CBR Games Roundup: November 2008

CBR is back with another edition of the CBR GAMES ROUNDUP, and it's a big one. November is usually a huge month when it comes to video games, and this year is no exception. Some of the biggest titles of the year are arriving this month, and there's a good mix of both sequels and brand new properties.

As always, please keep in mind the list is not inclusive of every release for a given month, release dates are always subject to change, and some games release on certain platforms before others. So, buckle up and let's take a look at some of this month's games!

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)—November 4 - Website

SEGA’s tactical roleplaying game takes place in a during a fictional 1930s war over energy resources. Players will take on the role of the people of Gallia, who are trying to stop an invasion of their land. “Valkyria Chronicles” has gotten a good deal of notice for its graphics, which are powered by SEGA's CANVAS engine. The art style at times resembles hand-drawn characters, while the action is presented like an animated watercolor painting.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Multi)—November 4 - Website

This Bond game will follow the stories of both “Casino Royale” and the upcoming ”Quantum of Solace.” Treyarch took the acclaimed “Call of Duty 4” engine and added a cover system, third person perspective and a contextual melee system, as players will be using stealth as well as firearms to take down the bad guys. The game also has full-featured multiplayer, and a mode where one player can take on the role of Bond and square off against a group of players trying to hunt him down.

We spoke previously with Treyarch's Garrett Young, Executive Producer of the hotly anticipated "Quantum of Solace" video game, and you can read that interview here.

Resistance 2 (PS3)—November 4 - Website

The first “Resistance” is widely regarded as one of (if not the) best launch games for the PS3. Nathan Hale’s battle with the Chimera rages on in “Resistance 2,” and this time it’s taking place on US soil. In the single player campaign, players will follow Nathan Hale as he becomes a member of the Sentinels, a group resistant to the Chimeran virus, and tries to fend off an invasion of the country.

The game features a co-op campaign for up to 8 players, which allows players to take on different classes, including Medic, Soldier and Special Ops, and follows the storyline from a different perspective. Competitive multiplayer will feature up to 60 players at a time, separated into squads of four to six. The game also has trophy support.

In January 2009, Wildstorm will be releasing a six-issue limited series based on the game, written by Mike Costa.

Tom Clancy’s End War (DS/PS3/PSP/Xbox 360)—November 4 - Website

Set in the year 2020, this realtime strategy game takes place as the World War III is beginning. Players can control US, European or Russian factions in a global conflict. A unique feature that Ubisoft is touting is the ability to control the game entirely through voice commands. The PSP and DS versions will be more turn-based however, and will not feature voice commands. The DS version will feature touch controls, however.

“EndWar” multiplayer will feature a “Theater of War” mode, where the results of player battles will affect the ongoing World War III online campaign.

Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)—November 7 - Website

Marcus Fenix and the rest of the COG Squad will be taking the fight to the Locust once again when the sequel to the multi million selling 2006 hit. Taking place roughly six months after the end of the last game, “Gears 2” will have the COG heading underground to attack the Locust on their turf, as they try and protect humanity’s last safe havens.

In addition to two player campaign co-op, the game will feature a five player co-op mode called “Horde,” in which players face off against waves of enemies that get increasingly more difficult. “Gears 2” also features ten player competitive multiplayer, complete with new modes like Submission, where players have to kidnap an enemy and bring them to their own base for points.

For fans of the story, Wildstorm is currently publishing a new “Gears of War” comic book series written by Joshua Ortega. Issue #1 went on sale in October.

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (Multi)—November 7 - Website

It’s time to get your grapple on once again, as this year’s version of the “SvR” series will be sporting new modes and features. The tag team mode has been reworked to be more cooperative, where players will build attributes and momentum as a team. One of the new match modes is called “Inferno”, where the goal is to set you opponent on fire. A huge roster and the ability to create your own finisher should have WWE fans excited for this one.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (Xbox 360)—November 11 - Website

The fifth game in the “Banjo Kazooie” series sees a shift from the traditional platforming that earlier titles were known for. Vehicles are a big part of this game, and there is a deep vehicle creation system, where players can design vehicles to specifically address the challenges of different levels. There will also be templates available for those who aren’t looking to design from scratch.

Call of Duty: World at War (Multi)—November 11 - Website

Many fans of “Call of Duty 4” were not thrilled when it was announced that the next game would be returning to World War II. Developer Treyarch looks to win over modern warfare fans with features that were not available in “CoD4,” such as the four-player online co-op campaign, and the new “Nazi Zombie” mode, where four players battle endless waves of zombies (similar to “Gears of War’s” “Horde” mode).

“Call of Duty: World at War” is set in the Pacific theater and Berlin, and the two storylines will feature the US Marine Corps and the Soviet Red Army.

CBR recently talked to Treyarch's Garrett Young about the game.

Mirror’s Edge (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)—November 11 - Website

This first-person action game puts players in the role of Faith, a currier (or runner) in a futuristic world where the totalitarian government controls communication. The focus on the game is free running through environments to complete objectives and evade enemies. The controls are simplified, with the goal being for players to build up momentum as they successfully navigate obstacles.

Rhianna Pratchett has written a six-issue comics series that is being published by Wildstorm. The series will serve as a prequel to the events of the game.

Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff (DS)—November 11 - Website

Many gamers have fond memories of the NES version of “Tecmo Bowl” and its 1991 sequel, “Tecmo Super Bowl.” “Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff” aims to recapture the accessibility of its predecessors, while adding a level of depth through the ability to customize teams, uniforms, playbooks and abilities. The game will also feature Wi-Fi and local wireless play. The only thing missing is the NFL license, but Tecmo is hoping the added features will more than make up for it. There's also a Wii version planned for next year.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC)—November 13 - Website

The largest MMO ever is set to receive its second major expansion when “Wrath of the Lich King” arrives this month. Along with a new continent and a level cap increase, the expansion brings several new features to “WoW.” A new Death Knight class, more character customization options and a zone dedicated entirely to Player vs. Player combat should keep “WoW” fans satisfied for quite some time.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3/Xbox 360)—November 16 - Website

Superman versus Sub-Zero? Flash versus Shang Tsung? Why not? While some dismissed the idea of combining the MK and DC universes for a fighting game, Midway has changed a lot of minds over the past few months. Sporting great graphics, a revamped and simplified control system, and a mid-air fighting mechanic, “MK vs. DC” looks to provide pick up and play fun for comic fans and gamers alike.

Back in August, CBR spoke to Senior Producer Hans Lo about what fans could expect from the game. You can check out that interview here.

Need for Speed: Undercover (Multi)—November 17 - Website

The latest installment in the “Need for Speed” franchise will feature the largest open world the series has ever seen. Players will take on the role of an undercover police office infiltrating a crime syndicate in order to bring it down. In addition to the mission-based single player campaign, the game will also feature multiplayer. One of the new multiplayer modes will be “Cops and Robbers,” where players will be split into two teams of four, with the robbers needing to deliver packages to drop points, while the cops try to intercept them.

Tomb Raider: Underworld (Multi)—November 18 - Website

Lara Croft's latest adventure starts off where “Tomb Raider Legend” left off. This time around, Lara is searching for the mythical Hammer of Thor, a search that starts on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. For the first time in the series, the developers have used motion capture to give Lara more life-like animations, and Lara will also be able to interact with the environment in more dynamic ways. For example, when Lara's navigating a wet ledge she may slip or lose her grip, and damage that she inflicts on the environment will be permanent.

Developer Eidos recently announced that two chapters of downloadable content would be coming exclusively to the Xbox 360, and together would comprise an extra six hours of gameplay.

Sonic Unleashed (PS2/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)—November 18 - Website

SEGA's speedster will be suffering from a bit of a split personality as he tries to take down Doctor Eggman in “Sonic Unleashed.” Doctor Eggman has used a weapon to corrupt the Chaos Emeralds and unleash a powerful evil from within the planet itself. The weapon has also caused a strange reaction in Sonic, and when night falls, he becomes a Werehog. Daytime and nighttime gameplay will be different, as Sonic's Werehog form is more powerful and uses more melee attacks to defeat enemies.

Archie Comics recently ran a backup story in “Sonic the Hedgehog” #193 that featured the “Sonic Unleashed” storyline.

Left 4 Dead (PC/Xbox 360)—November 18 - Website

Valve's zombie survival shooter has generated a ton of buzz over the last several months, both for its frightening concept and innovative design. A multiplayer focused game, “Left 4 Dead” pits four players against waves of swarming undead. Unlike many shooters, going it alone will almost surely result in death, as the game is designed to encourage cooperation at every turn. Players will be able to see glowing outlines of teammates through walls, and will be able to tend to each other's wounds and rescue each other from attacks. The AI is designed to spawn enemies in different areas situationally, and undead will attack in different ways, leading to a new experience each playthrough. There's also a deathmatch mode, where four players can take on the role of undead attackers themselves.

The Last Remnant (Xbox 360)—November 20 - Website

This Square-Enix rpg involves a storyline where a young man is trying to rescue his kidnapped sister, set against the backdrop of a world that has is mired in conflict over powerful artifacts called “Remnants.” The game features a command-based combat system, where the players issue orders to small groups, as opposed to assigning each character's actions individually.

While the game is debuting on the Xbox 360, it will be appearing on the PC and PS3 in the future.

New Xbox Experience / Playstation Home

While technically not games, the fact that both the Xbox and the PS3 are set to receive major interface overhauls is big news. The New Xbox Experience is set to arrive on November 19, and will include avatars, the ability to install games to the hard drive, and the ability for Netflix subscribers to stream movies through the console, among other things. Playstation Home does not have a firm release date yet, but is rumored to be arriving on or around the same time as the New Xbox Experience. Home will offer an immersive interface that allows gamers to interact in an online world similar to “Second-Life,” where developers will design spaces around their games. Users will also get to customize their own space, where they can display content that is stored on their hard drive.

Release Date Changes

”Legendary” is now scheduled to be released on November 4 (previously announced for October 21)

And that about wraps it up for the November edition of the CBR GAMES ROUNDUP. If we skipped your most anticipated game of the month, head on over to the boards and let us know! And remember to keep checking CBR for exclusive interviews with developers on some of the biggest games of the year.

Until next month, good gaming!

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