The games of November 2011

What a ridiculous, ridiculous month for videogames

November is traditionally the busiest month of the holiday season, but this November is insane even by those standards. If you had any lingering doubts about the stacked zaniness of the holiday release schedule, just look at the madness over the next few pages, and realize that those are just the games we thought you’d be interested in. Hang on to your wallets, it's about to get rough.

November 1

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Platform: PS3

EU: November 2

If you had any doubts about the prospects of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception following the slam-bang experience delivered by 2009's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, please allow our Super Review to ease your mind. Sure enough, Drake's third adventure is pretty excellent, and while we didn't rate it quite as glowingly as its predecessor, we remain incredibly high on this excellent release. Drake's Deception digs more deeply into its protagonist's unclear past, while breaking new ground for nuanced storytelling and cinematic presentation. Add in enhanced online multiplayer – both competitive and the all-new co-op missions and modes – and this is a definite must-play for action fans this holiday season and beyond.

Sonic Generations

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Nintendo 3DS

EU: November 4

We've been burned too many times by Sonic the Hedgehog over the past several years – let's be honest, we all have. But while some of you understandably can't shake the mental images of werewolves and sluggish side characters, take our word for it: Sonic Generations is "easily the best Sonic game since the hog's Sonic 2 glory days." We bestowed that praise on the console versions in our massive Super Review, which is chock-full of details about the first Sonic in ages to actually live up to our expectations. To be quite honest, we're still shocked about the positive sentiment after all these years of disappointment, but there it is. Soak it in.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

EU: November 4

Last year's GoldenEye 007 wasn't a proper remake of the iconic Nintendo 64 original, nor was it a sequel – instead, it arrived as a re-imagining of sorts, with a fresh campaign based on familiar sights from the original film and game. Despite the confusion over exactly what the game was, it proved a pretty solid Wii shooter; and now, Activision has retooled the game with HD visuals for Xbox 360 and PS3, along with Move support for the latter and enhanced multiplayer for both. We can't fault them for bringing the game to a larger audience, but in November? This November? We're still scratching our heads on that one.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

EU: November 25

Lord of the Rings fans are a passionate bunch, but it's been a while since the last video game adaptation that actually warranted such fervor. Though not quite as brilliant as some past releases, The War in the North luckily delivers a bloody and entertaining co-op combat experience, with smart dialogue options that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the fantasy series' lore. As noted in our review, the quest can drag a bit at times with repetitive encounters, but with a couple pals in tow, this loot-grabbing adventure deserves a serious look fans. And don't forget the $130 special edition, which actually comes with a slick quiver case for arrows.


Platform: PSP


Unlike Fate/Unlimited Codes, the 2009 PSP fighter from Capcom, Fate/EXTRA (coming our way from Aksys Games) is a dungeon-crawling, role-playing affair with an anime-esque aesthetic and a storyline that finds clueless amnesiacs thrust into battle. It seems like the kind of game destined for existing fans of the franchise – which also spans anime and manga, and originally stated as an adult-oriented game (true story!) – but props to Aksys for the staggered pricing scheme here. The PlayStation Store download is just $25 – compared to $30 at retail – while a retail special edition sells for $40.

NASCAR Unleashed

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS


Way back when, EA released NASCAR Rumble, an arcade-style affair that put the straight-faced racing license to arguably more thrilling use. More than a decade later, Activision's expanding the brand with its own non-sim release, but unlike that earlier title, NASCAR Unleashed doesn't seem dependent on weapons and wacky power-ups. Instead, this multiplatform racer finds more cartoonish versions of some of the sport's top vehicles busting through the confines of traditional tracks and into cities, forests, and other arenas that allow more than repeated left turns. It actually looks pretty fun – let's hope that pans out.

Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns

Platform: DS, 3DS


The latest entry in the ever-expanding Harvest Moon franchise also happens to be a tale of two handheld platforms, as Tale of Two Towns is slated for a simultaneous release on both Nintendo DS and 3DS. We took an impressively brief look at the game at E3 this year, and found it to be very much like the farming and livestock-handling sim that's been repackaged and reformulated numerous times in the past. What else do you really need to know?

Otomedius Excellent

Platform: Xbox 360


We previously wrote about Otomedius Excellent back in our games of September 2011 feature, which gave us the opportunity to spin several breast jokes in the span of a single paragraph. But this odd, Konami-published shoot-'em-up slipped, and now it's even less likely to be on your radar amidst the mayhem of the deeper holiday season. Despite the delay, this Gradius-like shooter still arrives in two forms: a $30 standalone release, and a $50 special edition that comes with a two-sided pillowcase with lots of half-naked anime ladies on it. If that sounds even lightly appealing, you might as well go back and re-read all of our silly boob puns.


Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii

EU: Now

NCIS – that's the Naval Criminal Investigative Service – has somehow taken the throne of America's go-to television drama, even spawning a semi-recent spin-off (NCIS: Los Angeles, starring LL Cool J), but only now is the show making its long-overdue video game appearance. This multiplatform release appears to be a crime-solving adventure along the lines of the CSI games, and even comes from the same publisher (Ubisoft), so it’s safe to assume that it's a fairly similar experience. A Nintendo 3DS version is set to follow next spring.

Jimmie Johnson's Anything With an Engine

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii


Anything With an Engine marries the name and visage of NASCAR's most successful modern driver with a goofy, down-home country aesthetic and kart racing mechanics – not to mention a budget price. The game features drivers manning things like toilets and cushy chairs – all with wheels and horsepower, of course – with a power-up system that relies on earning fan votes by driving over panels on the course. It's an oddly whimsical direction, considering how serious and rule-abiding NASCAR is, but this seems like a fair stocking stuffer option for the racing-obsessed kids in your extended family.

Cabela's Survival: Shadows of Katmai

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii

EU: November 18

Activision has been pumping out mostly sim-oriented entries in the Cabela's hunting franchise for years, but Survivor: Shadows of Katmai looks to be the most action-oriented iteration to date. In the role of an explorer named Logan James, you'll swap between first and third-person perspectives in a battle against wild animals and the elements, plus the game includes a shooting-gallery mode with melee moments and boss battles. An $80 version comes with a big orange-and-white Top Shot Elite gun, which looks equally silly and awesome, but probably won't help you against real bears. But hey, it's your life.

MotionSports Adrenaline

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

EU: November 11

The original MotionSports – a Kinect launch game – was a pretty rough collection of sports minigames, especially compared to the sleeker Kinect Sports. Still, we're all about second chances, and this Kinect and Move-enabled affair seems to be targeting the "extreme" market, thanks to sports like skydiving, whitewater kayaking, and something they're calling "jungle parkour." Anyone still stoked about motion-controlled sports minigames?

Cars 2: The Video Game

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: November 11

While likely dismissed alongside the largely derided film, the console versions of Cars 2: The Video Game were actually pretty entertaining, kid-friendly racers that blended bits from kart racers and games like Split/Second to satisfying effect. The 3DS version is just now hitting stores (with a PSP version to follow on November 8), and we seriously hope it takes its cues from the earlier releases. It does offer four-player multi-card wireless support, though, so if you and three friends all own 3DS systems and plan to buy the game… wait, that'll never happen. Forget we said anything.

Twister Mania

Platform: Xbox 360


Though seemingly based on the classic floormat game, the footage we've seen thus far of Twister Mania seems to have very little to do with its source material. Instead, the Kinect-requiring game looks very similar to Hole in the Wall, a putrid Xbox Live Arcade game that launched a couple months back. Twister Mania clearly seems like mass-market, lightweight fare, though we can't quite wrap our heads around the $50 price tag. Will consumers?

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