Hello and welcome to definitely-not-miserable November, where the nights close in, the Big Coat is officially back in rotation, and video games become a greater draw than ever. But starting a new month also means a return for our recurring series, too, where we summarise What to Play This Month.
As always, the goal here is to help cut through a release schedule that looks busier than ever with a roundup of the best games from the month gone by, the things we’re most excited to play from the month ahead – plus, any other suggestions for what might complement it. So, here’s What To Play This November.
The best games from last month
Forza Motorsport (2023)
Availability: Out now on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Here’s what we said in our Forza Motorsport (2023) review:
A generous and lavish racer, with thrilling driving, that wants you for the long haul… The Forza series has always been good at coaxing you in, making you believe that realistic racing is a gas, not a chore. In this new instalment, you will find over five hundred cars at launch, with more on the way; twenty circuits to race; and menus that bristle with customised brake pads, anti-roll bars, suspension coils, and spoilers. It’s exhaustive, but it wouldn’t dream of tiring you out.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and next year iOS.
Here’s what we said in our Assassin’s Creed Mirage review:
I love, perhaps more than anything, that this game shows you Baghdad at its most powerful, influential, its most culture-creating and knowledge-expanding, and then leaves you to think about that.
Availability: Out now on PC, Switch, and PS5.
Here’s what we said in our five-star Saltsea Chronicles review:
Fittingly, for me, Saltsea Chronicles turned out to be a story about choices as well as a story made of choices. It made me think about the big decisions I make in life, but also the decisions that shape a life that I don’t even notice having made. Ripples turning to waves and all that. You must play this. It’s luminous.
Availability: Out now on PC, Switch, iOS and Android.
Here’s what we said in our Subpar Pool review:
At best, Subpar Pool doesn’t remind me of pool or golf so much as it reminds me of something like Max Payne – Max Payne when he’s diving through a window and aiming twin pistols and time slows until it feels like clear gel you’re all moving through together. This is because – whisper it – after you take a shot in Subpar Pool, you can hit your ball again while everything’s still moving, triggering a bit of bullet-time and allowing you to clear a complex table in seconds, and with no chances for the cue to come to a halt.
That’s beautiful. That’s thrilling. Yep: nothing subpar about it.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Availability: Out now on PS5.
Here’s what we said in our Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 review:
It’s a welcome relief from thinking about anything more serious, from anti-heroes and darker-than-dark tones. And it’s the perfect tone itself for Spider-Man. This is what his story’s always been about, the good-old-fashioned urge to do the right thing, to form communities and stay close to family and friends – and the relentless obstacles of modern life that make that seem so hard every day. Simple, familiar, and occasionally cluttered as it might all be, it’s still brilliant fun.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Availability: Out now on Nintendo Switch.
Here’s what we said in our five-star Super Mario Bros. Wonder review:
The answer, I think, is that there is no one angle. There’s elephants and flowers and that hidden event that splits every level in half, but none of those these add up to an angle. In truth, the angle here is that every level is its own angle, and each angle has these little sub-angels, throwaway gimmicks, one-shot animations, bespoke enemies. They called it Super Mario Bros. Wonder. They could just as easily have called it Super Mario Bros. Imagination. Jeepers.
Availability: Out now on PC (free).
Here’s what we said in our Moonring review:
There was a time that RPGs were, with a few exceptions, a niche genre and it’s quite amazing to see Baldur’s Gate 3 in particular, a turn-based affair dripping with nerdy D&D lore, be this huge triple-A success. Moonring serves as a reminder that RPGs can be epic in scope, innovative and, yes, immersive, without having massive quantities of money, time and people behind them. More than that, Moonring highlights how the joys of discovery, both in finding new games and within the games themselves, is one of this pastime’s greatest delights.
Availability: Out now on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5.
Here’s what we said in our Jusant review:
Jusant is a climbing game, and I think it’s a particularly rich one if you love the idea of climbing, the rarified, oxygen-poor realm of climbing, but haven’t done much of the real stuff yourself. If your mind buzzes when you hear jangly, ropy words like “belay” and “carabiner” and “cam”, if you thrill to the thought of a climb with a lot of exposure, of a satisfying “problem” to “top out”, if you go to sleep whispering names like Bonington or Honnold, this is game for you. It’s the game for me.
Alan Wake 2
Availability: Out now on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
Here’s what we said in our Alan Wake 2 review:
Where Alan Wake 2 is great is in its excellent synthesis of the original game concept with Control’s incredible art direction and style; this sequel is undoubtedly a vast improvement. It’s general knowledge that Alan Wake and Control share the same universe… There’s a neat parallel between the importance of structure and cohesion in writing (Alan Wake), and the importance of organisation and taxonomy in a byzantine reality-defining institution (The Bureau’s Oldest House). Both are concerned with moulding reality, whether that reality is fact or fiction, and when Alan Wake 2 leans into this overlap to examine fiction-making within the framework of Bureau research, it feels like we’re going somewhere new and exciting.
World of Horror
Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
Our review’s still in the works, but for now just drink in that striking art style – an indie horror riffing on Lovecraft and more excitingly, Junji Ito, with turn-based combat and RPG-style choices. Potentially a fantastic-post Halloween choice for those craving yet more horror.
The games we’re looking forward to in November
RoboCop: Rogue City
Availability: Out 2nd November on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
Classic double-A fare, here’s what we said in our RoboCop: Rogue City review:
RoboCop: Rogue City would have been the absolute biz back in 2005. This might sound like a criticism, and to a certain extent it is. But I mean it equally as a compliment to developer Teyon’s work. The studio’s latest licensed FPS following Terminator: Resistance is a fine example of a AA game, with an ambition that exceeds its budget, and a sincerity that helps power through no small amount of wonk. It’s a decent shooter, a surprisingly involved policing game, and an authentic RoboCop experience.
Availability: Out 2nd November on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
A bolt of electric-puple lightning, Thirsty Suitors is a messy-but-brilliant recreation of the equally messy world of dating, in the form of a queer, horny, exaggerated skating-and-dating genre mash-up. Read more in our Thirsty Suitors review:
Awkwardly placed skateboarding aside, Thirsty Suitors is a confident swing that takes commonplace romantic mishaps and turns them into epic, queer spectacles. It’ll have you thinking about all the great people you hurt because you were young and dumb. It’ll make you type out a heartfelt text to someone who’s basically a stranger now, shortly before deleting it and coming to your senses. But most of all, it’ll remind you of how easy it is to catch feelings… for these characters… in a totally chill, non-committal way.
The Talos Principle 2
Availability: Out 2nd November on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S.
The brain-melting, cult favourite philosophical puzzler returns early this month – expect a review from us very soon!
EA Sports WRC
Availability: Out 3rd November on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC (out now for pre-orders).
EA’s off-road racer returns this month – it looks mighty pretty, but how does it feel? And does EA go full EA? Review coming soon.
Availability: Out 6th November on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
A bit of a visual stunner from trailers, this is a first-person narrative exploration puzzler based on Stanisław Lem’s sci-fi novel of the same name. Looks rad, sounds rad, review coming soon-ish.
Football Manager 2024
Availability: Out 6th November on PC, console and mobile versions on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and mobile and tablets.
Stop the Game of the Year votes Geoff, I’ve got your winner. Alright maybe just for me and the few million other football meganerds – this is the last FM of its kind before some big shake-ups with FM25 next year. We spoke to Miles Jacobson about it for an exclusive deep-dive into Football Manager’s future earlier this year.
Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
Availability: Out 8th November on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC.
The latest comedy-slash-action open-worlder from the series formerly known as Yakuza, this one’s touted as both an entry point for newcomers and one for the long-time fans. If you’ve played any of them, you’ll know this series is unfailingly a blast.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2023)
Availability: Out 10th November on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC.
If you like mutton chops and fawning over attachments to your AR-15, this one’s for you. Activision’s relentlessly respawning shooter returns with another in the rebooted Modern Warfare series, this time with zombies again.
Availability: Out 13th November on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
A post-apocalyptic RPG with some Disco Elysium-like stylings and old-school Fallout vibes, there’s room for this one to break out if it delivers.
Super Mario RPG remake
Availability: Out 17th November on Nintendo Switch.
The final SNES Mario game is getting a remake, out this month – a cult favourite, as far as Mario games can be called “cult favourites”, which naturally we’re excited for.
Persona 5 Tactica
Availability: Out 16th November on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch.
Persona gets the turn-based tactics treatment in a spin-off from the much-loved series.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin
Availability: Out 17th November on PC.
A rare outing for the once-mighty genre of the RTS, Realms of Ruin looks very promising, even if the Age of Sigmar era’s never quite hit the heights of popularity as its 40k brothers.
Availability: Possibly out November on PC, Switch.
This wonderfully scratchy-looking turn-based tactical folktale was originally due out earlier this year, but has been moved back to a more broad “2023” date. With us entering the last couple months of the year, we’re assuming that means either November or December. Keep an eye out for it!
What else do we recommend in November?
A classic NES game – and an under-appreciated Miyamoto game, that arrived on Nintendo Switch Online’s catalogue just recently and is well worth a look here in spooky season.
Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery
A total gem of a series has a new bundled collection with a few extra gubbins thrown in for good measure. It arrived late in October, and is also on Xbox Game Pass as of now. An absolute treat.
A puzzle a day from prolific indie mobile developer Zach Gage, who also made Good Sudoku and the excellent Knotwords, this is a lovely free treat. Only downside is a fair bit of email spam if you sign up for reminders – but hey, nice to be reminded about something good. And free. Here’s the puzzmo site.
Another Game Pass newcomer (in late November) that’s well worth a look, as it arrives on Xbox for the first time. We adored this when it came out last year. Rollerblading skater-style combos with fantastic dual-wielding mechanics and some glorious retro-British atmosphere from OlliOlli makers Roll7.
Other stuff coming out in November 2023
Yet another utterly packed month, but likely the last truly busy one of 2023, here are some other noteworthy games out in November worth bearing in mind:
- My Time at Sandrock
- Flight Simulator: Dune expansion
- Tintin Reporter: Cigars of the Pharaoh
- Stronghold: Definitive Edition
- Spellforce: Conquest of Eo
- The Day Before
- American Arcadia
- Bluey: The Videogame
- In Stars and time
- Gangs of Sherwood
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