It's just about here – that rush for the holiday season when all the best games come to market, games you simply can't do without. A lot of development time and marketing dollars went into these games, and while some may be a little too over-hyped for their own good (a jacket edition for Resident Evil 6, really?!), there's no question that these games will be worth playing through.
We've got a handy guide talking about the ten games we're anticipating the most this holiday season. Now, not every game is in here (we skipped NBA Baller Beats, sorry), but the "big" guns are definitely out, and you should probably drop your pre-orders now, if you're smart.
Without further ado, here are the top picks, in release date order…
(NOTE: There aren't any Wii U games on this list because we already pointed them out for their own special. But don't worry, we're excited for that line-up as well, and, hey, some of these games are coming out for it!)
FIFA Soccer 13 (Electronic Arts, September 25th)
EA's soccer sim is the stuff of ultimate dreams, judging by what we've played over the past few years. FIFA 12 culminated in truly remarkable ways, between its realistic gameplay and its user-friendly features. And then there's the online component…just, whoa. But this year's version will be even better, with refined animations, better momentum to make the sport come across as more realistic than before, a number of teams to choose from worldwide, and, of course, the return of the Football Club, which separates the men from the little girly men. Step up and get your kicks, people. Next week!
Resident Evil 6 (Capcom, October 2nd)
There were mixed feelings regarding Resident Evil 5, but there's no question that Capcom is taking a much more action-packed approach to its sixth chapter in its survival horror series. Featuring three main characters and hours worth of zombie stomping action, Resident Evil 6 has plenty of twists and turns in its storyline, as well as some of the best visuals the series has seen to date. Now the only question is if it can set up Resident Evil 7 for a solid next-gen arrival. We'll find out in a couple of weeks…
NBA 2K13 (2K Games, October 2nd)
With NBA Live 13 delayed (and probably set to suffer the same fate as NBA Elite 11), it's time for 2K Sports to dominate the paint once more with its ultimate basketball sim. NBA 2K13 will bring the '92 Olympic Dream Team to the forefront, along with improved gameplay additions and animations to make the game look and feel more realistic than ever before. Add in some fun All-Star Weekend shenanigans and the video game return of Charles Barkley and you've got a slam dunk on your hands.
Dishonored (Bethesda, October 9th)
As you could see from our hands-on impressions with the game, Dishonored definitely has a quirky Bioshock-ish feel to it, but is its own uncontained animal, a thrilling first-person adventure that blends elements of stealth with over-the-top action and amazing abilities, including an awesome possession ability that lets you take over enemies in dire time of need. Featuring refreshing visuals and plenty of missions to complete, Dishonored should definitely blow you away in no time flat.
Medal of Honor Warfighter (Electronic Arts, October 23rd)
The original Medal of Honor was just a warm-up for the development team at Danger Close. Warfighter is the proof that they mean serious business. Featuring a compelling single player campaign and a refocused multiplayer mode that has Tier 1 teams from all over the world competing to be the top dog, this game is definitely shaping up to be a spectacular improvement over the first. From what we've seen thus far, it packs a ton of thrilling sequences, all powered by DICE's impressive Frostbite 2 technology. This might even knock Battlefield 3 off its mighty perch. Maybe…
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Electronic Arts, October 30th)
The latest from Criterion Games, the team behind Burnout Paradise, has a lot more in common with that classic than you might think. Need For Speed: Most Wanted has a whole lot of racing action included, whether it's pursuit missions where you try to outrun – or become – the cops, or just want to go joy-riding in any given number of sport cars. But perhaps its greatest component is the return of AutoLog, where you can join friends online or compete with their best times, then challenge them to return the favor. We'll see you on the road.
Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft, October 30th)
No one said making a killing was easy…but every year, Ubisoft just seems to keep making it more fun. That's the case with Assassin's Creed III, which is looking like one of the best entries we've seen in years. Featuring a new protagonist, an entirely new setting (the American Revolution) and hours worth of missions, the game almost seems like the jump-start that the series has been needing. What's more, some of the ways you can dispatch of enemies are downright sick, including a musket shot that has to be seen to believed. Soon, folks, soon…
Halo 4 (Microsoft, November 6th)
Master Chief's return simply can't come soon enough, but it's now less than two months before we see what he can do against dastardly new alien forces. Halo 4 marks the changing of the guard in the series' development, with 343 Industries taking over for the departing Bungie. Judging by what we've seen, though, nothing has been lost in the transition, as the War Games multiplayer and thrilling new single player campaign appear to be right on target. Throw in free downloadable co-op missions and you've got a winner. Yeah, like Master Chief's ever lost a spring in his step. (And ODST did NOT count.)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Activision, November 13th)
"Call of Duty again?!" Hardly, kiddos. This new entry from Treyarch shows some signs of change, just as Assassin's Creed III did for its respected brand. This time, you're hitting up the battle in the near future, fighting against your own machines and enemy soldiers using every trick in the book, including flying turrets, walking tanks and awesome weapons. What's more, along with a great single player mode, there's the Overwatch multiplayer where you can change views to anyone on the battlefield, along with traditional versus matches and the return of Zombies. Bring on the fight!
PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale (SCEA, November 20th)
Don't call it Smash Brothers. While Sony's upcoming brawler appears to be similar in nature to Nintendo's long-running fighting series, there's really a lot more here. Take character selection. You've got a number of first-party favorites, as well as heroes from other games, like Big Daddy from Bioshock, Dante from DMC: Devil May Cry, and Raiden from Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. You've also got cross-platform connectivity between the PS3 and Vita, online play, challenging stages, and gameplay that's easy enough for anyone to get into, though hard to master. That sounds like a party game to us. Bring it!