The 9 Must-Play Games of Fall 2015 Source:

Although our calendars haven’t technically switched over to Autumn yet, that hasn’t stopped the annual Fall gaming season from already getting well under way. The big game releases have already started: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released a couple weeks ago, while the major new expansion for one of last year’s best-selling games, Destiny: The Taken King, is out in stores now. While it’s refreshing to see a September release schedule full of heavy hitters, the biggest games of the year still lie ahead in October, November, and December, as they always have. Major titles such as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and the next Legend of Zelda game may have slipped into 2016, but there are still plenty of games to get excited about in the near future. While there are loads of other games to look forward to, the following 10 titles are poised to be the best, must-play games of the Fall and should be on every gamer’s radar (if they’re not already).

9. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: October 23 (PS4, Xbox One) November 19 (PC)

Assassin’s Creed fans were understandably jilted by the lackluster showing of last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, the first fully next-gen entry in the popular series. While burnout has definitely begun to set in, Ubisoft is hoping to right the ship with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Even if you’ve become jaded towards the series, early previews have shown enough promise to get excited about what Syndicate has on offer. The Victorian London setting is a perfect fit for the series’ historical fiction focus and even if the gameplay ends up falling short, the highly-detailed world looks like enough of a draw for history buffs. Plus, Ubisoft has listened to fan feedback and is finally featuring a female protagonist in a main series entry, as the game will allow you to freely switch between Assassin siblings Evie and Jacob Frye. Add in the recent reveal of the game’s Jack the Ripper expansion and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate may just be the return to form the series so desperately needs. Source:

8. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: December 1

It’s been a long time coming, but Tom Clancy’s popular tactical shooter series is finally getting a new entry in the form of Rainbow Six Siege. After the false start of Rainbow Six Patriots, a title which was eventually cancelled, Rainbow Six Siege will be the first entry in the series since 2008’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2. A seven year absence is a long time in the gaming world, but considering the pedigree of the previous titles, it’s safe to assume that Ubisoft Montreal will be bringing their A game in this long-awaited return to the tactical shooter series. Rainbow Six Siege should appeal to any first-person shooter fans craving a bit more strategy and teamwork with their gunplay, as the game heavily emphasizes the use of communication between players. Plus, the presence of an overhauled multiplayer mode and destructible environments should put it line with other popular shooter series like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Source:

7. Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: November 6

It’s easy to become cynical about the Call of Duty brand and write the series off as an annual sales juggernaut that just repeats the same formula over and over. While it’s true that Call of Duty is no longer as fresh or innovative as it was in the mid to late 2000s, it would be a disservice to write off the next entry completely. With their three-tiered development cycle, Activision has Treyarch up to bat for Call of Duty: Black Ops III and as most COD fans will tell you, the Treyarch games are the ones worth standing up and taking notice of. Treyarch are notable for taking actual risks with their games and trying new things, so while you can expect a good dose of the familiar with Black Ops III, you can also look forward to a fresh coat of paint in other areas. In particular, Black Ops III is looking to make its campaign and fan-favorite zombie modes deeper than ever. The haters will continue to hate, but don’t be surprised if this ends up being your favorite Call of Duty in years. Source:

6. Rock Band 4

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: October 6

2015 has emerged as the year of the musical rhythm game comeback and leading the charge on that front is Rock Band 4, the first entry in the franchise in five years that also marks the debut of the series on next-gen consoles. Unlike rival game Guitar Hero Live and its bizarre full motion video band experience, developer Harmonix isn’t looking to rock the boat (pun intended) too hard with Rock Band 4. Instead, the developer is focused on bringing back the multiplayer thrills of the earlier titles with a host of small changes aimed at tightening up the experience, as well as an all new soundtrack of great songs to jam along to. In addition, Rock Band 4 will fully support the Rock Band music network, so any songs you’ve downloaded for previous titles will be compatible with the new game, meaning there’s really no excuse not to get the band back together, dust off those plastic instruments, and get back to musical world domination. Source:

5. Just Cause 3

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: December 1

The original Just Cause was a largely forgettable open world game that did little to distinguish itself from a crowded market. Thankfully its sequel, Just Cause 2, took things to another level, focusing on an over-the-top, B-action movie style that helped make it one of the best of its kind on last-gen consoles. Developer Avalanche Studios is hoping to expand on the ridiculous adventures of Rico Rodriguez and his incredibly destructive style with Just Cause 3 and from what we’ve seen so far, it could very well be the best open world action game of the year. As Just Cause 2 showed, the secret to this series’ success is giving players incredible tools of destruction and letting them run wild in a beautiful setting and Just Cause 3 looks to trump the experience of its predecessor at every turn. As great as it is to have more grounded sandbox games like GTA V around, we can’t wait to start grappling onto fighter jets and fly them into enemy faces when Just Cause 3 comes out this December. Source:

4. Rise of the Tomb Raider

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360

Release Date: November 10

Timed exclusive deals aren’t the most consumer-friendly of business decisions, but we can’t deny that Crystal Dynamics’ sequel to 2013’s excellent Tomb Raider reboot looks absolutely incredible, no matter what platform it’s artificially locked to. While it stinks for everyone else to have to wait another year for this game, Xbox owners look to have a winner on their hands with Rise of the Tomb Raider. The game promises to be another thrilling cinematic adventure for Lara Croft focused on action and exploration, but this time the developers are (thankfully) putting a lot more emphasis on the actual tomb raiding, as the previous game received criticism for its lack of puzzle-solving elements. While it remains to be seen whether Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an experience on par with next year’s PlayStation exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, it will come as a surprise if it doesn’t turn out to be one of the best games of the Fall. Source:

3. Star Wars Battlefront

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: November 17

Easily one of the most anticipated games of the year on any platform, the wait for a new Star Wars Battlefront game has been a long and trying one. While it seems insane that we’ve had to wait a full decade for a sequel to a series of extremely popular games, 2015 now feels like the perfect year for a return to the virtual battlefields of Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters this December, any Star Wars game that EA and developer Dice put out is pretty much guaranteed to sell gangbusters. Fortunately, early previews for the game have been impressive and it’s hard to think of another game that captures the looks and feel of Star Wars quite as well as the new Battlefront. While there is some reason to be concerned that the game will be a bit light on content at launch, the core experience looks much too promising to pass up. Source:

2. Halo 5: Guardians

Platform: Xbox One

Release Date: October 27

We’ll probably never stop thinking that the decision to remove split-screen from Halo 5 was a supremely poor design decision that makes the game less appealing as a whole. That being said, this is still Halo we’re talking about and each new Halo release is an event worth getting excited about. Halo 5: Guardians will be the first game in the series made for the Xbox One and as such, it will surely be a visual spectacle with few rivals when it releases this October. Still, there’s much more to look forward to in Halo 5 beyond the visuals, as developer 343 Industries is not only changing up the campaign to focus on two separate character groups that puts the emphasis on cooperative play with other players, but are poised to release the best multiplayer experience on Xbox One thanks to a revamped multiplayer mode. With the amount of changes being made to the core Halo experience, Halo 5 will be a must-play simply to see if 343 can pull everything off and deliver a game worthy of the Halo name. Source:

1. Fallout 4

Platforms: Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: November 10

Each time Bethesda releases a new RPG, it’s an event that pretty much levels the playing field and makes the industry stand up and take notice. The studio had this effect when they released Fallout 3 back in 2008 and more recently with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011. Fallout 4 is not only the must-play game of the Fall, but the entire year. The revered post-apocalyptic series is set in and around a nuclear war-ravaged Boston this time out and will undoubtedly build off of, and improve upon, the gameplay systems established in Fallout 3 and the Bethesda-produced title Fallout: New Vegas. The real draw this time out though is the settlement system, an expansive meta-game that allows players to repurpose items they find in the environment in order to build their own living, breathing community. With that kind of ambition, Fallout 4 is set to rob us of all of our free time and will likely snag a bevy of Game of the Year awards when all is said and done too. Source:

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)