With October finally out of the way, the video game industry is finally giving us some breathing room in November. The lead-up to the holiday season always includes a few annual releases dropping just in time for Black Friday, but after last month, I’m just glad I have the attention span to keep track of everything this month! That was nice of them. Or everyone is just getting way out of the way of Call of Duty. Either way, a win for the tired gamers.
Let’s go over ten games I’m thankful for coming this November.
Star Ocean: The Second Story R (PS4, PS5, Switch, PC | November 2, 2023)
Just like last year, Square Enix released two remakes in consecutive months of 90’s games that definitively prove that parents play favorites. Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a lavish HD-2D update to probably the most beloved title in this long-running saga, which is pretty cool considering that the last time they released the original game, it was just a PS4 port of a PSP remake.
Second Story follows Claude C. Kenny, the son of the first game’s Captain Ronyx, who accidentally triggers an ancient teleporter while on an exploration mission and winds up on a much less advanced planet, Expel, stranded and alone. Not only does he need to find his way home, but he’ll also discover that there’s a lot more going on with Expel than meets the eye.
The remake features several huge updates over the original, including a redone combat system where your back row characters can assist in fights, a brand-new fishing minigame, and a much-desired quality-of-life upgrade to the Private Action system that will actually tell you where and when they’re available. And hey, if it does well, maybe they’ll remake the Game Boy Color sequel this game has for some reason!
My Time at Sandrock (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Series X, PC | November 2, 2023)
If you’re a cozy gamer looking for your next relaxing timesink, My Time at Sandrock (sequel to indie hit My Time at Portia) is looking for you. Taking players out of the Green Hill Zone that many of these life and farming sims default to, the game drops you into the titular desert town to try and restore it to its old glory.
In the arid desert full of ruins, resources are scarce, but adventure is plentiful, and the game is set to deliver a unique combat challenge not often found in this genre. Thankfully, though, at the end of the day, you’ll still be farming and selling crops, romancing charming NPCs, and building and upgrading your character and facilities. But this time, you can make guns! Throughout its time in Early Access, the developer has added many new systems and features to the experience, which makes this launch more enticing. As the winter days become colder, there’s nothing we are looking forward to then warming up in this charming desert.
Cuisineer (PC | November 9, 2023)
Why do I sense that everyone cringes at the mention of Roguelite? The genre may not sit well with all gamers, but Cuisineer offers an experience that you probably shouldn’t disregard due to its roguelite roots. In this adventure, players assume the role of Pom, who has returned home to find her parents in debt. The family restaurant is in disarray, and Pom picks up the responsibility and the spatula to help her people out.
The gameplay revolves around exploring the outside realm for ingredients, bringing them back, and making customers happy. However, the game can be fairly challenging, but you may be too smitten by the colorful world and cute characters to care. The gameloop is fairly simple, but with over 100 recipes to learn, there’s a lot of cooking that needs to be done. We’re definitely looking forward to the action and tasty dishes this game is bound to serve.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, PC | November 9, 2023)
Guess who’s back…back again…Kiryu’s back…tell a friend! The legendary protagonist of the Yakuza games has seemingly risen from the dead, or wherever he ended up after 6, and The Man Who Erased His Name is here to fill in the blank of what happened before we saw him in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. This spinoff title sees Kiryu, now going by the alias Joryu as he is pulled back into the shady underworld he tried to leave behind him in order to accomplish one final goal for the Tojo Clan (and set up his presence as one of the main characters of the upcoming Infinite Wealth).
The game takes the player back to the city of Sotenbori, but will also feature a new location “The Castle”, a massive floating pleasure park with a casino, boutique shopping, and the Coliseum, which is even more fleshed-out than before. The Man Who Erased His Name also sees the return of the franchise’s classic action-beat-em-up combat, with Kiryu now armed with both his typical Dragon style as well as the new Agent style that equips him with Bond-esque gadgets he can use in between his bone-shattering flip-kicks.
Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEPBLUE (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch, PC | November 16, 2023)
Who said school idols can’t also be the hero of their own 2D action game? Well, developer Inti Creates has taken on the job to deliver fans of the fantasy Love Live spin-off Yohane the Parhelion a pretty interesting video game tie-in. Utilizing the developer’s long history of releases within this genre, Yohane the Parhelion: BLAZE in the DEEPBLU aims to give fans of the anime a little extra time with these characters.
Across various stages, players take control of Yohane alongside her partner, Lailaps, with the goal of finding her lost friends in a dungeon. Throughout the game, players will gain access to new equipment that allows Yohane to access new areas. However, each time you return to dungeons, encounters are randomly generated to keep the experience fresh. As a game meant to cater to the general anime audience, it definitely has a certain quality about it that makes it stand out when compared to other anime tie-in games.
Super Mario RPG (Switch | November 17, 2023)
Way back before anyone had uttered the sacred words “Paper Mario” aloud, Squaresoft (oh my gosh, 1996 was a long time ago…) teamed up with Nintendo to develop Super Mario RPG, a quirky, turn-based, isometric title that formed the basis of both the aforementioned Paper Mario games and the later Mario & Luigi series, as well as creating a viral obsession with one of its original party members being added to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster, which did kind of eventually happen. In a huge surprise, Nintendo has remade this title from the ground up but kept its art style and presentation intact, which seems like an excellent decision that helps it stand out from all the HD-2D Switch RPGs we’ve seen in the last few years, including one of the other games on this very list.
Notably, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars allowed both Princess Peach and Bowser to join your party and even introduced the timed-hit system that every Mario RPG since has utilized and evolved. I almost feel like this is getting forgotten before it even comes out, especially with the announcement that Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (my favorite game of all time, along with Final Fantasy IX) is getting its own remaster coming next year, but the surprise revival of Mario RPG deserves our full attention as a look at where these games came from. Plus, it just looks so gosh darn cute!
Persona 5 Tactica (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Series X, PC | November 17, 2023)
Speaking as someone who’s gotten some hands-on time with the newest extension of Persona 5, I’m incredibly excited for this follow-up. It takes the Phantom Thieves to another world they must fight to escape from, and in order to do that, they’re going to have to work with new character, Erina, to stoke the flames of revolution and overthrow an oppressive regime exerting violent control over the land.
The tactical-RPG combat feels fresh, with freedom of movement and positioning-based all-out attacks, and the art style is an exciting evolution from the chibi-fied Persona Q titles. But the biggest draw for fans of this series may be the inclusion of the two-party members added to the game in Persona 5 Royal, following up on their stories for the first time in four years. If you haven’t touched Persona since Royal, or you just recently got into it with the release of Royal on all platforms, Tactica looks like it’ll deliver what you’ve been waiting for. And hey, I’ll always jump at the chance to hang out with these characters again!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! – Pirates of the Disturbance (Switch | November 28, 2023)
Have you ever desired sailing aboard a luxurious cruise ship, perhaps surrounded by a group of dashing men? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, regardless of your answer to the question, Idea Factory International has got us covered with the Western release of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! – Pirates of the Disturbance otome game.
In this game, both newcomers and fans of the My Next Life as a Villainess series alike can enjoy this brand-new original story where Catarina Claes boards the Vinculum, a luxurious cruise ship. Much to her surprise, however, she finds out that she isn’t alone in this trip, with the entire cast of the series present. To make matters worse, pirates raid the ship, taking everyone hostage. And so begins yet another hilarious adventure with Catarina and the boys as they find a way to return to their homeland safely…and hopefully…in one piece.
TEVI (Switch, PC | November 30, 2023)
Developer CreSpirit managed to make a name for themselves in the Metroidvania indie space with the release of Rabi Ribi. Through a combination of bullet hell action, challenging platforming, and adorable characters, a high bar was set for their next projects. Now, the team is gearing up to release Tevi, a game that could be seen as a follow-up to Rabi Ribi but still manages to stand out with even greater challenges and cuter characters.
There’s a significant emphasis on the story this time around, with a large cast of characters who shape the narrative. However, character customization is also a significant feature, with skills and abilities needed to get through some of the more challenging areas. Further, environmental puzzles and bosses only add an extra layer to this adventure that we’ve been waiting for.
Thirsty Suitors (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch, PC | November 2, 2023)
From the developers of VR title Falcon Age, Thirsty Suitors is a peculiar-looking adventure game that follows a young woman named Jala returning to her hometown for her sister’s wedding, and facing the familiar weight of confronting one’s past after becoming the prodigal child. Notably, conversations in the game play out as turn-based battles, complete with timed attacks and weakness exploitation. When “enemies” are cornered, they’ll drag Jala into their psyche, appearing as the person they believe themselves to be and forcing her to find and pierce a new vulnerability. The gameplay trailer, for example, had attempted paramour Sergio defeated by his greatest weakness – a dressing-down by his mother.
When not fighting off the affections of the opposite sex, Jala can also blow off steam by skateboarding through an abandoned theme park outside of town, and the game has a full trick and combo system with flashy graphical flourishes. The developers promise that there’s even more stories to find in the full game, but if you’re interested in a taste, the demo is available now on Steam.
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