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Posted February 1, 2017 by Marko Swanepoel in Feature
 
 

Game releases in February – With some predictions!

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Traditionally February is a month that only has one or two big releases following the recovery month that is known as January. However, this February is a little different in the sense that it has an insane lineup of games. February is also the month of love and your valentines might just buy you one of these titles to show their undivided love to you, or you will buy a game for yourself to distract yourself from the insane loneliness (I’m not projecting, I swear). The game releases for this month are decidedly varied with everything ranging from cute wool worlds to aggressive sword-to-face action with historical warriors.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World – 3DS – 3 February

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Yoshi’s Woolly World was originally a Wii U exclusive that featured Nintendo’s charming wool aesthetic that it has done with a number of franchises. The game was a traditional platformer following a woolly version of Yoshi in a cute, bouncy world. Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World is the 3DS port of that game that also features additional levels featuring Yoshi’s pooch companion who is called… Poochy. Yeah, we’re regular Sherlocks over here. It is a direct port, so all of the original game’s content will be intact in a portable package. 3DS owners who have been craving another platformer should be happy about this one.

Prediction: The original has received positive reviews and I don’t see how this port will bung up the original premise too much. Expect a 7.5/10, which is the aggregate score for the original.

Nioh – PS4 – 8 February

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There really haven’t been a lot of games that are set in Feudal Japan. I have always longed for games set in this era because it has such a complex and interesting history with various potential narrative themes. However, most games set in this era have just used its aesthetic with some supernatural aspects thrown in. Nioh doesn’t really deviate from this pattern, but it still looks incredibly interesting. Touted as the Dark Souls with samurais, Nioh is tough as nails, it has weighty and difficult combat and it looks gorgeous with its theme complimenting it well. Team Ninja are behind it, so you should expect to tear your hair out, but perhaps its combat has the same pull that the Souls games have where the difficulty becomes endearing after a while. Reaction to the demos have been a bit mixed, but people remain hopeful of it. If anything, it can be a great Feudal Japan game with some complex combat. Even that is enough to sell it to me.

Prediction: I don’t want to say it, but I’m expecting a 6/10 game here. Team Ninja are known for their cult classics, but the quality of their titles have never been the best. There have been a lot of worries based on the demos and if they haven’t fixed it in time, it can be a problem. It has the potential to be huge, though.

For Honor – PS4, PC, Xbox One – 14 February

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Welcome to the ancient art of smashing people in the face with all kinds of medieval weaponry. Besides making the spellcheck of non-American countries weep, For Honor‘s central premise is the intimacy of melee combat, which has always been a bit of a thorn in the side of games. Shooting people is easy, but to achieve a good melee system is tough because it tends to turn into a tête-à-tête where you mash the attack button and occasionally blocking or jumping out of the way. This game is more of a psychological battle with your opponent where you need to read their moves and carefully choose your actions. The introduction of the three factions, Knights, Vikings and Samurai bring a level of variation to the battles. It looks to be a game that does melee combat correctly, but one does have to wonder about the longevity of it. You can only smash people in the face for so long before it becomes routine. But Ubisoft may surprise us. Check out our hands-on of the Closed Beta to find out more about the game.

Prediction: 7/10. Like I said, the longevity comes into question. If they ace the singleplayer campaign and the multiplayer is as involved and varied as they have touted, it can be something incredible.

Sniper Elite 4 – PS4, PC, Xbox One – 14 February

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Sniper Elite has been a bit of a guilty pleasure game for a lot of gamers, including myself. You’re a sniper, which is always dope, and it has the most gratuitous x-ray shots that show you the exact damage your bullet has done to a Nazi’s face and/or testicles. The Sniper Elite games have fallen into a bit of a formula, yet it’s a formula that works. You would think that sniping fools would get old, but it doesn’t and thanks to the incredible lack of good sniper games, Sniper Elite has been a bit of a staple. Sniper Elite 3 had an interesting setting in Africa with much more freedom given to the player. Sniper Elite 4 will take place in Italy and promises more freedom with a lot more verticality as well, which is obviously important to snipers. The x-rays and the violence will still be there and Italy will be an interesting World War 2 setting. If anything, it will be a nice, relaxing, Nazi sniping good time.

Prediction: 7/10. That’s about the average score that Sniper Elite games get. They frequently get criticised for being somewhat formulaic and simple, but everything about the games are solid.

Halo Wars 2 – Xbox One, PC – 21 February

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Halo Wars was a bit of an ambitious undertaking back when it released. It was an RTS on a console, which was something foreign to a lot of gamers. The PC has always dominated the RTS genre because of obvious reasons and to see that transcribed to a console game was interesting. The game did well for what it was, but there were some growing pains when it came to being a console RTS. Now, 8 years later, we are getting a sequel in the form of Halo Wars 2. Now that is on a next generation console, they may have ironed out all of the kinks and with added gameplay options, a new faction called the Banished and new systems in place to make gameplay more involved, this can be a new revelation in the unpopulated genre. However, the game will also come out on PC, which may propel it into new and interesting areas. If they play their cards right, this can be huge.

Prediction: 7/10. Yes, another 7. This is a very shaky game and it is entirely possible that it can be fantastic or absolutely disastrous. This variance puts a lot of doubt in my head, but it can potentially be something awesome.

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin – PSVR – 21 February

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Psychonauts has been a cult hit from Double Fine. Every person that has played it who I’ve interacted with have nothing but great things to say about the game. They have recently started working on Psychonauts 2 following a successful crowdfunding effort and Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin will serve as the interlude between the two games. The game will be a first-person puzzle game, which is a bit of a divergence from the game’s roots, but it will feature all of the prominent characters of the series as well as give a nice story themed around the universe. Any Psychonauts fan will probably be happy to play this.

Prediction: 7/10. Are you sensing a theme yet? However, PSVR games are tough to evaluate because they are such a new concept. The peripheral only released in South Africa yesterday so we don’t really have a good baseline to work from. Psychonauts has the pedigree to be something good, though.

Lego Worlds – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch – 24 February

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Well, I had no idea this existed, but it looks interesting. Lego games are often casual romps through some form of popular franchise with a lot of collectables and fun gameplay. However, this game is a departure from that. The easiest way to describe it is Minecraft with Legos. You’re thrown into a sandbox world and you are given the power to craft anything to your heart’s content using Lego blocks. There looks to be various themes for you to use as well as some neat gameplay quirks such as collecting studs around the world etc. To be honest, I’m mostly surprised that this didn’t exist sooner given how Lego is synonymous with creative building. It looks to be a fun time-waster and people with actual creative talent will probably create some insane stuff.

Prediction: 7/10. Yes, 7/10 is my shorthand for “I’m not really sure”. It’s a new direction for the Lego franchise and one that makes complete sense. If it offers the unparalleled creative freedom that it should, it can be a heavyweight in the creative genre.

Torment: Tides of Numenera – PS4, PC, Xbox One – 28 February

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Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game I’m equally excited for and intimidated by. So intimidated that I will probably struggle to write about it in this entry. It’s an incredibly deep RPG experience with so much writing, options and variations involved that it would make Haruki Murakami cry with the sheer scale of it. Someone better versed in this genre would probably write an essay about this game and its pedigree of amazing RPG adventures before it, but the gist of it is that it will probably be the RPG experience that RPG nuts have been craving for so long. Actual role-playing involved that is not just some slapped together tech tree implemented at the last minute etc. The art looks incredible, the gameplay looks fascinating and the story will be deeper than the amount of dispair you will feel when you look at the total time you have spent with the game. I’m also so happy they’re releasing on console because PC has been the home for games of this calibre and my laptop has a tough time running Minesweeper when I’m also busy watching a YouTube video.

Predication: 9/10. Whoever reviews this has my eternal respect. It will probably be sublime given that it has been in development for so long and so much creative effort has been poured into it. Unless they truly screw things up, it can be wonderful. However, it is still a very niche game and one that requires people to read. If you’ve read this whole article to this point, you’re probably in the target market.

Phew, February will be a busy month. I think I said before that March will be the big month for games, but February has some extremely heavy hitters within it. As you can see by the amount of 7/10’s I’ve predicted, it’s unknown whether these games will be as groundbreaking as we hope them to be. Regardless, there is some excellent variety this month and many reasons for us single people to forget that Valentine’s Day is a thing.





Marko Swanepoel