Rabidgames’ GOTY awards 2014 – Of Some Good, Few New and The Remake Galore

2014 will certainly not be remembered as the best year gaming has ever seen … the new generation rather crawls than flies from the starting grid, MS and Sony are keener on remakes and sequels than producing innovative things, and Nintendo is just plain old Nintendo, lost in its own past and rehashes of SNES games (and Bayonetta 2 at least) … but it wasn’t all bad, right? Although … let’s start with the bad:

Fuck QA Award 2015
There’s unity here … the winner is Assassin’s Creed Unity! Rarely have we seen a more broken AAA title at release … It seemed pretty much an Alpha. Yes, Ubisoft saw its mistakes and was sorry, but please, never release broken stuff like Unity again – especially since a good game was waiting to struggle free from the lack of QA!

Fuck Story Award 2015
Oh, Destiny, your gameplay mechanics are fine but … why is there no story? No characters? Fuck, even half a scene of any porn flick has more story than Destiny (coincidentally, there is a porn star called Destiny, who would have thought?), and the lame-ass inclusion of Tyrion’s voice as a Ghost robot helper did not really help, too. Also, presenting the very few story fragments on Destiny’s website instead of where it belongs – in the fucking game itself, obviously – was just another idiotic move. After all, you don’t read about the story of a porn scene on another website while watching it, do you?

Fuck your legacy Award 2015
Sacred 3
… is a crime! Remember Sacred and Sacred 2? Big ass hack ‘n slay RPGs, massive worlds, different factions, replay value etc.? Remember them well, because Sacred 3 is nothing like them. It’s hack ‘n slash alright, but there’s even less story than in Destiny, absolutely no character customization or exploration – and no loot. No loot at all! Yes, a Diablo-esque game without loot. Sacred 3, two words for you – please die!

Fuck your customers up the ass Award 2015
Yes, Sacred 3 set the bar low, but WWE 2k15 jumps even lower. This game is a tale of dirty butt fucks; first, the last-gen version was utter crap – lots of features taken out, nothing worthwhile added. Bad. How did we learn all that? By ourselves! 2K did not communicate anything at all! Worse. The worst is the next gen version though … It’s a big pile pile of pungent shit which should be avoided at all costs! The Creation Suite castrated (choose from 12 generic pieces of everything), many match types removed (although some of them still appear in the actual game somewhere else), many, many bugs – and all for better graphics and a new, slightly better engine (still in its beta stage). This game is shit. Utter, unfinished shit! WWE 2K15 is an utter disgrace! Fuck’s sake! Give us back THQ, they cared! Or well, didn’t butcher and mutilate their games at least …

Let’s relax a bit now, that got pretty heated – how about a picture of a gaming kitten?
The_gaming_cat__D_by_BabyBlueBass

 

 

 

Alright, heart beat back to normal, let’s proceed.

Remake of the Year
2014 was the year of the remakes. Full price remakes. It’s not even called something euphemistic like an HD Collection anymore … Some were just graphical updates (The Last of Us Remastered, Tom Raider Revisited), some included worthwhile DLC (Sleeping Dogs Rebarked) … alright, maybe they were nice and stuff, but nothing special. But then came the remake to end all remakes: Grand Theft Auto V, of course! Rockstar decided to show the gaming world what a remake means; not only including all previously free DLC for free once more, not only giving returning players a shitload of extra toys in the game – no no no, Rockstar said “let there be first person”, and behold, there was first person on the Xbox One and the PS4 versions of GTA V! And more animals. And more cars. And new driving mechanics (going back to GTA V on the PS3 feels weird now). And more animations. And more foliage. Oh, and better graphics. Thanks to the first person, Grand Theft Auto V feels almost like a new game. After GTA V, there is no need for remakes. They will all be insignificant!

Kind of DLC of the Year
It is hard to put Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls in a category. While it is technically DLC or rather a proper add-on for some, it appeared on the new consoles in that edition. Anyhow, Diablo 3 is fun. Pure mindless action-RPG fun. Well, Rabidgames still misses levelling up his character the way he wants, but well, Diablo 3 still offers countless hours of fun, and that’s what matters.

Rabidgames Top 10 Games of 2014

This year was not really that strong … many remakes that don’t qualify for this award, Bayonetta 2 lost in the mists of Wii U exclusivity, much-hyped titles expected to truly herald the new generation did not deliver (Destiny and Watch_Dogs, we’re looking at you), and it seems we’re still waiting for the first “holy shit” title of this generation.

On another note, it is interesting to see that Ubisoft is now the developer crunching out tons of quality titles (gameplay-wise at least, they’re still buggy); 5 out 0f 10 in Rabidgames’ Top 10 are Ubisoft titles, and there’s also Watch_Dogs (it’s still a good game, it’s just not great), and then there are the critically acclaimed indie games Child of Eden and Valiant Hearts: The Great War Rabidgames has yet to play … For all the shit Ubisoft gets about sticking to the Ubi formula and repeating themselves (some of it justified), let’s not forget most Ubisoft games are big games that might be a bit too accessible but still offer many hours of gameplay.

Okay, okay, you want the Top 10 of 2014, you get them now:

10. Risen 3: Titan Lords
Risen 3 is a rare breed these days; an AA title. Without a big AAA budget for development or PR, the result is a technical mediocre game with an annoying-as-fuck fighting system (it gets better, but the first 5 hours are pure torture) and cliché characters. But, the characters are at least cliché in the fun way … pretty much everything in Risen 3 is either a walking or fighting or drinking stereotype, and it’s rather an ode to the RPGs of old than a pure parody. Risen 3 really has a soul. You can see the devs had fun making this game. If you are willing to see past the flaws of Risen 3, you’ll discover funny dialogues and positively stupid quests in an exaggerated fantasy pirate world.

9. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
Yes, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments came out of nowhere. It is a classic point & click adventure where you solve crimes. Sounds old-fashioned? Well my dears, it is (apart from a very few modern QTE action sequences). The mix of interpreting witnesses and suspects, searching for and combining clues, and finally, solving the crime (or failing to do so which is also possible) make for entertaining fun, and a quiet yet welcome change from all the shooting and driving. Crimes & Punishments was the most positive surprise this year, and a feast for starving adventure fans on consoles.

8. The Crew
The only Top 10 title which is neither a sequel nor features a colon … a rarity these days. The Crew manages to successfully combine MMO features, racing and a massive open world to an entertaining experience. One of the coolest things in The Crew are the crews: Can’t win a race? Invite random players and let them help you. Just hope it’s not one of those guys who want to win themselves – and repeat races time after time when they fail … It is a shame the racing feels too clunky and the side missions are extremely repetitive, but if you do a mission there and now and focus on exploring this huge version of the United States and its landscapes (and a few secrets), then The Crew is the perfect diversion.

7. Assassin’s Creed Unity
It’s a crying shame Unity was released as an alpha. Technical issues aside, the game is a big step forwards for the series. Stealth has been revamped, the fighting has been revamped, Arno is a different kind of protagonist, Paris looks stunning, and there are countless side missions, this time more diverse than ever. If it wasn’t for the glitches and bugs and the idiotic decision to lock away chunks of items behind Initiates, Uplay and a companion app (as in Destiny – why the fuck take shit out of the game?), Unity might have been able to jump straight into the Top 3. Well, if wishes were fishes and shit was gold …

6. Far Cry 4
Imagine Far Cry 3 in the mountains, add elephants and a proper dream world this time, and voilà, you have Far Cry 4. As usual, there are shitloads of things to do, animals and humans to kill, outposts to take over and fun missions to be played while you take over yet another patch of land in the Far Cry universe. What makes Far Cry 4 more than just a carbon copy is the mini copter to fly around, elephants to ride and trample, a way more vertical approach, missions in snow storms and the coop that reminds one of the most insane and chaotic moments of Mercenaries 2.

5. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Isn’t it weird a game on a rather outdated console is the best Ubisoft game of 2014? Especially since there is only one novelty in there? Well, it’s less weird if you know that Rogue has you turn on the Assassins and join the Templars, giving the game an entirely new perspective. Plus, if all the good from previous AC games is combined – namely Black Flag’s ironic modern day setting and awesome naval battles, Assassin’s Creed 3’s wilderness and diverse landscapes, including a pretty big New York – a hit is pretty much guaranteed. And let’s not forget that generation-spanning ending … And then some – hunting assassins means you hunt guys hiding, throwing smoke bombs and trying to one-hit you just like you’ve been doing it for years in various Assassin’s Creed games.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
What was feared to be a late THQ stillbirth turned out to be a perfect example of a licensed game done right. The Stick of Truth combines the amazing politically incorrect, tasteless, disgusting, hilarious and insanely funny South Park humour with proper old-school turn-based RPG mechanics. The game is a blast of hails of jokes. Hardly a minute goes by without you bursting out laughing, be it because of the countless items full of inside jokes (quite a few of those jokes have already been inside of some human orifice as well), be it the funny farting at everyone (fart at Cartman’s ma for the racist joke of the year), or be it fighting in a battlefield of parents having sex or battling Nazi zombie cows. The Stick of Truth delivers on all fronts. And how can you not love a game with the achievement/trophy description “You farted on the corpse of an aborted Nazi Zombie fetus”?

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Finally, an old-school shooter with some new ingredients to keep it fresh! Wolfenstein: The New Order combines the ancient art of spraying bullets and desperately looking for health packs with trends like limited regenerating health (enough to recover in a safe corner, but still lethal in the open) and Dishonored-like open levels. And there’s no multiplayer because it is simply not needed. Thanks, guys! As a bonus, you have a good story with interesting characters (yes, in a Wolfenstein game! There’s even a rather tasteful sex scene – in a Wolfenstein game!) and stealth options to pick of enemies before the shooting Nazis in their face commences. And for once, it’s proper German, not one of those Die Hard “Schieß das Fenster” violations …

2. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Without a doubt, Shadow of Mordor is the game that kicked off the next gen gameplay-wise: The Nemesis system is so much fun to play around with. If you brand 2 captains and 30 Orcs and let them fight an enemy captain, you know what next gen fun should look like. While the atmosphere, the pretty decent graphics and the Nemesis system make Shadow of Mordor a proper GOTY contender, it is the ubiquitous Assassin’s Creed feeling and the weak story that prevent the game to storm the summit of gaming in 2014. And for the sake of the festive spirit in Middle-earth, we won’t talk about that last-gen version …

1. Dragon Age Inquisition
Bioware redeemed itself with Dragon Age Inquisition, that’s for sure. And while it is not a perfect game (early quest have a MMO tendency to be repetitive and tedious, there are a few plotholes, and combat is better than in Dragon Age 2, but still not as deep as Origins was), it is a proper, full-fledged RPG with some nice tactical options in place, a story that follows the Bioware formula yet is still interesting enough, all the ruling and reigning to be done in Skyhold, and of course, Bioware’s prime strength, the characters, their banters and their, er, unique character. Plus, themes like racism or all kinds of sexuality are woven into the game without being too plain. Inquisition is one of those rather rare games these days where you get more than (currency of your choice)1/h. Oh, and the multiplayer is also pretty decent. Faith in Bioware redeemed!

And then, there’s the lovely fair maiden Sera.

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