In slightly less than a week we’ll be in the month of February, which means a whole month’s worth of new game releases to look forward to! Unlike January, western games have a larger presence this time around, though we’ve still got a notable Japanese release in the form of Nioh.
Anyway, here’s a list of what I perceive to be the biggest games of February:
Release date: February 7
The Japanese game I mentioned earlier is first on the list, thanks to its early release date. Set during the Warring States Period of Japan, players will take the role of a blonde swordsman called William. As he traverses Japan, he’ll have to battle demons called Yokai as well as samurai and ninjas. The gameplay videos bring Dark Souls to mind almost instantly, but previews have indicated that there’s enough to make Nioh stand on its own, setting aside.
Combat features a stance system, with the three stances - High, Mid and Low - offering different uses. The High Stance is offense-focused, for example, while the Mid Stance is suited for defense. The Low Stance on the other hand is good for evasion and getting behind the enemy.
There’s also online co-op, with players being able to summon “visitors” to battle Yokai together. In exchange for lending their assistance, visitors will receive rewards.
Release date: February 14
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Ubisoft’s melee action game has various classes of Knights, Vikings and Samurai clashing in third-person scraps using a battle system called “The Art of Battle”. Unlike something like Chivalry, the duels here take a bit longer to play out, while the third person viewpoint lets us easily admire the motion-captured moves and attacks.
Multiplayer will feature a 4v4 capture point-style mode called Dominion, as well as the 2v2 Brawl mode and a 1v1 Duel mode. There’s also a no-respawn mode called Elimination. On the single player side of things, there’s a campaign that sees a warlord called Apollyon inciting conflict between the Knights of the Iron Legion, the Dawn Empire’s Samurai and the Vikings of the Warborn clans. Also playable in 2-player co-op, you’ll be storming enemy castles, partaking in defenses and dueling bosses.
There’s also a closed beta happening from January 26 to January 30. VG 247 have helpfully provided the exact starting and ending times: January 26 at 2PM GMT and January 30 at 1AM GMT.
Release date: February 14 (Valentine’s Day!)
Platform: PS4, Xbox, PC
Featuring large levels that are “many times the size of those” in its predecessor, Sniper Elite 4 sends Karl Fairburne to 1943’s Italy, where there’ll be “sun-drenched Mediterranean coastal towns”, “colossal Nazi mega structures, daunting forests and giddying mountain monasteries” to infiltrate. The ultimate goal of his mission is to defeat a new threat that could prevent Operation Overlord from happening.
It sounds really serious, but this is still a game where you can snipe someone in the nuts and (optionally) watch the results in a gory X-ray vision kill-cam. The campaign supports up to 2 players, but there’ll also be dedicated co-op and PvP multiplayer modes. You can also attempt to snipe the Führer himself, if you pre-order the game.
Release date: 21 February
Platform: Xbox One, PC (Windows 10)
Set after the events of Halo 5, Halo Wars 2 will take place on the Ark, a “legendary Halo destination”, where the UNSC - including the reintroduced Spirit of Fire and Captain Cutter - will have to deal with a “terrifying” threat to humanity. Battling them are the Banished, a ‘violent, mercenary force” that broke away from the Covenant in the past.
Developed by Creative Assembly of Total War fame, the RTS sequel promises large-scale battles in both single player and multiplayer, all-new units and leaders with special abilities. Halo War 2 will also introduce Blitz mode, which combines card-game elements like deck-building and draws with smaller-scale and faster-paced RTS action.
The Blitz Beta is currently ongoing, so you can check it out for yourself before it ends on January 30. The beta only contains the PvP version of the mode which I like quite a bit, though my last few matches haven’t left quite as good an impression on me.
Release date: February 28
A very intriguing-looking action RPG from Killzone devs Guerilla Games, Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a lush and beautiful post-apocalyptic world where mysterious mechanical beasts of various forms and sizes called Machines roam the land in lieu of flesh-and-blood animals.
As young hunter Aloy, you will embark on a journey to uncover this world’s mysteries. The crafting system will let you combine “primitive gear with advanced technology”, while different Machines will require different strategies to take down. You can also hack “trapped specimens to do your bidding”.
The game will feature an open world with “stunningly detailed forests, imposing mountains and the atmospheric ruins of a bygone civilization”, complete with changing weather and a “full” day/night cycle.