The games of October 2012

The heaviest release month of the year (so far) is finally upon us

No surprise, seeing as we're jumping headlong into the final quarter of 2012, but October is an absolute beast for new game releases. The month kicks off with a bang with the likes of Resident Evil 6 and NBA 2K13 on October 2 and just doesn't let go until huge titles like Assassin's Creed III and Need for Speed: Most Wanted help put a bow on things on the back end. Chances are you've already got a few of the month's many, many titles mentally pinned down or even properly pre-ordered, but don't miss our comprehensive listing – even amidst this madness, something slightly under the radar might catch your eye.

October 1

Crosswords Plus

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Back when the Nintendo DS was in the midst of its stereotype-shattering mainstream surge, Nintendo developed and released a straight-up crosswords game of all things. Now with the 3DS as the company's primary handheld, the series is back in action with Crosswords Plus, a glossier take on the black and white checkerboard word game that lets you write in your letters as you tackle more than 1000 puzzles of varying sizes and difficulty levels. You'll also find word search and anagram modes in Crosswords Plus, along with StreetPass functionality and SpotPass downloads, making for a wider-ranging and more robust package.

Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: Out

Nintendo's getting both of its non-traditional video game sequels out of the way early, it seems, as Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone is also set to launch on October 1. Expanding upon the original DS release (which was based on two DSiWare titles), the second Art Academy package features more than 30 step-by-step lessons across a variety of skill levels, and includes fresh tools like a graphite stick, new colored pencils, a pastels set, and the ability to mix your own paint colors. Plus, you can send your creations to other users via Swapnote, so Art Academy offers not just lessons for everyone, but also the chance to receive your mediocre creations.

October 2

Resident Evil 6

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: October 2

With an eye towards recapturing the magic of Resident Evil 4 while furthering the co-op, action-centric design of RE5, Resident Evil 6 takes a kitchen sink approach to the long-running horror juggernaut, packing in three primary campaigns (with a fourth unlockable one) that touch on varying styles of series play. Whether it's Leon S. Kennedy's methodical adventure, Chris Redfield's run-and-gun romp, or fresh faced Jake Mueller's more cinematic exploits, you'll find a bit of everything across the lengthy adventure, which is undoubtedly one of the year's biggest releases. And be sure to read our Resident Evil 6 review.

NBA 2K13

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP
EU: October 5

2K Sports' annual basketball sim seems intent on continuing its superstar run with NBA 2K13, which maintains the winning fundamentals of the last two years while expectedly adding a fresh slate of intriguing opportunities. What will hoops junkies be talking about this time around? We're guessing the showdown between the 1992 and 2012 USA men's Olympic teams will be a highlight, considering the myriad legends assembled for the mode, plus Jay-Z's put his vague stamp on the game as an executive producer, which results in a Hova-heavy soundtrack and a bonus aura of cool around the project. Not that it needed any more buzz than it's already got!

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

Platform: PC, Xbox 360
EU: September 28

Gaea Mission is a modern-day reboot of 1988's Carrier Command, an influential PC sim that offered control over a wide array of vehicles to colonize numerous islands. Designed by ARMA developer Bohemia Interactive, this PC and Xbox 360 revival gives the game a Halo-like sheen while building off of the original content, allowing players to wage war from airships, gunboats, ground vehicles, and even an on-foot, FPS-style perspective. It's built both for strategy/series vets and newcomers, and we've come away from recent hands-on sessions being impressed by the scale and versatility of the action. It's a big, smart, and hopefully stellar strategy affair.

War of Roses

Platform: PC (Steam)
EU: October 2

War of the Roses is a riotous medieval online action game that feels much like a third-person shooter, complete with loadouts and perks – but one that sheds its firearms and explosives for massive swords and axes, as well as killer crossbows. Supporting up to 64 players at once, the result is old-school combat chaos, with players picking between the historical Lancaster and York teams before swinging away. As detailed in our War of Roses review, it's a tough game for newcomers to adjust to, and you probably won't feel tremendously powerful at first. Stick with it and hone your skills, though, and you'll find an electric online battler like nothing else out there.

New Little King's Story

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: October 3

Despite the Wii's mainstream appeal, many core-friendly favorites sank on the system without making much noise at retail. Little King's Story may be the poster child for that trend, as the charming RTS and life sim hybrid earned rave reviews, but little widespread recognition. Luckily, Konami is taking another crack at the concept with New Little King's Story, which will launch exclusively as a PlayStation Vita download. As King Corobo, you'll encounter a fresh array of characters and use the Vita's touch screen to assemble troops, and hopefully the bite-sized price ($15) will help the game reach many more eyes this time around.

NiGHTS Into Dreams HD

Platform: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade (10/5)
EU: October 3 (XBLA: 10/5)

With no big, exclusive Sonic game in sight, Nights Into Dreams became the top title associated with the Sega Saturn, wooing fans of the 32-bit console with its colorful environments and unique sense of levitation. Like Jet Set Radio just before it, Sega is about to give this distinctive old favorite a new little facelift in the form of an HD re-release, which will bump the 16-year-old game into high definition while offering a choice between the original graphics and a revised look. And the download will also include access to the vaunted Christmas Nights content, which was a limited promo release back in '96. Boom. All of the classic Nights you can handle for $10!

Sonic Adventure 2

Platform: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade (10/5)
EU: October 3 (XBLA: 10/5)

Originally released on Dreamcast in 2001, Sonic Adventure 2 followed up the then-stellar original in a somewhat divisive manner: by splitting up the action between several protagonists, some of whose missions weren't exactly thrilling. Still, it proved popular and was one of the last big games on the platform, and now Sega is bringing the 3D platformer to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade as a $10 download. The 2010 re-release of the first Sonic Adventure got kicked around a bit by critics, but hopefully the second time's a charm here; and those seeking the Battle content from the GameCube port can grab it for a few bucks as DLC.

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