January has come and gone and brought some amazing games for us to play. March is literally a hair’s breadth away and is also packed with some incredible games alongside the rest of 2023, but what about the shortest month of them all? What about February? Don’t be fooled by February’s day count, as, despite its short span, this month was perhaps one of the best months in gaming for a long time and came packed with some incredible games that are worth your time and money. We have handpicked three of these titles, so feel free to check these games out; you won’t regret getting into them.
Like A Dragon: Ishin!
The first game that we’d highly recommend for you guys to check out is RGG Studios’ “Like a Dragon: Ishin!” Over the course of the articles I have written, I have extensively covered the “Yakuza” games time and again, so much so that I am sure my bosses and editors are fed up with reading about them at this point. What can I say? These games are fantastic and deserve even more attention than I or anyone else is giving them. If you are a “Yakuza” fan, then you know what this game is about and have been begging for a Western release for years at this point. If you are new to the series, “Like a Dragon: Ishin!” is the remake of a spin-off of sorts that tells a story inspired by real-life events that took place in Japan all the way back in 1867. While the game tells the tale of a pivotal time period in the history of Japan, the game is still very much a “Yakuza” title that operates on its soap opera logic of storytelling (really fantastic stuff, mind you) with tons of style and cinematic flair and characters to die for. Each historical figure showcased in this game is portrayed by the “Yakuza ” characters, with the likeness of series lead Kazuma Kiryu playing the lead here once again as the legendary samurai Sakamoto Ryoma. The game’s open world is Kyo, which is just as dense and richly detailed as Kamurocho and the other cities, if not more. The gameplay is solid, as you’d expect from RGG at this point, with beat ’em-up combat that features four fighting styles, tons of heat moves, and a whole bunch of upgrading and unlocking skills. The iconic mini games also make a return (of course they do), and need I say more about them? They have always been great, and as you’d expect, they are fantastic here as well. Special shoutout to BakaMitai in Karaoke. “Like A Dragon: Ishin!”. Just like any other RGG game, it is a bang for your buck and is a game where you’ll be spending hundreds of hours having fun. This game should be a blind purchase for anyone, if you ask me, whether you have been introduced to this series or not, or even if you are a fan of it or not. Just go and play this game.
The second is “Hogwarts Legacy,” and we are here to talk about the game and not the controversy surrounding it. We here respect everyone and their opinions, but our focus right now is on the game, so we kindly ask that you be respectful if your opinions differ. WB Games finally did it; they gave us a Harry Potter game that is not a movie tie-in and is actually good. What a time to be alive, don’t you think? Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Harry Potter. I loved the series as a kid and have read all the books, but as an adult, my interest in this series has died down, but as you know, I love video games, and well-made licensed videogames are my jam. “Hogwarts Legacy” is an open-world RPG set in the Harry Potter universe (duh) and tells an original story that takes place in the late 1800s, way before Potter’s time, where you play as a witch or a wizard of your own making and join Hogwarts late as a fifth-year student. The story here is hit or miss with tons of plot holes, and the gameplay is flashy and has some depth but can get boring or uninteresting (combat) rather quickly, depending on person to person, but that doesn’t take away from how good this game is. The visuals are stunning, with tons of love and details packed into every nook and cranny of the Hogwarts castle and the surrounding area that you can explore. The RPG mechanics are also decent, and as I said, we haven’t had a good Harry Potter game for a long time and this game may as well be the best Potter game that has ever been made. If this game wasn’t associated with Harry Potter, then it may have received a different assessment, but because it uses the source material to its advantage and makes such brilliant use of it, it deserves to be commended. The world here is truly the star of the show, and you’ll definitely get lost in its depths and live your own magical fantasy here if you so choose. If you were, to be honest, and unbiased, then this game does have a lot of issues, but once again, what it does right, it does so well that all those blemishes just sort of vanish, and for that, “Hogwarts Legacy” is a game that you should definitely check out.
Finally, we have “Atomic Heart,” which has to be the most polarizing and divisive one here. Why? Because the substance of this game and how it handles its gameplay may or may not resonate with everyone, everyone who plays it will have varying opinions about it. Okay, I’ll keep this short and say that “Atomic Heart” can pretty much be summed up as a Soviet “Bioshock.” The game takes place in a unique, alternate utopia or dystopia (it’s both technically) where cities float in the air, technology is prevalent and in the spotlight, and yet things somehow look and feel somewhat old-ish and mechanical, and because of a malfunction, the robots that were meant to assist people and make work easy for them have taken over the lands and have become incredibly hostile and murderous. The story here is bland and laughable at times; the protagonist is horribly written and voice-acted and is perhaps one of the worst protagonists I have ever seen in any video game, but the gameplay here is just plain fantastic. The guns pack a punch and roar, while melee weapons hit, pierce, and chomp through everything, with each and every swing you take feeling meaty and having some weight behind it. There’s even an open world for you to explore and tons of story dungeons that revolve around combat encounters and puzzle-solving. The game’s biggest strength, other than its combat, is Mick Gordon’s fantastic music and a unique, gorgeous, and crazy art style backing it all up. Seriously, this game looks good. I’ll be honest here and not waste a lot of your guys’ time; I cannot explain “Atomic Heart.” This game is so much, and yet so little. This game is so good and yet so bad. This game is interesting and bland at the same time. But what matters to me most is that this game is fantastic, and that’s the sole reason I have zero hesitation in recommending this title to you, especially if you are an Xbox user and have Game Pass, as this game was a day-one Game Pass launch title. For all the things this game does wrong, there are plenty of things it does right, and vice versa, but at the end of the day, a game’s purpose is to be fun, and “Atomic Heart” sure is fun.
These have been the three games from February 2023 that we would happily recommend to anyone to check out. The variety on offer is interesting and diverse, and the games, despite some major or minor issues, are still fun as all hell. There are more games that came out in February that once again have polarizing scores, like “Wanted: Dead” or “Wild Hearts” and more, and while they are also worth checking out, we believe these three games featured here are some of the best experiences you can have from February’s lineup. There’s also “Destiny 2 “s “Lightfall” expansion coming out, which I won’t talk about ever; unfortunately, as I battled to beat my addiction that was “Destiny 2” I was finally able to stop playing that game that consumed five years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time doing so, and the game is fantastic if you are an MMO fan, so there’s no denying that “Lightfall” would be fantastic, and the “Destiny” community has a good year ahead of them. For me, it was time to move on, and I left that community behind and have no plans of looking for or going back there anymore. Either way, February’s lineup was fantastic, as you can already tell, so which game from February are you playing or is on your list?