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2014 has been quite a year for gaming. From the Xbox One and Playstation 4 having a year under their belt, indie games still rising and Nintendo’s impressive Wii U lineup, there are many highlights for gamers this year. However, some of the biggest games have missed the mark, didn’t live up their to the hype, or flat out didn’t meet our expectations. Without further or ado, here are Entertainment Fuse’s most disappointing games of 2014 picked by our staff.
Euan Dewar: Transistor
I wasn’t quite as head over heels for Bastion as most seemed to be, but nonetheless it’s qualities were not lost on me. I was able to pick out things I liked (and even loved, in some cases) from it as well as see the potential for future games from developers Supergiant Games. With Transistor, I feel very much the same way. The studio is playing with a mix of the same basic ingredients as before and still putting them together in a way that doesn’t fully satisfy, for me.
The visual and audio design is clearly staggering, I frequently found myself stopping and taking screenshots because damn near every vista was wallpaper-worthy. Aside from that though, it all feels dishearteningly hollow. The ambient approach to storytelling leaves the experience feeling thin and the combat just doesn’t feel good enough to make you overlook the narrative’s flaws, despite being built on a strong and unique foundation of introducing abilities and encouraging you to combine them in smart ways.
Supergiant Games have unfortunately left me hanging again. I’m still waiting to see if they can produce a game that brings it all together in a way that I know they’re able to. As it is though, the broad strokes are all impressive, but the whole picture just isn’t quite there.
Matt Rowles: Trials Fusion
I liked Trials HD but it wasn’t until Trials Evolution came out that I became obsessed with the series. I beat the game 100%, played numerous user created levels and was addicted to the multiplayer. I put more hours into it than any other XBLA release and was pumped for the next title to arrive. Then Trials Fusion came out and they somehow got everything incredibly wrong.
The levels felt rushed and nowhere near as fun as the last game. The mini-games were really poor after the great ones in Evolution. The new added trick system added nothing and ddidn’twork well enough for it to ever feel as fun or rewarding as the main game mechanics. And to top it all off they completely removed online multiplayer. This game was clearly rushed for release and I didn’t even bother playing it for more than a few hours. I really hope they can actually go back and recapture what made the series great as Fusion is bad enough to kill something I had great fun playing in the past for the foreseeable future.
Zack Zwiezen: Watch_Dogs
I bet many out there are going to say Destiny. That’s fair, I wouldn’t disagree with them that Destiny was disappointing. But for me my most disappointing game was Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs isn’t a bad game per se. But it never quite lived up to the original reveal. That game ushered in the next generation of consoles, even before the console makers had told us they were coming.
It was mind blowing and people got excited. Fast forward nearly three years later and Watch Dogs is far from mind blowing. The game we were shown, a slick and amazing looking open world hacking game was now a ok looking open world game with some less than stellar missions and side content. Some of the multiplayer ideas were cool, like “invading” another player’s world and hacking them. But so much of Watch Dogs felt like an old hat. It felt like so many other open world games that came before it.
Watch Dogs was supposed to be a launch game. It was supposed to be this amazing showcase of the power of these new machines. Instead it ended up feeling like a mediocre mash up of Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto IV, but nowhere near as memorable as those games. Just a forgettable open world game. What a shame.
Evvy Kube: Assassin’s Creed Unity
My choice for most disappointing game of this year would have to go to Assassin’s Creed: Unity. I have enjoyed this game greatly, but the amount of issues and patches have tarnished much of the pleasure of simply playing it. The issue for me, at least, is this is another reminder of how broken the AAA industry is. Many gamers have gotten used to and even expectant of heavily glitched games at launch. If a broken game isn’t bad enough, Ubisoft didn’t let anyone know about the amount of bugginess until hours after the already dubious review embargo. There are times that jumping and running Arno around on the rooftops of Paris is such fun that I might go far out of the way on my objective. The world is both varied and beautiful in detail. This can often enough comes to a screeching halt when I spot civilian NPC’s floating down through floors or stepping through solid walls to hang out on the awnings. However, glitches like that are to be expected in such huge games and I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter much worse than that.
A second issue is the amount of micro-transactions that are present and reminders of them pop up constantly. Many chests in the world can’t be opened without “premium currency” or joining Ubisoft’s “Assassin Initiatives” program. Real money can be used to unlock just about any item in-game. Again, this is all fine, but I also don’t want to be constantly reminded about it when I just want to be immersed in the game.
Jeffrey Dy: Destiny
I was one of many folks that looked forward to Destiny to being the next big thing. It was Bungie’s first original IP since Halo and their experience with that series would have led to great things for Destiny. Unfortunately all that hype led to disappointment from the lackluster story, repetitive mission structure and questionable design decisions with the late game content. Sure, things have gotten a bit better since launch in terms of certain changes, but at the time I stopped playing, I felt like the damage was done to the game for many players like me.
In other words, Destiny is my most played disappointing game in quite some time. It didn’t live up to my expectations from Bungie. Plus dealing with the frustrating grind for certain materials and equipment that usually leads to an underwhelming loot drop from beating a story mission, strike or raid makes you feel like you wasted those hours for nothing. For a shooter that is trying to make MMO-esque concepts more accessible to casual gamers, Bungie dropped the ball. The combat, visuals at certain locales and playing with friends regularly do redeem it a bit, which explains the success the game has despite lackluster reviews, but Destiny could have been something more special. Instead, it will end up as one of gaming’s biggest critical flops of all-time.