The games of October 2012

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

October 30

Assassin's Creed III

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: October 31

We're more than ready for the first new numbered Assassin's Creed in three years, and if you read our ample coverage of the open-world adventure, you will be too! With Ezio's storyline settled, Assassin's Creed III hops into a new era (the 18th century) with a fresh setting (the American Revolution) and a unique protagonist: half-Native American, half-Englishman Connor Kenway. Expect a bold step forward in terms of terrain (forests!) and the scale of the battles, not to mention a wealth of historical figures and the much-discussed naval battles, which should be miles better than the last game's bland tower defense moments. Ubisoft's latest looks fantastic, and it's certainly one of the most anticipated games of the year.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: October 31

Liberation proves that the PlayStation Vita can run the powerful Assassin's Creed III engine, but it won't be serving up the same experience as you'll see on consoles. Rather, Liberation is a standalone adventure set in New Orleans near the end of the 18th century, and it's the first series entry to start a female protagonist – Aveline de Grandpré. Luckily, it's the full Assassin's Creed experience in a smaller package, and with its own unique twists. "Our minds were put at ease after getting hands-on with ACIII: Liberation. We no longer feared getting some dumbed-down handheld experience, especially after we saw the disguise system," reads our latest preview.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Vita
EU: November 2

Criterion Games has proven itself the modern master of action-centric racing games, between the Burnout franchise and 2010's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted is arguably the best of the earlier current-gen series entries. Put them both together and you've got what appears to be one of the most raucous and enticing racers in recent memory. Criterion's take on the Most Wanted approach infuses its online-centric tendencies with intense open-world action and a whole lot of police skirmishes. And with the Vita version surprisingly handled in-house, it may well match up to the anticipated console and PC games.

Nike + Kinect Training

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect)
EU: November 2

The Kinect has a whole heap of fitness games, which have notched varying degrees of success at actually getting players active (and staying that way), but here's one that not only has Microsoft's own seal of approval, but Nike's as well. Nike+ Kinect Training merges elements of the athletics company's own fitness initiative with the fully body tracking of the Xbox 360 peripheral, for a fitness experience that looks to encourage competition – in terms of same-screen two-player action and online tracking of your "Fuel Print" – and community. Then again, it does look like a mish-mash of other Kinect workout options, so sweating may be believing here.

LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, Vita, 3DS, DS
EU: November 2

And October's winner for launching on the most platforms at once is… LEGO The Lord of the Rings! In the past, if you'd played one LEGO game, it felt like you'd played them all, though this film trilogy-inspired adventure carries on a couple of the significant additions from this summer's LEGO Batman 2 while carving fresh ground of its own. Like the Dark Knight's last quest, LEGO LOTR is fully voiced and features an open-world setting to roam around, though this journey takes on more of an RPG flavor with inventory management and such. Otherwise, expect plenty of laughs, plastic versions of iconic sights from the flicks, and oh-so-many collectible bricks.

Sports Champions 2

Platform: PlayStation 3 (Move)
EU: November 2

Following the lead of Wii Sports before it, Sports Champions served as the go-to example of how the PlayStation Move could deliver motion-based entertainment on the PlayStation 3. Two years later, with the Move all but abandoned as a headline piece in Sony's arsenal, its sequel must simply prove that the underused wands are still relevant. Packing in a handful of new sports – boxing, tennis, bowling, golf, and skiing – with an updated archery game, Sports Champions 2 also adds an avatar creator, but thankfully ditches the pesky three-point calibration. Still, that lineup must look awfully familiar to anyone who's played the original Wii Sports…

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect)
EU: November 9

It was totally weird when The Avengers hit theaters without a video game tie-in (THQ canned its adaptation), but Marvel and Ubisoft aren't going to let the holiday season pass without an appropriate stocking stuffer. The Avengers: Battle for Earth is actually based on the "Secret Invasion" comic storyline and loops in ancillary Marvel characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man, and the Kinect game looks a lot like last year's Power-Up Heroes, a solid motion-controlled superhero fighter. You'll battle other heroes and villains by performing various on-screen motions, though hopefully this licensed tie-in has a bit more meat on its bones than Power-Up did.

Transformers Prime

Platform: Wii, 3DS, DS
EU: TBD

Just a few weeks back, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC owners were treated to the quite good Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, which continued the winning formula of the previous War for Cybertron. Nintendo platforms, on the other hand, will soon receive Transformers Prime: The Game, a tie-in to the current animated series that looks to blend beat-'em-up style action with a bevy of vehicle sequences. It seems like a more colorful and straightforward take on the cartoon, though it does include a multiplayer mode and a Wii U version will be available next month for the launch.

Wreck-It Ralph

Platform: Wii, 3DS, DS
EU: TBD

We're only going on trailers at this point, but Disney's upcoming CG flick Wreck-It Ralph appears to be the rare mass-market take on video games that doesn't seem immediately corny – it actually looks incredibly entertaining, thanks to prominent cameos from the likes of Bowser, Sonic the Hedgehog, M. Bison, and more. Don't get your hopes up for seeing such legends in Activision's discounted tie-in, which we still haven't seen a lick of. Set after the events of the film, it sounds like a pretty standard licensed 3D platformer with swappable leads and faux game-inspired worlds, but at least the source material looks mighty tasty.

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