February 2019 is priming to be a huge month for video game releases, with numerous big names slated to compete for gamers’ limited budgets and attention. We’re even getting four released at once on the same day, which doesn’t really help in deciding the one to go for. There’s no way to buy them all, or even play through within a span of a month, but this list has my own personal picks for titles I’m looking out for. The release dates aren’t set in stone, and a few could always get delayed sometime further, but each is so far listed to drop February 2019. I mostly focus on bigger names here as they’re the ones I’m most excited to play in the coming months, although I’d love to hear about any great picks I may be missing in the comments below.
Far Cry: New Dawn (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Ubisoft’s need to fill our time with 3-4 sandboxes each year has frankly gotten out of hand so bad, I almost dread playing through them at this point. It hasn’t even been a full year since Far Cry 5, and we’re already getting another one February 15th this year, but thankfully New Dawn is priced slightly lower than a fully-fledged release. A shift to a vibrant post-apocalypse certainly looks more fun than traditional settings, yet I can’t escape the feeling it’s trying to rip off a few games in the process. Call me pessimistic if you must, but just looking at it, I can’t find a single note of original thought here, although that still won’t exactly stop me from playing it at some point. New Dawn looks like a mix of Borderlands, Far Cry, Mad Max, and especially Rage 2 with a much similar splash of pink all over the place. It may sound like I’m trashing the game before it even comes out, and for its complete lack of originality, I certainly am; but that said, New Dawn can yet prove me absolutely wrong once i play it.
Players will return to Hope County once more, to find it overrun with mutated wildlife and full of bandits following the conclusion of Far Cry 5. New Dawn brings a few new elements to the table with light RPG progression and weapon customization, though otherwise don’t expect to see any drastic changes. Far Cry games haven’t changed much since the third instalment, and hopefully activities in New Dawn won’t feel like a chore list, as I’ve noticeably tired out of the sandbox genre in recent time. You get Mad Max-style vehicles and a stronghold that gives you access to building new tools for the journey, which as always aid in taking over enemy outposts. Those can now be reset individually as you beat them as well, with four layers of difficulty to complete, and each increasing enemy count and variety. We also get to journey away from Montana on occasions, which will hopefully provide enough entertainment to get through the game. Far Cry: New Dawn releases February 15th, along with 3 other big games on this list, and will be available through Steam or Ubi Store.
2. Metro: Exodus (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
4A Games are going big to set its atmospheric FPS series outside claustrophobic confines of the underground tunnels. Metro: Exodus sees your characters leave Moscow and embark on a year-long journey across the continent in search of new life and potential survivors. It’s an exciting change, although one has to wonder just how well the tense survival horror of its predecessors will translate into open-ended environments. Exodus isn’t a full-on sandbox by any means, but aims to deliver vast areas that offer plenty of exploration and combat opportunities. Each will further showcase different seasons of the year, and offer vast diversity between each other as you’re likely to spend considerable time in one location to complete its objectives. Scavenging for supplies will enable players to discover hidden nooks and crannies, and I’m hoping side quests won’t be clearly pointed out so I can enjoy exploring the world. I’m highly anticipating Exodus, perhaps more so than any other title next month, and quality of its predecessors leaves no doubt this one will be good as well. Hopefully its release window won’t leave it overshadowed by Anthem and Far Cry: New Dawn, but then the series always had a certain cult following. Metro: Exodus drops on February 15th this year.
Update: As of February 28th, the game ditched Steam as a release platform, moving over exclusively to the Epic Games store. All pre-orders will be honored by Deep Silver.
3. Anthem (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Anthem’s had a massive hype train surround it, which usually isn’t a good sign in the long term, and speaks for lack of developer’s confidence in the title. I’m so far skeptical about it, and while BioWare can certainly deliver an excellent title, we’ve already experienced a big letdown with Mass Effect: Andromeda. Anthem looks to combine that, plus Destiny, plus The Division into one: with a shared world design allowing players to team up in co-op, or challenge others in PvP. Its sci-fi open-world is certainly interesting, and gameplay looks very solid, at least in movement, although I can’t escape the sinking feeling a lot of it may end up in a huge grind. That said, as a fan of the action game genre, I’m excited to experience its gameplay nonetheless. I don’t want to write off Anthem just yet, and will wait to see until it releases before making up my mind. So far, it won’t hurt to get excited for it, but it helps to have just a little sense of potential disappointment in the back of your mind. Anthem comes out February 15th, available through Origin.
4. Crackdown 3 (PC, Xbox One)
We’re finally about to get this one released! Crackdown 3 went through absolute development hell, going through numerous delays and almost got canned in the process, yet we’ll be able to play it February 15th on Xbox One and Windows 10. Microsoft didn’t make the best decision to release it on the same day as BioWare’s Anthem, in my opinion, and it could easily be overshadowed by the latter. Here again, I’m skeptical about Crackdown 3, which has by far shifted through so many different developers that there’s good reason it could end up a complete mess of gameplay ideas. Terry Crews is in it, though, which isn’t a selling point on its own, but having him as a playable character will undoubtedly lead to many hilarious moments as you hop around the city causing mayhem. The bombastic gameplay trailer shows utter mayhem, with your character able to leap ten stories high, pick up and toss vehicles, and fully destroy the environment around you. Crackdown 3 is in the vein of Saints Row 4 and Sunset Overdrive, which are reasons alone I’ll be giving this one a try at some point throughout 2019. You can buy it on Xbox One or PC through the Windows 10 store.
5. DiRT Rally 2.0 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
If you like to speed through tight offroad stages where any small mistake could cause your car to go flying, then DiRT Rally 2.0 will be your cup of tea. Its direct predecessor found very good traction among the series’ fans when Codemasters went to recreate a more serious rally experience they’re well known for. DiRT Rally 2.0 looks to expand on everything that made the first entry great, with new locations, a greater range of vehicles, and more customization options. The handling model of the Rally titles isn’t as forgiving as in, say, DiRT 4, so this one is designed for more hardcore fans in mind, but nonetheless if you’re a fan of rally, you’d already have this one on your radar. With over 50 iconic cars covering multiple decades since the 1960s, DiRT Rally 2.0 offers an impressive garage that you’ll be able to tune to suit your racing preferences. If rally isn’t enough, the game packs in official FIA Rallycross circuits, and you can also develop your own team during career progression as you engage in both game modes. DiRT Rally 2.0 is expected to release on February 25th
6. Trials Rising (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
The easy to get into, but extremely unforgiving motocross series Trials returns this year, and what a trip it is. Taking players all over the world, Trials Rising showcases stages across New York, China and Egypt among the few, promising to deliver the biggest entry yet in the series. As it’s always occupied a certain niche, fans of Trials will certainly have this one on their radar since E3 2018, and I’m excited to see the franchise going forward. There’s no mention so far whether the FMX trick system from Fusion will return, and I’m hoping it does, but it’ll need to have more impact than a few select tracks available there. Players will be able to engage in multiplayer events like always, and four can play in co-op on one system. The most exciting new feature in Rising is a Tandem Bike that enables two people be in control of one motorbike and one can expect it to be just as hilarious as it sounds. Trials Rising is primed to release February 26th on Steam.
7. Expansion: Gathering Storm for Civ 6 (PC)
Civilization 6 is getting another major expansion pack, slated to release on February 14th, and it looks to be a fairly big one. Apart from nine new leaders available for eight new civilizations to be introduced, there’s a vast list of new features we’ll be expecting to see. Natural disasters will affect the way you play, capable of destroying entire cities if you’re careless and making you consider going for environmentally-friendly energy solutions. It is well possible to cause climate change, which will consequently increase the severity of floods, droughts and raise sea levels. Gathering Storm also introduces World Congress, where nations will address various issues around the globe, and offer resolutions to a variety of different problems. A new branch of the technology tree will also take players into the 21st century. Further expect to see smaller additions such as new units, wonders and structures as well. Civ 6: Gathering Storm will release on Steam, and requires the base game to play.