The new games of November 2013

November 22 (cont'd)

Super Mario 3D World

Platform: Wii U
November 29
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Wii U

Still on the fence about the Nintendo Wii U? This one may change your mind. Combining the multiplayer anarchy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the vibe of Super Mario Bros. 2, and the three-dimensional ingenuity of Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS, Super Mario 3D World is transporting the famous plumber and his friends to the Sprixie Kingdom in an all-new Wii U adventure. Playing as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Toad, gamers will rally their unique character talents to best stages crammed with familiar enemies and power-ups like the Fire-Flower, Tanooki powers, and the new Cat Suit. The Wii U's GamePad will also have an important role to play, as gamers will use it to search of hidden objects and goodies and control the camera throughout the levels.

All eyes are on Super Mario 3D World. Fans are looking to the title to bring new attention to the Wii U system and rejuvenate the Super Mario franchise in the process. That's a pretty tall order, and you can read what we think of Mario's next outing in Super Mario 3D World: the lovechild of Super Mario Bros 2 and Mario 3D Land.


Platform: PS Vita
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PS Vita

The innovators at Media Molecule are at it again with a new palm-sized title that seeks to bring the LittleBigPlanet charm to a new, papery world. Developed exclusively for the PlayStation Vita, Tearaway will find players embarking on a third-person adventure through a papercraft universe filled with monsters to cut, creatures to skin, and worlds to rip apart. Their mission: assume the role of either Iota (guy) or Atoi (girl) and survive long enough to deliver a unique message to you, the player.

As with LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule aims to make innovate use of its platform. The PS Vita's rear touch panels will allow players to manipulate the game world in various inventive ways, while its camera will be used to take real world images and apply them to in-game environments and animals. The front screen will also come in handy for cutting out game objects by tracing them on screen, while the handheld's crisp screen will bring the game's fetching papercraft visuals to life. Could this be the game that puts PS Vita on the map? We think so. Read why in Tearaway is the ultimate arts and crafts project for PS Vita.

Platform: 3DS
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The fact that a brand new Zelda game is being made for the 3DS--based in the same universe as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, no less--should be reason enough to cancel all plans and line up in advance for this November 22 release. If you need more to get you motivated, here's the skinny:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will return players to the top-down gameplay of Zelda's olden days, with the added perk of featuring crisper graphics and three-dimensional effects care of the 3DS. Set six generations after the events of the “Sealing War” depicted in A Link to the Past, it will find players adventuring through a map based on the SNES classic, yet populated with new dungeons and dangers that will take full advantage of the handheld's 3D wizardry. Although the world and its citizens may seem familiar, this is a genuinely new Zelda experience. Abilities like the power to turn into an illustration or slip between the Light World and Dark World via tears in the universe are just some of new arrivals on tap. Players will also be able to rent items to better manager dungeons, and a dark version of Hyrule, called Lorule, will place a macabre twist on established lore.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep

Platform: PC

Stand your ground during Lord of the Ring's epic Helm's Deep battle in this expansion to Turbine's MMORPG. Anchored by one of The Lord of the Ring's most epic confrontations, The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep will see players enlisting for the epic mountain-side battle while earning rewards and swag for their valiant efforts.

The expansion will feature a slew of new content, including areas like the Westernment of Rohan, Rohan's Edoras capitol, Dunharrow, and Helm's Deep itself. Meanwhile, players will see their level caps increased to 95, gaining access to fresh skills and updated class specializations. We named the Lord of the Rings Online one of our top picks for free MMORPGs. Find out what sets it apart from the F2P pack in The 31 best free games to play right now.

Zoo Tycoon

Platform: Xbox One

Kinectimals maker Frontier Developments is shipping the popular Zoo Tycoon to consoles for the first time ever this month. Arriving as a launch title for Xbox One, as well as a release for Xbox 360 (albeit in a stripped-down form), Zoo Tycoon will deliver fans a mix of top-down sim-gameplay and third-person animal interactivity using the Xbox One's Kinect. This means in addition to creating and managing their own zoo, players will also have the opportunity to run around as a groundskeeper and use motion-sensing gestures to interact with the animal populace

Zoo Tycoon will also make use of Microsoft's cloud saving functionality. Friends will work on zoos together, while the community as a whole will work together toward meta-goals. Not into the Xbox One but still want Zoo Tycoon? The game will be released for Xbox 360, however all the Kinect mini-games functionality will be taken out to ensure it runs properly, and there will be zero Xbox Live support.

November 26

Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers

Platform: PS3

Masami Kurumada's saints go marching on in this Namco Bandai fighter. Set within the Saint Seiya anime/manga universe, Brave Soldiers stars the Knights of Zodiac warriors in crucial events throughout the franchise. From the Sanctuary arc to Poseidon and Gold Saints, players will control 52 characters through 36 stages, developing their 7th Sense powers, cosmo attacks, and big bang offenses along the way.

Adding to the heavenly fun, Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers will boast online battle modes that will encourage players to compete against others for the title of top Saint.

November 29

Escape Plan

Platforms: PS4 / PS Vita

Lil and Laarg are getting another shot at Sony superstardom. This November, the pair will return in a PS4 port of their PS3 and PS Vita adventures, bringing the macabre, black-and-white puzzle game to a whole new audience.

Not much looks to be changing from Fun Bit Interactive's original version. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you missed it the first time around, Escape Plan offers a tight 2.5D experience wherein Lil and Laarg must make it through a series of increasingly dangerous rooms in order to escape captivity. The fact each wear's a number indicating how many times they've died in their attempts to do so should be a pretty big hint this is not a walk in the park. You can, however, get the edge with our Escape Plan review.


Platforms: PS4 / PS Vita

Another entry from thatgamecompany, flOw will see gamers shrunk down to size in a microbial world full of sublime beauty and the occasional predator. Invoking the same easy-breezy playing style of Flower, it will challenge players to consume smaller creatures to grow larger and evolve their abilities.

Like its PS3 version, flOw for PS4 will offer a number of playable organisms. We can only assume the surreal aquatic environment will be given a visual upgrade as well. For now, all we know is flOw will be part of the PS4's indie line-up, offering a zen-like next generation diversion. Read our FlOw review.


Blacklight Retribution

Platform: PS4

Up until now, Zombie Studio's Blacklight Retribution has been a PC-only party. That's about to change this fall when the online shooter makes the leap to PS4, bringing the free-to-play fragfest to console fans. When? We're not entirely sure. But soon..ish.

For the non-PC crowd, Blacklight Retribution is an online FPS that sees players running and gunning through futuristic environments inside armored exoskeletons with various abilities and perks. Technically, the game costs nothing to get into, but as with all free-to-play games there are loads of weapons, gear, and assets that can be purchased using ZEN, the in-game currency that can be bought with real world money. Whether you spend money or not, there's plenty of futuristic fun to be had.

Young Justice: Legacy

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Get it from Amazon: PS3 | Xbox 360

Robin, Super Boy, Kid Flash and their juvenile DC friends (and enemies) headline this third person action RPG. Based on the Warner Bros. animated series, the game follows the Young Justice league as they attempt to rescue Dr. Helena Sandsmark from the Light's clutches and stop Light's villains from collecting the pieces needed to rip the world in two.

Young Justice: Legacy features squad-based combat utilizing up to 12 notable members of the Young Justice team. The action will play out over familiar series locations, include Earth-18 where heroes will be forced to recon with over 15 off-world missions. Online and local multiplayer and co-op modes will also let players team up with real world allies and tackle the games' gallery of villains in teams.