Pokémon Sun and Moon New Pokedex

The holiday rush is almost over! Wahoo! November is not quite as ambitious as October was, but we’re still seeing many big titles from the world’s largest publishers. One of them is even from my all-time favorite video game franchise! I’ll leave you to decide which one that is.

As usual, a few indie titles are there to fill in the cracks. Actually, we’re going to start with one that launches today!

Owlboy – Nov. 1 – PC

Some have only recently heard about Owlboy after it climbed back into headlines before PAX West back in August. I remember when it was first in development back during my final year of college, nearly an entire decade ago! It was still just a concept at work at the time, but I had the development blog bookmarked in my old Firefox browser.

The game is being released today after all these years, and reception has been absolutely glowing! The decade it took to develop the game has clearly paid off with polish and beautiful graphics. Joey is prepping our own review right now, but everywhere else I’ve read is in love with this long-time-in-coming game.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – Oct. 4

Nope, this isn’t my favorite franchise. Guess again! Call of Duty is back for its annual smothering of the sales charts, but unlike previous years, Battlefield looks like it might provide some threatening competition. We’ll see how the rivalry plays out over the coming months.

Initial reactions to Infinite Warfare weren’t exactly great with a large number of fans disapproving of the sci-fi setting. Trailers following the debut showed off a lot better, like the explosive E3 2016 trailer, but this feels like the first time the Call of Duty machine has shown a little vulnerability. Again, only time knows the answer.

Tyranny – PC – Nov. 10

Obsidian Entertainment has been on a roll recently, and it’s mostly because the studio took a swan dive back into what it does best: classically styled, overhead RPGs. The studio is made up of people who worked on the likes of Fallout, Planescape Torment, and Icewind Dale, and this love for classic design showed up in their huge critical from last year, Pillars of Eternity.

Tyranny has all the pressure of a normal sequel now that the studio has rediscovered its niche. While it might look the same on the surface, the underlying mechanics and storytelling will vary greatly, casting the player as a general in the army of a ruthless overlord. As with all Obsidian games, you get to choose your path and how you go about oppressing and restoring order to your subjects.

Dishonored 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – Nov. 11

One of the biggest sequels of the year, Dishonored 2 has the huge task of following up on a popular sleeper-hit. That’s never the right foot to step out on. My feelings towards Dishonored were that I had fun playing it, but I never thought about it again after I crossed the finish line. This includes any desire for a sequel.

But here we are, getting that very sequel, and it looks good. The unique art style has been tweaked a little to match modern day graphical standards, and the amount of powers available to players towers over the original. Plus, the option to play as two characters only boosts the game’s overall content.

I might check it out if word of mouth tells me it’s worth it.

Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection – PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Nov. 15

Nope, definitely not my favorite franchise here! Not by a long shot. I just like the logic behind this bundle. I’m in love with the idea of an Ubisoft staffer waking up one sunny day thinking, “We can’t remaster the entire Assassin’s Creed series into a single bundle, but what about those Ezio games that everyone genuinely loved? Brilliant!”

He excitedly throws on his business suit, races to work in his car, and pitches his idea to his bosses with great zeal. He stands proudly for a few seconds in awkward silence before one of them replies in total deadpan, “Such a collection would also have to include Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.”

“Oh,” thinks the man, becoming dismayed. Then, his brain clicks! “Let’s do it anyway!” and his bosses give a green light to fill in the gap that the series is currently lost in.

Watch Dogs 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – Nov. 15 (PC version on Nov. 29)

Ubisoft is not coasting through the holiday season without an original title. Watch Dogs 2 is the premium game of its line-up for 2016, and the sequel seems to have gotten a much-needed makeover following the beating that the original got from fans and critics alike.

Watch Dogs 2 is a much more colorful experience, and its story stars characters who seem like likable people. No more menacing, grumbly, what’s his name terrorizing the world. I’m a little nervous that Ubisoft might tip the scale in the entirely wrong direction, creating an annoying, unlikable twerp at the game’s center.

I’ll take lighthearted and fun over brooding every time nowadays, but please, don’t make this central character too lighthearted and fun, Ubisoft. Not to the point where he’s as out of touch as your E3 trailers.

Pokémon Sun and Moon – Nintendo 3DS – Nov. 18

Nope, you’re getting warmer if you guessed this as my favorite franchise, and this would be a much more forgivable choice! But it’s not Pokémon. I think we all know the drill here. New Pokémon to catch, a new world to explore, new friends to make. It’s a whole new Pokémon adventure for the first time in years! Of course, I’m on board!

Game Freak changed up the formula a little bit this time around, replacing Mega Evolutions with the Z-Moves. It’s an adjustment that will hopefully make sure that all Pokémon can remain relevant in the post-game. This should lead to a wider option of fighters with the professional crowd, and it allows for a larger variety of teams with more casual players like myself.

Who am I kidding? My entire line-up is going to be from the original 151 anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Poliwrath FTW!

Final Fantasy XV – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, – Nov. 29

Here we go! Final Fantasy returns to the grand stage this year, and as my favorite franchise and a defining pillar of my gaming life, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Final Fantasy XV has been in development for over a decade, and the final product looks like the stuff of legends.

There are still many, many questions that Square Enix has to answer, and it has yet to prove it can hang with the open world standards set by Skyrim and The Witcher 3. However, after everything we’ve seen and all the demos I’ve played, I think Final Fantasy XV will do the series proud, and it will go down as one of the memorable ones fans look back on with a smile.

Because, unlike every other franchise on here, that is the defining quality of a series with nearly 30 years of history. It has to perform well in the age it comes out in, but it also is burdened with establishing longevity. Final Fantasy isn’t a series you play through and forget about the next year when an annual follow-up comes out. Its launches are rare events that have to make an impact and stick for generations to come.

That is the task Final Fantasy XV has, probably unfairly, before it.