February brings with it the end of the post-holiday release lull most years, and 2014 is no exception. Having been left with little to choose from for the past six weeks, publishers begin to kick the machine back into high gear and there are three very promising titles scheduled to launch over the course of the next month, among a number of slightly less exciting games. Those big three are:

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Developer: Square-Enix, tri-Ace (assistance)
Publisher: Square-Enix
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 11th

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The concluding chapter of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, Lightning Returns sees the titular character back as the main lead character after her conspicuous absence in the second part. This time around, she is The Saviour, a demigoddess charged with saving the souls of the people remaining on Nova Chrysalia during the world’s last thirteen days. She is also the only controllable character in a brand new combat system that blends the traditional ATB system with elements more reminiscent of a pure action game. Although it has been much maligned by franchise fans, it is shaping up to be an interesting title, if nothing else, and you can learn more about it in our recent Most Anticipated preview.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Developer: MercurySteam
Publisher: Konami
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 25th

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MercurySteam really proved themselves as one of the developers to watch with the original Lords of Shadow, and they look to be cementing that sentiment with this follow-up. Taking place in a modern setting many years on from the conclusion of the previous game, players assume the role of Dracula, for the first time. While Dracula has slept, Satan has been rebuilding his strength and it is up to the man once known as Gabriel Belmont to end the existence of the ultimate evil, in exchange for the removal of the curse of immortality. This sequel builds on the successes of its predecessor, while incorporating an open-world ethic and a darker and more complex story. It should prove to be one of the most exhilirating action titles of 2014, and you can find out more about in our recent Most Anticipated preview.

Thief
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square-Enix
Platform(s): PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: February 25th

Thief 2014

This reboot of the classic stealth series is being handled by the same studio that delivered the stellar Deus Ex: Human Revolution back in 2011, so there is a very strong pedigree on display. It retains the Gothic atmosphere of its forebears in its aesthetic, while its gameplay has widely been compared with that of Dishonored. It follows the master thief, Garrett, and he seems to be in business solely for the sake of his own profit. He acts against an intriguing backdrop, with the city ruled by a tyrant, while a rebel leader called Orion calls for revolution in the midst of a plageu that is decimating the poorer citizenship. With the ability to tailor aspects of the gameplay to your liking, it is shaping up to be a must-have of the new generation. For more details, you can check out our Most Anticipated article and Lachlan’s more recent hands-on preview.

  • Jaxon Holden

    Um, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and Bravely Default people… I mean seriously, are you TRYING to omit these games or…?

    • ChatWraithDeux

      Well, donkey kong is cool albeit with sonic the hedgehog syndrome, and I don’t think I’ll buy a WiiU just for the sake of donkey kong. LoS and Thief will be on PC.

    • Damien L.

      Every month we pick three games. Both Donkey Kong and Bravely Default were considered for this month, but ultimately lost out to our final picks. So no, we weren’t trying to omit those titles. The cards just fell that way.

  • Tim

    Will get Thief on PS4 – looks great from the previews.

  • James Bauer

    I’m hoping Thief will rekindle the magic that the original games did. Thief 2 was amazing, and even for it’s time, is still one of the best stealth games released. I will be renting it from Gamefly, so time will tell.