It came in like a lion, and went out like a lion. March remained hot throughout, thanks to the releases of several highly-anticipated games--not to mention the surprise hits that graced our consoles and PCs. And it all started with farts.
Indeed, South Park: The Stick of Truth blew many fans away with its flatulence, not to mention its excellent presentation, which almost perfectly mirrored the show’s look and tone. But Telltale’s Walking Dead series wasn’t about to be overshadowed, landing one punch to the gut after another, leaving everyone bruised and winded. One by one the good games came. Towerfall and its marvelous competitive matches. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and its tense brand of stealth action. Infamous: Second Son and its stunning vision of Seattle. March wanted to be loved, and loved it we did.
It’s painful, then, to disappoint the above games by declaring that March’s true juggernauts were Titanfall, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Dark Souls II. We love Titanfall--the parkour movement, the tense action, the giant mechs. We also adore Hearthstone and its slick, fast-paced card battles. But the joys of Titanfall are ultimately overshadowed by the dread of Dark Souls II. Dark Souls II is a harsh mistress, possessive and needy, demanding your patience as it breaks your heart over and over again. If Dark Souls II were your significant other, you’d need relationship counseling. This kind of codependence might not always be healthy, but Dark Souls II insists on nothing less than your full focus.
To criticize Dark Souls II as just more Dark Souls would be an immense error, however. Its changes regarding health replenishment, enemy respawning, and world structure may seem superficial, but they combine to have a dramatic effect on how you play. Dark Souls II is a smart game, naturally leading you through its misty marshes and black crypts without holding your hand along the way. It rewards your keen eye and innate curiosity by gifting you with new rewards, new ideas, and perhaps even a few tricks that mollify the extreme pain of upcoming boss fights. Dark Souls II's world reveals increasingly surprising sights, sounds, and battles, some of which are nothing like what we've seen in the Souls series until now. And for that, we say “Praise the Sun!”
Game of the Month March 2014 Winner: Dark Souls II