The games of November 2012

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

November 20

Hitman Absolution

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: November 20

Agent 47 has been out of sight for some time, at least in the gaming world (let's just ignore the Hitman film), but he's about to make his long-awaited return in Hitman Absolution. Gaming's top mercenary is ready for his most ambitious adventure to date with Absolution, which delivers a wider-open world for your meticulous assassination attempts, with a slick new Instinct mode that feeds essential information to 47 on the fly. And the Contracts mode, with its sharable custom kills, is an intriguing substitute for what could've been a generic online mode. Just check out our 9 reasons we're excited feature for even more on this killer quest.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Platform: PlayStation 3, Vita
EU: November 23

Undoubtedly Sony's take on the winning Super Smash Bros. formula, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale cobbles together a rogues gallery of iconic heroes from a variety of franchises – including PaRappa the Rapper, Ratchet and Clank, Big Daddy from BioShock, and Nathan Drake from Uncharted. Releasing on both PlayStation 3 and Vita (a purchase of the former also yields the latter) with cross-play support, Battle Royale's big aesthetic hook beyond the disparate characters is the way it amusingly blends multiple franchises with its slick backdrops, though here's hoping that the actual combat manages to live up to that of its clear inspiration.

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!

Platform: Nintendo 3DS, DS
EU: TBA

Everyone's favorite oddball animated series is finally getting a proper game adaptation in the form of Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!, a title befitting such a bizarre/amazing show. The colorful 2D platformer is headed to both Nintendo 3DS and the O.G. DS thanks to WayForward, which has hit some definite highs in the genre in the past (see A Boy And His Blob). In addition to the standard edition, a limited release packed inside Finn's Enchiridion handbook from the series is also available only on the 3DS side, which also comes with a sword-shaped stylus, poster, and beastiary booklet.

Persona 4: Golden

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22, 2013

It's been a big couple of months for the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona franchise. First, the sparkling Persona 4 Arena ushered the series into the fighting genre with spectacular results, and now Persona 4: Golden revives one of the best-loved role-playing entries with a super-sized PlayStation Vita iteration. We gave the original PlayStation 2 release a very strong review back in 2008, and Golden aims to update it for old fans and new players alike with remastered visuals, a much larger amount of voiced dialogue, additional cinematics and story elements, a new character, and even an online dungeon rescue system. So much Persona!

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: November 23

Arriving six years after the last Family Guy console game, Back to the Multiverse marks Activision's first crack at the Fox animated series, and they've got Heavy Iron Studios (SpongeBob: Truth or Square) behind the wheel of this third-person co-op shooter. Taking the role of either Stewie or Brian Griffin – or pairing up for some tag-team action – you'll blast through a cel-shaded world inspired by the popular "Road to the Multiverse" episode, and it's sure to be packed with breezy pop culture references. Back to the Multiverse also features a local four-player multiplayer mode, which expands the playable roster to 10 familiar characters from the show.

Power Rangers: Super Samurai

Platform: Xbox 360
EU: November 9

We've seen a trend of licensed Kinect-based fighters of late, between Dragon Ball Z for Kinect and The Avengers: Battle for Earth, and Power Rangers: Super Samurai only seeks to continue that holiday barrage. From what we've seen of screenshots and fuzzy convention videos on YouTube, Namco Bandai's adaptation of the latest in a very long line of Power Rangers properties seems to blend on-rails hack-and-slash action with mini-games that put you alongside the colorful combatants. It's probably meant for youngsters, but then again, nostalgia might propel this one into the homes of more than a few adults.

Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, 3DS, DS
EU: November 23

Based on this month's Dreamworks Animation CG flick, which itself adapts William Joyce's series of The Guardians of Childhood children's books, Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game serves up a four-player action experience (on consoles) with drop-in multiplayer, wherein you'll play as the likes of Jack Frost and heroes based on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Team attacks and upgradeable abilities are a core part of this licensed battler, which will also be released for Wii U come December.

November 22

Crashmo (Fallblox in EU)

Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
EU: November

Pushmo (Pullblox in Europe) is one of the rare Nintendo 3DS greats that isn't spawned from an existing franchise, but it's about to become one itself, thanks to the impending release of sequel Crashmo (Fallblox in Europe) on the eShop. As in the original, you'll push and pull large blocks to navigate to the top – this time to save birds instead of small children – but now, the blocks will crash down to earth when you remove the supporting pieces, which should significantly change the feel of the action while playing with familiar mechanics. Like its predecessor, Crashmo also seems sure to be one of the best values on the system thanks to a bite-sized price.

November 27

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (Q-Force in UK)

Platform: PlayStation 3, Vita
EU: November 30

The release schedule drops off dramatically after Thanksgiving, save for a couple of notable December releases, but at least everyone's favorite lombax and robot duo are around to close out the month. Like Quest for Booty before it, Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault is designed as a "fun-sized" series adventure (and appropriately priced as such) – though it has a much different feel than your average entry. Taking cues from the likes of Orcs Must Die!, FFA loops in base defense gameplay, and can be played individually or in co-op. And it's cross-play compatible between PS3 and Vita, with both download and retail versions available on the former for $19.99. Buying either PS3 release yields the Vita download, which is also sold separately.

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