The games of November 2012

Franchise frenzy and the Wii U launch barrage – hello, holidays!

November 6 (continued)

Rayman Origins

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: Out

With Rayman Legends sadly pushed into next year, it now makes a whole lot more sense for Ubisoft to have delayed the 3DS release of last year's Rayman Origins by several months in North America, despite already dropping in Europe some time ago. From those reviews, we know that the latest handheld version of the jaw-droppingly animated platform favorite remains solid on the go, though it's not quite as impressive as the PlayStation Vita port. But if your modern portable of choice bears a Nintendo logo, Rayman Origins should be a solid pick-up this holiday season.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Platform: Wii, PSP, PS2
EU: November 9 (Wii), Out (PSP/PS2)

Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 had its big debut on HD consoles a few weeks back, but the publisher isn't ignoring older and less-prominent platforms thanks to a trio of budget releases this month. PES 2013 is slated for release this month on Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP, and while we don't expect these releases to bear all of the same features and gloss of the others, each is priced at only $19.99. A Nintendo 3DS version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is also slated for release at some point, though a firm release date hasn't yet been pinned down.

Ragnarok Tactics

Platform: PSP

It's a busy time for handheld spin-offs of Ragnarok Online. Just this week, XSEED launched Ragnarok Odyssey for PlayStation Vita, and now Aksys is taking the reins to bring Ragnarok Tactics to PSP. While the two share source material, Ragnarok Tactics expectedly takes the form of a turn-based tactical role-playing game, akin to Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. It'll be available from day one both on UMD and as a PlayStation Network download, and it's just the latest in a long string of slightly niche titles to keep the aging handheld alive in the States.

Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: November 2

We'd grown so accustomed to the annual release of yet another essentially identical Dragon Ball Z fighter, but this time around, Namco Bandai's trying a different tact. Following the recent release of the middling Dragon Ball Z for Kinect, we're just a week away from the retail Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection set, which bundles together a pair of PlayStation 2 entries: the original Budokai and later entry Budokai 3. It raises a couple questions, naturally. First, why not include Budokai 2? And second, are fans really clamoring for a lightly upgraded set of decade-old fighters when the concept has been iterated on constantly since? Guess we'll find out soon.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

We want to believe Harvest Moon when it promises its titular "New Beginning." Really, we do. But as we've seen the steady deluge of series entries over the past several years, we have to remain a bit skeptical about its ability to really shake up the tried-and-true farming simulation. Still, it does offer a couple of intriguing bullet points, such as (finally!) the ability to fully customize your hero or heroine, plus loads of new content in the form of pet houses and, uh, park benches? We're expecting a fair bit more of the same with fresh tweaks, but for the die-hards, that's probably plenty.

Nickelodeon Dance 2

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect), Wii
EU: December 7

Ubisoft recently released its own kid-centric dance affair with Just Dance: Disney Party, but if your offspring are Nickelodeon kids, 2K Play is ready and waiting to meet your needs with Nickelodeon Dance 2. Expectedly taking after last year's original Xbox 360 (Kinect) and Wii offering, Nickelodeon Dance 2 serves up 30 tracks from hit series like Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, and Bubble Guppies, with lyrics and a total of 20 familiar cartoon avatars displayed while your tykes bop. And it's multiplayer compatible, so feel free to get your groove on, as well.

November 8

Angry Birds Star Wars

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PC, Mac
EU: November 8

Two of the biggest franchises in entertainment are on a collision course next week, thanks to the impending release of Angry Birds Star Wars on all sorts of platforms, ranging from mobile to desktop with more surely not that far, far away. Based on what we've seen, the game features the iconic birds dressed up like the significantly more iconic film heroes, but instead of following the seemingly obvious approach of this year's Angry Birds Space, it actually looks to put a spin on the traditional Angry Birds formula – albeit with the red bird spinning a lightsaber as it hits things, while a pink one shoots out a laser beam. Yeah, this is going to be huge.

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