Joystiq's Four in February is upon us, behold our staff picks

Sponsored Links

Joystiq's Four in February is upon us, behold our staff picks
February is a forbidding land, full of winter darkness and noisome Valentine's Day traditions that are only slightly balanced out by a steady trickle of new games. That's why Joystiq's very own Mike Suszek created Four in February, a gaming event to unify the world against the month's doldrums. Here's how it works: Pick four games to finish in February and then try to finish them. That's it. No crazy rules, no limits on what you play. Just choose four games and take them on with gusto. That's the 4iF way.

The best part of 4iF is how we all get to share the struggle, though. We want you to go to the 4iF Facebook community page and tell us everything. Show us pics of what games you're playing, tell us why you're playing them, let us know when you're streaming them, and most importantly, proclaim your victories or failures. Meanwhile, over on Joystiq's Facebook page, we'll be running 4iF giveaways every four days throughout the month starting Tuesday, Feb. 4. On Twitter, we'll be tracking the action to those who shout @joystiq using the hashtag #4iF. This is war on our gaming libraries, and this is our solid battle plan.

What's the staff playing? Read on.

Mike Suszek (@MikeSuszek, Twitch)
Killer 7: I call myself a Suda51 fan, but I've never beaten this. I bought a new PS2 so I can play it!

Tearaway: I already started this one, but it's an excuse to play my Vita.

Halo 4: A couple people said the campaign is good. I'm not a good FPS player, so this one will take the longest of the four.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness: I have an irrational love for the PS2 Castlevania games. While I beat Lament of Innocence, I need to beat this one. I'll be starting it over from the beginning.

Jess Conditt (@JessConditt, Twitch)
The Dream Machine: I've been quietly obsessed with The Dream Machine since my introduction to the game in 2012. It's a trippy, creepy clay-animated point-and-click adventure with deep puzzles and a rich story. So far, four of the six chapters are out, and I'd like to play everything that I can.

Half-Life 2: I know. I simply never finished it. I know.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: I adore the first Amnesia, which is probably why I put this one off. After reading Richard's review, I had the intense urge to stay far, far away from the sequel – not because it looked like a bad game, but because it offered a different experience than the original. I can't be afraid of change any longer. It's time.

Analogue: A Hate Story: I started playing it once, when it first came out, but I quickly got distracted by other things and other games, and let it slip through the cracks. But I'm silly. There's always time for space-based text adventures. Always.

Earnest Cavalli (@Ecavalli, Twitch)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena: Thanks to that new movie it's sorta topical, and I've been meaning to finish it for about four years now.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D: I completely forgot this game existed only days after buying it, so I may as well get to it now.

Fallout 2: I've beaten it before, but any excuse I can get to highlight this game is one I'm taking and Anthony did say "no rules."

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: You'd really think I would have finished this game, huh? Yet I haven't. So let's do that.

Sam Prell (@SamPrell, Twitch)
The Stanley Parable: Two games on my list are all about stepping out of my comfort zone; The Stanley Parable is one of them. I genuinely like, and will argue the benefits of, a constructed approach to gameplay, where a player goes from Point A to Point B, no divergent paths. The Stanley Parable is supposed to take that concept and turn it on its ear. I look forward to being shown how wrong I am.

Gone Home: Well, it's been long enough that I already know what Gone Home is more or less "about." But as somebody who has returned to where I grew up and found a house instead of a home (and for reasons similar to the ones in the game), I'm curious to see how many of my heartstrings Gone Home can touch.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: I'm really picky about romance movies. Seems a weird way to begin talking about Brothers, right? Basically, I don't like romance movies that feel forced or ungenuine. Similarly, I don't like games that promise an emotional experience that amounts to "look how sad this thing is that just happened, isn't it so sad?" People say Brothers isn't like that. I intend to find out.

Don't Starve: I normally don't go for roguelikes, because, as noted previously, I'm more of a Point A to Point B sort of player who enjoys story and art direction more than anything, but Don't Starve has me intrigued. Can I give up my love of cutscenes and voice acting for a streamlined experience that's summed up in the game's title? Let's find out.

Xav de Matos (@Xav, Twitch)
Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason: February is the month of the heart, so why not make mine jump out of my chest with a few terrifying games? I'll kick things off with the Action Forms-developed PC game Cryostasis, a haunting game I've always been a little too chicken to check out.

Outlast: Nothing gets the blood pumping like running away from terrifying monsters! Outlast from developer Red Barrels should suffice. It's a game the Joystiq review said perfects "self-inflicted madness in every area of its design, and it's absolutely petrifying."

Alan Wake's American Nightmare: I loved the original Alan Wake from Remedy something fierce, but the release of American Nightmare came at a busy time of the year. It's time to revisit the world of Wake and see what I've missed. It may not be the scariest game, but it's something I must play!

Rust: I've already failed at completing games since I'm not entirely sure there's even an endgame to Facepunch Studios' Rust yet. Despite that, there's nothing more terrifying than entering an unknown world and coming across a slew of online players that could easily kill you and take everything you've ever collected. I'll be playing this one throughout the month and even though I can't technically beat it, I'll be happy if I can survive long enough to wreak a little havoc myself.

I'll be streaming all of my gaming sessions for 4iF. Subscribe to my Twitch channel and watch me scream like a small child.

Sinan Kubba (@SinanKubba, Twitch)
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified: I was one of the few on staff who didn't get on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and I'm still not sure entirely why, honestly. I'm interested to see if The Bureau's tactical shooter spin will do a bit more for me, especially after Ludwig's positive review.

Tales of Xillia: This, on the other hand, is more of a sure thing. I got about seven hours into it last year, and was definitely enjoying it - but 2013 was so busy and Xillia inevitably got lost to other games. Sticking it here is a mandate to myself to finish it, and the relative downtime in February is a good time to do just that.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge: One of the many obtuse games I kept hearing positive whispers about last gen but never got round to playing. The positive about these kinds of games is they become super cheap super quick, but the downside is that I end up with a backlog stuffed with them. Time to amend that.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Pretty sure Xav would send in the mounties if I didn't play this eventually.

Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM, Twitch)
Enemy Zero: One of the most intriguing games ever to grace the Sega Saturn. Using sound as your only guide, you have to take down invisible enemies while unraveling a detailed story. Thanks to its ingenious / infuriating save system, I never finished it. Time to rectify that.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories: I frequently cite this as my favorite game on the Wii, one of the best Silent Hill games and one of my favorite games of an entire generation, but I've only played it once. Let's see if it holds up.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: This is Ludwig's favorite game, and I've barely touched it. I don't want to get fired, so...

Risk of Rain: Okay, I've actually beaten this, but I haven't beaten it on the highest difficulty setting. Let's do this.

Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski, Twitch)
Dead Space 3: I don't like to leave things unresolved and isaac Clarke's story is one I didn't finish, but I'll be doing it solo. I can't play it solo, right? I'll find out!

XCOM: Enemy Within: Having been without a PC since last summer, I didn't get the chance to play Firaxis' expansion to Enemy Unknown.

Rogue Legacy: Again, a lack of PC stopped me from putting the time I wanted to into this charming platformer.

Outlast: Because watching me scream is hilarious.

Danny Cowan (@db_cowan, Twitch)
Virtue's Last Reward: I finished and loved its predecessor Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, but I never got a chance to play more than an hour of VLR. If it's anything like the first game, it'll require a pretty big time investment, but 4iF is a good excuse to start it back up again.

Valkyria Chronicles: Apparently this is one of the PlayStation 3's best games, since it seems like everyone who played Valkyria Chronicles speaks very highly of it. I have high hopes for this one, even if the lack of trophies is kind of a bummer. Gotta get those sweet trophs!

Vanquish: Platinum's games don't appeal to me, but my brother says he really enjoyed this one, so I'm playing it on his recommendation. If I like it enough I want to go back and give God Hand another shot.

Virtual Hydlide: I wanted to support Richard's love for the Sega Saturn, and it's a title that starts with the letter V. This one will be... interesting, since I've seen little evidence that it's actually finishable. I've beaten the original NES Hydlide, though, so I have some idea of what I'm getting myself into.

Thomas Schulenberg (@T_Schulenberg, Twitch)
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: Finishing The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds left me craving more Zelda. I always thought this game looked interesting and I did enjoy elements of its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, so I'm eager to see how this one will fare.

Spec Ops: The Line: I bought this based entirely on word of mouth. A shooter with something to say was the best way someone could explain it to me without hindering the experience, but that's really all I needed to hear.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade: To be honest, I really just want an excuse to look at more than Muramasa's box art. Every image I've seen of the game looks gorgeous, but I'm looking forward to seeing it all in motion firsthand.

Alan Wake: I've heard a lot of people profess their love for this game, but I've never really pressed for details as to what it is that Alan Wake does so well. I could do the simple thing and just ask them, sure, but finding out for myself sounds like a lot more fun!

David Hinkle (@DaveHinkle, Twitch)
Shelter: Unbeknownst to many, badgers actually do care about some things - their offspring. This Might & Delight darling has been on my to-play list for a while and thanks to the latest Steam sale, I can finally play it.

Shadow Warrior: A good buddy of mine gifted me this game on Steam and I've been looking forward to diving in with my sword, pointy-end first. Lo Wang rises this February in: Shadow Warrior: That Game Dave is Gonna Play.

Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please!: A pair of adventure games from Zombie Cow Studios that I've always wanted to play but haven't had the PC to experience. This February, I correct this grievous error.

Anthony John Agnello (@AJohnAgnello)
Bucky O'Hare: The first of my all-NES 4iF is a latter day Konami game based on the all but forgotten Bucky O'Hare cartoon. Like all my entries, I've never really played it before. Supposed to be a brutal but satisfying Mega Man clone.

Ninja Gaiden II: A huge gap in my gaming experience. I've only ever played the first level of this before. Looking forward to the misery.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master: An outlier in the land of Capcom's licensed NES platformers. I've always loved the game's look. Now I'll see how it plays.

Battle of Olympus: I only just found out about this Zelda II: The Adventure of Link clone. That is a game I could deal with playing more of.

Ludwig Kietzmann (@LudwigK, Twitch)
Tearaway: I own a PlayStation Vita, so this is mandatory. It also looks filled to the brim with whimsy and unusual control methods, and I hope the result feels like something that can't be replicated elsewhere.

The Room Two: I can't imagine this will take long to complete if the iPad is in reach – I could barely put down the first game once I started. There's a great, magnetic mystery at the heart of The Room, but I sense a purified form of tomb raiding here. Solving pointlessly elaborate mechanisms to open secret doors is my jam.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: Having never played Luigi's Mansion before, I'm really curious to find what it feels like to succeed and save the day not as Mario, but the taller, ignominiously portrayed plumber. Plus, you know, bustin' makes me feel good.

Dead Rising 3: I approach Dead Rising 3 with trepidation, knowing that my tolerance for zombie fiction wears thinner every year – and having Telltale provide such a stellar example of it doesn't help those who take the more traditional approach. Still, I'd like to see what a more contemporary take on Dead Rising – a truly odd and unique game for its time – is like. You still horde potato chips, right?

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular on Engadget