January shepherded in several video game gems from Japan, including new installments in both the Resident Evil and Gravity Rush franchises. February has the same task, but now the West have pulled up their socks to deliver some tantalising titles.
This list includes exclusives for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo as well as some much-anticipated games from the likes of Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. There truly is something for everyone this February, so whether you want to forget about Trump with some jolly woollen wonders, or celebrate Valentine’s by blowing up Nazis and slicing through samurai, you’re in for a treat.
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World – Feb 3rd
Developer: Good-Feel Publisher: Nintendo Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Yoshi’s Woolly World on Nintendo Wii U is criminally underplayed. On an imminently expiring system, the original 2015 title received favourable reviews due to its cutesy charm and the simple yet polished mechanics expected from a Nintendo First-party title. Now with a playable Poochy, and an adorable amiibo to match, Yoshi’s Woolly World has been given a second chance on a system with a much larger player base.
Nioh – Feb 8th
Developer: Team Ninja Publisher: Koei Tecmo (Japan), Sony Interactive Entertainment (Worldwide) Platforms:PS4
Following a series of open Alpha and Beta tests, as well as a challenging demo, PS4 owners will already have a grasp on what this game is. A lazy analysis of Nioh would outline the title as Dark Souls meets Onimusha, and you’d be forgiven for making that comparison. However, Koei Tecmo’s unrelenting gameplay come packaged with an intriguing narrative and a stamina system which can dictate playstyle in more depth than the From Software franchise, giving a new twist to a tried and tested formula. If you’re addicted to the taste of the sweet release of death, then Nioh should definitely be on your radar.
Despite the troubling quote from E3 2016’s gameplay video (‘We try to do things in a way that allows players to be part of a film, but one they can play.’), Syberia 3 is actually an intriguing adventure title, with seemingly psychological undertones. The first in the series to be fully playable in 3D has also announced as a Nintendo Switch title, the February release gives Switch early adopters the chance to see the critical reception ahead of launch. Come March 3rd though, Nintendo Switch owners will be looking to grab any software they can after a minimal launch day lineup so may wish to dive in to Syberia 3 regardless of reviews; and who can blame them?
For Honor – Feb 14th
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1
If for no other reason than the jolly enthusiasm of Jason VanDenBergh, For Honor Creative Director, I am excited for the release of For Honor. Unique combat mechanics accompany an interesting contextual background where samurais, knights and Vikings scramble for the same resource in a post-apocalyptic world has resulted in a thousand-year war; A war encouraged by the mysterious Apollyon. The most pre-release traction has been garnered by the multiplayer. One-to-one combat hasn’t been this tactical since the Indians invented chess.
Sniper Elite 4 – Feb 14th
Developer: Rebellion Developments Publisher: Rebellion Developments, Sold Out Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1
Sniper Elite 4 draws my attention like the first three never could. There’s no doubting the Sniper Elite franchise has its hardcore fanbase, but Sniper Elite 4 appears to be a game whose intention is appeasing its hardcore with one hand, while enticing a new audience with the other. The success of 2015’s Hitman and the critical plaudits garnered by Dishonored 2 have given light to the attractiveness of killing how you want to kill. ‘Play it your way’ gameplay takes a World War 2 setting, giving the player an arsenal of methods to killing Nazis, the most prolific of which is clear from the title. Sniping enemies, their gear and the environment could lead to a myriad of satisfying kills for old players, and new.
Halo Wars 2 – Feb 21st
Developer: 343i, Creative Assembly Publisher: Microsoft Studios Platforms: PC, XB1
The original Halo Wars is one of the only RTS titles to actually be enjoyable on a console, opening the door to a genre previously best left to PC. While that open door hasn’t been utilised by many, if any, the Halo Wars franchise is coming to swagger on through, aided by Creative Assembly, one of the greatest development teams of the Real-Time Strategy genre. The Total War veterans combined with the surprisingly deep lore of the Halo universe sounds tantalising, however crossplay between PC and Xbox One players will surely create a one-sided affair unless measures are taken to ensure a fair fight.
LEGO Worlds – Feb 24th
Developer: Traveller’s Tales Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1 (Nintendo Switch Release Date: TBC)
A game with more freedom than Mojang behemoth Minecraft may be on its way in the form of LEGO Worlds. With every unlicensed piece, block and model ever manufactured by the Swedish toy company at the player’s disposal, expect a level of creativity unseen in any game to date. Paired with the accessibility of the LEGO videogame franchise, LEGO Worlds has the kind of potential players have dreamed about since they were playing with real-world LEGO as children.
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