The games of November 2012

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

November 18 (continued)

ZombiU

Platform: Wii U
EU: November 30

The Wii U launch isn't wanting for big, intense action games, but for those of us who already game on other HD platforms, you'll find a whole lot of lightly enhanced usual suspects in the mix. Luckily, ZombiU is a notable exception. Ubisoft's first-person survival horror game uses the GamePad in a way that manages to be both constant and smart, acting as a survival kit that holds the key to inventory control, zooming in for sniper shots, and activating keypads. It's a violent and challenging zombie-killing affair, but one that should benefit from the unique United Kingdom setting; plus the game includes a local multiplayer mode that utilizes the Wii U Pro Controller.

Assassin's Creed III

Platform: Wii U, PC (11/20)
EU: Wii U: TBA, PC: 11/23

Following its debut on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last month, Assassin's Creed III continues its assault on two additional platforms this month: the Wii U at the launch on November 18, followed by the PC on November 20. Expect the same great open-world adventure from the other platforms, though the Wii U version is expectedly enhanced to take advantage of the GamePad. One such addition is that of a constant overhead map that shows enemy locations, while another feature allows you to swap weapons in combat with a tap of your finger. And on PC… well, you can probably expect it to look really, really good.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition

Platform: Wii U
EU: TBA

One of last year's absolute-best, can't-miss, gotta-have-it action games is helping to headline the Wii U launch in the form of Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, a version of the comic quest that comes with a few perks. The Dark Knight's new combat armor not only earns the expanded title, but it also offers many ways to utilize the system's GamePad amidst the flow of play. In addition to menus that pop up without pausing the game, you'll use the second screen to view enemies and explosive gel on a sonar map, hack security terminals, and even control a batarang from afar, plus the new armor adds some fresh combos to the fights.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013

Platform: Wii U
EU: TBA

Workout games have been plentiful on the Wii since the launch of Nintendo's own Wii Fit, but only one will appear at the Wii U launch: Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. Like the earlier Kinect iterations, Fitness Evolved 2013 encompasses a wide array of workout activities and features a social element, letting you compare scores and accumulated fitness levels with online pals. While the Wii U version relies on standard Wii Remotes for the actual fitness activities, you'll utilize the GamePad screen to flip through menus and interact with pals, which seems like a pretty natural use for the device with a game like this.

Skylanders Giants

Platform: Wii U
EU: TBA

After a strong debut on existing platforms last month, Skylanders Giants is ready to roll for the Wii U launch. Much as the GamePad has RFID functionality, Giants still ships with a dedicated Portal of Power for zapping the physical toys' digital versions into the game; and like many of the ports in the launch lineup, the game's GamePad implementation is pretty light, limited primarily to menu usage and interactions in a mini-game. But for existing Wii owners bumping up to the Wii U, the upgrade to high definition should make this a visual delight. And for anyone with an interest in the franchise, this bigger and slicker sequel should entertain with ease.

Trine 2: Director's Cut

Platform: Wii U (eShop)
EU: November 30

One of last year's most stunningly gorgeous games didn't come on a retail disc or with a $60 price tag; like its predecessor, Trine 2 arrived on multiple platforms with a tiny price point and a whole ton of gloss. Now the co-op side-scroller is expanding to one more destination with its eShop debut on Wii U – and Frozenbyte's adventure is expectedly packed with some bonus features for the new system. Included in this Director's Cut is the recent Goblin Menace expansion, which isn't available on other consoles, along with support for whatever controller you prefer, whether it's the GamePad, a Wii Remote, Pro Controller, or Classic Controller. It's up to you!

Rabbids Land

Platform: Wii U
EU: November 30

Rayman Raving Rabbids was one of the original standout Wii launch titles, and while the mini-game approach has been milked extensively in the years since, Ubisoft is aiming to revive the classic formula on Wii U thanks to the GamePad. In our hands-on with the game, we tried out three of the 20 included activities, and luckily found all three to recreate the same kind of enthusiasm we felt playing the Rabbids' 2006 debut. Built around the two-screen experience, you'll work together on games where, say, one player might point at costumed Rabbids on the TV with a Wii Remote while the other looks at its undies from behind. Yeah. That's Rabbids for you.

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