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.
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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