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Backlog: The Embiggening – February, 2016

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By Nelson Schneider - 01/31/16 at 02:18 PM CT

Now that the gaming industry has had time to recover from its New Year’s hangover, we should be seeing some better stuff start trickling out. “Should” being the operative word. Instead the industry’s unabashed love affair with selling old material as though it was new continues unabated, with a glut of ports, compilations, and remasters padding what would otherwise be a very unimpressive month. Let’s get to it!

Is there shovelware? Of course, there is shovelware. Like the poor, shovelware will always be with us. February is bringing us three new anime-inspired games: a ‘Digimon’ PS4 exclusive – which apparently ties-into the 2015 anniversary of the original TV show, another ‘Naruto’ fighting game, and a typical Tecmo-Koei large-scale Beat ‘em Up with a coat of paint inspired by a Japanese novel series entitled “The Heroic Legend of Arslan.” Honestly, the ‘Arslan’ game sounds like it would be pretty interesting… if it wasn’t just another “Hyrule Warriors”/“Dragon Quest Heroes”-style reskinning of ‘Dynasty Warriors.’ Last but not least, there’s “The ABC Murders,” based on Agatha Christie’s mystery novels (I’m sure it will move record numbers.).

Are there ports? Yes! There are ports: “Tales of Symphonia” is being ported from the Gamecube/PS3 to Steam, while PC Indie titles “The Last Tinker: City of Colors” and “Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams” are coming to PS4.

Are there compilations? Yes! There are multi-platform compilations of both old ‘Mega Man’ games and old ‘Assassin’s Creed’ games coming in February.

Are there remasters? Yes! “Dying Light” – which JUST CAME OUT! – is getting remastered, and the PS4 is getting a remastered version of the Vita’s “Gravity Rush.” So exciting.

After last month’s absolute dearth of legitimate multi-platform releases (new, non-licensed titles, for those having a hard time keeping up), February has a whopping three. Two are sequels, of course, those being “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2” (as if the banal FPS online deathmatch genre wasn’t endemic enough without recruiting kids too young for “CoD”) and “FarCry Primal,” which looks to be nothing more than a caveman-era ‘Elder Scrolls’ game built in the ‘FarCry’ engine. The new IP coming in February is “Unravel,” a somewhat interesting-looking little 2D Platformer published by EA. Since it is published by EA and is a digital-only game, I will probably have to skip it, even though it looks mildly enjoyable.

Exclusives are looking… yeah… In February, PC is getting an ‘XCOM’ sequel and some sort of Sim set during the Cold War, entitled “Soviet Monsters.” The PS4 is getting a lot of J-Fighting attention, with that “Nitro+ Blasterz” game that was supposed to release last month and the timed exclusive release of “Street Fighter 5” (which will also hit PC later on this year). The PS4 will also be home to the culmination of loli/moe horribleness that is “Megadimension Neptunia 7.” Pathetically, no other non-handheld platform is getting any exclusives this month.

In handhelds, the Vita is getting nothing, as usual, while the 3DS is getting… something. Aside from a sequel to “Project X Zone,” Nintendo is bringing two new ‘Fire Emblem’ TRPGs simultaneously. Of course, these aren’t actually ‘two’ new games, but a single game divided into two versions, “Conquest” and “Birthright,” in imitation of the color-coded divisions of the ‘Pokemon’ franchise. I can’t see this doing anything to improve ‘Fire Emblem’s’ reputation in the West or even endear this latest title to the niche audience that already likes the series.

Nothing for me… again. “Unravel” looks somewhat appealing, but buying anything digitally from EA is a massive compromise on the buyer’s part. Unless it hits Steam and doesn’t act as a Trojan Horse for Origin, I’m not going to bow to the tyrant in order to play it. Everything else is either crap, warmed-over crap, stuff I’ve already played, or rehashed crap. So exciting.

Backlog Embiggened: +0

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