5 Most Exciting Video Games Coming Out in February 2016
Console Wars (2016 Edition)
Could 2016 be the year the Playstation 4 and Xbox One hit their stride?
Although I have enjoyed the time I've spent with my PS4, there is no denying that there has not been a lot to get excited about since both consoles launched. Some have already dismissed this generation as a throw away, a stop gap before the eventual Virtual Reality years, but 2016 does seem to be shaping up to be the strongest year in quite awhile.
Over the next few months, I plan to do a lot of gaming (while I can), but since I work, mostly, as a freelance writer, money is hardly flooding in. Therefore, every purchase must be thoroughly researched and examined, to make sure that not a single cent is wasted on a product that might just not cater to my particular gaming preferences.
The aim of this article is to pick out a handful of exciting releases coming out over the next month. Since I only own a Playstation 4, each game included will be at least available on that console (most will be available on the Xbox One as well).
Far Cry Primal ($60)
1) Far Cry Primal (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: February 23 (Physical and Digital)
Background: The Far Cry franchise continues to get the Assassin's Creed treatment from publishers Ubisoft, with a near yearly release aimed to zap all the money this action adventure cash cow can possibly spit out. Far Cry 4 hit the market in November 2014, so only about 14 months have passed between Primal and the former.
If you ever new to the franchise, Far Cry is a huge open world first person shooter set in exotic locations (Kyrat, Micronesia) were players have to survive in the wilderness while undergoing missions and taking out outposts. The games can be rather overwhelming but they tend to be quite entertaining to play through.
Far Cry 4 can be purchased on the ps4 for about $20, so I would definitely recommend that before dropping $60 on Primal.
Plot: Far Cry Primal is a departure for the franchise since it takes place in pre-historic times; mammoths and saber-toother cats are not to be trifled with. Obviously, this change in time period means that the players can only use weapons that belonged to that area.
No guns or vehicles will be available in Primal and the gamer will have to make his own weapons (no option to buy) which does add a certain degree of authenticity to the experience.
Gamers take on the role of Takker, who is stranded in Oros after his hunting party is ambushed. Takker has one unique skil: The ability to tame animals. With that advantage, he can rise to power and lead his own tribe.
Conclusion: I would like to say that this is an easy buy for Far Cry fans, but it does sound like a completely different experience from the previous two games. Far Cry 4 did not necessarily push the envelope following the fantastic third entry, so a change of pace might be welcome by this point.
The First 15 Minutes of Far Cry Primal (IGN)
2) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (PS4, PS Vita)
Release Date: February 2nd (Physical and Digital (PS4), Digital (PS Vita))
Background: Developed by Media Vision and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Playstation fans can finally rejoice that their answer to Pokemon will finally be localized in the Western half of the world. Digimon games have not stopped being released, they just were not seen as a feasible investment for publishers to translate and distribute in the US and EU.
2016 promises to be an exciting year for JRPG fans with Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV and Nier Automata (to mention a few) all having release dates for the coming 12 months. Until then, Digimon Story is shaping up to be an adequate substitute.
I have to admit, I might be a bit biased due to how much I loved the three Digimon World games on the PS1. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth seems to harbour back to those days, with a traditional turn based combat system directly reminiscent of Digimon World 2 and the Digimon World DS games.
Plot: Gamers take on the role of Takumi Aiba or Ami Aiba (depends on whether they choice male or female), Japanese amateur hackers. While on a chat room, they receive a mysterious device from a stranger called a Digimon Capture which allows them to capture and train Digimon monsters.
These monsters can be found on an online system called Cyberspace Eden, which users can physically enter. Aiba eventually ends up joining the cyber division and the story really kicks off from there.
Conclusion: The plot is definitely nothing special (or new), but it should be serviceable enough to not detract from the main aim of the game: Catching, training and evolving Digimon. The game has already been released in Japan and got generally good reviews, so there is a certain degree of hope that this will be a worthwhile addition to the stored Anime franchise.
3) Layers of Fear (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: February 16th (Digital)
Background: 'Walking' Simulators seem to be a dime a dozen now-a-days, especially on Steam, but ones in a while something really exciting comes out that grabs the collective conscious of gamers everywhere. Layers of Fear is one of those games.
Available as Early Access on Steam since August 2015, at first Layers of Fear seems like a typical horror game: Creepy Mansion, character slowly going insane and weird noises. Saying that, Layers of Fear has received almost universal praise on Steam and the general consensus seems to be that THIS IS ONE TERRIFYING GAME.
Layers of Fear feels genuine and does not depend on any stupid gimmick to capture the audience's attention. The scares came from the bone chilling creepy atmosphere and environment, the fantastic sound design and the interesting layout of the rooms. This is probably the closest we will get to a new 'old school' silent hill game and is easily the best horror game since Outlast or maybe Amnesia.
Plot: The gamer takes control of an insane painter who is trying to finishes his magnum opus. The game is heavily inspired by paintings of the last century. Pretty much the entire game is spent walking from one room to another, as the game dares you to not quit before you reach the end.
Conclusion: This is an easy recommendation for horror fans. It should be available for less than $15, so it is affordable as-well. Just do not go in expecting Resident Evil.
Garden Warfare 2 ($60)
4) Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: February 23rd (Physical and Digital)
Background: Who would have thought that a game tiled Plants vs. Zombies could be so much fun? Wait, everyone you say? Well, okay then.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is an insanely fun multi-player third person shooter game (released by EA) that took the gaming world by storm back in 2014. The PS4 version was also given away for free, so most people probably have this stored away in their library. It might not seem that enticing to play (especially since it does not really favour solo gamers) but it is a surprisingly engaging, polished and fun experience.
Despite the deserved praise, it did have a few issues that stopped it from being a truly great addition to the genre: it lacked mods and the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions required the gamer to be constantly online to play. Most might have avoid the current generation versions simply because they assumed they demanded the same. They do not, by the way.
Garden Warfare 2 does not change much but it does fix quite a bit of the problems the original had. They have added two new modes (Graveyard Ops and Herbal Assault), a hub area and also 6 new classes. Pretty much everything that was in the first game will return in the second.
The best change that EA made to the sequel is that it will definitely not require an internet connection to play and every mode can be done solo. The game should also contain 40 different available characters at launch and should be updated (free) regularly.
Plot: Zombies one the previous war and they have taken over the Plants homeland. Revenge is on the cards.
Conclusion: Not much really to add. This should be just as fun (if not more so) as the original.
Street Fighter V ($60)
5) Street Fighter V (PS4, PC (Including Linux))
Release Date: February 16th (Physical and Digital)
Background: Capcom are at it again: A new Street Fighter game is hitting the market. I'm sure in 3 years time I'll be listing the Ultimate Definitive Awesome Edition of Street Fighter V as a new release.
There really is not much need to introduce Street Fighter. We have all played one of the games at one point or another. Be it at home or in an arcade, Street Fighter is engrained in pop culture to the point of nausea. Street Fighter IV was truly milked dry (although there was nearly a decade between III and the base game) but one can not help but get a bit excited at the prospect of a new version coming out.
At its base, V appears to be the same old game: One to one 2D fighting with fireballs and special moves and all types of lovely combos. Capcom have built on the solid foundation of the previous game to try and iron out some problems it might have had.
For example, the player is no longer invincible when they backdash. Also, the gamer can not chip away at his opponents health from a distance by throwing fireballs. Small changes that can make a world of difference.
At the end, Street Fighter V is just another opportunity to pick up the characters you loved playing with as a child (or last generation) and re-experiencing the thrill of overcoming a challenging foe with well thought out combos and hits.
Plot: There is going to be a cinematic story that links Street Fighter III and Street Fighter IV. The arcade mode will also link directly to the main story.
Conclusion: Capcom might tend to shit the bed often, but they know their Street Fighter. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be an addition worthy of the carrying the name.