2017 has already delivered games aplenty, and the glut of great-looking titles continues in February with big franchises, more retro revivals, and potential indie darlings.
First, if you have not already taken a look at OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2017, two are releasing in February: Nioh on February 7, and Horizon: Zero Dawn on February 28. As though two massive action-RPGs were not enough, here are three more single player games to keep your eye on.
NIGHT IN THE WOODS
In development at a new team headed by Alex Holowka, designer of underwater adventure Aquaria, Night in the Woods is a story-focused exploration game in a similar vein to last year’s Firewatch and Oxenfree. Also like those games, the soft, colourful art belies an unsettling atmosphere and a decidedly child-unfriendly tone.
Players control Mae, a young cat who has dropped out of college and returned to her hometown of Possum Springs. The town’s fortunes have gone down since she left and, of course, the place is filled with quirky characters who have plenty to hide. Mae soon discovers she has paranormal abilities and is drawn to investigate a dark mystery in the woods outside of town.
Gameplay consists of running and jumping around the semi-open levels of Possum Springs, talking to townsfolk and making decisions that change the course of the story. Although it is a narrative adventure at heart, Night in the Woods also employs abilities and items that appear to add light Metroidvania elements, as in sidescrollers such as Guacamelee.
Even if the interest lay mostly in the atmosphere and puzzles, Night in the Woods would earn a place on our radar, but if the game can manage half the thematic cohesion and compelling storytelling of a Firewatch or an Oxenfree, players will be in for something truly special.
Night in the Woods releases February 21 for Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, and Windows.
HALO WARS 2
It is a minor miracle that, as a lesser-known Xbox brand, Halo Wars 2 has made it to release without being cancelled (looking at you, Scalebound and Phantom Dust). With a brand new story that picks up loose threads from around the Halo universe, Halo Wars 2 looks to be one of the biggest and yet most accessible Halo experiences in a long time.
Though many developers had tried to implement console controls into the RTS genre in the past, the late Ensemble Studios’s original Halo Wars was one of the few that actually succeeded. Rather than start from scratch, new developer Creative Assembly (best known for the Total War games and the mostly excellent Alien: Isolation) has built upon the first game’s formula. At the same time, Halo Wars 2 promises to change enough to address its predecessor’s shortcomings.
Halo Wars 2 takes place in the same time-span as the current Halo saga, following the UNSC into battle with a splinter group of Covenant known as the Banished. With thirteen story missions, a Skirmish mode for playing against the AI, and a new mode, Blitz (a collectable mode inspired by Halo 5‘s Warzone) there should be plenty for single player fans of real-time-strategy to dig into.
Halo Wars 2 releases February 21 for Windows (through the Microsoft Store) and Xbox One.
TORMENT: TIDES OF NUMENERA
The latest classic-style RPG from inXile Entertainment, makers of Wasteland 2, is a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment set in the world of Monte Cook’s Numenera.
If that just seemed like a bunch of proper nouns inXile was founded by key staff from Interplay Entertainment, publishers of classic computer-RPG franchises like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate. The original Torment is often considered the crown jewel of CRPGs, with a highly reactive storyline, a non-traditional fantasy universe and plenty of well-written characters.
Although the new Torment is not set in Dungeons and Dragons‘s Planescape universe, Monte Cook was a designer for Planescape and his award-winning Numenera setting has often been praised for its comparable thematic depth. The creative team at inXile considered that this depth and the unusual, far future backdrop of Numenera was a great fit for a Torment game, and many of the systems that defined the first game were not strictly part of the Planescape IP anyway.
All of this is to say that the pedigree and intentions behind Torment: Tides of Numenera are nearly beyond reproach. The art is twisted yet magical, the setting unlike most fantasy RPGs, and the quality of the writing staff is well established. Even legendary games writer Chris Avellone—who also wrote for Obsidian’s Baldur’s Gate spiritual successor, Pillars of Eternity—has contributed to the game.
Hardcore RPG players will be happy to know that the game, backed by fans on Kickstarter, is not compromised to fit some imaginary, focus-tested audience, and CRPG newcomers will be able to dive in and play with the streamlined interface, especially as it releases day-and-date on current-gen consoles.
With a little something for RPG fans of all sorts, Torment: Tides of Numenera drops on February 28 for Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One.
The steady release of notable titles will not let up this month, starting with Fire Emblem Heroes—the first Fire Emblem game available on iOS and Android—releasing on February 2.
On February 14, both Ubisoft’s hardcore swordfighting sim For Honor and Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 4 will be jockeying for the top spot.
Musou action game Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, based on Kentaro Miura’s dark fantasy franchise that inspired Dark Souls, releases on February 21, and three days later on February 24, Minecraft-contender Lego Worlds comes to consoles after ending its early-access run on PC.
What games in February are you most looking forward to? Are there any single player games we missed that you are excited to get your hands on? Let us know in the comments below, and until next time, happy gaming.