ALSO IN DECEMBER (PROBABLY)
The following games are very likely to appear as downloads on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network or your PC / Mac before the end of this year. Since some are still not 100% confirmed, however – and others that are confirmed have not yet been given exact release dates – we are including them on this separate page. Fingers crossed!
Back to the Future: The Game
Platforms: PC, Mac
If we can't have a new movie, sure, we'll settle for a new game. Especially when that game is designed not as a paint-by-numbers adaptation of the previous trilogy, but as a true sequel that moves the story forward. Developer Telltale has hired Christopher Lloyd to reprise his role as Doc Brown, received Michael J. Fox's blessing to recreate his likeness for Marty McFly and even asked the advice of franchise co-creator Bob Gale, who infamously once said that all Back to the Future games "sucked eggs."
Can all that original talent bring back the original magic? We'll find out soon, as the first downloadable episode is scheduled for release sometime this month.
Dead Rising 2: Case West
If you're a hardcore fan of the Dead Rising games, you really need to be playing them on an Xbox 360. The platform-exclusive DLC has been surprisingly substantial so far. Case Zero served as a prequel to Dead Rising 2, introducing players to new hero Chuck Greene as he first encounters the zombies, and enabling them to carry over any experience earned to the full game. Case West, however, is even more essential – available later in December, only on 360, the DLC pairs Chuck with previous protagonist Frank West for an entirely new story, as well as new co-op opportunities.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within HD
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones HD
EU release: November 16
What better way to purge your memory of a sweaty, shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal than by playing, or re-playing, the greatest Prince of Persia games ever made? Better yet, in remastered HD? Europe got the Sands of Time / Warrior Within / Two Thrones trilogy as a packaged disc on November 16, while the US is receiving each entry as a separate $15 download over PSN. Sands of Time is already available in the online store; Warrior Within and Two Thrones should show up over the next few weeks.
Platforms: XBLA, PSN
Time hasn’t been too kind to arcade brawlers of old. Without the incentive to beg more quarters from your humoring mom, most of the tense fun has disappeared from the old token-munchers, making them more boring and repetitive than you remember. But in 1992, when the Uncanny X-Men hit arcades, nothing was cooler than beating up robots with Wolverine, Storm and the gang.
At long last, after the success of similar hits of yore going downloadable, Marvel Comics and Konami got their shit together in time to cash in on your fond memories. The six-player awesomeness of X-Men Arcade returns as a DLC for XBLA and PSN, promising online co-op, an incredibly wide screen, and all the hilarious spoken dialogue from the well-remembered title. However, it’s probably best to go into this with slightly lowered expectations.
Quake Arena Arcade
Another classic from the back catalogs of id Software arrives on Xbox Live Arcade. This is more or less Quake III Arena from 1999, so don't expect a single player campaign. Do expect multiplayer that is so pure and so perfected that the developer even managed to make it work in a web browser.
Rayman Origins: Episode 1
Platforms: XBLA, PSN
Have you always wondered what Rayman was like as an immature youngster? Yeah, neither have we. On the other hand, ave you often longed for a return to the heyday of traditional, 2D platforming of which the original Rayman games were an integral part? Yeah, so have we. And while the side-scrolling gameplay might be old-school, the crisp and colorful high-definition graphics are decidedly modern. Rayman Origins' first episode is scheduled for Christmas.
A World of Keflings
A Kingdom for Keflings is best known as that random XBLA game that always comes pre-installed on new 360s. Or as one of those casual-looking games in which you can play as your own Xbox avatar. Either way, we'd bet that at least a few of you have tried it out and become (accidentally) addicted to its fantasy world-building charms. The sequel, A World of Keflings, adds new lands with new races, imports your avatar's props and includes split-screen local multiplayer so you can play with a friend… or, more likely, a small child.
Final Fantasy XI: Heroes of Abyssea
Platforms: 360, PC, PS2
The latest expansion to Square-Enix's MMO will conclude the story of Vana'diel's dark mirror, complete the Empyrean Armor set, introduce the Khrysokhimaira monster and… and… and…
Okay, we really don't know (or care) what we're talking about here, but like we said, December is sparse. Can we just move on to the Editor vs Analyst segment on the next page, please?