Continuing the trend of providing great gaming experiences all year long and not limiting big releases to just the fall, February had a lot of strong contenders for game of the month. Grow Home was a beautiful platforming adventure with wide open spaces to explore. The Multiplayer #IDARB provided a ridiculous level of character customization and a way to play co-op with friends whether they were fighting against you or affecting your game through social media.
But the titles that ate up the most of our collective office time were Evolve and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. While both games involved partnering up with a group of like-minded gamers and taking down oversized monsters, that's about where the similarities ended. Evolve had a great pedigree, coming from the team behind Left 4 Dead. The different classes were distinct and memorable, while providing unique ways to approach each of the game's nightmarish beasts. And the chance to play as the monster and compete either with or against your friends was an exciting evolution of the group vs. group dynamic from L4D.
But MH4U came out on top in the end. As a series, Monster Hunter has had a long history of incredible success in Japan, but none of the games have ever caught on in the West with similar fervor. MH4U still has the most potential to change that trend. Getting to the good stuff (i.e. hunting big monsters on your own), and understanding how all the game's different system's work together is now a streamlined process with easy-to-understand tutorials and early quests that involve a lot more than just looking for mushrooms.
More importantly, you're no longer limited to local multiplayer for hunting with a group. You can still group up with people sitting around you, but the 3DS version also opens up the ability for online co-op. And even if you don't have a full group of real-life players, you can bring along up to two customizable Palico companions to fight with you.
That's not even touching on the MH4U's wonderfully pun-filled localization, the newly added jump functionality, the ability to mount monsters, and the robust array of customizable armor and weapons that are the series' hallmark.
February had two great ways to hunt Monsters with your friends, but Monster Hunter's customization options and hundreds of hours of content make it the game that you won't be playing just for the month, you're going to play it all year.