February might be the shortest month of the year, but it's not short on good video game releases.
The same month that sees the Super Bowl, the start of Major League Baseball's Spring Training and Valentine's Day will also see the return of some tried-and-true classics, roaring engines and a new I.P. from one of the best JRPG makers in video game history.
Coming out on Feb. 4 as an Xbox 360 exclusive, Microsoft's Fable Anniversary is a celebration of one of the top-selling titles on the original Xbox. Featuring re-mastered audio, Fable Anniversary also boasts visuals that have been updated to HD over the original game from 2004. The new version also features a new user interface, updated save system and Xbox LIVE achievement support. SmartGlass integration and all chapters from the original's The Lost Chapters expansions are also included.
Releasing three days later on Feb. 7 is Bravely Default. Developed by Square-Enix, the same company behind the Final Fantasy series, Bravely Default is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive RPG that pairs turn-based combat with a risk/reward system. Players will also be able to use the 3DS' StreetPass feature to enhance their in-game experience.
Three noteworthy games will be released on Feb. 11 across a pair of platforms. Releasing for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a pair of collaborations between normally rival game studios Bethesda and 2K will hit retailers. The first collaboration includes Bethesda's Dishonored and 2K's Borderlands 2 titles and the other includes three: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, BioShock Infinite and the original BioShock game. Both combo releases should be a great way for gamers who missed out on the games the first time around to bolster their video game libraries.
The third of the Feb. 11 releases is Square-Enix's Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Assumed to be the final of the company's FFXIII releases, Lightning Returns finds the original game's main protagonist coming back for more just as the world is about to end. Rather than saving the world once again, Lightning must instead choose which souls to save and which to abandon to their fate.
Racing fans will be revving their engines when Deep Silver releases NASCAR '14 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In the latest iteration of this annual franchise, the game features "NASCAR Highlights" in which the player is given the change to determine the outcome of each real-life race's biggest thrills. Online leagues and rankings are also supported.
The Wii U is getting a big-name release on Feb 21 - the first-party published Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze game featuring Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and many of the cast from the SNES original Donkey Kong Country from the mid-1990's. Rated "E for Everyone" by the ESRB, the new DK game supports both single-player and local co-op play as Donkey Kong and his friends try to save DK Island from falling prey to the invading Snowmads.
Four days later, on February 25, Konami will release the closing chapter of its "Lords of Shadow" story arc with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The sequel to the 2010 video game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, this new game finds players taking the role of Dracula himself in a contemporary setting to battle a force even the vampire himself deems to evil for this world.
Also set to release on the 25th is Thief, the third Square-Enix title to make this list. Coming out for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC, the new game is essentially a re-boot of the original Thief games from 1998 through 2004. A stealth-style video game, Thief takes place in a hybrid Victorian/Steampunk setting in which protagonist Garrett decides to steal from the rich and privileged who live in stark contrast from the rest of the plague-ridden population.
The final release worth making note of next month is Level-5's Nintendo 3DS title Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. Chock-full of brain-teasing puzzles, this latest game in the Professor Layton series trying to unwrap the mystery surrounding the ancient Azran civilization. In addition to the vast assortment of puzzles found in the core game, owners will also be able to download an additional puzzle every day from Nintendo Network.
So, which games are on your list for February?