Indie / PC / PS4

Games of the Month – February 2017

Alright games industry, let’s pace ourselves okay? I mean, I’m not going to complain about this many great games coming out rapid-fire seemingly every single week…but I would also be okay with spacing these out a bit more. Persona 5 comes out next month and I’m not halfway through Zelda! Jeez guys.

1. Nioh

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Was there ever really a question that this would end up here? Well, after we heard that they fixed that awful demo at least. Nioh is another Soulslike in a long chain of Soulslikes, but this one’s the Soulsiest of them all. It doesn’t nail everything that makes Dark Souls my favorite game series, but it gets just close enough to feel like one if you squint. The combat is an entirely different beast, many of the bosses are no great shakes, the lame Diablo loot system and the thousand unnecessary mechanics obfuscate the purity of Souls design… but that still isn’t enough to tear down a well made Souls-style stage. I love exploring almost every area in Nioh. Where Team Ninja hits anywhere between say 75% of the other shots they take in the game, I’d say 90% of it’s dead on in terms of level design. The feeling of finding a new enemy, new collectible green friend, or a clever shortcut comes as close to Souls as any game I’ve ever played. Forget Lords of the Fallen (or…remember it, then forget it again.), Nioh is the successor to do the job right.

2. Night in the Woods

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The elevator pitch I’ve come up with for Night in the Woods is “It’s kind of like Life is Strange but without super powers!” and I’m not sure how effective that is at getting across that I like this game a whole lot. You play as a young woman (who is DEFINITELY an adult, she’d have me stress) named Mae who comes back home after dropping out of college. She lives in a boring midwestern town in the middle of nowhere, and starts to catch up with all of the townsfolk who she hasn’t seen in quite a while. It’s wonderful. The writing is more witty and ugh,”millennial,” than anything I’ve ever played. Imagine if your Twitter and Tumblr pages came to live and had a conversation as cat and dog people. I promise it’s actually very good. I promise.

3. Hollow Knight

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Another that I’ll have to make time for when I get these giant 100 hour monsters out of the way, but one that I’ll be looking forward to until the moment I can. Hollow Knight has an atmosphere that I can’t quite shake. It’s moody and dark in all the right ways without becoming an album cover, and is legitimately fun to play to boot. If I haven’t come back to it before the Switch release hits, look forward to hearing more about it from me then.

Honorable Mentions:

Horizon Zero Dawn – This may have made it higher up the list if I had made more time to play it. The first few hours are gorgeous and have me wanting to come back for more… but I’ve only got enough room for one beautiful open world game on my plate right now.

Alwa’s Awakening – It reminded me of 2015’s excellent Castle in the Darkness… until I got my hands on it. Instead, it’s a slow paced NES-style puzzle platformer with light Metroidvania sprinkles. Still worth checking out!

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