Honorable Mention #1: Fire Emblem Fates
Read the Reviews! Conquest, Birthright
Starting with a couple of honorable mentions, check out the Twinfinite’s Staff picks for our favorite games for February 2016 which includes of course, our Game of the Month!
Presentation and gameplay is tighter than it’s ever been in the series. Transitions from the isometric map to battle are completely fluid, never breaking the action, with music swelling to match the change. Arguably what stands out the most is the relationship system. Further improved from the previous game, Awakening, the relationships in Fates are as important as ever, as building up the bonds between your soldiers can dramatically change your strategy and approach.
Splitting the game into two versions turned out to be a good choice, as well. Each version has its own unique story, missions, characters and they both are full-fledged, 30+ hour experiences. Birthright ends up being easier and more accessible as you can train your units to your hearts’ content. Conquest manages to be much more difficult, by limiting the amount of experience and gold you can get, and throwing in some truly unique challenges during its story chapters.
All the new additions and tweaked systems in Fates easily make it one of the most engrossing titles of February 2016, for stalwart fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Honorable Mention #2: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Senior Editor Ishmael Romero: Normally, when you think of a licensed game, you probably expect something generic with famous faces plastered on. Anime games aren’t exempt from the worry. Very few invest in a unique AAA experience. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 happens to be one of those rare occurrences.
This latest entry covers the end of Naruto’s quest to become the worlds greatest ninja with a beautifully animated story, over-the-top boss fights, and a roster of over 100 playable characters. Players are treated to a top-notch anime experience as they fight with or against unique ninjas, and take in the best visuals the series has to offer. New mechanics such as elemental buffs and the ability to swap control between your support characters helped to liven up the gameplay with even more strategic options.
While many series struggle as they tack on more followups, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 has demonstrated how to go out on top. It is not only a solid entry (as well as a great licensed game), it is the best in the series, serving as a perfect finale.
Honorable Mention #3: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Senior Editor Ishmael Romero: Back when the first Garden Warfare was released, nobody knew what to expect. Here was a third-person, multiplayer shooter based off of a mobile game about protecting a garden from zombies. It didn’t seem like it would work, but it was truly magical. Fans loved the zany characters mixed with the tactical, class-based gameplay. PopCap Games built upon that wonderfully with Garden Warfare 2.
On top of every single mode and character that made the first game great, fans are now treated to a single player campaign for each side of the war, an open playground in the form of the Backyard Battleground, six new characters with dozens more variations, and new ways to play. You can play solo, couch multiplayer, or online, and no content is ever blocked from you. The developers once again proved that mixing things up can work for the best, even if it looks a bit odd at first.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is pure fun at every turn. With plenty of content to get into, as well as freebies planned for the future, there is no shortage of excitement to be had in what is easily one of the best games of the year thus far.
February 2016’s Game of the Month: XCOM 2
In XCOM 2, you take the role of a commander that’s leading a resistance group of humans up against the alien race that took over earth as Enemy Unknown ended. It gets a bit murky who are technically the bad guys. However, one thing remains constant among the base building, technology researching, and micro-managing; your imagination will run wild with the soldiers you dispatch.
And that’s just where XCOM 2 shines; its ability to make you care for and cultivate stories for a group of otherwise personality-less war fodder. They will grow or die under your command and it will be too emotional and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful for you to not look a little crazy.
That does it for our February 2016 Games of the Month. Congratulations to XCOM 2! What were your favorite games this month? Let us know in the comments!