February 2022 will go down as one of the best months for video games ever. From indie platformers to AAA open-world powerhouses, several fantastic games launched to critical acclaim and record-breaking player counts. Because so many great games came out in January and February, it’s not surprising if some players’ missed one — or more than one.
Seven titles in particular rose above everything else released this month and will be remembered by many gamers for years to come. These are the February 2022 games that players should not miss out on, in no particular order.
The latest game from FromSoftware was finally released, and it’s clear that Elden Ring may be a contender for game of the generation. Combining methodical and challenging Soulslike gameplay with a vast and open world like that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Elden Ring struck a chord with critics and audiences alike.
Digital Trends gave the game four stars in our review, which was more critical than the general consensus, but we still enjoyed the experience immensely. “Elden Ring is a new gold standard for open-world game design, dishing out some of the best freeform exploration since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” our review states.
Elden Ring seems like it might be the pinnacle of FromSoftware’s Soulslike formula, and it’s a perfect example of what great open-world design looks like. If you somehow haven’t heard about it already, make sure that Elden Ring is on your radar.
Horizon Forbidden West
Both Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West have had the honor of being fantastic open-world games … that were released just before other titles that revolutionized the genre. Though Horizon Forbidden West has tons of dialogue and might not be the most innovative open-world game, it’s still gorgeous on PS5 and an enjoyable romp.
“Horizon Forbidden West establishes the Horizon franchise as a power player in Sony’s first-party arsenal,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in Digital Trends’ four-star review of the game. “It fixes the few blemishes Horizon Zero Dawn had by strengthening its combat and adding better ways to get around the world.”
There aren’t many other games that can match the feeling a player gets when taking down a giant mechanical monster in Horizon Forbidden West. It’s a must-play for PS5 owners, even if Elden Ring is the best open-world game released this month.
Some players might have forgotten about this skateboarding gem that launched toward the start of the month. OlliOlli World is a simple 2D skateboarding game with vibrant visuals that’s hard to put down.
I adored the game, giving it four-and-a-half stars in my review. “OlliOlli World will go down as one of the best 2D platformers of 2022 and one of the best skateboarding games ever,” I wrote. “Intricately designed levels that reward players’ skill and choice make playing the game a captivating experience.”
It’s also more approachable than any game in the series before it, so we’d recommend it to hardcore skaters and casual platform fans alike. Those who fall in love with its level design should check out our interview with senior designer Sam Robinson, who breaks down the formula used to bring OlliOlli World’s fantastic levels to life.
If Elden Ring doesn’t already beat players down enough, Sifu is there to deal the finishing blow. This brutal action game is an intense martial arts adventure where players age up every time they die. It’s not for the faint of heart, but those who enjoy games that challenge them to memorize patterns and combos to overcome formidable opponents will find a lot to love here.
Digital Trends really enjoyed Sifu, giving the game four-and-a-half stars. “Sifu’s punishing loop and intense combat are nothing short of brilliant,” Otto Kratky wrote. “It’s one of those rare titles that doesn’t just want players to do their best; it demands it instead.”
Of course, its difficulty means that this game isn’t for everyone. But if this game clicks for someone, they’ll grow to adore it. While Elden Ring did steal some of its thunder, those who love action games, beat ’em ups, or fighting games should check out Sifu.
Lost Ark is a Korean MMORPG that was finally localized this year by Amazon Game Studios. By combining the best elements of MMOs and action RPG game series like Diablo, Lost Ark is an addictive online game that drew high concurrent player counts on Steam.
Digital Trends gave Lost Ark four stars in our review. “Lost Ark excels at exactly what it is: A fast-paced, visceral ARPG with MMO elements that has plenty of content to keep players coming back every week,” Andrew Zucosky wrote. “The combat alone is enough to keep curious players interested.”
Those looking for the next online video game they can use to socialize with their friends should check out Lost Ark. It’s free-to-play too, so anyone interested in exploring its world and decimating hordes of enemies can try Lost Ark out on Steam.
The King of Fighters XV
SNK finally released The King of Fighters XV in February, giving fighting game fans the first 2D fighting game experience of the year. The King Of Fighters XV is a fighting game all about fundamentals. Those who put in the time to master its characters and combos will get just as much enjoyment out of the latest The King of Fighters game as they would out of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter.
The King of Fighters XV earned four stars in Digital Trends’ review. “It feels like the perfect evolution in a long-running fighting game franchise and isn’t afraid of being what its main fans want it to be,” DeAngelo Epps wrote. “Mechanics aren’t watered down and it doesn’t backtrack on what makes the series so great.”
While a new Street Fighter is on the horizon, The King of Fighters XV will stand out as one of the best fighting games of the year. It might not be a revolution for the genre, but it’s a beautiful and fluid title that will satiate fans of the genre.
While it’s the smallest release on this list, you shouldn’t overlook Grapple Dog. The indie platformer about a dog with a grappling hook is a bit of nostalgic fun for those who grew up with systems like the Sega Genesis or the Game Boy Advance. Players will swing, wall jump, and bounce off of enemies like a classic 2D hero.
In my impressions piece about the game, I likened the game to a long-lost childhood favorite. “Prior to starting it, I had spent a good month slowly chipping away at the Sega games included with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack,” I wrote at the time. “I fell in love with games I never got to play as a kid, like Ristar, and had been feeling a twinge of sadness that I couldn’t play more well-designed 2D games like that in 2022. Grapple Dog answered my prayers, and for that, it deserves a pet.”
While you might be bogged down with challenging open-world games for the foreseeable future, try to make some time for Grapple Dog. It’ll be like a refreshing shower after a day of slaying enemies in grimy dungeons. It’s currently available on Nintendo Switch and PC. ~ Giovanni Colantonio
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