November means a few things in gaming land. It’s the month that follows the releases of Call of Duty and FIFA. So dominant are these two franchises that few games dare go up against them. Which is another thing that November is notable for: it’s the month when the releases begin to dry up. Christmas is around the corner, and games want to be out early enough that the present-buying early-birds can pick it up at the tills.
That’s why we are covering 11 games this month, rather than last month’s 14. But while there are notably fewer games to highlight, there are still some crackers releasing on Xbox (Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S) in November 2022. Sonic Frontiers? Goat Simulator 3? Just Dance 2023? We imagine those three being the source of plenty of internet debate, at the very least. Unleash the memes.
Football Manager 2023 Console
The annual managerthon arrives in the form of Football Manager 2023 Console. Is Haaland as free-scoring in FM 2023 as he is in real life? We’re about to find out. Buy him at Stoke City and see if he can do it on a rainy day.
There are some game features that are worth tooting on the vuvuzela for too. For the first time, Football Manager 2023 Console comes with the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League, all officially licensed, so you can storm to the Europa League summit with Barcelona, and give them some silverware, bless them. There’s a new supporter confidence system, so you can be alerted to when you’ll be Benitez’d out of the club, and you can chronicle your career with a visual-led timeline.
Sounds like decent additions to us.
The moment of truth is here. Will Sonic Frontiers be as bland and, frankly, un-Sonic-like as the first trailers? Or will the mix of open worlds and Sonic-speed be a match made in heaven? It could go either way. This could be Teeth-Sonic, or it could be Sonic Mania-Sonic.
Five massive Starfall Islands are available in an archipelago for Sonic to explore. He’s waylaid five chaos emeralds, having become castaway on the islands, and it’s down to you to round them up. This is an exploration-heavy, high-speed take on Sonic, and – for a franchise that is often criticised for being stale or constantly slowing down Sonic – it’s certainly got a lot of potential.
That potential could equally swing the other way, of course, but be sure of a verdict from us soon.
Goat Simulator 3
You have to sit back and nod in admiration at Coffee Stain Studios, the makers of Goat Simulator 3. Not only have they got the cajones to name their game Goat Simulator 3, having never released a 2, but they announced the game with a frankly brilliant trailer that riffed heavily on the infamous Dead Island 2 one. We could call the trailer the G.O.A.T., but it would be too on the nose.
So much of what made Goat Simulator utter, udder carnage is present and correct this time out. It’s a glorious sandbox for you to butt, nudge, ram and jump on, just to see what will happen. But it’s the developments that make this a world-bleater. It’s four-player co-op for one, so the fun gets multiplied.
And Coffee Stain Studios have promised that they’ve hired game designers this time, which is just about the most self-effacing bulletpoint that we’ve seen on a game’s Steam page.
Should be chaos.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me
The Dark Pictures Anthology gets its annual installment in the form of The Devil in Me, another horror treat from Supermassive Games. This time round they have employed the services of fantastic actor Jessie Buckley (only usurped by Olivia Colman in our list of greatest working British female actors), to bring a tale of a documentary gone wrong.
A group of young documentarians are drawn to a house that was built to be a replica of serial killer H.H. Holmes’ ‘Murder Castle’. Now, that would be enough for most of us to nope out of there, but these are ambitious film-makers, and they know a good plot when they see one. Of course, things go south, and we’re willing to bet that the replica isn’t so replica after all.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is the fourth and final game in the current Anthology storyline, so it should be a rousing finale. Check it out.
Evil West is such a tease. We have written an entry for it in two previous Up Nexts, but Evil West has been delayed and delayed again, meaning we’ve had to scrap what we’ve written. You owe us a few minutes of our life back, Evil West, you scallywag!
But it’s here, and it’s undeniably stylish looking, so we would be remiss of not putting it here again. It casts you as something of a wild-west superhero, donning a gauntlet with tremendous power and bringing it to bear on countless stubbly chins.
This third-person shooter is gorgeous, unashamed to deliver an adrenaline high, and could be the juvenile cousin to Red Dead Redemption 2.
Talking about juvenile and bombastic, we would like to introduce you to Gungrave G.O.R.E. The name might ring a bell, as Gungrave was an old PS2 classic, and even had a shot at a VR experience on the PlayStation 4. But this is its proper latest-gen bow, and it looks like something that Platinum Games might have turned down for being a bit over-the-top.
This is a third-person ‘gore ballet’ that puts you in charge of Death Ronin Grave, the newest grim reaper. You are shearing souls of their bodies in gleeful, almost Bayonetta-like style, across twelve hours of campaign, and it looks so deliciously stylish that we can’t help but very suddenly become excited for it.
Just Dance 2023
The annual ritual of donning a panda suit and reviewing the latest Just Dance is here. Trust us when we say that it’s a highlight for a few people in the office.
Ubisoft are touting this year’s iteration as being ‘the never-ending party experience’, which sounds a tad threatening to us. But nae worry, there are some cracking additions that are more welcoming.
Just Dance 2023 has, cryptically, 3D worlds to explore (sounds suspiciously Zuckerberg to us), as well as true online multiplayer and customisable avatars. But the real news? BTS have made it onto the roster for the first time ever, so hold your swoon for when Just Dance 2023 finally arrives.
Police Simulator: Patrol Officers
We’re as confused as you are. One of the most talked about and most-searched games for November is Police Simulator: Patrol Officers. Forget Sonic Frontiers: one of the most in-demand games of November is a German simulation game that allows you to walk the beat and cuff some crims.
As a newly minted police officer, your first station is the fictional city of Brighton (no, not that one) in the US of A. Your career starts out as a traffic cop, as you wander your beat posting traffic violations. Then you’re working your way up the ladder, taking on more significant crimes, getting promotions and even interrogating the odd baddie.
We love some of the examples of crimes given on Police Simulator: Patrol Officer’s website, like shooing away cars that have parked in bus zones, and placing down police cones. The scope is endearingly small, and we can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about.
The Entropy Centre
Now you’re thinking with time-jumps. That’s all we can think of when we watch the trailer for Stubby Games’ The Entropy Centre. It’s undeniably in debt to Portal, but with time-portals subbing for space-portals. It’s a simple swap, and it could well pay dividends.
But calling The Entropy Centre a mere Portal clone is doing it a huge disservice. This is exquisitely presented for one, capitalising on the latest gen of hardware and delivering something far beyond what an indie developer should be able to deliver.
It’s also got a fantastic eye for a puzzle, and even the trailers and demo has our brains liquifying and trickling down our earlobes. This might be one to play when you’re feeling on top of your game, mentally.
There’s definitely room in November for some narrative-centred survival horror. Halloween may have come and gone, but The Chant is still bringing the terrors.
We’re loving the premise in particular. The Chant is set on an island that, till now, has been used as a spiritual retreat, a place to find oneself. But a particular exercise has gone incredibly wrong, as the visitors to the retreat have completed an ancient ritual and invited some Lovecraftian horrors inside. One by one, the holidayers are being consumed by their own inner fears, and it’s down to you to return things to normalcy.
It’s White Lotus or Nine Perfect Strangers with a splash of Hellraiser, and we are 100% here for it.
Last, but please don’t consider it to be least, is Ghost Song. A Humble Games joint, which is a near-guarantee of quality, Ghost Song is a Metroidvania that dodges most of the trappings of the genre.
This is story focused, delivering an immersive adventure that echoes Inside and Little Nightmares. It’s extraordinarily artful, and loaded with hidden areas. Mostly it just looks really, really good, and all of the things that we mentioned are catnip to us.
You play a deadsuit, awoken after decades of slumber on the alien moon of Lorian. It’s your job to investigate incursions on the moon, so you’re heading to the source of the mysterious Ghost Song with little idea of what it could be.
Watching the trailer, this is clearly a game that ramps up the feelings of solitude, as you navigate areas untouched by human hands. Creepy and cool.
Time is ticking down, and 2022 is drawing to a close. Already discussions have started turning to which game could possibly challenge Elden Ring for best game of the year. Perhaps a game on this list will drop the gauntlet? Sonic Frontiers, we’re looking at you.
Alternatively, December might have the final say. We have two absolute contenders in the form of The Callisto Protocol and Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Or perhaps High on Life or Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion might lead a late charge? Maybe the end of the year is more exciting than we thought.
Let us know what you think.