As we enter the second month of 2017, the videogame industry has some heavy combat delights to bestow upon us. Heavy melee focus comes packaged in For Honor, while Ghost Recon Wildlands and Sniper Elite 4 represent vast expanses in which to practice your gunmanship. Horizon Zero Dawn gallops in at the end of the month with its mechanized open world, and Nioh finally makes its debut on PS4 at the beginning. It’s going to be a good month.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands Closed Beta (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – Feb 3-6
Ghost Recon Wildlands aims to put the series’ roots in tactical shooter tropes to bed as it lifts the borders on its game world and affords dynamic and responsive open world gameplay. Even if you haven’t already booked your place on the closed beta operating next week, there’s still the option to sign up here. If you’re granted access to this reimagining of a Ubisoft classic, you’ll be provided three extra keys to bestow upon your teammates on the same platform.
Nioh (PS4) – NA Release: Feb 7, EU Release: Feb 8
Team Ninja’s action RPG isn’t one to be missed. It’s already garnered so much critical attention we’re not sure if you even need reminding of it at this stage. Nevertheless, though the name’s been tossed around these past few weeks there is still some mystery surrounding just what this PS4 exclusive entails. Nioh takes its setting from Japan in the early 1600s and follows a story based on the life of William Adams, a historic samurai figure from the West. It’s a dungeon crawler of sorts, though the expansive world beyond these spaces is certainly nothing to simply glance over.
For Honor (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – Feb 14
The For Honor beta is truly underway, so it’s going to be a busy week for the folks over at Ubisoft Montreal before the game’s full release on February 14th. The online multiplayer hack and slash melee system will serve characters ranging from samurais to vikings through five different game modes. Featuring 4v4 Dominion, 2v2 Brawls, 1v1 Duels, 4v4 Team Death Matches, and 4v4 Elimination modes, For Honor’s multiplayer roster is certainly as varied as the soldiers you can embody. There is also a single player campaign which will see players battle the evil warlord Apollyon while factions themselves are turned against each other at the will of your antagonist. For Honor has been hotly anticipated over the last few months, and marks a rare focus on melee combat that is becoming more and more sidelined in the era of the first person shooter.
Sniper Elite 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – Feb 14
On the very same day as For Honor, you can indulge yourself in something on the complete opposite end of the combat spectrum. Whereas For Honor requires all out melee warfare, Sniper Elite 4 promises precision gunplay where tactics and stealth reign supreme. With improved artificial intelligence and significantly larger game maps, Sniper Elite 4 presents Karl Fairburne with all new challenges. Set against the backdrop of 1940s Italy, Fairburne must help free the Italian Resistance from the Fascism that has overtaken their country.
Halo Wars 2 (PC, Xbox One) – Feb 21
The Halo Wars 2 beta is currently underway until January 30th, so if you’ve got your eye on this February release there’s no reason not to head over to the Halo Wars 2 page on the Xbox site and grab the beta for yourself. 343 Industries have taken the beta as an opportunity to test run their new multiplayer mode, Blitz. Aside from Blitz, Halo Wars 2 also presents three classic online multiplayer modes: Deathmatch, Domination, and Strongholds, as well as a single player campaign. 343 have spoken out to say that this single player campaign may well become incremental to the future of the narrative, so it might be worthwhile keeping an eye on that Atriox. The game will pick up just after the events of Guardians, however for all the crew of the Spirit of Fire know, the last 28 years of Halo events are nothing more than a long cryoslumber. They’ve been adrift in space since the first Halo title, and now it’s time for them to take on Atriox and the Banished.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – A Criminal Past DLC (PS4, PC, Xbox One) – Feb 23
The second and final story DLC is headed to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided towards the end of the month. A Criminal Past will bring more Deus Ex universe lore through Adam Jensen’s first mission for TF29. Players are tasked with retrieving secretive papers from another undercover agent who has gone rogue in a high-security prison. Players will be given the choice of whether to continue with Jensen’s traditional aug tree (remembering that these events take place before Jensen discovers his own augmentations) or playing with access to the experimental augs. The DLC is available across all platforms and is part of the Season Pass.
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) – US Release Feb 28, EU Release March 1
Perhaps the most anticipated title on our list is the PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn. Since its announcement at E3, the game has seen heavy critical attention praising its sprawling landscapes and mech-dinosaur-stoneage vibes. Horizon Zero Dawn represents a swift departure from Guerilla Games’ previous Killzone titles, however, it is implementing a variation on the engine developed for Killzone Shadow Fall. The game sees protagonist Aloy exploring the world around her and learning to see both the beauty and the danger of the robotic beasts she encounters. The title has already garnered critical acclaim, bagging Best Original Game at the Games Critics Awards in both 2015 and 2016.