Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This month, Lightning Returns somehow makes Final Fantasy more confusing

Illustration for article titled This month, Lightning Returns somehow makes Final Fantasy more confusing

Out This Month is a roundup of some new games that are coming out this month.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2
Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—February 5

When last we left the land of the Fables and Sheriff Big Bad Wolf, a number of beloved fairy tale characters were getting straight up murdered. And not "slipping some arsenic into the Earl Gray so they drift away quietly in the night like it was an accident" murdered. More like "bloody headless torso in a dumpster" murdered. At one point in the first episode, your hero—that same Big Bad Wolf—has the option to rip a dude’s arm completely off in a bar fight. This is just the stuff of nightmares. At least it’s a quick episode, though, clocking in at around an hour and a half. I can shake off 90 minutes of psychological trauma in no time.


Bravely Default
Nintendo 3DS—February 7

For some games, though, the trauma lingers. Every few months I kick around the idea of replaying an old Final Fantasy game. Those were some of the defining moments of my younger gaming days, when all was right in the world and my console couldn’t see through my clothes. “It’ll be a hoot,” I probably say to myself. But somehow it seems so exhausting—you know, being constantly harried by an unending pack of spontaneously generating slimes and dinosaurs. Still, the art in Bravely Default—a Japanese role-playing game in the Final Fantasy mold—looks intriguing enough. I feel like I should get my grinding shoes on and give this one a shot. But who has the energy?   

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—February 11

And it looks like I just answered my own rhetorical question. I thought it best to just outsource this one to my Gameological colleague and Joystiq foot soldier, Anthony John Agnello: “Explaining the nut of Lightning Returns is a toughy because this game is weird as hell. It’s technically Final Fantasy XIII Part 3, but it takes place 500 years after the first game, and all the characters are sort of reincarnations of their past selves sent back to Earth to rescue souls before god ends the world. It’s like Ragnarok + Noah’s Ark + some anime bullshit. You run around as a lady, dressing her up in skimpy costumes, and trying to prevent reality from collapsing within 13 days.”

Thanks for clearing that up, buddy.

PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360—February 25

Outside of his affection for Japanese role-playing games, questionable taste in business casual attire, and patriotic love of country, though, Agnello isn’t much help when it comes to a game like the new Thief. I can already see for myself that this reboot of the classic stealth series might go the way of Aliens: Colonial Marinesi.e., not good. But instead of getting all bummed out about the whole thing, I thought I’d distract us with Neneh Cherry’s classic anthem of rebellion: “Buffalo Stance,” off her 1988 debut album Raw Like Sushi:

Mac, PC—February 7

Jazzpunk—“the best ‘First-Person Grapefruit Simulator’ that money can buy,” as its creators describe it—looks like the game Quentin Tarantino might make if he wasn’t so busy being mad at the Internet all the time. I’d go so far as to call it the “Buffalo Stance”-meets-Kill Bill-meets-Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas of experimental, humorous adventure games.


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Wii U—February 21

Vikings invade Donkey Kong’s jungle lair in the latest Donkey Kong Country, and this time there is no Hunter S. Thompson around to save the day. Will Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky be able to fight off these fierce Norse raiders, or will they be turned into ape-lined boots and gloves for the victorious barbarians to ward off the oncoming winter snows?