2014 Gaming Post-Mortem: October
On to the second course of the big release blow out of the year, October had perhaps 2 of what I’d call stand out games to come out, a with a few decent enough titles and one or two complete balls ups for good measure. October also had the golden Joystick Awards, an award ceremony that I don’t think many people actually care about too much. I’ve often found these sort of affairs to be mostly dull shows with a few teaser trailers for games that aren’t out yet.
A recent addition to man award ceremonies of late has been the addition of a “Gaming Personality” Award. Both the golden Joystick awards and Game Awards have a category of this sort, won this year by Pewdiepie and TotalBiscuit. Congratulations of course to both of these two guys for their work and the award, but what does this award mean? I have the slightly cynical outlook that these awards are there really to grab headlines and garner interest from the contestants fan-bases. Both Pewdiepie and TB have huge audiences and these awards were the only ones open to the public to vote for. See the connection? Big audiences get invested in their favorite Youtubers success, they watch the show and get adverts played to them. Everyone wins!
So what about actual games that were released this month? Let’s just get the talk about finely sculpted ass in the room shall we? Yes, it’s Bayonetta 2. A game that is amazing to play but which you’d never play in front of any loved one. Much has been written about Bayonetta as a character and what she represents. There are many good arguments to be made on both sides of the discussion. However, Having never played either of the Bayonetta games i’m going to have to sit this conversation out.
The other big game of October was Aliens: Isolation. A great game for 2 very important reasons. 1. It’s a great take on the venerated franchise that was respectful to the source material. While it did have some issues in terms of having a character who was linked to Ripley in some way to tie it directly the franchise’s movies it wasn’t bad enough to cast a shadow on the game. 2nd and more importantly was that it was a brilliant horror game that proved that triple A can still make good horror games when it wants to. Horror as a genre has taken a back seat for many years in the triple A market for almost no reason. As such the Indie’s plugged that gap with games such as Slender Man and Amnesia the Dark Descent. With the decent success this game received both critically and commercially I would not be surprised to see a revival of sorts of the horror genre among the bigger publishers of the next few years.
After we got the breath of fresh air that was Alien we then had to endure the puff of stale shit that came off from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. A game that exists to plug the gap before Gearbox and pump out a proper sequel for the new consoles, as well as to fund the disasters there were both Duke Nukem and Aliens: Coloniel Marines. Neither Borderlands nor their creator Gearbox are things I have much time for any more. Whilst I did get some enjoyment from the first in the series it’s clear it’s not a series they wish to evovle in any way, and so are happy to regurgitate the same game out ever 2 years. As for Gearbox, they’re business practices over the last few years have been shady at best and it’s honestly not a company whose name I put much stock in. I am interested to see what they come up with Battleborn, but if that game is a failure we all know another Borderlands game will come out to mitigate their loses.
Next we have Civilization: Beyond Earth. A decent enough entry to the CIV series but lacking some of the depth that would have made it a great game. Worth a look maybe after an expansion or two, until then I’d recommend CIV 5, with it’s expansions it’s a far more complex and satisfying game, and the real history setting gives it something the sci-fi of Beyond Earth lacks. We also got Lords of the Fallen which looks like a western rip off of Dark Souls but since I’ve never played it i’m just be a judgmental cad.
In other news we also got two games no one wanted to play in the form of Styx: Master of Shadow and Drive Club. Both were dull as dish water so no real lose there.