Sure, sure, Cyberpunk 2077 has delayed and the sky is falling. But let’s not write November off: we have the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, and one of the most rammed months in recent memory. The best and the brightest of the triple-A games have been held back for this moment, so that they can pull a Blue Steel and look their best on new hardware. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, the new COD, DIRT 5 and a Need for Speed remaster are all lining up, and man do they ooze money.
Then there’s Xbox Game Pass, which is shunting some stellar games our way this month, including the first-party Gears Tactics, and the indie triple-header of Knights & Bikes, Deep Rock Galactic and Tetris Effect: Connected. That’s not to mention the folding-in of EA Play on November 10th.
There’s plenty to scratch onto a Christmas list, then, and more than enough to make the delay to Cyberpunk seem like a moderate nuisance. No, no, November – you’re breathtaking.
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered – 6th November
We have a grudge against Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Way back in 2010, EA decided to pull Criterion from the Burnout franchise to work on their first Need for Speed. Sure, Hot Pursuit was good and all that, winning awards and whatnot, but you took away our Burnout, EA.
Rant over. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered celebrates the 10th Anniversary of its launch with a glitzy, modernised revamp. It looks spick and span, it has all the original DLC, and we’re getting another six hours of gameplay on top of that. The Autolog system is still present and correct too, connecting you up with mates and thrusting their improved scores down your gullet.
We’re willing to give it another chance and let bygones be bygones when Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered launches on November 6th on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, while Switch players have to wait till the 13th.
DIRT 5 – 6th November
We’re a world away from the original Colin Mcrae Dirt. Credit where its due – and some hardcore rally fans will disagree – but Dirt has moved on from being niche interest, and has managed to stay relevant. That’s in no small part down to its embracing of wider motorsporting, and that embrace gets a hell of a lot wider with DIRT 5.
If there’s a race or car that prefers mud over tarmac, then it’s here. Muscle cars, buggies, rock bouncers (I had zero idea of what this was, so consider me learned Codemasters), modern rallycross, traditional rally driving – it’s all present. Stick in boxcar racing and they’ve pretty much done it all. Then there are the races, like gymkhanas, gate crashers and smash attacks. Like The Blob, Dirt is slowly growing to encompass Motorstorm, Destruction Derby and a number of other lost racers. If you could absorb the masterful Blur next time, Codies, that would be great.
Did you know that Nolan North and Troy Baker are voicing the campaign? We really don’t need to give you more reasons to pick Dirt 5 up when it comes out on the 6th November.
Planet Coaster: Console Edition – 10th November
I work down the road from Frontier, who disappointingly don’t have a rollercoaster in their backyard (or a dinosaur, or a spaceship). But they do make a mean rollercoaster game, having sharpened their tools on Rollercoaster Tycoons and the ill-fated Screamer.
Having spent so much of my childhood upping the salt content in my fries and then watching people chunder on the waltzers (Theme Park, you heathens), Planet Coaster: Console Edition puts a smiley face in a bubble above my head. We’re well up for playing this one.
The two emphases in the title of this one are ‘Planet’ and ‘Console’. Frontier are taking their love of rollercoasters to a global audience, using the ‘Frontier Workshop’ as a storefront for players to share their park designs with each other, making it truly ‘Planet’-spanning. Plus, the devs have done their damnedest to make a console-phobic game simple enough to be played with a pad.
Expect a review of whether this homegrown game has managed either task when Planet Coaster: Console Edition comes out from the 10th of November on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5.
The Falconeer – 10th November
Remember Lair, the launch title for PS3? It was balls, but it sold us on a dream of being an aerial menace, flying the world and raining napalm death down on enemies. You wouldn’t know it from the title of The Falconeer (we were envisaging something between Eagle Flight and Flower. It’s not), but we’re getting some Lair-ish vibes, and it has infinitely more chance of achieving that dream.
You are a war-bird – a combination of falcon and pilot – and you’re given an open world called the Great Ursee to swoop around in. It’s a hell of a world, going by the fantastic trailer-work that’s been put out, with nightmare cities, huge Waterworlds and flying airships. There’s dogfighting to be had in the skies above them, and The Falconeer has one over STAR WARS: Squadrons, because you get to fight beetles, dragons and mantarays. Eat that, Poe Dameron.
Wired Productions have released a few duffers recently after a run of great games, but this really does look like a return to form. Check it out when The Falconeer lands on our gloved mitts on the packed 10th of November, on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon – 10th November
Whew, the trailer for Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a rollercoaster. Part of me wants to eye-roll at the Swerty-style weirdness, as SEGA cram it with as many pre-packaged memes to fill r/gaming for the next decade. But that part of me can get stuffed, as it just looks so fun, and that’s exactly the remedy that the world needs now.
You play Ichiban, wrongly incarcerated and finally released at the ripe old age of 40. You were once in a Yakuza gang, but an old friend has since dismantled it, and you’re looking to make a name for yourself again. There’s a motley band to form, as you gather renegade cops, homeless nurses and a hostess to your banner.
But that’s not the half of it. There’s karaoke, Dragon’s Den pitching, some kind of Kentucky Derby mini-game, JRPG-like summons (but switching out Shiva for a lobster) and enough Shenmue-like distractions to make you actually question what the hell is the core gameplay for this game? Genuinely, we’re not sure.
As a side course for the Yakuza series, and a trailblazer for the Xbox Series X (it’s here, people), this looks bonkers. Check it out from the 10th of November on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PC. Expect a PS5 release later down the line, on the 2nd of March 2021.
Gears Tactics – 10th November
In a slight twist-that-isn’t-a-twist-really, we have already reviewed Gears Tactics, having done the dirty and played it on PC. We will still give it a spin on the Xbox Series X, but we’re not ashamed to say that we gave it a 5/5: a rare accolade on TheXboxHub.
Much hype, then. Not least because the many Game Pass owners among us will be getting to play it, on launch, for free (okay, not free, but you get it). If you’re not sure what this Tactics malarkey is, then imagine the Gears of War franchise chainsawed out of the shooter genre, and bolted onto the X-Com turn-based tactics genre.
For lore nerds, this takes place 12 years before the events of Gears of War, landing you on the outpost world of the Planet Sera, just as the Locust hordes emerge for the first time. There’s no Marcus or Cole Trains here (we’re guessing), so there’s a new crew, led by your character Gabe Diaz, to fall bromantically in love with.
Now Cyberpunk’s evacuated the bowels of November, Gears Tactics is the game I’m most up for. Come get some when Gears Tactics launches on Xbox One and Xbox Series X (on Game Pass, to boot), on the 10th of November.
XIII – 10th November
I’m trying to rack my brains for a mainstream game that did cel-shading (proper cel-shading, not your Comix Zone rubbish) before XIII. Cel Damage, perhaps? Whatever the answer, XIII was a bit of a trailblazer in the looks department way back in 2003, and it’s a shame that it received such a muted welcome when it launched, and that it hasn’t built up a huge cult following since.
The multiplayer was reasonably duff, if memory serves, but as a story campaign XIII was a doozy. Based on a graphic novel, it involved a 24-like conspiracy, as various high-ranking officials tried to take down the president. This was a first-person shooter, and the gunplay was good fun.
The game ended on a cliffhanger, so we’re hoping that enough interest builds up again that a sequel could feasibly get greenlit. That or Microids cut their losses and add in some extra levels for the remaster, concluding the plot. Go on, you know you want to.
If you didn’t play the original – and, frankly, not many people did – then the 10th of November is the day to play XIII on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC – with a Switch release coming next year. Honestly, are there any games not coming out on the 10th?
Tetris Effect: Connected – 10th November
What gives, Tetris? You chuck PS4 one of the defining PSVR games, and then you give Switch the seminal Tetris 99. As the great Dr. Evil once said, throw us a frigging line-block bone here.
Let’s not grump, as we’re getting Tetris Effect: Connected, and it’s so full of stuff that it’s a wonder that it doesn’t disappear, dropping the next set of blocks down. For starters, you’re getting the humongous joys of Tetris Effect in the package. This is a riotous cacophony of visuals and bangers, meshing together to create a sensory barrage that rivals sex in a moving caravan.
Then there are the social elements. We might not be getting battles against 98 opponents, but it’s close. There’s an all-new co-op mode, competitive online modes and – of course, pssht – local multiplayer modes. Then there’s the real news, that it’s all coming to Game Pass on launch, so there will be millions of opponents all screaming for that line-block.
As with every game this month, Tetris Effect: Connected is out on the 10th of November on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Game Pass, as well as PS4 and PC.
Fuser – 10th November
God bless you, Harmonix. Any other company would have been wiped out by the Great Peripherals Crash of 2015, but they have trucked along on the funds from Rock Band song packs, and continued to bring us innovative, lauded, but commercially unsuccessful games. Let’s hope Fuser bucks the trend and finally pockets Harmonix some hard-earned cash.
Fuser draws together a couple of Harmonix’s older games in an attempt to create a coherent whole. There’s a lot of DJ Hero in the casting of the player as a DJ, sampling songs and then splicing them live onstage to a virtual festival. Then there’s DropMix, the physical media side-hustle from Harmonix, where you can very easily and simply drop in tracks to mash-up, and Fuser borrows from that too.
Tracks come from Dua Lipa, Basement Jaxx, Whitney Houston. The Killers, Khalid and more, so it’s eclectic to say the least. The trailers certainly make it look like a good time, but will Harmonix have learned from their past mistakes? There’s certainly no giant plastic peripherals from MadCatz, so that’s something.
Fuser launches on Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC on the 10th of November.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – 10th November
In an announcement that surprised literally nobody, Ubisoft revealed that Assassin’s Creed would be coming to the Viking peoples with Valhalla. Then we were bombarded by some of the most sensational screenies and trailers this side of Ragnarok, and the hype-Jormungandr has been roaring ever since.
As with most modern Assassin’s Creed games, there is bugger-all assassination going on: instead, you’re taking your Viking raider, Eivor, on a pillaging spree to ninth-century England. I’m sure we’ve all fantasised about that over the past few months. We’re a hostile land, so the materials say, which I’m sure most pre-pillaged lands would be.
The neat gimmicks this time round are the raids themselves, which look brutal, as you overrun encampments in minutes, and the settlements you will build on the bones of the fallen English. You’ll be building and then upgrading your wee town, unlocking quests as you do so. Apparently there are tattoo missions after building a tattoo parlour: hopefully we can stealth-tattoo a Ubisoft logo onto Kratos’ buttcheeks.
You already know whether you’re picking this one up, and on stonking new hardware too. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla launches on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC and Google Stadia from 10th November.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory – 11th November
Natter to any Kingdom Hearts fan and they will invariably tell you a) which moments made them cry and b) that the music is the absolute business. It’s a conversation we’ve had more times than we’d like, so it’s time to get some common ground and hear all of the Square/Disney bangers in one place with Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
If you’ve played Theatrhythm Final Fantasy then you’ll have a handle on what happens here. Critical moments from across the series’ history play out in the background, while rhythm-action beats and taps play over the soundtrack. Get high scores to unlock more modes and tracks, and play as your choice of characters from across the series. It looks like everyone is present and correct, and you’ll form a team of three from the dozens that you’ll unlock.
There’s 140+ songs here, which is flipping gargantuan. For a rhythm action title it’s a crazy number, so the hardcore Keybladers (the internet didn’t have a name for Kingdom Hearts fans, so we’ve come up with our own) will love it. Theatrhythm didn’t come out on the Xbox One, so it’s also something of a treat that it graces our green shores. Hopefully more Square hits will arrive on an Xbox in the future.
You’ll be getting goofy with Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory on the 11th of November on Xbox One, Switch and PS4.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – 13th November
As someone who fell off the Call of Duty bandwagon somewhere around Ghosts, it’s hard to pinpoint the stuff that will make a COD-lover salivate. Let’s give it a shot.
It’s Raven Software’s turn this time, so we get a Black Ops-flavoured meal. The pendulum has also swung back into the solo campaign’s favour, so we’re actually getting one this time. It’s a time-shifting story, focusing on a few landmark moments from the Cold War, including Vietnam circa 1968, East Berlin and USSR in 1981. There’s a weird animatronic of Ronald Reagan that turns up, plus a character who somehow looks like Kurt Russell and Brad Pitt at the same time.
Let’s be honest, most players couldn’t give a Weapon Blueprint for the solo game experience, as it’s the multiplayer that keeps people sticking around. Warzone, the F2P battleground, remains, this time launching on day one, while the multiplayer stuff is cross-platform, cross-generation and cross-buns. Credit to Activision-Blizzard, bringing communities together when they could be at their most fractured.
We’ll park any jokes about overboard monetisation structures for now, and simply point out that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War comes out on November 13th for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and PC.
At some point over November, we’ll also get to pull on the plastic gloves and unbox our Xbox Series X – a moment we will cherish. And whoever says that the launch lineup is lacking can go do one: this list alone shows that we’re going to get zero sleep from the 10th of November onwards.
Do return in December when maybe, perhaps, probably we will be getting that Cyberpunk game. I guess other games will launch too.