This November may not be as insane as last year’s, but with some of the biggest releases of the year hitting in the next 30 days, there are still more than enough blockbuster releases to be excited about. November 2012′s video game releases include new entries into the two biggest first person shooter franchises, and both promise to expand their respective series more than any other entry to date.
If shooters aren’t your thing, you can always check out Sony’s attempt to rival Nintendo’s iconic Super Smash Bros. franchise, or if you’re in a bit more of a violent mood, Square Enix is releasing the long-awaited sequel to one of this generation’s first blockbuster hits. Last, but certainly not least, gamers will finally get a crack at a new gaming platform, as Nintendo will be unleashing its highly-anticipated new console to the masses. Check out our picks for the top five November 2012 video game releases and let us know which ones you’re planning on picking up over the next month!
Halo 4 | 343 Industries | November 6
In 2007, Bungie announced that Halo 3 would see the developer wrapping up the storyline of the beloved Master Chief in order to move on to other plots within the Halo universe. Following the releases of Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, however, Bungie has moved on from the franchise and now 343 Industries is taking over in a big way.
Following a successful HD re-release of Halo: Combat Evolved, 343 Industries is now taking on its first new entry in the franchise with no influence from Bungie. Halo 4 promises to take the series in a new direction, while at the same time tickling the nostalgia bone of old-school fans by bringing back the iconic Master Chief as the protagonist. A new enemy is featured this time around, so players won’t find themselves facing off with The Flood during the campaign, though a special survival-based mode will feature the dreaded parasitic threat. All indications to this point have been that the game will be an evolutionary step in the franchise and one that will reaffirm the series as a top name in first person shooters.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 | Treyarch | November 13
With franchise fatigue becoming a real concern for the Call of Duty franchise, Activision and Treyarch knew they had to do something. Rather than venturing back to the past to another war, or creating a new Modern Warfare-esque game, Treyarch decided to head a bit into the unknown: the future.
Featuring futuristic threats and an all-new mode that will allow for players to switch between first person shooting and real-time strategy-like mechanics, Call of Duty: Black Ops II might just be the shot in the arm the series needed. Even the popular Zombies mode looks like it has received nice makeover in order to avoid risking monotony. If Black Ops II hopes to keep up with Halo 4, Treyarch had better hope they pulled out all the stops, because this month looks to see one of the biggest heavyweight battles between two games in recent memory. Luckily for Treyarch, Call of Duty: Black Ops II is poised to be the best military shooter of this generation.
Wii U | Nintendo | November 18
After a year and a half of slow-building anticipation, Nintendo is finally set to show us what it can do with new technology and a little creativity. The Wii U is set to launch with a robust collection of first and third-party titles. The lineup will feature a new titles, as well as a host of games previously released on other platforms, which is good news for the Nintendo faithful who may have missed out on great titles like Arkham City and Mass Effect 3.
For those who are looking for a new experience with Wii U, Nintendo has secured a strong launch-window lineup featuring New Super Mario Bros. U and ZombiU, among others. Add to that the fact that all Wii games will work on Wii U, plus the promise that Nintendo will allow players to transfer Virtual Console purchases from their Wii consoles, and the Wii U could have a deceptively huge launch lineup.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale | SuperBot Entertainment | November 20
The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has been applied to sequels before, but what about brand new IPs? With PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Sony looks to be applying that principle not to its game, but rather to a tried-and-true formula, as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale looks to attract fans of the popular Super Smash Bros. franchise.
With PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Sony and SuperBot Entertainment bring the same frantic fighting between brand icons that the Smash Bros. series has been doing for years now –– the difference, of course, being that Nathan Drake and Kratos will take the place of Mario and Luigi. For those worried about a lack of star-power in Sony’s lineup, third-party characters like Big Daddy from BioShock will also be playable.
Hitman: Absolution | IO Interactive | November 20
As one of the first great games of this generation, Hitman: Blood Money brought the action-stealth franchise into mainstream light by giving players an insight into the life of an assassin. Since then, the Assassin’s Creed series has made great strides in the same vein, but that is no reason to underestimate Agent 47 and the team at IO Interactive.
During our time with the title, we experienced how the game and its AI adapt to players and the choices they make through their gameplay. AI enemies will react dynamically based on how stealthy or action-based you play, creating the potential for two very different experiences in the same title, not unlike what the critically-acclaimed Dishonored did last month. If what we saw earlier this year is any indication, Hitman: Absolution could very well be the last great hit before the retail apocalypse that is Black Friday/Cyber Monday.