It's also seen some pretty bad ones, and a lot of them from Ubisoft. I've gotta say, Ubisoft has definitely gone from being one of my favorite publishers to being one of my least favorite over the course of 12 months. Their attitude toward gamers, especially PC gamers, has been pretty offensive. The biggest thing for me this year was the state they chose to release Assassin's Creed Unity in. Even on the consoles it was buggy, poorly optimized and the crowds dropped framerates down to near unplayable levels. I'm a massive fan of the Assassin's Creed games, having played them since the very first one, and to see that series turned into a terrible yearly release by Ubisoft has been hard to enjoy.
Watch_Dogs was another game that really drove home how bad Ubisofts PC ports were becoming. While it's only speculation and will never be proven that Ubisoft deliberately downgraded the graphics for the PC release of Watch_Dogs, there is a lot of evidence to suggest they did. All of the graphical effects from the 2012 E3 demo were there in the games files, and it took some simple tweaks from modder TheWorse to re-enable them. To make matters worse (see what I did there), the mod actually fixed some issues that people had with the game, making it playable for many who previously couldn't. Crazy stuff.
Another crazy trend this year has been indie game developers not handing negative criticism of their games. From TotalBiscuit's Guise of the Wolf videos being copyright claimed by developer FunCreators, Jim Stirling's Slaughtering Grounds video gaining a hilarious response video from the devs, all the way to the guys who made Air Control blaming people's computers for the buggy crap they called a game. This year has been a mixture of hilarious, poorly written responses to criticism, to the angry, juvenile reactions that have done nothing but kill any sales they might have had. The message is clear: Indie devs, don't do your own PR, especially if you can't handle negative criticism.
But it's not all been bad, as I mentioned at the outset. Some developers have completely turned around. CCP has gained my time again with their new development model. Going from a six month development cycle to a six week one has meant that Eve gets new content, content updates, tweaks, and bug fixes regularly. That change has pulled me back into Eve. Adding to that, the removal of the 24 skill queue limit, the clone costs and skill point loss on death, and the awoxing changes have all added up to getting me back into the game in a big way.
Of course, as a fan of space games, Elite: Dangerous has been eating up a lot of my time lately. I have some issues with the current progression, economy and reactionary development that Frontier has made, but the base game is really solid. The flight feels great, and it's amazing just how immersive they have managed to make the title. Unfortunately, like Eve, unless you are good at making your own goals and working toward them, Elite doesn't offer much. There are missions, but they don't have any real story to them or reason to do them beyond getting money. Down the track Frontier is planning on adding a walking in stations and landing on planets component, and I can see this opening a lot more opportunities for rewarding gameplay. I'll be writing more about Elite as I find things to write about.
|Limit Theory screenshot from May 2013. Subject to change.|
Another space game I've been keeping my eye on is Limit Theory. I only found out about LT six months ago, and have been keeping an eye on the procedural wonder that developer Josh Parnell has been working on. Despite my "don't get hyped" mentality that I've been cultivating over the last 12 months, I'm hyped for this. Josh's development updates show real gameplay, real improvements in each one, and he's extremely open when it comes to any bug fixes he needs to make. I'll be getting LT as soon as it's released, and I'm sure I'll be spending a lot of time with it.
|Seriously, go read Extralife. Scott is pretty funny.|
That's just a snippet of my 2014. As far as the blog goes, I see numbers of around 25 unique views per week. How many of those are actual people is hard to know, but I like to imagine there are a few of you who enjoy my ramblings on gaming. I'll be continuing to write in 2015, and I hope you'll always continue to read. As always though, have a great new year, and...