The games of November 2012

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

November 11

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: December 7

Having Paper Mario: Sticker Star be Nintendo's one big holiday 3DS release this month is either a tacit admission that it's focusing its efforts solely on the Wii U launch, or it's a show of extreme confidence in the latest role-playing affair. We've played a bit of the series first handheld entry, and to be honest, the latter explanation does make a lot of sense. As we described after soaking in the first hour, Sticker Star digs into its story without delay (important for a portable adventure), has a fantastic soundtrack and very cool look, and the new sticker mechanic actually seems meaningful. Here's to Paper Mario taking a star turn on 3DS this month.

November 13

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U (11/18)
EU: November 13

Activision's annual shooter juggernaut is back for another round this fall, and in typical fashion, it's loaded to the gills with ways to dominate your days. Bearing a new futuristic setting (arriving in stark contrast to the historical fiction of the first Black Ops), you'll battle it out with terrorists in the war-torn streets of downtown L.A. in the campaign, amidst other heart-racing moments, though it's the multiplayer and Zombies modes that are sure to generate the most lasting interest. On the MP side, Black Ops II adds a new "Pick 10" customization system for create-a-class, along with the requisite new maps and tweaks, while Zombies brings a campaign-style offering and a griefing-centric mode. Will Treyarch's latest be its best yet?

Wonderbook: Book of Spells

Platform: PlayStation 3
EU: November 16

Wonderbook was met with… let's call it bemusement when Sony revealed it at this year's E3 media briefing. Essentially an evolution of its EyePet concept, Wonderbook utilizes an included paper book, the PlayStation Move, and PlayStation Eye camera to generate augmented reality challenges for a younger crowd, and Book of Spells just happens to have the backing of the Harry Potter universe behind it. Considering the pretty reasonable price, which is $40 for the game and book or $80 for both with the PlayStation Eye and Move wand, it sounds like a pretty fair deal for what's ultimately a very distinct experience. And hopefully a good one, at that.

Rift: Storm Legion

Platform: PC
EU: November 13

We're particularly fond of Rift here at GamesRadar, going so far as to pick Trion Worlds' MMORPG third in our recently revised list of top genre entries. After more than a year and a half filled with consistent upgrades, the publisher is ready to unleash the biggest to date in the form of the Storm Legion expansion pack, which triples the world size via the addition of two new continents, one of which contains an intimidatingly massive foe to scale (and destroy). More common expansion bits are here, of course, including a 10-level cap raise and new dungeons and raids, and clearly, it seems like one of the best MMOs around is only going to get better.

Rabbids Rumble

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: November 9

Last year's Rayman Origins rightfully stole back the series spotlight from those pesky Rabbids and their oft-amusing mini-game compilations, but the goofy aliens are mounting a serious comeback effort this fall. First up is Rabbids Rumble for Nintendo 3DS, which looks to built upon the successful quick-hit approach of earlier entries, albeit on a much smaller screen. From what we've seen, expect bowling, dancing, and target-shooting activities, along with a slate of augmented reality challenges; but most of all, just expect a raucous and no doubt hilarious handheld experience.

The Sims 3: Seasons

Platform: PC
EU: November 16

What is this month's The Sims 3 release? That'd be The Sims 3: Seasons, an expansion that pulls together a variety of settings and activities best tied to each of the four seasons. "With snowball fights in the winter, bobbing for apples in the fall, and face-painting in the summer, the expansion will bring just about everything Sims fans got when The Sims 2 got a similar expansion," we wrote after the reveal. We recently got in the seasonal mood with the expansion in our fall-themed preview, which details some of the autumn fun available in this PC release.

The Hip Hop Dance Experience

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect), Wii
EU: November 16

Ubisoft may be suing The Black Eyed Peas for breach of contract, but that hasn't stopped the publisher from evolving its Experience dance game franchise beyond last year's group-centric affair. With Elite Beat Agents developer iNiS again behind the boards, The Hip Hop Dance Experience casts a much wider net for this Kinect-powered Xbox 360 affair (it's also on Wii), which loops in tracks from Drake, R. Kelly, Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa, and Run-DMC. If the awesome Dance Central 3 isn't quite hip-hop enough for you, maybe Ubisoft's latest effort will sate your need for hot beats, sick moves, and whatever else the kids are into these days.

We recommend