2014 was a year that seemed to be filled with a lot of controversy, negativity and skepticism. A constant issue with games seemed to be that developers were releasing buggy games that required mandatory updates a day or two after their release and at least 7 games were delayed until 2015. But like any other year, with all the negativity there was also positivity. It was the second year that the new Xbox and Playstation consoles were out and the third for the Wii U. Sony continued to outpace both Nintendo and Microsoft in sales, but both Nintendo and Microsoft succeeded in doing well for themselves by releasing some memorable titles for their consoles.
The company that disappointed the most this year must have been Ubisoft. Watch Dogs, Assassins’ Creed Unity, The Crew were all highly anticipated and they all received a lukewarm reception. When Watch Dogs was announced at E3, Ubisoft showed gameplay footage that wowed the audience, but when the game was finally released the graphics were downgraded and the gameplay was repetitive while the storyline was dull and filled with clichés. Assassins Creed Unity was another Ubisoft game that people expected a lot from but red flags started to go up when Ubisoft didn’t allow reviews to be published early. When Assassins Creed Unity was finally released, people found out why. The game had a lot of bugs and surprisingly, micro-transactions. Micro-transactions can be okay in a free game you download on your smartphone, but priced at USD 60, it was pretty shocking. It seemed Ubisoft had lost touch with its customer base. But it wasn’t all bad for Ubisoft this year, Valiant Hearts was a brilliant puzzle adventure game that featured a great story, beautiful visuals and music. Far Cry 4 has also been receiving a lot of positive reviews from fans and critics alike. The game features a huge gorgeous world to explore, a variety in ways to complete combat situations and a fun online component.
The game that was the biggest disappointment of the year is definitely Bungie’s Destiny. A game that made many promises and barely fulfilled any. It was too ambitious. The game’s narrative was messy, confusing and incoherent. There were some questionable design choices made. For instance, they made it so that you couldn’t view any of the lore you discovered while playing in the game. The only way to read all the information you unlocked was by logging into their website on a computer. Their website also reveals more information on the three different races in the game, something that would have been useful to have while selecting which race you would want to play with. Narrative aside, the game lacked quality content and variety. It was an online game, but communicating with other players was a pain. The environments were empty, boring and there wasn’t any reason to explore. All of this is a shame because the core gameplay elements were pretty solid, gunplay felt good and the visual design was topnotch. But after spending a handful of hours doing the same thing over and over again, it got boring pretty fast. The game was simply too shallow.
Nintendo did pretty well for itself in terms of bouncing back from a disappointing 2013 for its Wii U console. They focused on releasing multiple highly polished titles and increasing the public’s interest in the Wii U by releasing multiple videos online throughout the year showcasing their upcoming games and projects. It all started at E3 2014 where Nintendo out-did Sony and Microsoft with its presentation that focused on revealing new games like Splatoon and the highly anticipated Zelda game for the Wii U. Its two biggest successes in 2014 were in no doubt Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. The best action game was also released on the Wii U with Platinum Games Bayonetta 2, its main component being fast paced, intense and crazy combat set-pieces. In a year where buggy games seemed to be the norm, it was nice to see Nintendo pushing out incredibly polished titles.
We weren’t short in terms of quality games in 2014, there were a couple of standout hits. My favorite first person shooter was Wolfenstein New Order. It didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it did everything right and focused on creating a tight and fun single player experience that is hard to find in any other game in the same genre. Sunset Overdrive was another great game that took a genre that had been growing stale and injected new life into it. It’s a third-person open world game where you can navigate the environment by wall-running, using zip-lines or grinding rails while shooting up mutants that have taken over your city. If you’re looking for something epic and expansive then Dragon Age Inquisition is a game that delivers on nearly all fronts. The game features huge environments to explore, an interesting cast of characters and a ton of content.
Even with all the negativity that surrounded parts of the gaming world in 2014 we got some memorable games. This coming year is shaping up to be even better with games like Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Division and the new Zelda coming out at some point which should keep most of us happy and busy throughout 2015.