Let's get this party started, right? There has rarely been a January in video game history that was less interesting than the month about to end. Yes, "Don't Starve" is fun (and on the PSN now) and you really must play "Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition," but is that really IT? Did we miss something? I know that most people were busy playing 2013 games like "Assasin's Creed IV: Black Flag," "Call of Duty: Ghosts," and "Battlefield 4," but it's time to move on. We need some games to really get this year and, to be honest, the entire PS4 generation, going. Will we get them in February? Sadly, if you're hoping for an onslaught of awesome in the shortest month of the year, it's more of a trickle. There are only four games of serious note and while I'm very excited to play all four, we need waves of games to push the PS4 to a wider audience. That will come later in the year. For now, here's what you're going to want to play in February. Finish up "Black Flag." You're running out of time.
February 7: “The LEGO Movie Videogame”
The LEGO brand has become one of the most successful in the history of video games but this game will have different expectations in that it's based purely on a LEGO property. Games like "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes," "LEGO Star Wars," and the upcoming "LEGO The Hobbit" have fan bases outside of the legendary toy to appeal to. How does a LEGO game work without something like "Harry Potter" or "Indiana Jones" to tie in with? The buzz on the film is very strong and one hopes that it's creative enough to appeal to both kids and adults in the same manner that the video games have over the years. This game features a world made entirely of LEGO places and the characters from the film. So, will it be a part of that cursed subgenre of movie/TV tie-ins, almost none of which are worth the disc on which they're burned? Or will it fit with the LEGO genre, which are some of the best family games of the PS3 generation? This one will be released on both the 3 and 4, along with a half-dozen other systems like the Vita, DS, etc. I think if you close your eyes, you'll be able to just see it.
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Before You Buy: Check out our list of five franchises that need a LEGO game, including one that kind of happened after we wrote it.
February 11: “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII”
While we have to wait for the PS4 debut of the "Final Fantasy" universe, this long-awaited game is finally coming to the PS3 after years of anticipation. Follow us here because the world of "FF" can be confusing. You may be wondering what this is given that "Final Fantasy XIII" came out four years ago and you may have played "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn" last year. Reportedly, this is a direct sequel to "Final Fantasy XIII-2," expanding on the world of this installment in the "FF" series and concluding its story with a focus on the saga of the beloved Lightning. The game is reportedly more action-based, looks gorgeous, and has received some very high grades in Japan, where it has been released since November. With so few games to take up our precious playing hours, it seems like a perfect month for a "Final Fantasy" game. These are time commitments. I think the last one I played took me 498 hours. Give or take.
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix/tri-Ace
Before You Buy: Read our animation guide's theory on "The Final Days of Final Fantasy"
February 25: “Thief”
The first quarter of last year was highlighted by Square Enix's reboot of a legendary franchise in "Tomb Raider," which resulted in one of the best games of 2013 and the best adventure ever for Lara Croft. God, I hope they can do it again. Taking the reins of the long-dead "Thief" franchise, the team behind the underrated "Deus Ex: Human Revolution" have crafted a beautiful-looking stealth experience that may have visual echoes of "Dishonored" and "Bioshock Infinite" but promises to boast some of the strongest graphics of the PS4 generation. We need a new game to show off this new system that our friends with a PS3 don't have already. "Thief" better be it.
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Before You Buy: Check out our announcement of the game's release.
Alternate: "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2"