The Last Word: November 14-20

NPD numbers, holiday gift ideas, an L.A. Noire preview, and reviews of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, NBA Jam, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit are all among the week's offerings.

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With the Thanksgiving holiday looming like a 10-story mutant turkey, the GameSpot offices have been busy with activity. Even though Black Friday isn't until next week, holiday shoppers got a head start with our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. The previews team shed some light on Rockstar's dark thriller L.A. Noire, while the reviews squad tackled Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and NBA Jam.

The Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood review was just one of the week's write-ups.

On the news side, the NPD numbers hit, Call of Duty: Black Ops shattered more records, the Kinect sold 1 million, and Portal 2 was delayed. Last but not least, GameSpot Live cranked out a bunch of video reviews, including one for the highly anticipated Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

THE LAST WORD: NOVEMBER 14-20

NEW RELEASES
Shippin' Out Nov. 14-20: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Need for Speed: Nitro-X zooms to DSiWare
Pac-Man CE: DX, Alien Breed 3: Descent land on XBLA

FEATURES
With the holidays soon upon us, now is a good time to start filling out that video game shopping list. Our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide makes it simple to not only check out some of the best games of 2010 so far, but it also lets you add games to a wish list for easy reference. Also, in case you didn't hear, a little game called Call of Duty: Black Ops came out recently, so be sure to check out our full game guide, as well as a comparison feature that shows how the series' visuals have changed over the years. We also have all the latest details on the OnLive MicroConsole that lets you play OnLive content on your TV. And finally, GameSpot AU's Laura Parker chats with independent games luminaries to find out how the indie development scene can influence the rest of the video game industry.
Holiday Gift Guide 2010
Call of Duty: Black Ops Game Guide
Call of Duty: Then and Now
OnLive MicroConsole Hands-on
Limbo's Lessons for the Mainstream

NEWS
The GameSpot news desk hummed with headlines this week, starting off with the NPD numbers for October, which saw overall US game sales decline 4 percent for the month. Software was up 6 percent, thanks to brisk sales of NBA 2K11 and Fallout: New Vegas. Hardware, however, fell 26 percent year-over-year, with the Xbox 360 taking the top slot once again, followed by the PlayStation 3 and the Wii.

In other news, Call of Duty: Black Ops boasted the biggest five-day entertainment gross ever with $650 million in sales and Microsoft announced its Kinect motion-sensing system has already sold 1 million units. Blizzard posted an ad for a Diablo III console lead designer, and BioWare teased a game that may--or may not--be a multiplayer spin-off of the Mass Effect series. Finally, Iowan studio Budcat closed its doors, and Activision said it was looking to sell off its once high-powered racing shop Bizarre Creations.
Black Ops five-day sales hit $650M
October software rebounds on NBA 2K11 - NPD
Kinect sells 1 million
Activision dropping Bizarre Creations
Blizzard hiring console lead designer for Diablo III
Portal 2 delayed to April
Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Driver: San Francisco delayed
New BioWare game a MP Mass Effect spin-off
Survey examines links between gaming, behavior
Borderlands Mac-bound Dec. 3
Lord of Arcana debuting Jan. 25
Layoffs hit LucasArts
Budcat put down
Infinity Ward 'reconstructed' - Vivendi CEO
Carmack has 'itch' to make Kinect XBLA game
Bungie seeking beta testers for next game
250,000 PS3s, 232,000 Wiis sold in Oct. - Analyst
First Fallout: New Vegas DLC drops Dec. 21
Tony Hawk: Shred sells 3,000 in first week - Report
THQ dates Homefront
Killspace surfaces with Yars' Revenge

PREVIEWS
The highlight of previews this week was GameSpot's first look at Rockstar's upcoming detective thriller L.A. Noire. The big draw with this game is its highly nuanced facial animation, captured by advanced technology that surrounds the actor's face with dozens of cameras and turns that right into a 3D character model. And it's a good thing, too, because L.A. Noire is a game that requires you to read and interpret people's facial expressions as the primary way of solving crimes in 1940's Los Angeles. Beyond that, the team also had a look at Dirt 3, Marvel Pinball, and Fight Night Champion--so be sure to have a look at all of them.
L.A. Noire First Look
Dirt 3 Updated Hands-On
Marvel Pinball First Look
Fight Night Champion First Impressions

REVIEWS
The end of this year's crazy-busy reviews season is almost in sight, but November isn't going to leave quietly. Next week, you can expect reviews of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, and Splatterhouse, to name but a few. You can also look forward to coverage of the long-awaited Gran Turismo 5, which is definitely, totally, 100 percent arriving in stores on November 24. True story! For right now, though, you'll have to content yourself with reviews of the latest biggest releases:
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (PS3, X360) Review
The Ball (PC) Review
DanceMasters (X360) Review
Faery: Legends of Avalon (X360) Review
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (PS3, X360) Review
Monopoly Streets (PS3, Wii, X360) Review
MotionSports (X360) Review
NBA Jam (PS3, X360) Review
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (PS3, X360) Review
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (X360) Review
Split/Second (PSP) Review
The Undergarden (X360) Review
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (Wii) Review

VIDEO
With the holiday season coming up, the GameSpot Live team hooked you up with a Santa's sack full of ideas in the Holiday Gift Guide 2010. Today on the Spot featured games like Marvel Pinball, Rift: Planes of Telara, and more! For video reviews, Kevin VanOrd slices his way through Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Chris Watters cuts a rug in Dance Masters, Tom Mc Shea dunks on NBA Jam, and Justin Calvert defends Seacrest County in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit!
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Video Review
NBA Jam Video Review
DanceMasters Video Review
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Video Review
GameSpot's Holiday Gift Bag 2010: PC
GameSpot's Holiday Gift Bag 2010: Hardware

Discussion

41 comments
KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

So glad to know that Hot Pursuit has been well received !!!

rpg-god
rpg-god

the best need for speed games there are were NFS: underground1&2

_Matt_
_Matt_

@MEDzZ3RO I a disagree about the direction EA take with NFS games. The best NFS game ever in my opinion was Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 on the PS2, and it was good that Criterion tried to remake that sort of game... shame it didn't quite live up to Hot Pursuit 2 in my opinion

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

I'd like EA to stop making the NFS games that keep involving the police..etc.... Carbon and Most Wanted weren't as good as Underground,Prostreet or Shift;they should stick to that formula. I suppose they may of done it to try and differ themselves from the soon to release GT5 which is likely to be a huge percentage of racing game sales this generation.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@dhilebroad Lag;if by that you mean the PSN menu takes longer to load whilst on a game then yes.If you're talking how a game performs online then I beg to differ.Off the same router,the same 1-2 meg cr*p service,I've played Call Of Duty and Battlefield on both systems and Killzone 2,Uncharted 2,Halo 3 and Gears 2 online on each respective system. Call Of Duty and Battlefield perform identically,CoD has the occasional lag on both (neither more then the other) and Battlefield has near perfect servers on both.On the exclusives it's much different,Halo has terrible lag issues and will kick you out,Gears won't kick you out but suffers from considerable lag too.Killzone 2 ,MAG and Uncharted 2 don't have this issue;all of which almost never lag.In particular MAG where I've never experienced any (this is coming from someone who regularly has 2 bars on CoD or Left 4 Dead). I'm not basing it on debatable statistics I've based it on personal experience off the exact same connection. I understand why you'd try and stop console wars but they won't go way.It's important,in particular for people who aren't rich enough to be able to buy all of them.They have to buy one or the other (generally the best is first option).Everything in any field has had these comparisons for years;it's part of what makes the industry.

dhilebroad
dhilebroad

@COPMAN221, PSN has more lag. There are comparisons all over the internet. Secondly, the whole "console wars" thing...come on. Both XBox and PS3 are great systems with great games. Who cares which one you have? Or if you have both? Good for you, go play them instead of (and I fully see the irony of me saying this) responding to posts on GameSpot.

JuiceMcGoose
JuiceMcGoose

Warning: Need for Speed HP does not work with Logitech steering wheels.

bodylotion
bodylotion

Only interesting game is Assassins Creed Brotherhood.

Rowo
Rowo

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

parkurtommo
parkurtommo

I feel like in the near future there will be more games than ppl

hotrider12
hotrider12

love NFS deeply but was disappointed only a single player game shee-it!! looking forward in 2 player co-opt./ hopefully EA have 2 player NFS nov. 2011-12

videogameking26
videogameking26

Great week of games, I know one thing I'm loving NFS: Hot Pursuit!!

metalkid9
metalkid9

I think AC Brotherhood wins Nov. hands down

Omega_Zero69
Omega_Zero69

pretty good week looking forward to the fallout dlc

monson21502
monson21502

@ahpuck, i have 2 ps3s. one died. bingo21502, is my psn account name i use the most. add me to play some black ops if you want:P lost most of my trophies and game saves when my old 60 gig died. didnt bother to replay my older games since i get my new slim earlyer this year.

monson21502
monson21502

@COPMAN221, i have a ps3, im not a xbox fanboy. i bought black ops for ps3. i also bought mw2 and bbc2 on both 360 and ps3 because i have alot of real life friends that own either a 360 or ps3 almost none of them have both. so they leaves me having to get both versions. i havent bought black ops yet for 360 but if its anything like the others that ive had both versions of the games. 360 version will be alot better both lag and game crash wize. my internet is fine i get full green bars on mw2. but when me or someone else is downloading on one of the laptops i cant play on my ps3 at all but i can still play on the 360. on ps3 it wont even let me sign in to ps network. on my 360 i am able to sign in plus play online but i only have 1 bar and its really laggy. but thats with only with 2 laptops running. psn has these problem even when nothing else is running. so there is no way you can tell me psn doesnt have alot more laggish games or alot more game crashes. i think your the one lieing about owning a 360:P

chronolzx
chronolzx

when they review a game for a pc they should also talk about its drm and drm related issues . plus the score of the game should also be gauged based on how difficult it is to work with the drm and uninstall it if someone wants to

WafflePrime
WafflePrime

I don't know what it is but I'm just not interested in Brotherhood, I wanted Assassin's Creed 1 and 2 a lot but this one just doesn't interest me at all.

guertt
guertt

I'm still worried about the release of Gran turismo5, reviewers who are playing the game right now are saying the Online does not work right now :S

COPMAN221
COPMAN221

solidniko you must have a bad internet connection because BOTH play fine for me. Strange how only you and another known fanboy here are the only ones saying the game lags. Maybe you and Monsoon need to play each other.. :) GT5 Rocks by the way and it is out already because I have it. Check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoYrDLwGqds

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Man, this holidays we got ALLOT of awesome games to choose, for all Systems no Less, Here's to another awesome year for games! With 3DS, Skyward sword, Marvel VS capcom 3, Portal 2 and other great games coming next year, here's hoping 2011 will be just as awesome

mike_ezm
mike_ezm

where is splatterhouse ?? D:

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Damn thats busy, Brotherhood was awesome but now, its time for some real, Very challenging, Hardcore Platforming with Donkey kong and Diddy kong in Donkey kong Country returns coming out TOMORROW :D

solidniko
solidniko

@OPMAN221 wrong i have both a ps3 and a xbox and xbox live in general has much faster internet and its way less laggy and i bought BO on the ps3 so you cant call me a xbox fanboy

D3thN1gh7
D3thN1gh7

It's awesome to see games doing great again. Lets hope it stays this way for awhile.

steelmouth
steelmouth

this is a bad time to be broke and on budget "Gran Turismo 5, which is definitely, totally, 100 percent arriving in stores on November 24" for some strange reason i belive them this time round so have fun ps3 owners

Pete5506
Pete5506

Not a bad week for games

ahpuck
ahpuck

@monson21502 the only thing dropping out of your yang are your bad lies, you're a 360 fanboy pretending to own a ps3 and nothing more.

COPMAN221
COPMAN221

monson21502 Everyone here know your a 360 fanboy so stop lying because you don't own a PS3.. Black Ops is not the lag fest that you claim it to be. It is no different than the 360 version. I know because I have both so stop spreading the lies.. As for GT5 it is awesome so far check out my video of the intro I posted on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoYrDLwGqds

DemonWolfFenrir
DemonWolfFenrir

Okay listen I'm a ps3 and 360 owner and I would never play a game like black ops on the ps3 Sony needs to get there act together with Psn. That said I think Sony has some better exclusive games then the 360 so if your in the market for a console you need to choose I'm I going to be a lone wolf or a social butterfly.

monson21502
monson21502

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

monson21502
monson21502

well my week was a bad week. i bought black ops for ps3 now im stuck with a lag fest with dropped matches out the yang. just wish sony would improve it for psn+ buyers, then i would buy it. they can keep the crappy free game rentals and what ever else they are offering to make people try to pay for it. i will not make this mistake again. ill tell my friends if they want to play with me they have to buy me a copy on ps3 because psn sucks to bad. thats my last word of the week. thanks for reading:)

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

just finished AC: Brotherhood can't wait for the next

Null7
Null7

Busy week exciting week! Hopefully next week GT and EA Sports Active 2 reviews will be up :D

swamptick
swamptick

Fair article. I think Kinect was the real surprise this month. It's a fantastic piece of hardware.

COPMAN221
COPMAN221

Just got my copy of GT5. Can't wait to get home tonight to play it..Let you know if it's worth the trip...