Each and every year, the biggest month in gaming is November. The biggest games release in November, and the most games typically release in November. Obviously, this is planned out to take advantage of the holiday shopping season when people are out buying games more than any other time of the year. This year, November is even bigger than ever before, with the eighth generation of home video game consoles set to take off with Wii U.
These are all the games coming out this month. I’ll point out the best ones, speculate about the unknowns, and make sure you don’t even consider the duds.
November is indeed the biggest month for gaming each year. But unfortunately, November kicks off with a dud. Previously released last month for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, 007 Legends will be making its debut on PC. And oh man, should this game be avoided like the plague. I said enough about it in my review. So check that out if you want all the man tears and swearing that 007 Legends caused me.
Football Manager fans will have a better day on the 2nd. Football Manager 2013 launches on that day. Yeah, it’s a niche game, but its niche is strong enough to support continued annual releases. Football Manager 2013 will be released on both PC and Mac this coming Friday.
Now THIS is what I’m talking about. The first really big game of November comes out on this day, and it’s huge. Microsoft has spent more money developing Halo 4 than they have spent on any other video game in history. It will be the last Halo game for Xbox 360, providing the best gameplay and graphics that the franchise has ever offered, and the first core entry in the series since 2007′s Halo 3.
This is also the first time an FPS Halo game isn’t developed by Bungie. Bungie has moved on to Activision to work on new projects, leaving the Halo franchise entrusted with 343 Industries, a new studio created by Microsoft for the sole purpose of creating the next Halo games. 343i is comprised of Bungie vets that didn’t want to stop working on Halo, fresh blood, and other experienced members of the industry. Halo 4 is the beginning of the “Forerunner Trilogy”. Will Master Chief have to finish another fight? Seems so.
While it may not be quite as epic as Halo 4, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is sure to find its audience on 3DS. Harvest Moon games are many in number, and they always seem to pull decent numbers, and this latest game on 3DS should be no different. Another 3DS game is releasing on this day. It is a port of Rayman Origins that axes co-op. Playing the demo of this game, I think it’d be better to play Rayman Origins on one of the many other systems it’s available on. Or just wait for Rayman Legends on Wii U.
On the PS3 front, Sony is smartly taking advantage of their LBP franchise. ModNation Racers was a good idea, but it was already essentially LittleBigPlanet plus racing. In an attempt to truly categorize Sackboy as their primary mascot and attempt to create a Mario-like legacy, Sony is releasing LittleBigPlanet Karting. It’s the spiritual successor to ModNation Racers as well as yet another LBP spinoff.
This generation has been good about giving us plenty of HD Collections to revisit the best games of yesteryear. PS3 has seen most of the love on the HD Collection front, but Xbox 360 has received a few sporadic third party HD Collections. Both systems will be receiving Dragon Ball Z Budokai: HD Collection. It contains the first Budoaki and the third one, with full trophy/achievement support and all that jazz.
Nintendo is really hitting November hard. Not only have I already mentioned two 3DS games, but on the 11th, there is yet ANOTHER 3DS game releasing. Where are all the Vita games? Sony is foolish for not aggressively supporting their system in November. At any rate, Nintendo is hoping Paper Mario: Sticker Star will sell big this holiday season. The first portable entry in the Paper Mario franchise, Sticker Star has raised concern amongst fans for its new gimmicks and mechanics, but from what I’ve seen of the game, it looks fantastic.
What’s this? Another 3DS game? Well, of course. Plus, it’s also coming out as a DS game. Based on the popular Adventure Time television series, the strangely named Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! is seeing a simultaneous release on Nintendo’s seventh generation DS and their eighth generation handheld the 3DS. I’m not a big fan of the show, but the show definitely is inspired by various video games, which gives me a bit more hope for it than most licensed games.
Another November, another Call of Duty. Ever since the release of Call of Duty 2 in 2005, November has been the designated month for Call of Duty. Call of Duty 3 followed the year after that. Then it was the revolutionary Call of Duty 4. After that, World at War. Then Modern Warfare 2. Then Black Ops. Then Modern Warfare 3. And now Black Ops II. Yep. Lots of Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is once again developed by Treyarch. Treyarch took over the reigns as the leaders of the franchise since Infinity Ward is now a mere shadow of its former self, losing all of its core talent as they went to EA to create Respawn Studios. Black Ops II looks like it will be a fantastic Call of Duty title, promising a less linear campaign, improved multiplayer, and a much more robust zombie mode called Tranzit. Black Ops II may just be the game to change my mind about Call of Duty. Black Ops II will be available on Windows PC, PS3, and 360 on this day.
Few MMOs that try to take on World of Warcraft actually succeed. Rift is one that has gotten closer than most, and is probably the third most popular MMO in the world, behind the Guild Wars series and World of Warcraft. Rift is getting an expansion pack on this day called Rift: Storm Legion.
E3 2012 was controversial for Sony. They spent way too much time promoting their Wonderbook peripheral, but I guess the 13th will be the moment of truth for Sony and Wonderbook. The peripheral will be made available on that day. It requires the PlayStation Eye as well as the Move controller to use, but there are bundles that will include all of that hardware packaged in with the Wonderbook.
The mother load. On November 18th, the first home console of the eighth generation will be released in the form of Nintendo’s Wii U. There are 23 launch games that will release for Wii U on this day. However, some retailers will sell third party Wii U games on November 13th, as that’s when they will be receiving their games since, unlike Nintendo, most people release their content on Tuesdays instead of Sundays.
At any rate, none of those games will be playable until the 18th when the Wii U actually launches. So, because of that, even the ones I know will be available on the 13th instead, I am grouping them all together on the 18th when the Wii U actually launches. There are plenty of third party hits and major first party games releasing on this day so that anyone getting a Wii U should be able to find something to appease their gaming appetite. I will be sure to point out the known new functionality that the Wii U provides each third party game.
A major game released yesterday in the form of Assassin’s Creed III on seventh generation systems. However, it is one of those games that is stuck in limbo between generations, releasing both for seventh generation systems as well as eighth generation, as Assassin’s Creed III is going to be available on Wii U on day one. Assassin’s Creed III is said to look best on Wii U, though it lacks the same amount of detail as the other versions because it is a port. Ubisoft hasn’t said much about how the Wii U GamePad will be used in Assassin’s Creed III, but expect it to be used as a map or a screen for quick inventory access.
One of 2011′s biggest games was Batman: Arkham City. I reviewed the game and wrote a massive guide of it for this site. Arkham City is one of my favorite games, and I am excited that those that missed out on it will have a chance to play an enhanced version for Wii U called Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition. This edition of the game contains all the DLC that was released for the original, plus it contains the ability to control gadgets and solve puzzles using the motion controls and touchscreen of the GamePad. There is also new armor that is exclusive to the Wii U version of the game.
The already-mentioned Call of Duty: Black Ops II is also going to be on Wii U. At the September 13th Nintendo Direct, it was shown how Wii U will enhance the Black Ops II experience. Those that are playing multiplayer on the same console can choose to have one person use the GamePad screen so that they can eliminate cheat-screening. Wii U is really going to be revolutionary for offline multiplayer, and Black Ops II is evidence of that fact.
Darksiders II has seen success for THQ on the other consoles, but they are wise to be bringing it to Wii U as well. While the Wii U-specific capabilities of the game haven’t been talked about much, the game does contain extra content on Wii U. It contains most of the DLC released for the other games as well as exclusive Wii U levels and dungeons, making Darksiders II on Wii U the definitive version of the game.
EA is kind of at odds with Nintendo at the time of this writing. They wanted their Origin service to be the primary digital distribution method on Wii U, but Nintendo refused, opting to use their own Nintendo Network service. Because of this, EA is trying to undermine Wii U in various ways, including releasing shoddier versions of their sports games for Nintendo systems. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with the upcoming release of FIFA 13. If you want FIFA, I recommend picking it up on one of the many other systems it is already available on.
Mini-game collections have proven to be big hits for motion control capability in the past. Wii U is launching with a mini-game compilation right off the bat, complimenting the core games quite nicely in my opinion. Game Party Champions is the sequel to Game Party: In Motion, and it promises to add plenty of new mini-games that all take advantage of Wii U’s unique features and capabilities.
Ubisoft has been a huge supporter of Nintendo systems in the past and currently. That’s not changing with Wii U. Currently, the biggest party game franchise is Just Dance, and the latest release, Just Dance 4 is releasing on Wii U on day one. The game will include new GamePad support, with the person using the GamePad controller being able to choose the next dance move that the players with the Wii remotes and nunchuks will have to perform, or being able to choose the next song that’s coming up.
Also releasing for Kinect, Avengers: Battle for Earth is releasing on Wii U. Kinect and Wii U are two VERY different beasts, so I have no idea how the Wii U version of the game will play out. I assume that it will somehow use motion controls, but it has also been stated that the game can be played without motion controls. It is a fighting game based on the Avengers, obviously, but I am unsure that this will actually play all that well. Plenty of other Marvel characters unrelated to the Avengers will be making appearances in the game as well.
Rayman: Raving Rabbids was a very good game that launched with the original Wii. It was such a popular game that it spawned its own spinoff franchise based entirely around the Rabbids while Rayman returned to his platforming roots. Those pesky Rabbids will be featured in a game on the first day of Wii U launch as well in the form of Rabbids Land. Expect another zany mini-game compilation.
Nintendo is making sure that Wii U will have a great launch by releasing a Mario game for the system on the same day and date that the console releases. New Super Mario Bros. U will be headlining the Wii U launch lineup. While fans have expressed concern that New Super Mario Bros. U will cause franchise fatigue for the “New Super Mario Bros.” franchise, I think that New Super Mario Bros. U looks fantastic. Yes, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is when the series has really started showing its lack of innovation, but New Super Mario Bros. U just looks incredible. The more I see of it, the more I am impressed with the game. I think that if you are wanting to pre-order a game but want a “safe” pre-order for a game that you know will be of high quality, then New Super Mario Bros. U is the game for you.
Nintendo’s other major first party title that will be available on day one of the Wii U launch is Nintendo Land. This mini-game compilation is the mini-game compilation to end all mini-game compilations. Featuring a ton of fan service for Nintendo addicts, plus very deep mini-games with multiple game modes, Nintendo Land serves the purpose of showing off what the Wii U is capable of, much like Wii Sports accomplished in the past. Nintendo Land will be a pack-in title for the Deluxe versions of Wii U, the 32GB black console, but it will also be available for purchase separately. Honestly, if you’re going to get Nintendo Land, there’s no reason NOT to get the Deluxe version, so if your local area is sold out of the Deluxe and you had to get Basic, I’d honestly just wait until a Deluxe version becomes available again.
Wii U is also getting the better version of Ninja Gaiden 3. Fan backlash of Ninja Gaiden 3 has been intense, so that’s why Nintendo has commissioned to have a better version of Ninja Gaiden 3. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge adds new content such as a new playable character, online co-op, harder difficulties, new weapons, and an upgrade system. These are all trademarks of the franchise, yet they were absent in the original release of Ninja Gaiden 3. Will Razor’s Edge be enough of an improvement to warrant a re-purchasing of Ninja Gaiden 3? That remains to be seen, but things are looking up for Ryu Hayabusa.
Scribblenauts: Unlimited is technically available for 3DS and PC as well as Wii U, but the Wii U version is the true version of the game. The Wii U version of the game will feature appearances from Nintendo mascots, including Mario and Link, adding a layer of Nintendo charm to the mix. Plus, it will support co-op.
Sing Party, I guess, is Nintendo’s answer to Sony’s SingStar. Sing Party doesn’t stand much chance, I’m afraid, due to the fact that Sony has now made SingStar free to play, and I can’t really see Sing Party taking off. The gimmick behind it is that the lyrics appear on the GamePad screen as other players can dance using Wii remotes and stuff, but I really doubt it’s going to become as successful as SingStar or Just Dance. Plus, it requires the Wii U microphone peripheral
Two different Epic Mickey games are releasing on the 13th, but not just for Wii U. Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion is releasing on 3DS on this day, and it is paying homage to the SNES Disney games that were once very powerful. Meanwhile, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is a huge multi-platform release, with anyone that owns a PS3, 360, Wii, Wii U, PC, or Mac being able to snag a copy of the game if they so wish.
Activision has struck gold with Skylanders. Skylanders: Giants has been released for every platform under the sun already, but that’s not stopping Activision from giving the game a go on Wii U as well. Skylanders: Giants on Wii U will be the same game that is seen on all the other platforms, except the Wii U version. Those that already have Skylanders on their Wii can use the portal that came with that game with the Wii U version of the game.
Activision is also calling on their huge list of licenses as they are bringing a Transformers game to Wii U on day one. Transformers Prime: The Game is based on the latest Transformers animated series. I can’t attest to the quality of this TV series as I have yet to see it, but Transformers Prime is not a Wii U game that I have high hopes for, I believe for obvious reasons.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing: Transformed is the sequel to the popular Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. The game will also be on various other systems, but the Wii U version is reportedly the best looking of the bunch. I’m not sure if this is 100% true, but I guess I won’t have to wait long to find out.
One of the third party games that I am most looking forward to is Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition. This game just looks like crazy amounts of fun. It contains all the content of the original release on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on other systems, but added Nintendo flair. For example, there will be the Giant Mushroom and Power Star power-ups seen in the Mario franchise, plus there will be alternate costumes available to make the Tekken fighters look like Nintendo characters. It just looks like pure fun.
Of course, it just wouldn’t be a console launch without a generic hack-and-slash game from Japan, and Wii U isn’t disappointing there. Warriors Orochi 3 – Hyper will be available at launch for those into that genre.
Wii U’s launch will not be devoid of shovelware. Wipeout: The Game 3 is a launch title, after all. Based on the popular game show, Wipeout: The Game 3 will probably be ridiculous and maybe even broken, if the previous games in the series are anything to go by. Needless to say, if you have this one on your Xmas list, you might want to put a line through it.
Nintendo really helped make exercise games popular with Wii Fit. Wii Fit was copied endlessly by EA and Ubisoft as well as other developers, all utilizing the Balance Board to provide a workout for players. Those looking to get their exercising fix on Wii U won’t have to wait until Wii Fit U releases next year. On the contrary, they will be able to play Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 on the day and date that Wii U releases.
All of the games I’ve mentioned so far for Wii U are retail releases. However, Nintendo Network is also getting love and will be available on the first day of launch. Nintendo Work will have an online shop where players can download games. Starting out on the shop on day one is Trine 2: Director’s Cut, evidently the “true” version of Trine 2 that “wasn’t possible” on the other systems.
And finally, I end this massive Wii U list that is dominating November 18th by mentioning ZombiU. ZombiU is a major game for Wii U, and it could make or break its early success. A lot of core gamers have their eyes on ZombiU, as it is being hyped as a true survival horror title. Will it actually pay off? That’s hard to say at this juncture. ZombiU sometimes amazes me, and other times it leaves me greatly worried. We’ll have all the answers in less than a month’s time.
Assassin’s Creed III will be available on PC on this day, rounding out the release schedule of that game.
A game that probably won’t be as good as Assassin’s Creed III is also coming out on that day, though! It’s yet another licensed game from Activision, this time based on the Family Guy property. I actually had this game listed for my Hottest Games of September 2012, but it was delayed to October at the last minute, and then delayed to early November, and then delayed until the end of November. That doesn’t sound good to me, so don’t expect Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse to be much of anything to get excited about.
Oh, and speaking of assassins, gaming’s favorite hitman is finally returning! Hitman: Absolution sees the return of Agent 47 and his murderous adventures as they continue on PC, PS3, and 360.
One of THREE Vita games in November releases on this day. Sony wants the Vita to succeed, but they aren’t giving people many reasons to own one. Luckily, Atlus is ready to give the people what they want in the form of Persona 4: Golden on Vita. This is an enhanced port of the original Persona 4 game that released on PS2, adding new content that has never been seen before as well as Vita functionality.
The other two Vita games are also releasing on this day. One is PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, a crossover fighting game from Sony that is also going to be available on PS3. What’s cool about this game is that if you buy the game for PS3, you actually get the Vita version for free using a method that Sony calls “cross-buy”. You can transfer your saves between the games, which should result in a lot more people picking up Vitas. Unless they have something against free games!
And finally, the third Vita game is a game already mentioned. The Wii U version of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing: Transformed will be available before all the other versions of the game. On this day, it will be made available for other platforms. Look for it on PS3, 360, 3DS, PS Vita, and PC on the 20th.
Finally, PlanetSide 2 is releasing on PC in November. Hardcore fans of the series have been eagerly anticipating this release, but the wait is almost over!
We close out the hectic month of November with the release of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for PC and Mac. This game was originally supposed to come out last month, but it was delayed to this month.
Now, which system will be receiving the most games this November?
As you can see, Wii U is clearly taking the crown in November. This is because it is the launch of the system, meaning that the Wii U kind of has an unfair advantage. However, 360 is starting to show its lack of exclusives, as PS3 pulled ahead of it this month. PC dominated Mac as always, and the 3DS managed to have as many releases as PS3 this month, with four more releases than the Vita. Even the DS and Wii are getting a couple of releases this November, so those still clinging to those systems will have something new to play this holiday season.
November is the biggest month of the fall gaming rush! It will be interesting to see which games succeed and which games fail. Throughout the month, be sure to check back to Cheat Masters for all the latest information on all of the Wii U launch titles, including reviews, guides, cheats, and more, plus for information all of the other big games releasing in November. December is looking less crowded, with only a few games announced in advance, such as Far Cry 3 and a couple of PC games in the form of EVE Online: Retribution and Hawken, the free-to-play mech shooter.