Friday, January 02, 2015

The best or not of 2014!

20 Great games from 2014 - Part 1 - the part that's not about games!



Well, another year has come and gone, and as is your custom (and mine), here I am, some dude who writes about games on the internet, being pretentious and writing about his best games of 2014. I'm going to do this in much the same fashion as I did last year, 20 games, random order, some thoughts, and I'm going to carry on about my day with little worry over consequence. But first, let us discourse about the year that was 2014...

The 8th generation is now fully upon us, with Sony's Playstation 4 and Microsoft's XboxOne now dominating the popular mindset, but when I compare this generation with that of the previous (IE Xbox360/PS3/Wii) I can't help but feel two things, disappointment and maybe a little anger. We at Blast Processing pride ourselves on generally trying not to be a cynical or sadistic pack of haters, and when we review, whether games or consoles, we always dive in with as clean a slate as is possible and build our reviews from the foundation up, rather than starting with a “perfect 10” and tearing down. The following trends made it ridiculously difficult NOT to remove our “Cynicism-retardant” underwear:


Non-Hype: I wish I had a dollar for every shit click-bait headline that read : 'EXEC A' from 'MANUFACTURER B' says “The Best is yet to come! Stay Tuned! We got big things coming!!!!1!!1” Both Sony and Microsoft were guilty of this rabble rousing nonsense several times throughout the year, and when the second fall season of your NEXT GEN MONSTER consists of Driveclub and Sunset Overdrive? Well, lets just say you need to fuck right off and start putting your money where your mouth is. Does anyone remember 2007? Year 2 for Sony's PS3, +1 for Microsoft's 360... Also quite possibly the single best year in the history of Console gaming. New games, new concepts, new ideas, new intellectual properties, ridiculous ambition, and technically stunning product that announced, very loudly, “The NEXT GEN has arrived!” With game development supposedly much easier on the new current gen machines, we should be sitting atop a similar Renaissance; instead we're getting sequels, remakes, and unfinished tangles... which leads me to...

Unfinished games: Assassin's Creed: Unity, Driveclub, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Lords of the Fallen, Forza Horizon 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and in truth, several more titles all shipped this year in a state of completion that required either huge day 1 patches, or several colossal updates in the weeks after release. We're not talking bug fixes or player-discovered errors either, we're talking horrid framerates, game breaking bugs, non-functional features, and in some cases, totally broken, unfinished games. This is ENTIRELY UNACCEPTABLE! Granted, I enjoyed, liked, or even loved some of the games I mention above, but for god's sake! Would it have killed Ubisoft to Delay Assassin's Creed Unity into December to get it working properly? Instead they're stuck paying colossal overtime and issuing free games as a means of apology to the fans. And speaking of updates...

Updates and Installs: This one is really, and I hate to pick on any one company here, directed at Microsoft. Guys, It is entirely evident that you compromised some integral features on your shiny new console when the fans took a dump down Mattrick's throat after the Xbone was announced. I picked up an Xbox One early in 2014 (ditching The Wii-U to facilitate the purchase), and was met with over an hour of the dreaded “install-dowload-update-install” loop before I could play my first game. Once things were up and running, I had some great fun with Ryse, Killer Instinct, and Forza Motorsport 5, in spite of it being a stripped down shadow of Forza 4 (but I digress), but every time a title demanded an update, I was stuck in utter limbo for anywhere from 20-45 minutes! Horizon 2 was by far the worst culprit, 45 minutes when I purchased it, and then after my THIRD 30 minute wait in as many weeks, I ditched your goddamn console altogether... there it is. I have a Wii-U again now, and my blood pressure is significantly lower. Sony had their own issues this year as well, to be certain, but that's no fault of their hardware, the longest wait I had was about 20 minutes (Destiny). Homnestly, I think the best thing you guys could do right now is take the Xbone back to the metal, strip out the shit win 8 inspired dashboard and archaic software update scheme, look at how the 360 was put together at launch, and re-release that sucker as a stripped out hardcore gaming machine. Good bye “resolution gate”, hello awesome game console! And speaking of which...

Resolution-gate: 900p? 1080p? So much hubbub over graphical fidelity. The dick-waving/measuring competition that this turned into was nothing shy of absolute ridiculousness. Look, Microsoft engineered a shitty front end dahsboard that eats resources, and thusly, the games run at a slightly lower resolution that is in turn upscaled to full 1080p on your average display in order to stay playable. We get it. How many XboxOne gamers see a difference when playing the games on their 42” LCD? None, zip, zilch, nadda. You know why? Because A: They aren't playing it on a PS4, and B: The differences are so minute on anything smaller than, say 80 inches? That they would have to be some form of ultra resolution sensitive Nexus 6 replicant to see any fucking difference. Where things get really foul however, is when certain console manufacturers offer ad revenue and support to publishers, who in turn gimp their software on other consoles to achieve parity on the weakest link. Early on, I blamed said console manufacturer, but my stance there has softened considerably after doing a little digging. For one thing, they just wanted parity, they weren't actively seeking to injure the other parties, just pushing developers to put a little more effort forth into getting stuff up to snuff on their console, I can understand that. The flipside however, is one particular developer just throwing their hands up and dumping a game (that I won't name) in sub HD-resolution in order to satisfy the needs of the agreement. Lazy. It wouldn't have even mattered much if the game wasn't a choppy, buggy, unfinished mess when it hit. That doesn't really do much to sway people over to their “Well it's in sub-HD because of our AI, or interface or blah blah blah”. No it isn't – it's sub HD because you managed your team poorly, and you didn't finish your game. And the review scores agree... even if I don't necessarily...

Divisive Reviews: Last, and probably least... In spite of things not really eclipsing that wonderful year that was 2007 (or runner up year 2001), there was still quite a bit of good, high-quality stuff released over the last 12 months, and quite a few games sent on a woeful death march when (particularly American) game review outlets took a dump all over them. I won't cite individual reviewers or websites, but this sums it up perfectly: Polygon actually had to publish an article called “Destiny isn't on our game of the year list, but we Can't stop playing it!” Which to me is about the single most INSANE piece of shit bit of contrarian douchery posing as journalism I have ever read. Destiny was a bewilderingly good game, that was torn asunder by a wave of cynical, pretentious hacks who didn't bother to take the time to get to know it. It's the gaming equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy getting a 0.5 out of 5 review by some Geek in a College Newspaper. Alien: Isolation was another poor victim (though everyone outside of the US loves this game it would seem). Look, we get that reviews are subjective, and maybe there's this pang of lust for “bigger, bolder, and better” that's continuously being blue-balled by software that's decidedly less than what we expect from NEXT GEN: YEAR TWO. That doesn't make it fair to immediately dismiss credible, earnestly crafted, and above all competent software. Watch_Dogs is a GOOD game! Driveclub is a GOOD game! Alien: Isolation and Destiny are downright fantastic! These do not belong on “Years worst” lists... Anyone who does so is woefully out of touch.

I'm not even going to touch #Gamergate, nope nope nope...


With all of that out of the way, let's get to why you're really here... Part II


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