Hit or Miss February 2017: How Did The Biggest Games of That Month Fare With Critics?

By Melvyn Tan on Mar 2, 2017

Image source: PlayStation Store
Image source: PlayStation Store

February 2017 has ended, but not before giving us games like Nioh, For Honor, Sniper Elite 4 and Horizon Zero Dawn. These games were considered by us to be pretty noteworthy - enough that we featured them in our Biggest Games of February 2017 article - but being a big release doesn't necessarily make a game good.

We gave each of the games on the list their individual review round-up, but we've also decided to do a monthly recap to summarize their respective critical responses in one article. A round-up of round-ups, I suppose. So, let's see which games were a hit, and which were a miss (or in-between).

*For the individual review round-ups, I've included links to them at the end of the article.


 Nioh 

Image source: PlayStation store
Image source: PlayStation store

Release date: February 7

Platform: PS4

What is it: An action-RPG set during the Warring States Period of Japan. The game puts players in the role of William, a blonde swordsman, as he traverses Japan. In his journey, he'll do battle with both men and demons called Yokai, and the combat brings to mind the challenge and satisfaction of Dark Souls. 

How is it: Nioh was the first big release of February, and the Dark Souls-like action RPG ended up winning many critics' hearts, despite being tough as hell. The combat - which features three different stances - was the main aspect that was praised, while some critics were mesmerized by the visuals as well. Despite similarities to the Dark Souls series, the experience delivered by Nioh was considered to be unique enough to stand on its own.

"Nioh got attention for its similarities to other titles, but it deserves to be remembered as its own special game, one that sees and raises the efforts presented by its inspirations," reads the Jimquisition's review of the game.

Metacritic score: 87

Hit or Miss: Hit

For Honor

Image source: Ubsioft official website
Image source: Ubsioft official website

Release date: February 14

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: A third-person melee action game featuring three factions: Knights, Vikings and Samurai. A bit slower and less messy than Chivalry, and the movements are lovely to behold with the third-person view. The focus is on multiplayer, although there's a campaign that can be played in two-player co-op.

How is it: Like Nioh, the combat was the main aspect of the game that was praised, and I myself liked it quite a bit during my time with the closed beta. It's other features weren't as well-liked however. Game Revolution mentioned the game having "a few technical issues and an underdeveloped campaign", while Kotaku found the loot-grind "all-encompassing". Meanwhile, PC Gamer found the customisation "tediously granular" and wasn't fond of the free-to-play-like storefront either.

The bright side is that the combat is the main focus of the game, and having that done right by Ubisoft marks a significant victory for the game already. As PCGamesN says: "... that combat is so good – and fighting is what you’ll be doing 90 percent of the time – that it makes up for a lot of the game’s failings."

Metacritic score: 78 (PS4), 81 (Xbox One), 76 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Ultimately, it's a hit, despite quite a few misses. 

Sniper Elite 4

Image source: Sniper Elite 4 official website
Image source: Sniper Elite 4 official website

Release date: February 14

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: The fourth installment of the World War 2-set third-person sniping series, featuring a brutal X-ray killcam once again. This time, the action takes place in 1943's Italy, and the levels have become fairly huge sandboxes that are bigger than even the biggest the third game has to offer. The campaign can be played in two-player co-op, but there's also a dedicated co-op horde mode and PvP multiplayer.

How is it: The large levels were expectedly praised, and the package as a whole was overall quite well-liked. It's not a superb triple-A experience however. "Sniper Elite 4 forever feels cheap, yet those rough edges never fully erode its silly charms," said PCGamesN, while PC World commented that it's "not as creative or as varied as some of its stealth peers", but "nevertheless reveals a series with serious ambitions, one that’s growing by leaps and bounds".

Reviews from The Guardian and Rock, Paper, Shotgun were a bit reserved with their praise too. "... sufficiently entertains but rarely ever surprises," said the former, while the latter thinks that Sniper Elite 4 has a "decent shot" at being placed as one of the best "7/10" action games. Still, the game got a largely good reception, and I myself found the campaign to be a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

Metacritic score: 77 (PS4), 82 (Xbox One), 79 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Hit

Halo Wars 2

Image source: Halo Waypoint
Image source: Halo Waypoint

Release date: February 21

Platform: Xbox One, PC

What is it: The sequel to the first Halo Wars takes place after Halo 5 and reintroduces Captain Cutter and the Spirit of Fire. Made by the Total War series' The Creative Assembly, the plot sees the UNSC battling a powerful Covenant splinter faction on a place called the Ark, while multiplayer includes the deck-building Blitz mode.

How is it: Most critics found Halo Wars 2 to function well on a console despite being an RTS, and they had fun with it. But the degree of fun they had varied. Technobuffalo called it a "really fun" and a "solid game" while TechRadar called it "enjoyable" but not "innovative". Windows Central had a lot of praise, saying that it was a "wonderfully polished package and a "stunning entry in the Halo pantheon". In contrast, GameSpot said that "just when things become more challenging and actually interesting, it runs out of steam".

I only got to experience Blitz mode during its open beta, and I thought that the gameplay felt pretty fun and accessible, although controls felt a bit unresponsive at times. It's definitely a more casual type of RTS, but sending the units of the Halo universe into battle was still pretty satisfying.

Metacritic score: 79 (Xbox One), 75 (PC)

Hit or Miss: A decent hit

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Image source: PlayStation Store
Image source: PlayStation Store

Release date: February 28

Platform: PS4

What is it: An open world action RPG from the Killzone developers. The post-apocalyptic landscape is beautiful and lush, and is inhabited by various mechanical beasts with cool designs. As the young hunter Aloy, you'll set off on a journey to unravel the mysteries of this world.

How is it: The game received a healthy amount of praise, which isn't surprising, although it does seem to fall a bit short of getting truly raving reviews across the board. While a lot of critics enjoyed the game, quite a few found it to be very good but not great. The Guardian felt that it "falls short of the seminal status to which it so clearly aspires but it’s still an immensely playable – and likeable – romp", while Forbes found it "well-made" and "engaging" but "isn’t as monumental of an experience as playing Uncharted or God of War for the first time".

More negative remarks came from US Gamer, who "struggled to care about" the story, while Eurogamer though it to be "a work of considerable finesse and technical bravado, but it falls into the trap of past Guerrilla games in being all too forgettable." But on the other hand, outlets like GameSpot, Polygon and TechRadar respectively called it "one of the best open-world games of this generation", "worthy of all that buzz" and the "first must-own game of 2017".

Metacritic score: 88

Hit or Miss: Hit


February Review Round-ups: Nioh, For Honor, Sniper Elite 4, Halo Wars 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn

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Melvyn Tan
About the Author
A secretly eccentric college student who writes occasionally for Gamehubs. His gaming interests mostly involve shooting things, but also include sneaking around in sizeable environments, slashing at things and commanding glorious armies. He prefers his turn-based strategy games to involve miniatures and dice however, and his current favourite game is NieR: Automata.
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