It's November! In 2013, this is the month we've been waiting for since the holiday season began with its bloated game release schedule, and the next generation of gaming officially kicked off with the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Aside from the launch libraries of these new consoles, we'll also got a wide range of releases of many genres for all systems, including Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
It goes without saying that this November, with its new console releases, is a bit special, but what about past Novembers, especially the ones without a pivotal console to hype up game releases? For that, we'll have to find out with - you guessed it - a trip though memory lane.
The eleventh month of 2003 was very light on releases, but was also very much a Mario-oriented month, with the GBA game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga being the big release. Starting a new sub-series of Mario RPGs, this game featured Mario and Luigi having to work together on the field and in battle, lending a light puzzle element to a quirky and fun plot.
Other Notable Releases: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
November 2004 had a significant amount of games released, and many of these hold long-standing memories for gamers far and wide. While most of the games hold significance during its release, the PC title Half-Life 2 is still lauded today as a terrific game, and still remains in the eyes of the gaming community due to a large and boisterous fanbase wishing for a third entry into the series. Continuing after the original Half-Life, Half-Life 2 features more great gameplay backed by the then new Source Engine, and an engaging plot that simply begs for a third entry. It's little wonder that this title became some people's Game of the Decade!
Other Notable Releases: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, World of Warcraft, Halo 2
Remember the N64 shooter Perfect Dark? That, and Goldeneye, are well beloved by N64 fans as terrific games with a great multiplayer element. So it's little surprise that fans eagerly snatched up Perfect Dark Zero when it released November 2005. As a sequel to the original, it may not have been the perfect game fans were looking for, but there's no denying the excitement for the 360 game back in 2005.
Other Notable Releases: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Who didn't want to swing their WiiMote around like a madman and pretend like they were really swinging a sword in 2006? You may not want to admit that, but the Wii release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess helped bring that fantasy to life. The first-party Nintendo game took great advantage of the Wii and the WiiMote, making you feel as though you were really the hero of Hyrule in a way you couldn't before.
Other Notable Releases: Wii Sports, Final Fantasy III
November of 2007 was the month. So many fantastic series (or subseries, in the case of Modern Warfare) got their start here, and there wasn't any way gamers could be disappointed with their 360s and PS3s. While most of these titles also share the aspect of being overused to the point of fatiguing even the core fanbase by now, there's no denying the impact these titles had in 2007.
Although it's almost impossible to pick a singular game to comment on, Mass Effect managed to impress and bring in new and eager fans with every iteration, disliked ending aside. The mix of RPG and shooting elements clicked with many a gamer, and the deep and epic plot kept fans eagerly awaiting its sequels to see what would happen to Shepard and the expansive universe next.
Other Notable Releases: Super Mario Galaxy, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
November of 2008, a month of parkour and shooters. In the midst of the holiday rush, Valve released a new game series onto the world: Left 4 Dead. While zombie games were becoming a bit of a tired trope, Left 4 Dead changed it up a bit by providing gameplay that forced people to work together in order to survive. In addition, varying zombie types kept survivors on their toes as they struggled to make it to safe zones and rescuers.
Other Notable Releases: Mirror's Edge, Gears of War 2
Two years after the release of the original Mass Effect, Bioware struck gold again with the first entry of their new series, Dragon Age: Origins. This fantasy RPG allowed for you to enjoy a different origin story based on your race and class, and made decision making less of a choice between good and evil and instead forced decisions to be more meaningful and more ambiguous. Between this and their space epic, Bioware was first in gamers' minds in 2009.
Other Notable Releases: Band Hero
November 2010 was a bit of an odd month. Most titles of interest came out on the Wii, with Epic Mickey taking the cake in terms of how it was received. The aesthetically-pleasing Disney game caught the eye of many gamers, and the darker Mickey adventure pleased older fans of the typically sugary-sweet world of Disney.
Other Notable Releases: 007: Goldeneye, Bit.Trip Beat
Okay, I may be cheating a bit; Minecraft was technically released in alpha and beta versions before November 2011--but the complete version did not come until this month, so it still counts. Anyway, it's a bit surprising how big of a following this sandbox game received... so much so that the developer is more or less swimming in money and the game basically creating a genre revolving around building and mining stuff. Minecraft isn't a game of misplaced faith, however; the procedurally generated worlds and the tools for survival and creativity make for a wonderful title that deserves its success.
Other Notable Releases: Saints Row: The Third, Rayman Origins, Super Mario 3D Land, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
While the new console generation is just beginning, it's weird to think that the Wii U is already a year old. The new Nintendo console's release last year came a fair amount of launch titles, and the most well received of them was New Super Mario Bros. U (which we also gave a very favorable review to). The first HD Nintendo first-party game, this "New" moniker game looked and played great on the big screen, and managed to be a great Mario game in its own right, in both single and multiplayer.
Other Notable Releases: Halo 4, ZombiU
That's it for this month's look back at... well, previous Novembers. Some were great, others were practically barren, but we can at least say that every November had a couple pretty big hits to tide us over until Christmas.
Which November release is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!