As football gamer fans can slowly get over the somewhat anti-climactic release of a new Madden with the joy of football season back in their lives, September and early October will host a number of stellar releases spanning many genres.

August featured the announcement of the Dungeons & Dragons universe free-to-play PC MMORPG Neverwinter making its way to the Xbox One in early 2015. While PlayStation has continually edged out Xbox in terms of free-to-play titles, with exclusives like Dust 514, Planetside 2 and Loadout, it seems that the sides are beginning to balance out.

August also brought news that Lord Of The Rings fans would get to return to Middle-Earth in the form of a brand new adventure RPG game earlier than expected, with the game’s release date, initially slated for October, being moved up to late September.

Gamers with money burning holes in their pocket this month can enjoy open-world racing thrills, a fantasy role-playing game in a familiar setting, a classic brawler reimagined on a handheld or arguably the best sport simulation in video games at the beginning of October.

Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox One, Xbox 360) – Sept. 30

In a competitive fashion, two open-world racers will be vying for customer’s cash on Microsoft consoles, The Crew and Forza Horizon 2. Both the titles highlighted here have their attractive features, but ultimately Horizon 2 has the edge with the established franchise, earlier release date, expansive car list and tons of content. That being said, The Crew does feature a map of an abbreviated continental United States, but gamers have to wait until November to explore the Ubisoft racer.

Forza Horizon 2 takes place in a different European location, France and Italy, three times larger than the first game, and also implements a dynamic weather system that will affect driver traction and visibility and provide stunning cinematic settings. About 200 cars will be featured in stunning 1080p resolution, and Drivatar technology, where player driver data fueled AI opponents, will be used in Horizon 2.

All the improvements should be welcomed and help Horizon 2 take the reigns as the top racer on Xbox, including hundreds of hours of challenges and races to enjoy and tons of sites and hidden cars to find.

 

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3) – Sept. 30

This brand new storyline, set in the Lord Of The Rings universe, seeks to bridge the gap between The Hobbit and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy through an open-world role-playing game that should have Tolkien fans thoroughly enthused to roam around Mordor.

Shadow Of Mordor also includes an intricate progression and customization system with skill trees and equipment options, allowing the player to choose how they want to play with the protagonist, Talion, who is a ranger that harbors “Wraith” abilities, which grant him persuasive powers in interactions with others during the game.

With an authentic Tolkien back story tying the game into the saga and a badass character like Talion, this Lord Of The Rings game is shaping up to be one definitely worth checking out.

 

Super Smash Bros. (3DS) – Oct. 3

Every Nintendo console since Nintendo 64 has enjoyed a Super Smash Bros. release, whether it is on the GameCube or the Wii, and the game has always been the staple in college dorm rooms or apartments. Now, before it releases on the Wii U during the holiday season, brawlers will have the opportunity to experience the storied franchise on Nintendo’s handheld, the 3DS, in all its glory.

With a foolproof formula, Smash has been pleasing audiences for years, but the franchise has not seen a release since 2008 on the Wii with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Even with the time between, which saw Sony try their own version with their characters, Nintendo’s mash-up brawler has remained the undisputed leader.

Boasting a wealth of new characters to fight with, including well known stars like Mega-Man and Pac-Man, in addition to an exciting connectivity feature that will connect the handheld version to the Wii U version, similar to PlayStation’s All-Stars Battle Royale. Although this version may not lend itself well to the multiplayer fun that the console version has grown accustomed to, it still serves as a precursor to the console title at the very least.

 

NBA 2K15 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC) – Oct. 7

Even with EA Sports’ NBA Live franchise returning last year on next-generation consoles, it did little to affect the sales and critical acclaim of 2K Sports’ king of basketball, NBA 2K14. For this year’s installment, NBA 2K15, NBA MVP Kevin Durant graces the cover, and will boast improved gameplay and a number of new enhancements.

While 2014’s release was impressive, there were no opportunities to create players, among a number of glitchy gameplay hiccups that are being resolved in this version, in addition to a new Association-type mode called My League, which will let gamers control nearly every aspect of an NBA league like never before.

NBA 2K15 features a new injury system that replicates real wear and tear on NBA players and their body parts, which will provide authentic injury tendencies and the fear of playing with a player known for injuries recently, like a Derrick Rose or Kobe Bryant.

This franchise will undoubtedly improve on a number of things from last year’s version, add some exciting new features like making custom and editing current players, and should continue its reign as the premier basketball simulation.

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