In our November "Cheat Sheet" we highlight a few likely contenders for your harvest season free time. Halo 4, Black Ops 2, Hitman: Absolution and ... an entirely new home console! The Wii U drops next month and with it comes a slew of amazing games (too many for us to include, really). Here's what you should be saving up for in November.
Stoic cyborg Master Chief returns in Halo 4, an ambitious sequel from new franchise custodian 343 Industries. After plunging into the heart of a Forerunner planet, Chief and Cortana find new foes in the Promethean race, and new allies in the crew of the stranded UNSC Infinity. The Infinity is the subject of Spartan Ops, a new episodic series of story-driven co-op missions, and the basis of War Games, the most robust Halo multiplayer mode yet.
"Stickers drive the entirety of combat now. In past Paper Mario games, battles have been a turn-based affair with some light contextual QTE tossed in – hit A when Mario jumps on a Goomba and you'll land extra hits, for example. That part is still there, but now all of your attacks are initiated by using your collected stickers. Once that sticker is used, it's gone forever." – Joystiq's Paper Mario: Sticker Star Preview
As we said in our recent preview, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the most ambitious game the series has seen thus far. With a single-player mode featuring branching storylines, a multiplayer mode that drastically changes core components players have grown used to, and a complete open-world zombie playground, Black Ops 2 is vying for much (if not all) of your free time this fall. Whether Treyarch can deliver on its lofty promises has yet to be seen, but there's a whole lot of passion going into the near-future set war zone.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified follows the events occurring between the original game and this holiday's upcoming sequel. It's developer Nihilistic's (now nStigate) second Vita FPS, following Resistance: Burning Skies. In addition to the single-player campaign, Declassified offers a wave-based survival mode and 8-on-8 multiplayer tied to a progression system of weapons, perks and other unlockable abilities.
The PS3 and Move interact with a special book to bring you into a world of books, games, and interactive ... things. Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling contributes original writing to Book of Spells, the first Wonderbook game meant to teach you how to perform Potteriffic feats.
Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit work together to save Wasteland – Mickey with his paint and thinner abilities, and Oswald with a magical remote control. The Disney teamup allows a second player to take control of Oswald and go on nostalgic adventures with Mickey; at any time, the second player can choose to cede control to an A.I. Oswald, for easy drop-in, drop-out play.
Dreamrift, developer of Monster Tale, brings back the Castle of Illusion in an original side-scroller for 3DS that mines both Disney history and the history of Disney video games. When the witch Mizrabel and her magical castle arrive in Wasteland, Mickey navigates the tricky confines looking for Minnie. The castle features "illusions" of famous Disney characters all requiring Mickey's help, and employs Epic Mickey's signature paint and thinner mechanics to allow players to alter the environment.
"While the game is going on as normal on the television, one player can tap the touchscreen to place blocks, which dissipate as players stand on them. Ideally, these blocks are used to help the Wiimote-based players reach secret areas, make difficult jumps, and avoid falling into Piranha Plants or other obstacles below. It's also possible to be a jerk and place blocks in the way of jumps, but I found that less fun than being helpful." – Joystiq's New Super Mario Bros. U Preview
A series of multiplayer "attractions" inspired by classic Nintendo franchises like Zelda, Animal Crossing, and Metroid. These simple minigames all make clever use of the GamePad, making this the Wii Sports of the Wii U.
"But by far the most revolutionary improvement for the sequel (in a series whose every improvement is pretty dang revolutionary) is the item editor, which lets you take any single item and change its color, add other items (or components thereof) to it, and then even change its behavior." – Joystiq's Scribblenauts Unlimited Preview
ZombiU may sound like where the kids of Gravedale High go after they graduate, but it's actually one of the few Wii U exclusives going for the mature market. This survival horror game from Ubisoft will have players using the WiiPad in all sorts of ways to avoid becoming a feast of flesh.
WayForward adapts Cartoon Network's sweet, surreal cartoon series into a Zelda 2-inspired adventure for both 3DS and DS. The Ice King has stolen garbage from around the land of Ooo in order to make a Garbage Princess, and it's up to Finn and Jake to stop him because that's gross.
"...Things are looking good for Agent 47's return. I'd like some more surprises in the single-player campaign, but that may be a balancing act ... but I'm looking forward to piling up the bodies and walking away unseen." – Joystiq's Hitman: Absolution Preview
Believe it or not, the chance to play a Vita remake of a five-year-old PS2 JRPG is pretty exciting, provided said JRPG is a Persona game. Persona 4 Golden takes the 2008 original and embellishes it with better graphics, more voice acting, more animated cut scenes, the ability to explore Okina City and a whole entire new character named Marie.
PlayStation characters like Parappa, Kratos, and Nathan Drake get in a fight for some reason in a four-player party fighting game. PS3 owners and Vita owners can face off, thanks to both cross-play and cross-buy functionality.