Embrace the upcoming holiday cheer and sing it loud for your consoles to hear

Next-gen consoles are becoming the norm and they're hungry for this fall's big games


They’re big; they’re mostly black – for now – and they’re hungry for new games to truly unleash their power.

Yes, sadly our summers have come to an end and with it another season of games to keep our newly unpackaged, game crazed machines at bay.

This summer’s big games like Wolfenstein and Watch Dogs were enough to keep most gamers and new consoles busy and allowed people who haven’t taken the plunge into ‘the next generation of gaming’ to have some fun.

Revamped and updated versions of some of 2013’s hottest games like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 edition of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and the critically lauded The Last of Us’ PlayStation 4 exclusive Remastered edition rewarded those who dove in head first.

But like the Cookie Monster craves cookies, our consoles crave games.

And real gamers know the months leading up to Christmas pack a horde of heavy weight titles. These are the games that will have our consoles roaring like lions while singing “Jingle Bells” with barbaric yawps between belches of pumpkin spice lattés at Starbucks. Be sure to include your “PC master race” friends when you’re cruising through this fall’s biggest games.

Now, quickly before any more of these games get delayed – Evolve, I’m looking at you – here are the must-have games for this fall and holiday season:

Game: Destiny

Developer: Bungie – of Halo fame

Release: Sept. 9 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PS4

On Tuesday Sept. 9, Destiny will finally come out. And as one of the most highly anticipated titles for the past few years, it will officially kick off the start to this fall’s onslaught of releases.

Bungie might not be making Halo anymore, but they certainly haven’t stopped making games that excite millions around the world. Over the summer, over 4.6 million people got a taste of Destiny across the game’s multiple betas, which should make for an exciting release day.

The newest of Bungie’s standout titles packs an always expanding and changing online world that embraces the online connectivity of gamers and their thirst for action-packed adventures.

As a guardian, a defender of the last safe city on Earth, players choose from multiple classes and explore a destroyed earth and other planets within the solar system to prevent humanity’s destruction.

Game: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Release Date: Sept. 30 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4; Oct. 2 for PC

The dark, grueling, baron and orc-infested lands of Mordor, based around The Lord of the Rings saga, have only briefly been explored in the games, books and movies. But that’s about to change.

As a wraith-powered ranger, Talon hunts the grueling foes of the orc-filled domain of the dark lord Sauron – some of whom are more forgiving than others. The Nemesis System keeps Talon humble and gives certain characters a memory of their interactions with the wraithy protagonist, allowing some enemies to be more aggressive when you meet them in combat time and time again.

Game: Lord of the Fallen

Developer: Deck13 Interactive and CI Games

Release Date: Oct. 28 for Xbox One and PS4

This highly stylized game appears to be the spawn of the relentlessly, unforgiving series Dark Souls and the well-received Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It takes a few notes from Dark Souls’ grueling and difficult nature and combat, while borrowing some aesthetic notes akin to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Diablo 3.

No sin is ever forgotten and as a convicted criminal, Harkyn has a long way to go to deliverance. As gods and demons descend upon to plunge the world into enslavement and darkness once more, Harkyn might be humanity’s last hope at redemption.

Game: Sunset Overdrive

Developer: Insomniac Games – the makers of Rachet and Clank and Resistance, two PlayStation exclusive series.

Release Date: Oct. 28 exclusively for Xbox One

For Xbox One owners, Sunset Overdrive is a slam-dunk. This must have title is from a developer best known for their crazy weapons and inventive worlds. The aesthetics look like a DreamWorks animated film designer on too much caffeine designed them – a fitting problem considering players fight characters that have overdosed on an energy drink.

Sunset Overdrive takes place in the dystopian Sunset City in 2027. With focused combat and movement built for the most experienced free-running parkour experts, this game already looks like an absolute blast.

Game: The Crew

Developer: Ubisoft – trust me, you’ve heard of them

Release Date: Nov. 11 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC

Want to take a joy ride across the United States in minutes? Or jump from a race in Los Angeles, California to an off-road event in Kansas? If so, The Crew is for you.

The Crew takes the craziness of many popular racing games, including Need for Speed, Dirt and Test Drive Unlimited, melding them into adrenaline packed, high-octane experience. It looks fun alone, but packs a host of online features that will make playing with your friends even better. It’s time to form your own crew.

Game: Assassins Creed: Unity

Developer: Ubisoft – told you, you’ve heard of them

Release Date: Nov. 11 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC

This is a game that will make divers glad they took the plunge. Coming off the coat tails of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag – arguably the best game in the series yet – Unity throws players into the stunning and politically tumultuous French Revolution in Paris, but doesn’t leave them alone for long.

That’s right, Assassins Creed is finally packing cooperative play and the result might just trump the pirate infested open seas of Black Flag.

Where as the last generation exclusive Assassins Creed: Rogue has players hunting a disorganized and fractured Assassins organization, the next gen exclusive title promises Unity.

Game: Call of Duty (CoD): Advanced Warfare

Developer: Sledgehammer Games – the newest kids on the CoD block

Release Date: Nov. 4 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC

No game preview of the upcoming fall and holiday season of gaming would be complete without mentioning this year’s iteration of the top selling franchise, Call of Duty.

This year, developer Sledgehammer Games is stepping up to the plate, promising a home run and the best Call of Duty yet. Black Ops 2 (from Treyarch) and Ghosts (by Infinity Ward) have been moving the series into the future. But with Advanced Warfare, the future is here. Mechanical exo-skeltons will allow players to jump, run and slide like Halo fanatics have been trying to do within these games for years and offer the added capability of invisibility and other futuristic abilities. All of which should make the series’ renowned multiplayer more frenetic than ever.

Game: Far Cry 4

Developer: Ubisoft, making a third appearance on this list – heard of them, yet?

Release Date: Nov. 18 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC

Players became entranced in the luscious, and often dangerous, open world of Far Cry 3 as they tumbled down the rabbit whole to discover “the definition of insanity.” As crazy and adrenaline packed as moments in Far Cry 3 and its ridiculous stand-alone expansion Blood Dragon were; Far Cry 4 looks even crazier.

Screenshots of players riding an elephant and charging an enemy encampment was one of the first things that grabbed gamers’ attention. Further chaos of enraged rhinos, bloody melee kills and the stunning Shangri-La landscape have only made this game look ever more impressive, dark and entertaining than its already crazy predecessor.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com