3DS / Nintendo / PC / PS4 / Wii U / Xbox One

Best Games of November 2013

We made it! The next generation of consoles is finally here, and we’re all still alive. None of them have started catching fire yet, and everything seems to be going relatively smoothly. Nintendo launched Mario and Zelda games during the madness, making this one of the most fully loaded months of gaming I can remember having. This is the first month this year that I’ve had more console games to sift through than indie games, but it’s a nice change of pace. Many of the big budget games releasing this month are actually worth your time, and there were still some good indie releases hiding throughout the month as well. November has really shaken up my Game of the Year list, but not for the reasons I expected. Even with the launch of two massive consoles, Nintendo and their old standbys manage to take home the gold. Between new consoles and two of Nintendo’s best, I’ve had more fun with games this November than I have any other time this year. Bring on Game of the Year talk next month, bring it on.

1. Super Mario 3D World

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I’ve enjoyed having my Wii U for the occasional Nintendo release, but I really hadn’t played anything on it that blew me away since the launch of the console. Now that I’ve played through Super Mario 3D World, I can finally recommend owning the little black box. As I wrote in my review, it’s one of the best things Nintendo has produced in years. The kind of imagination found in Nintendo’s brightest is on display here, making for one of the easiest game recommendation I could ever make. Do you like smiling? Do you like fun? Give Mario 3D World a chance, and enjoy all the wonderful places it will take you.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

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A return to form for one of the industry’s most legendary franchises, A Link Between Worlds is some of the most fun I’ve had with any game all year. I put hour after hour into it and found it pretty hard to force myself to quit, even though those weather vanes were quite insistent that I took a break. It’s one of my new favorite games in my favorite series, and this one game speaks volumes about how Nintendo is listening to their fan base. Let’s hope Zelda U turns out this well.

3. Battlefield 4

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It’s one of the best examples we’ve seen of what the new consoles are capable of. Even though much of what’s done here is possible on the previous generation, this seems like a tiny peak of what the future might hold. After strapping on a pair of headphones and leaning towards the TV, it feels real. It’s the best multiplayer shooter this year, bringing back most what we loved about Bad Company 2, and then some.

Honorable Mentions:

Need for Speed: Rivals – The most thrilling racer I’ve ever played, but too limited in scope to reach its full potential. The incredible multiplayer is awesome when it works, but six players in such a huge open world rarely run into each other. The parts that do work, like the Dark Souls style risk/reward and the friends list integration, are fantastic. Bring this idea back with fuller force, and we’ll have the best racing game ever made. Even with its fumbles, it’s one of the best games of the new generation.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – I’m still early on in this one, but it’s already miles ahead of what I saw in AC3. From the still exciting multiplayer, to the towns and the open sea, this feels like an actual new game in the franchise.

Dead Rising 3 – It’s as busted as ever, bringing a few new problems with it, but it’s still more beautiful insanity from Dead Rising. The upgrade and combo systems feel more fleshed out, and the world is still huge, even if it’s broken up a little too much. And the number of zombies onscreen is a great showcase for the new hardware, just like the original game was for the Xbox 360.

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