That magical time of year is almost upon us, when the new releases run dry and the gaming community turns its attention to their own piles of shame.
Unfinished, unloved and even unplayed – huge swathes of us have a stack of titles, piled in a corner or atop a bookshelf gathering dust. The now annual event known as ‘Four in February’ has become a bastion of hope for those games that may have feared themselves bound for the bargain bin at CEX.
Juggling family and a hectic work schedule make Four in Feb about finishing the fight, rather than picking a new one.
Whilst a small cluster of games still remain in their original wrapper, there are plenty of play throughs I’ve not taken to their conclusion that need my attention – making Four in Feb the perfect chance to finalise some classic titles that fell by the wayside:
The first instalment was one of my favourite titles on the original Xbox; the second a solid, if unspectacular, sequel on 360.
The third built on its forefathers solid foundations – introducing slightly more meaningful choices right from the off and using a more structured story arc to guide events.
Whilst ancillary choices remained of questionable impact; the main quest was a solid tale of a kingdom in need of a hero, all whilst affording me the time to help my prospects as a business guru also take off – as rent money kept pouring in to fund such simple things as raising a child, keeping the wife/mistress happy and, oh yes, the simple matter of an impending war with a foe capable of wiping Albion off the map.
Fable 3 pulled me in as completely as the first incarnation did. Was it perfect? No. Like it’s first two instalments, much was promised by chief architect Pete Molyneux – and only a fraction was delivered.
Thankfully we were all used to this scenario by the time Fable 3 was released, and its short comings were more easily forgiven as a result – because ultimately it was still rollicking good fun to run around an industrial revolution era Albion.
So rapidly did I drive through Fable 3 that when I sense the end was near, I stopped. Not wanting it to end, not wanting to conquer the dark threat looming on the horizon just yet, I stopped playing. I forgot.
A few games of NHL here, a run around on Call of Duty there and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.
A long over due return to Albion is now on the cards. No doubt my wife will have grown fat, my mistress will have run off with some silver tongued bard and my child will be, well, who knows. Maladjusted from his fathers long and unexplained absence?
But on the bright side – all that overdue rent! It’ll make Scrooge McDuck himself jealous!
Oh, and maybe I should think about finishing that war against darkness as well…
As a youth, Tomb Raider failed to really capture my imagination when it arrived on the Sega Saturn.
Uninspired by Miss Croft’s first adventure, much of the series passed me by until the Square Enix reboot came in to my life. And boy am I glad it did.
A gripping story and almost flawless adventure game, completion of Tomb Raider is a given this February, as one of 2013’s biggest titles has finally found its way in to my heart.
There can’t be many Four in February entries which encompass both a game and a book, but Dmitry Glukhovsky’s post apocalyptic Moscow landscape requires both digital and literary attention.
The cult best seller lies just two chapters from conclusion at my bed side – the game significantly more; but the creepy, politically charged subterranean world of Russia’s capital post nuclear war deserves to find its way back on to my play list.
The Mass Effect Trilogy
Despite multiple play throughs of chapters 1 and 2, Mass Effect 3 only graced my disc drive once. Perhaps a knock on of my daughter’s birth, and the time constraints that created, I raced to the end of Command Shepard’s space opus and never went back.
A wrong that needed to be righted – so like any sensible Mass Effect fan, it was clear the only way to rectify this was to start again at the very beginning.
New Shepard, new choices, new relationships.
Mass Effect 1 was as glorious as the first time I played it, 2 somehow less so for reasons I struggled to put my finger on – perhaps it was just that The Collectors inspired me less as an enemy, and eventually my grand replay ground to a halt.
With an entire instalment and its DLC still to play, this grand space adventure might still demand more than one man can fit in to his Four in Feb – but at least I’ll have fun trying.
Bouncy (in his own, garbled words)
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One)
I love the single player elements of the CoD series far more than I ever enjoyed online multiplayer. Mostly because I hate the sort of people who populate the games online. With a passion. With more passion than I could emphatically portray. That said, I haven’t really touched the latest in the series, so am hoping that this one will be a nice warm up title to get me going.
Target completion date: Feb 4th.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Xbox One Download)
The games being released on Ubisoft’s UbiArt framework (Child of Light, Rayman Legends and obviously Valiant Hearts) have been almost universally awesome. The software allows for any image to be animated and thus far all games have been designed and created on a tablet, with little coding requirement. Which is a great way to inspire creativity in game design. Valiant Hearts is one of those games that needs time, the subject matter deserves respect and I simply haven’t had the time to sit down with it and get stuck in to the melodramatic puzzler. This wrong will be righted.
Target completion date: Feb 14th
Lego Batman 3 (Xbox One)
This one is the tricky one, the stubborn turd on the crapper of life. The game itself is a magnificent beast, but it is also one with a wealth of content and a scale almost unheard of in a ‘family’ title. I chose this mostly because I have three Lego games awaiting completion and with Lego Jurassic World and Lego The Avengers out this year I need to blast through them. Lego Marvel was completed on 360, so I felt that could wait for another time, while Lego: The Hobbit is not as desirable as flying through space as Batman is. So despite the inclusion of Supercock, I mean Superman, I will be spreading this one over the whole month, spending co-op time with the kids when they visit too.
Target completion date: Feb 28th (If I’m lucky)
New Super Mario Bros U (WiiU)
Episode 5 of the podcast revealed that I am to be bound for a special circle in hell – one for people who lie to their kids about video games.
As far as my kids know – and I haven’t specifically told them that I *have* completed NSMBU – I finished this ages ago. I think I’ve played three levels. I will rectify this, although I can’t brag about it to them. May have to just come clean to them at some point.
Target completion date: Feb 21st
Friend of the show @Postmangav has elected to finish Sunset Overdrive and Max: Curse of Brotherhood, take on Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes and might also take on the Battlefield 4 campaign.