With another month in the rearview mirror and our reviews for the games past well in the pipeline, it’s time to look forward once again. November is the launch month of some of the biggest games of the year, as well as Nintendo’s latest console. In spite of this, there really doesn’t seem to be too many new games deserving of the attention of the single players, but we’ll do our best to highlight those that are. Without further ado:
Microsoft’s biggest franchise returns to the Xbox 360 on the sixth of November. 2010’s Halo: Reach was the series’ swansong from original developer Bungie, but the publisher wasn’t about to let this incredibly popular property languish. They upgraded 343 Industries, a studio that had previously helped in the creation of Halo games since 2007, to the primary developer and before long Halo 4 was announced as the first entry in an all new Reclaimer Trilogy. Master Chief is found drifting in space by the Forward Unto Dawn frigate about four years after the end of Halo 3, and is awakened to discover the ship near a Forerunner planet known as Requiem. Exactly what will transpire there is anyone’s guess, but the game promises to focus more on the relationship between Master Chief and the AI Cortana as the latter degrades due to existing beyond its expiration date. Further to this, the story really is only the first part of the tale, as 343i have already mapped out the idea of what they want to do. The first-person gameplay that the series is known for returns in fine fashion, though the developers have ambitions to incorporate more exploration by trying to invoke a sense of mystery. We have high hopes that they will succeed on this front, as it will add an entirely new feeling to a game that has been pretty by-the-numbers in its gameplay design to date.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Although widely pegged and advertised as a co-op based game, the upcoming sequel to the surprise Wii hit of 2010, Epic Mickey, will be a perfectly competent single player game. You will take control of Mickey Mouse who returns to the Wasteland, a world made up primarily of discarded Walt Disney concepts, at the behest of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Disaster has struck the Wasteland and it falls to Mickey to save it once more, with the assistance of his magic paintbrush. The game, like its predecessor, is primarily a platformer incorporating adventure and RPG morality aspects. The paintbrush is the main method of interaction with the world, giving you the ability to destroy parts of the environment and bring others to life, as well as either destroy enemies or turn them to your side. With Warren Spector at the helm, you can expect choice to play a large role in the adventure and levels will not reset if you move from one to another. Whatever you do to the world, that is how it will remain. There are a number of notable improvements and alterations over the original as well. Foremost is that it is multiplatform, coming to the Mac, PC, PS3, 360 and WiiU as well as the Wii. Throw in the co-op play featuring Oswald (who has his own, unique set of gameplay features), and the inclusion of voices (and singing!), and you have fully featured game in its own right that has much promise with adherence to the soul of Disney. It’ll be available from the 18th.
Agent 47, the bald, black-suited, square-jawed assassin returns to the realm of video games in Absolution, after a six year hiatus. The game courted considerable controversy earlier this year with the absurdly sexy ‘Attack of the Saints‘ trailer that served to send the wrong message. Prior to this, fans were concerned by the apparent focus on action as opposed to the stealth-oriented roots of the series, but positive word-of-mouth has allayed most of those fears. Once again, players will be free to organise creative kills on their targets, sometimes embracing utter lunacy in a career that more commonly carries the connotations of absolute stone-faced seriousness. The gameplay is shaping up to be the finest in the series history, thanks to increased options and much smoother controls, but we’re always just as interested in the promised story beats. To this end, Absolution is supposed to be the most personal journey of Agent 47 to date, as he is betrayed by his former handler and he embarks on a search for the truth. We’re pretty light on details at the moment, but we’re hoping that it turns out to be much better than the developer’s previous current-gen efforts: the average-at-best Kane and Lynch games. It’ll be available on the PC, PS3 and 360 from the 20th.