looks best on the PC where it runs at nearly twice the speed as the console versions, but regardless of platform the game looks beautiful. Later in September, there will be a multiplayer Beta so you can test it out before the official game release in late October.
No game will sell more copies this fall than Modern Warfare 3. But, with most of developer Infinity Ward now working for Activision rival EA, gamers are rightfully wondering if the latest Call of Duty will deliver the kind of quality fans expect from the series. With missions that span the world - including London, Germany, and New York City - the action will no doubt be intense. This time Activision is putting most of its focus into multiplayer and Spec Ops, the co-op multiplayer mode first introduced in Modern Warfare 2. Many of the multiplayer features will best be experienced with the new Call of Duty Elite subscription service that lets you track your stats on the web, or even on your mobile. Modern Warfare 3 arrives in mid-November.
It doesn't matter if there is an NBA lockout or not - 2K Sports is still planning to release its follow-up to last year's blockbuster NBA 2K11. Michael Jordan is back on the cover, but he's joined by two other all-stars for special editions: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Besides unbelievable graphics and presentation, this NBA 2K12 expands beyond a straight simulation with its "Legends" mode, where you can relive the careers of classic athletes like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlin, and of course all three of the cover athletes. NBA 2K12 arrives in early October.