Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Worst of the year 2014

It appears to have been a reasonable year for console games as there are only two stand outs in my list that are worthy of this year's award. I am quite sure that there are many, many terrible PC games that I have not played but there are only so many hours in a day and I need to play something good once in a while lest I lose the rest of my mind. The well of unplayable Steam games is bottomless and already being plumbed by more talented individuals so I will remain loyal to my fellow console luddites and choose my worst from our platforms.

First, the honorable mentions.

Driveclub was frustratingly unfinished. Large sections of the game did not work while I was playing it. The racing itself was okay save for my favorite crutches, the racing line and rewind, being left out. It certainly looked modern but it played like a game that was in development for so long that the genre moved on without it. I hope that when Sony finally gets around to a new Gran Turismo that it does not suffer the same fate.

Escape Dead Island is making many worst of lists. It is not undeserving but my quarrel is with its wasted potential rather that its actual offenses. Someone involved had a good idea that was lost either to cowardice or interference but the game itself is not terrible. It is an average adventure with a tacked on license that would have been better without the burden.

In a neck and neck race for the bottom spot of the year are Magus and Enemy Front. Both are representatives of how not to make a game in their respective genres. The prize, as it were, goes to Enemy Front.

It should be impossible in the modern world to make a terrible shooter. Example of average ones come out monthly (Shadow Warrior) and good ones come out only slightly less often (Wolfenstein). All one has to do is browse the discount bin at GameStop for innumerable examples of how to make a mediocre shooter. Enemy Front ignored all of these.

I am sure that I do not speak for myself when I say that World War II fatigue has reached critical mass. I am fucking tired of it. Call of Duty and Battlefield had this realization at about the same time and made the wise move to modern/future times. This happened years ago. Enemy Front hopes that surely there is space for one more. They at least picked a theater that could have been interesting and that had not been done before. The Warsaw uprising was intriguing, to the point that I did a little research after the fact into what it actually was. To no one's surprise there were no Rambo-esque American journalists who single-handedly saved the resistance. The pandering in this game to the lowest common bro-nominator is disgusting.

Enemy Front did what I did not think was possible: it was an ugly game running on Cryengine. Had in come out in 2012, when it was originally supposed to, it would have been less ugly, almost acceptable, but in 2014 with other games that used the same engine available for comparison it is unacceptable. There was astounding incompetence in its creation. Pop in should be a thing of the past. I am not talking about texture pop in, I am referring to entire parts of the level snapping into view from nothingness. This is something that I had not seen since Darkest of Days and I played that in 2010.

There is no reason for Enemy Front to exist. It was close, as Magus is a prime example of how not to make an action RPG, but Enemy Front was the worst game that I played and finished this year. Hell, it is the worst game that I even started this year. It also has the honor of (probably) being the last worst game for the previous generation. The Xbox One and PS4 are entering their second year and it is about time for the shovelware to arrive.

I look forward to the pain.

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