Gaming has millions of fans around the world. No wonder many gamers wait for new video game releases.
Some of the best in strategy, action and stealth are among the upcoming video games launching this year. Whether it is a PC or an Xbox or a PlayStation, these games are designed for hours of fun and thrill.
A quick look at the games releasing in February 2022
Hardcore gamers have a special reason to get exited — Horizon Forbidden West, one of the most anticipated games, is set for release this month.
Whereas Destiny 2: The Witch Queen and CrossfireX are for fans who just want to go all-in with first-person shooters or multiplayer action. Absolute fighting game enthusiasts get to test new skills of some of video games’ most iconic characters in the 15th instalment of the classic The King of Fighters.
Meanwhile, for those who have a special place for slow-burn, story-focussed games, there is Know by Heart.
Here are 11 selections for gamers, with video game release dates and a bit about the games themselves.
Release Date: 8 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developed by Roll7 and published by Private Division, OlliOlli World is a skateboarding game but unlike any in this category you might have played.
This one is set in a fantastical world named Radlandia, which is populated by all kinds of beings imaginable from across the universe. Imagine Star Wars coming together with Alice in Wonderland — aliens, anthropomorphic frogs, walking trees, zombies and even ghosts. That’s what Radlandia is.
Skaters appear to be mostly human characters. There is one named “Dad” and another called Chiffon, a “skate wizard” who apparently has magical abilities.
Players have to skate their way to victory in the tournaments, doing flips, slides, tricks and rolls across the landscapes of Radlandia. The aim is to meet “skate gods” and attain what the developers have dubbed “Gnarvana”. Champion players can compete against each other in the Gnarvana portal, unlock new items and track to explore.
What makes this game unique is its attention to diversity. Players can customise everything — from their skin colour to what they wear or carry. There appears to be no dearth of the items one can unlock for avatar customisation. The artwork will remind players of the hand-drawn children’s fairytale books with vibrant colours. The 2D skateboarding game is the third instalment in the OlliOlli series.
Release Date: 8 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC
Sifu, which means “master” in Chinese, is a ‘beat ’em up’ game, where the principal character is in a constant combat mode throughout the story.
Developed and published by French independent game studio Sloclap, Sifu follows the titular protagonist on a mission to avenge the death of his family. The player character begins as a student and must fight his way up through numerous gang members in a Chinese city. In the story, the player has just one day to finish his mission.
The game is designed to make the fighting realistic. The player character is shown as a practitioner of Pak-Mei Kung-Fu. Therefore, all his moves are based on that style. The player also learns new techniques as the game progresses and more experience is gained. Besides parrying, blocking and timing attacks, the player can also use objects that can be found in the environment against the enemies.
Sifu is so named because of a central theme within the game which involves the ageing of the main character. If the player character dies at any point in the game, he is revived magically but appears several years older with each resurrection.
As the abilities increase and he ages, the mastery over Pak-Mei Kung-Fu becomes more refined. Thus, the story can also be interpreted as a journey of the player character from a student to a master.
Know By Heart
Release Date: February 10, 2022
Know By Heart comes from the Russian game developer, Ice-Pick Lodge, internationally renowned for its Pathologic game series.
According to its description on Steam, the story of Know By Heart is a “game about accepting loss.” The protagonist is Misha, who lives in a Russian town and is stuck in a mundane job. His boring life gets a breather when his childhood sweetheart returns to the town. This triggers a series of developments, bringing back a group of childhood friends. However, the reunion of sorts is threatened by harsh memories of the past that are connected to the town’s history.
The trailer of the game drops hints of political problems either during or in the post-Soviet era. It shows the military descending on the town and a house on fire. The artwork is evocative, finely differentiating between the moments of joy and tension.
According to Steam, the game has several endings and is approximately “five hours of sentimental adventure.”
Release Date: 10 February 2022
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One
The third instalment of the Crossfire game series promises to take the level of action as high as the level of its graphics, which, as the trailer reveals, are top-notch. No wonder it is one of the most anticipated among Xbox games in 2022.
CrossfireX is essentially a first-person shooting game, where two private militia groups — Global Risk and Black List — fight each other. The game has a single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode.
In the former, the player can pick a side and, depending on the faction selected, will be tasked with either neutralising the protagonist Luis Torres or protecting him. The campaign mode is divided into operations, which are subdivided into episodes, quite like Acts and Scenes in a play. The action takes place in a fictional South American city evacuated because of an incoming hurricane.
The multiplayer mode is much like Counter-Strike, where players battle against each other.
Other than the array of modern weapons, game features include advanced camouflage, which renders the combatants almost invisible as long as they do not move.
The multiplayer mode has been created by Crossfire’s original developer — South Korea’s Smilegate. The campaign, on the other hand, is the work of Remedy Entertainment, the Espoo-based Finnish game developer famous for the critically acclaimed Max Payne game series.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires
Release Date: 15 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, PC
Based on the 14th century novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors is one of the world’s most acclaimed games of all time. Since the launch of the first edition in 1997, the game has gained a cult following for its dynamic graphics, historical weapons, playable historical characters, costumes, and its 1 vs 1,000 gameplay.
Dynasty Warriors 9 was released in 2018 and followed the general hack-and-slash style like others in the series. The Empires expansion also includes elements of strategy.
In Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires, players will have to devise ways to capture enemy forts in Invasion Battles as well as defend their own from invading enemy forces in Defensive Battles. There are siege weapons that can be deployed against the enemy when trying to capture a fort. The player character can rise through the ranks and become a ruler in a quest to unify all of China. The ‘politics’ system in the game allows management of resources, formation of alliances, and tactical handling of officers under command.
The game allows players to create custom officers (playable characters) other than the historical ones in it. According to the game developers, up to 850 customised officers can be created. The appearance of main playable characters can also be customised.
New in-game battles include re-imagined real-life historical events, such as the Battle of Guandu and the Battle of Chibi — the latter of which is famously known as the Battle of the Red Cliffs.
The King of Fighters XV
Release Date: 17 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
The King of Fighters XV is one of the most exciting games of 2022. As the name suggests, it is the 15th edition of the acclaimed The King of Fighters series by Japanese game developer SNK, the first of which arrived 28 years ago.
A cult favourite of fighting game fans around the world, The King of Fighters XV features favourite playable characters from previous games such as Kyo, Terry, Ryo, Athena and Ralf. There are 39 characters besides the boss. The 39 characters are divided into 13 teams of three each.
Players compete in a 3×3 Team Battle system. Abilities include Shatter Strike, which can be used for both defensive purposes and countering attacks. Each character has its own special moves and can perform a variety of other attacks. Simple button presses let players execute the Rush combo.
According to the official synopsis, in The King of Fighter XV Chizuru Kagura joins forces with Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami to investigate a mysterious intervention with the seal of Orochi, following the events of The King of Fighters XIV.
Total War: Warhammer III
Release Date: 17 February 2022
Total War: Warhammer III is the final instalment of the Warhammer series — itself a part of the wider Total War series. The plot of the turn-based and real-time strategy game is not clear, but the makers say that it “features a captivating narrative that will take you to the mind-bending Realm of Chaos and back again.”
The objective is to rule over the vast fictional world of Warhammer, using tactics such as diplomacy, resource management, army movement and timely battles filled with magic and mayhem. There are several factions to choose from within the game.
These include the Northern Cathay and Kislev, along with factions of Chaos Gods. Those who pre-purchase the game will get access to a new faction — Ogre Kingdoms.
The game has been developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega.
Horizon Forbidden West
Release Date: 18 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West is one of the most anticipated games of 2022 for a variety of reasons; one of them is the protagonist — Aloy.
The character is a huntress and is depicted as a fearless personality. A determined explorer, Aloy is equipped with a variety of skill sets that help her survive the post-apocalyptic world presented in the game. The character became a fan favourite upon debut in the critically acclaimed prequel Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017.
The new game follows Aloy on a world-saving mission into much more dangerous territory. This area is the western part of a devastated United States. There is more to explore for players in the open world of the new game and more dangers lurking in the environments that also include an immersive underwater setting.
Like Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy’s chief enemies are machines, which have taken over the planet and are affected by an AI disease known as Derangement. However, another issue, called Red Blight, is a phenomenon that is destroying crops, altering weather patterns and leading to an ecological disaster in the regions that fall under Forbidden West. Additionally, old enemies and friends also return along with new tribes.
Skills can be improved in any of the six sets: Warrior, Trapper, Hunter, Survivor, Infiltrator and Machine Master. Other improvements include the melee attack, and upgrades can be made to outfits and weapons.
Made by Sony, Horizon Forbidden West is definitely at the top of the most exciting PS4 Games of 2022.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Release Date: 22 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Google Stadia, PC
The Guardians from Destiny 2 (2017) return to protect the earth from Savathûn and her army of Hive Lightbearers in this expansion.
The first-person shooter is set in the Throne World of Savathûn, which has swamps, a grand palace and a pyramid ship. In the Destiny storyline, Hive Gods do not die in the normal universe but can die permanently if they are killed in their Throne World, which is a world-within-a-world-like concept.
A trailer of the game reveals that the Guardians have been transported to Savathûn’s Throne World, and they have to survive her horde while exposing the lies of her world. The Guardians have new weapons such as glaive, and a new way to craft weapons. The Hive Lightbearers are warriors who have similar abilities to the Guardians and can be resurrected unless their ghosts are killed.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen has been developed and published by American company Bungie.
Release Date: 25 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Elden Ring comes from the minds of two modern-day legends in the world of fiction — author George RR Martin and director Hidetaka Miyazaki. While Martin contributed to the world building element of the project, Miyazaki brought his legendary expertise in game direction to the table.
Developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco, the game makes use of the elements present in Miyazaki’s previous works Dark Souls series, Bloodborne (2015) and Sekiro (2019). Thus, Elden Ring is an extension of the Soulsborne games.
Combat and exploration are at the heart of the Elden Ring. The protagonist, who is the player character, travels across a medieval fantastical landscape populated by monstrous creatures. The player must engage in combat to defeat the creatures. Exploring maps helps the player character become more skilled.
According to Miyazaki, new players will find it comfortable to play the game even though the difficulty level is as high as his previous works. This is because players have the freedom to take on challenges when they think they are ready and won’t feel forced to do so to progress through the game.
In an interview with PlayStation, Miyazaki said, “There isn’t a focus on pure action. The player has more agency to dictate their approach against, for example, the field bosses in the overworld and how they utilise stealth in various situations.”
The world of the Elden Ring is expectedly bleak. The artwork brings out the eeriness of the castles, the mysticism in the landscape and the desolation of ruined fortifications rather excellently. In fact, everything that can be imagined in a dark fantasy that Martin can conjure can be witnessed in the game.
Release Date: 25 February 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Grid Legends is a product of Codemasters and Electronic Arts — two of the most famous game studios in the world. The Legends is the fifth instalment in the Grid series and, according to gameplay designer Becky Crossdale, employs the extended reality tech which was used to create the world of The Mandalorian (2019–).
The game makers have created a docuseries-like story format for the game — a first in the Grid series. This means there is a story behind the racing game, consisting of fictional characters, unlike the others in this category.
A 2021 official reveal trailer gave a glimpse of how the characters have become central to the series. The main character appears to be Valentin Manzi, described as a Scottish/Rwandan driver for Voltz Racing.
He, along with others, is up against Nathan McKane, an American who is the #1 driver for the infamous Ravenwest Motorsport. Additionally, Ncuti Gatwa, the Rwandan-Scottish actor who is best known for his role in Sex Education (2019–), plays Manzi.
Grid Legends offers racers a chance to drive in over 100 vehicles of any type — from touring cars to electric cars. There are also muscle cars, open wheel, drift cars and trucks. Racing happens on over 130 tracks, which are based on real-life circuits and streets of famous cities, including Paris and London.
The game is surely for those who love the adrenaline rush of racing combined with the excitement of rising through the ranks to defeat a nefarious corporation.
(Main and Featured image: SNK GLOBAL/@SNKPofficial/Twitter)