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Power Member - Level 10
Firstly, I would like to wish everyone at G.I.O. a Happy New Year! 2013 was a GREAT year in gaming and hopefully 2014 will follow suit! I thought it would be fun to make a 2013 list of sorts that was different than the usual best something of the year style, so I went with my top 10 biggest disappointments. I hope you all enjoy it and let me know what yours were in the comment section!
10. Microtransactions everywhere
From Dead Space to Forza to GTA Online to Marvel's games to FPS's, microtransactions are the new QTE. It seems these are all the rage with developers and are here to stay. I understand the premise of what the gaming industry has learned through things such as Facebook Games and success stories a la Zynga, but let's be honest with ourselves. Tons of these are simply paying to get ahead which is pretty similar to straight up cheating. There are arguments that they stimulate DLC development and growing the community for a given game by allowing "busy" gamers to remain competitive, but simple rules need to be followed if they are going to stay. People should not be allowed to simply pay for power and ruin the balance of a perfectly good game right out of the gate. Also, users who want to play without these microtransactions, shouldn't be treated as the enemy by DEV teams. Just like everyone's mom told them, Greed, solely for the sake of yourself, will not work in the long run...And she was right.
09. Watch Dogs delay
As a consumer that was looking very forward to the release of Watch Dogs, I was disappointed in this delay. I have read and heard about conspiracy theories that describe a plan to cut huge portions of the game out so they can be released as DLC, and about problems with direct competition to Assassin's Creed 4 (a brother product). Others wonder if it maybe did not have a truly finished online component that next gen early adopters would have demanded. Well, here's my honest opinion. I think Ubisoft played Grand Theft Auto V right when it was released and realized they were on the verge of releasing a less polished, less entertaining, less large scale game in a similar genre. I for one, respect them for delaying it to give users the optimum entertainment experience in the light of being outdone by their competition, PRIOR to releasing something not up to par. Nowadays, it seems like companies wait until after a release to try to deliver on what they promised with DLC that should have been in-game and patch after patch.
08. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
This one is pretty straightforward. This is easily one of the worst games I have played in several years and it has almost no redeeming qualities. The combat has these strange "grapple zombie horde conga lines" that make no sense whatsoever. When you stab a zombie it produces a kind of slap almost as if the DEV team mixed up the effects of a baseball bat hit with the action of stabbing a knife by mistake. When you run sweat pours down the entire screen as if you were drowning in a lake and just didn't feel like closing your eyes. Then there is your crew of people you can manage and arm and whatnot, that actually really doesn't work at all or do anything. This game isn't even worth trying if you are a huge fan of the Walking Dead...It's that bad. Just play L4D2, Dead Rising 3, or Undead Nightmare. Hell, play Ride to Hell Retribution. At least it's funny, and not a Trademark cashgrab.
07. Saying goodbye to LucasArts
LucasArts put out so many great games in its lifespan. They released some of the best adventure, FPS, and Star Wars games during the '90s and 00's. I was extremely sad to see this company's demise as well as Star Wars 1313 going with it, which I thought looked promising. Grim Fandago, all the Monkey Islands, Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max, Jedi Knight, KOTOR. This company has too many classics to even name. I think it is safe to say the "Gold Guy" left many happy moments in many gamers' hearts, and now certain voids.
06. NBA Live 14
Alright so I will be the first to say I really wanted this game to be successful. I was thrilled at the possibility of once again seeing some competition in the NBA basketball sim world. If nothing else, it makes sure companies like 2K are always striving for the best product, and trying to come up with innovation and not just becoming content with their superiority. Boy, was I (and everyone who thought like that) wrong. NBA Live 14 is so bad it really has no redeeming qualities, and it's impossible to not simply think "What were they thinking or trying to do here with this idea" over and over while trying to play it. The graphics are so bad that many players in the game barely look human. The flashing shot indicator never really gives you any indication to whether or not you are shooting correctly, early, or late, and shots seem to go in at total random selection regardless of what it is doing. They forcefully put more emphasis on performing juke moves to gain an edge, instead of hitting an open man, setting a pick, or even getting spacing to be more open for a shot, which makes no sense whatsoever in an otherwise full sim setting. I am not one to put someone down or make them feel bad about something they poured effort into, but EA needs to again rethink the whole NBA Live mentality or simply throw in the towel. I know for a fact based on Live entries on Super Nintendo, PS1, 2, and even early 3 that they are capable of far more. NBA Live '95, '01, and '05 were all very good games.
Where to start with the Ouya...It was such an interesting idea and premise. I remember people swearing it was going to be the new all-inclusive mecca for indie development and breakthrough. It's problems were glaring from the get go. Mainly, where are all the games? I know Ouya was designed with an "in the now" mentality, and not a 10 year lifespan plan but still, there has to be at least SOMETHING worthwhile to play. I mean there does right? There has to be something. Nope, not there. The only game I played that I even enjoyed a bit was Knightmare Tower, yeah the "flagship exclusive" of Ouya, and it was no Last of Us, or any PSN / XBL indie or mini for that matter. Also, why so many games with dubstep in the background? Now I may not be that young and hip anymore, but oh man that stuff gets so annoying after a little bit! It was amazing to me that it was the full soundtracks for at least 4 games I tried on Ouya. Do people actually pay for that and like listen to it while they drive? I would lose it. No polish. No polish or finishing touches on the menus, games, usability, or really anything on the system. That had to be the most blatant issue that was unavoidable as it happened in every aspect of the user experience. Some issues are tolerable on a cell phone or even an android tab. If you are going to plug something marketed as a console into a 60 or 70 inch insanely nice TV in your main area in your house, it has to at least have enough polish to provide some level of enjoyment. Or at least enough polish so indie people will take the time to create some halfway decent titles for it.
04. Ryse: Son of Rome
The premise and scope of Ryse are awesome. I loved certain aspects of it, mainly the graphics, set pieces, and multiplayer. Ok, now that we have that out of the way, the combat system in Ryse is easily one of the most underwhelming, disappointing, game-breaking implementations I have ever encountered. The actual combat and executions are supposed to be the highlight of the game, and after an hour I couldn't stand it. It blows me away at how the actual gameplay element of these was done in a way that ended up so boring, devil may cry or even something akin to Darksiders or Bayonetta would have been much much better even though already done to death. Maybe not as gruesomely but still done to death. I mean you can't even mess up the executions...It is literally the closest a game of this type has ever come to not letting you play the game and being only a short interactive movie. If the one element they needed to get right was right this game would have been epic. The core fighting in this game is quite possibly the most repetitive and boring ever in this genre. Think Ninja Gaiden 3 repetition, yeah seriously, but Ryse is probably more repetitive and you can't mess up the executions...Also the second of slo mo before every hit got SOOOO annoying after the first hour. That should have only been implemented for specific hits or timings not everything ! It makes every fight feel the exact same.
03. John Carmack leaving id Software
As some may know, DooM is my favorite game of all time...by a longshot. I love everything about it and never get bored of it. I also totally love Doom 2, Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3. Wolfenstein, Catacombs, Doom 3, and Rage while not quite on the same level, are amazing games in their own right too. To say Id has done a lot for gaming is the understatement of a lifetime. I don't need to talk about how prolific and groundbreaking John is because enough people have done that, but I will say that I had mixed emotions when he announced his departure from the company he co-founded over 20 years ago. My first emotion was immense excitement at the fact that he is taking a high ranking permanent position working on Oculus Rift technology, which shows amazing potential. Usually when you put people with visionary mindsets and outlooks with emerging technologies, possibilities become endless. However, my next emotion was sadness. I want to believe that an amazing Rage sequel is coming, that will be what Rage wanted to be but slightly fell short on. I want to believe that DooM 4 will release and it will be the best game of the 2010's (or '20's or ever?) and be on the same level of Doom 1/2. I want to believe that Quake is going to continue on and come back from the disappointment 4 was. Now I, and others who feel the same way, have to decide if his departure is the end of an era, or simply the changing of the guard, so bigger and better things make it to gamers from both id and Oculus...
02. Beyond Two Souls
Some people liked this game. Many others didn't. I thought this was an excellent movie but I don't see how this can be disguised as a $60.00 game. There is virtually no gameplay to speak of outside of QTE's. What limited interactions Aiden can do with enemies is determined by a colored glow and only really have 1 possibility. Maybe Ryse developers liked this game's action system? As much as it wants to be and thinks it is Heavy Rain, this game is not, and choices you make have zero impact on plot. It isn't anywhere near as good as The Walking Dead or Alan Wake either. Rent for a decent story, but for anyone to market this as a full fledged video game worth $60 really touches borderline on fraudulent, in your humble author's opinion.
01. Battlefield 4 and Aliens: Colonial Marines
Well, if you read this far you've made it to the end. I decided to lump these two immense achievements in gaming into my combo attack, number one, biggest disappointment in 2013 gaming....Rushed shooters. Aliens: CM is easily the worst AAA game that was released in 2013. It makes Daikatana and Duke Nukem Forever look like best games of their respective years. About 1 minute it to the game you already see some of the worst jaggies, animations, and washed out textures released in literally years and years for a AAA title. Guns have no feeling to them and are completely forgettable. Enemies and squadmates alike simply hang up on pieces of environment or get stuck in wall clipping to live on no more. There is no difficulty curve or really any change in battle elements or tactics, so every fight is virtually identical, except for laughter inducing segments when something glitches out. The multiplayer is also just as bad, as xenos die amazingly easily, so much so, that after 3 or 4 rounds you will never want to play it again. This game is so bad that green-lighting it for release seems like a decision that should have immediately brought those decision makers' job futures in gaming industry into question.
As some may know, I am also a huge fan of the Battlefield series and consider Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 2 and 2142 near the top of their respective generations for multiplayer titles. That being said I hate Battlefield 3. I thought it was rushed, had very poor level design, huge balance issues, unaddressed exploit problems, and just lacked the fun that most other BF games have. All previous statements aside, we have to talk about Battlefield 4 now. It is utterly shocking at how bad the release of this game has gone. Multiple ongoing issues have been coming and going since day 1 on multiple platforms that do not even allow players to load up into a match of this game's multiplayer. Singleplayer data saving on PS4 is / was widely not possible. Players get stuck in kill cameras, experience a 1 hit kill bug, and randomly crash fully out of the game. This game was deemed so unplayable by its own publisher, EA, that all of DICE's future development on DLC and other projects has been halted in order to fix the 25-30 major bugs found so far. Now while I could talk about how I don't find this game very fun even when it is functioning, or talk about the atrocious netcode deployed I won't. I simply list these 2 games as my #1 biggest disappointments of 2013, shooters that are so rushed, people may genuinely deserve refunds for them.