In The Week Ahead we summarise what's coming up across the next seven days of gaming. Did we miss something? Or do you have an idea for useful info we could include in future instalments? Let us know in the comments below.
In brief: November 18 - Nov 24
- Monday: First Xbox One game reviews published
- Tuesday: The Story of Xbox One
- Tuesday: Super Mario 3D World reviews published
- Wednesday: Xbox One: The launch verdict
- Wednesday: Tearaway reviews published
- Wednesday/Thursday: Further Xbox One game reviews
- Thursday: Xbox One launch guide
- Thursday: Xbox One: Post-launch road map
This week's key releases
- Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag - Nov 19 (US/PC), Nov 21 (AU/Wii U, PC), Nov 22 (EU/Wii U, PC, XBO)
- Battlefield 4 (XBO) - Nov 22
- Crimson Dragon (XBL - XBO) - Nov 22
- Dead Rising 3 (XBO) - Nov 22
- FIFA 14 (XBO) - Nov 22
- Fighter Within (XBO) - Nov 22
- Forza Motorsport 5 (XBO) - Nov 22
- Killer Instinct (XBL - XBO) - Nov 22
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - Nov 22 (EU, US), Nov 23 (AU)
- Loco Cycle (XBL - XBO) - Nov 22
- Madden NFL 25 (XBO) - Nov 22
- Mario Party Island Tour (3DS) - Nov 22 (US)
- NBA Live 14 (XBO, PS4) - Nov 19 (US), Nov 22 (EU)
- Need for Speed Rivals (XBO, PC, PS3, 360) - Nov 19 (US), Nov 21 (AU), Nov 22 (EU)
- Peggle 2 (PC, XBL - XBO) - Nov 22
- Powerstar Golf (XBL - XBO) - Nov 22
- Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3) - Nov 22 (EU)
- Ryse: Son of Rome (XBO) - Nov 22
- Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) - Nov 22 (US)
- Tearaway (Vita) - Nov 22
- Zoo Tycoon (XBO) - Nov 22
On Friday Sony kick-started the next-generation console race by shifting more than a million PS4 consoles in 24 hours. But that was just North America - Europe and the rest of the world are still sitting on their pre-order coupons waiting for Microsoft and Sony's blinking Coca-Cola Christmas trucks to come rolling in to town.
This Friday, November 22, Microsoft will have the upper hand of launching first in Europe (well, several countries within it at least), along with a large list of exclusive titles it hopes will help shift Xbox One.
But are any of them worth buying a $500 console for? Over the coming days we'll finally be able to let you know what we think.
The CVG team has prepared a series of features aimed at tackling all angles of the big launch, starting with a look back at how we got here via Rob Crossley's 'Story of Xbox One' feature on Tuesday.
A detailed analysis of what's available on day one, plus a look forward at the Xbox One's immediate roadmap will follow.
Unlike last week's PS4 score-splosion, Microsoft is handling game review embargos a bit differently, spreading them across the week rather than one central drop time.
Critical analysis kicks off on Monday with Dead Rising 3 and digital game reviews. This will be followed up later in the week when reviews for Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome will be published on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
The big one, our review of the Xbox One hardware, will arrive in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Your Wii U purchase: Justified.
Speak to many Wii U owners and they'll tell you it's a great system. Sadly, with mediocre sales of less than 500k over the last six months, convincing the virtues of Nintendo's home console to core gamers doesn't seem to be that simple.
This week though could see the curious glances of onlookers turn into a lustful stare. Yes, there's a 3D Mario coming out this week (and next in AUS/EU), which means many Johnny-come-latelies are going to feel the urge to buy two consoles on Friday.
You can read what we think about Super Mario 3D World in our review on Tuesday.
Also released on Friday is the excellent The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, which we gave a rare 10/10 in our Link Between Worlds review last week. There's something else to stick on your Friday shopping list.
Game fact of the week
This week in... 2005
Tonight is the night Microsoft unleashes the Xbox 360 on North America, and the company predicts "midnight madness" at the 4,500 stores opening at midnight, where the lucky few who preordered early enough can collect their white console and scuttle off home to play on the 18 launch titles.
Titles such as Kameo: Elements of Power, Project Gotham Racing 3 and the almighty Perfect Dark Zero all managed to dive head-first through the infamous "launch window" and will be available to purchase from day 1.
"The debut of Xbox 360 marks one of the biggest consumer launches in Microsoft's history," said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft.
"With its sheer power, portfolio of graphically stunning games, rich online capabilities, and features for enjoying music, movies and photos, Xbox 360 delivers integrated digital gaming and entertainment experiences that simply can't be matched."