2014 Gaming Post-Mortem: November
I’ll be honest, when I was writing my notes for today’s post-mortem I was horrified, there was a lot to write about. So much it seems as though an entire year of preview events, press hype and community controversy was all building up to this one month. If 2014 was an exercise in tantric sex, then November was when the video game industry just scream “Sod it” before banging away with all it’s might. So time for us to peer into the maelstrom of carnage and consumerism that was November.
Let’s start with Ubisoft’s output shall we? First they decided to release 2 Assassin’s Creed games at once, Unity and Rogue. Here at Played out we are no strange to the Assassin’s Creed series, having played everyone of the main games in the series, I was gearing myself up to get Unity after the reviews gave it the mandatory 8 out of 10 they always got. But what’s this? It was an unmitigated disaster of a release, with a game that barely worked, patches the size of full games and stale game-play that didn’t have pirates! During all this hoo-ha Rogue went completely ignored, a trend I’ll continue with since I know bugger all about it. However Ubisoft wasn’t done with our wallets yet and so released Far Cry 4. With Far Cry 4 it was clear they knew they found a good thing in the form of Vaas in Far Cry 3 and so tried to desperately recreate the winning formula. With game-play that was near identical to 3’s in almost every way, it merely acted as Far Cry 3.5. I will say though that I did enjoy the character of Pagan Min, he was well scripted and at least had some character in compared to the rest of the game’s cardboard cut out cast. (Seriously all the writers effort must go on Pagan).
Next we have of course the daddy of November releases: Call of Duty: Advance Warfare. After the last few years of slow but steady stagnation in the series it was good to see the game alter the formula some what. It’s been tradition for the last few years for COD to work like this: Modern shooter made by Infinity Ward followed the year after by a slightly experimental game by Treyarch. This year however the newly formed Sledgehammer Games did Advance Warfare, giving the other two a few more years to work on their own ones. The game itself was very popular with critics and gamers alike, the addition of jump packs and cool gadgets gave it something over it’s competitor in the genre. Some were quick to point out the similarities between it and Titanfall, but given how long this game had been in development I’m going to say it was more of a coincidence than anything else.
Without a Battlefield game of it’s own to sell, it was looking as if EA would be sitting this month out and let COD get all the bro-gamer shooter dollars. But then they just release one of the best RPGs of living memory and one of my personal favorites of the year Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve put about 120 hours into this game, started a 2nd play through and loved every minute of it. It’s one of Biowares best games to date, with some of the best writing I’ve seen in anything. Some of the characters and stories behind them is down right fascinating. I do as an old Origins player have reservations about the games quest system, with far too many dull fetch quests instead of the morally grey ones of the first game in the series. Still a great game that’s well worth your time.
I’m always amazed at the output of Blizzard, not only to they own the most successful MMO ever, they also release great games year on year. As an old WOW player I must say I was tempted by the thought of going back to Azeroth by the new expansion Warlords of Draenor. Alas I didn’t and just played a shit ton of Hearthstone instead. Warlords seemed to be pretty popular with Wow diehards who weren’t as pleased by the fucking Pandas of Pandaria.
Think GTAV made enough money? Well you clearly don’t work at Rockstar who released it for the new-gen consoles with a first person mode just to show they’ve been busy. Having played very little of the original game I was glad for the chance to play it at last. A solid game with good all round mechanics, what made GTAV special for me was the 3 characters. I love bastards, I love watching them, reading them and writing them. Luckily then for me we got some corkers in GTAV. I summed up how I felt about the three protagonists here. GTAV is a world were everyone is horrid, and while it would be awful to live in it, it’s great fun to watch. Issue has been made of how the game represents women, I personally (as white male) found their treatment dull and lazy. Only three women in the main story really do anything and 2 of those is get killed. It would be terrific to see the next GTA actually have a women protagonist. Women can be as despicable and psychotic as any man (See Orange is the new Black or Gone Girl for that) and be great to see that done but a very fine team.
Have I gone on a bit? I feel like I have. So quick rap up by saying you should definitely buy This War of Mine, because no other game actually makes you feel what it is to be trapped in a war zone as effectively as that game. I even have my own video series about it here. Also the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth came out and was great as well, as did Telltales newest release Tales of The Borderlands which makes Borderlands funny (Who knew?)