2014 Year in Review
It’s been a wild year, not just for gaming but for me personally. I joined a gaming website, I built a gaming PC and have spent the last few months in complete seclusion but I have emerged from my cave, older and more unkempt to deliver my thoughts on the year that was 2014. As I did last year, I’m going to go over the year before delving into my personal top three games of the year. I also have a special surprise for all of you at the end of the list so stay tuned for that.
This past year felt completely backwards in terms of the actual games. The big budget games that everyone were poised to play, Titanfall, Watch Dogs and Destiny all of which fell flat because of pre-release expectations or post-release dwindling interest. Meanwhile, Mario Kart 8 and Wolfenstein: The New Order sort of snuck up on everybody and were excellent games.
This summer was probably the worst gaming droughts I’ve ever seen, at least for console gamers. There were many factors contributing to this problem but those of us with backlogs of unplayed games rejoiced at the opportunity to finally catch up. As for the rest of us, we settled on playing Pokémon, at the same, on Twitch.
Two games in particular I’d like to point out were Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation both of which blew us away with their quality. These were the best-designed games of the year and definitively proved that movie-licensed games can still be awesome. There’s something else I should probably say about the games of this past year.
I compiled a top ten list of the games that came out this year and I noticed something interesting. The top six games on my list all had a unique experience attached to it. While I was playing these games, there’s a memorable moment that only I experienced. This is especially significant when one considers that only one games from 2013 had this same effect on me (it was The Last of Us in case you were wondering).
It would seem that in a single year, developers have gotten better at storytelling or perhaps I’ve become better at connecting with games. I prefer the former, after all, every video has a story to tell. Of course, one developer got real lazy this year.
Ubisoft was quite awful this year. In particular, the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity failed to deliver (or even function) and the controversy surrounding Watch Dogs didn’t help. There was also the debacle about there not being any playable women in Unity, which was equally baffling as it was retarded. As a matter of fact, Unity wasn’t the only game that failed to deliver at launch. The Master Chief Collection, which came out on Nov. 11, still hasn’t gotten the online multiplayer working and Driveclub arrived with a host of launch issues.
If these issues are any indication for how the big budget developers plan to behave, then I’m going to avoid pre-orders and wait at least a week before any of these games come out. Now that I think about it, I rarely buy anything at launch anymore.
The competition between the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One wasn’t much of a contest early in the year but I have to give credit to Microsoft for really turning things around. No one can argue that Sony very much dominated the year in sales but Xbox One had a much stronger Fall lineup than the PS4. Think of that what you will but if I had to buy one of the consoles, I would actually go with Microsoft’s console.
To be perfectly honest however, 2014 will not be remembered for its games. There were plenty of newsworthy events early in the year, such as the closure of BioShock developer Irrational Games, Microsoft buying Gears of War and Amazon buying Twitch but let’s not dance around this any longer. 2014 will be remembered for one thing; GamerGate.
If you’re not aware of GamerGate than I suggest you do some research because it’s such a complicated issue that there’s no way I could explain it in a reasonable amount of time. You may be better off not looking unless you want your faith in humanity to dwindle.
The idea that game journalism is universally corrupt is quite silly but the thought that a hashtag movement will fix this “widespread corruption” is even more ridiculous. It’s hard not to see the movement as an excuse for some people to abuse and harass. At this point, siding with Gamergate is akin to defending the Klu Klux Klan against claims of racism.
It’s hard to say whether this year was better than last. There were higher ups and lower downs for sure but I remember being very excited last year for the games of 2014. This year had so much more potential but it fell flat in so many ways. So I remain cautiously optimistic about 2015.