Releases excite gamers

As blockbuster games such as Darksiders II and Madden NFL 13 marked the end of August, the video game community awaits the fourth quarter of the much-observed release calendar.

Avid gamers know that the late third quarter and fourth quarter generally boast the largest and most successful releases for gaming — just in time for the holidays. Although the wait for later-release big shots like Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed III and Halo 4, continues September supplies plenty of games to enjoy in the meantime. Here are three of the month’s most notable games:

Strap on your skates and step on the ice. Sept. 11 welcomes the release of the month’s first major game, EA Sports’ NHL 13.

Boasting Claude Giroux, right winger for the Philadelphia Flyers, on its cover, NHL 13 packs a walloping punch between slap shots and broken teeth. But, the same common dilemma seems to arise with the sports genre: What will make this game different from the last?

Artificial intelligence seems to be the main focus of the development team this year; players can react to everything on the ice, not just what is directly in front of them. Thus, gameplay has become smarter and more challenging, reflecting the minds of the actual NHL stars made virtual for the video game.

New physics and new AI calls for unique gameplay, which is what sports genre fans pray for each year. It seems like EA might have gotten the hat trick with NHL 13.

If sports fans think their wallets can still handle September, they will shell out for FIFA 13, the world’s most popular sports video game according to VIBE.

The developed gameplay trend continues here with a player impact engine. Players will not simply smack and tumble over each other. Collisions are now manipulative, allowing the controller to push off of a collision or go in for a quick steal. Players can also now analyze defenses completely and plan how to break them down.

Like FIFA 12 before it, FIFA 13 will also include international leagues and tournaments such as the Euros and World Cup, although EA hasn’t confirmed exactly which teams.

Despite, or perhaps because of,  this secrecy, FIFA 13 is the season’s most surefire hit. Pick it up on shelves on Sept. 25.

Another Sept. 25 release — this one for fantasy fans — is Blizzard Entertainment’s major expansion pack for its golden child, World of Warcraft.

Dubbed Mists of Pandaria, the pack will feature a new species called Pandaren, walking and talking pandas equipped with bowstaffs.

Gamers should also expect a new class, the Monk. The Monk class saps power from energy sources to strengthen basic moves in a “Dragonball-Z-esque” manner.

Yet as odd as it sounds, the new gameplay features seems mostly promising. Like the other World of Warcraft expansion packs, Mists of Pandaria will introduce five additional levels of gameplay.

You might not have anticipated a month of ice brawls, penalty kicks or weapon-wielding pandas, but these releases could entertain even the pickiest gamer — at least until October.