GameReviewPad’s Disappointing Games of 2014; Contributor Top Selections
1. The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)
Why I place this game as my most disappointing game goes for one reason only. When you pay for a full game what is the number one priority (unless you’re Bethesda Game Studios)? The game must work! I understand we live in the era of gaming when you insert the game disc, you have to wait for the day one patch, (unless you’re Nintendo), to add last minute details, but this was inexcusable. This was the game I looked forward to playing to relive the days of the Halo franchise, but instead when you try to find a game for multiplayer your eyes will be stuck on the finding players screen for over twenty minutes until you have to try, try, try again.
It’s been over a month, and while now you can get into matchmaking, you still have uneven teams and random game crashes. 343 Industries admits to their mistake by offering Halo 3: ODST Remastered, but the damage has been done as to why a system exclusive launched this badly.
– Louis Hughes
1. Bound by Flame (PS4)
Surprisingly, 2014 did not have too many bad games…at least none that I played. However, there were still two or three terrible games that I had the misfortune of playing. Most notably, Bound By Flame for the Playstation 4 was the worst fifty dollars I ever spent. Bound By Flame was just flat out a broken game with clunky controls, lackluster graphics, terrible presentation, horrid voice acting, and mediocre gameplay. The worst part is that these flaws I just listed are just the tip of the iceberg. The time I spent with this game were four excruciatingly long and painful hours I will never get back. The team developing this game had some good ideas, but the execution was way off-base.
– Christopher Joseph
1. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (PC)
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls was supposed to be the positive answer to the disaster that was Diablo 3. Reaper of Souls has some improvements over Diablo 3 vanilla, like adventure mode (to avoid playing through the disastrous story more than once), the crusader class, transmorgrification (a mechanism used to modify items), paragon level stat points distribution, Act V levels are interesting, but the core game experience is still generally the same, if not worse.
Reaper of Souls brought the end of the auction house in Diablo 3. That sounded great in theory at the time of the announcement, but I did not expect that to be the end of open trading items. Instead, Blizzard instituted a time restricted trading window for members of the party who were with the player when they found the item. So for example, if you found that last set piece your friend or sibling was missing to the complete their set while they were offline or not in your game well too bad! You can’t give it to them. Furthermore, Blizzard has made the Artisan crafting very powerful to the point that it’s very easy to craft viable gear, which sounds great, but the Diablo experience is about the loot hunt and not about creating items from scratch. The game also suffers from game-breaking crashes in Act V for AMD users, which I experienced recently that have not been fixed since March (I researched). I had to fix these on my own by reading other player’s suggestions and workarounds. With Reaper of Souls, Blizzard has effectively turned Diablo 3 into an online-only single-player experience with barely any character building. It’s very clear that whoever made decisions for Reaper of Souls is clueless about what made the Diablo games fun in the first place. Reaper of Souls is probably my most disappointing game of the last 20 years because Blizzard ignored the fans that helped build the Diablo franchise name.
– Andre Calvert
Other Selections by Louis Hughes:
2. Destiny (Xbox 360)
With this being Bungie’s first game after leaving the Halo franchise to 343 Industries, everybody was waiting to see how the new IP would work since they have been very quiet about the game. After the long wait, the game was released and the game came out “okay”. I wasn’t sucked in by the hype people were giving the game, but I was very interested in the game.
The biggest problem I had was that the world felt empty, and when I joined with people they would go about their own way or drop out. The fact that people had a hard time explaining what type of game it was is a red flag. The visuals for the Xbox 360 still look great and the gameplay is awesome, but after 30 minutes it made me want to play Borderlands 2.
3. Watch Dogs (Wii U)
This was another game with a lot of hype surrounding a new IP, but what got me interested was how Ubisoft stated that the Wii U version would take full advantage of the Wii U Gamepad for hacking. After seeing what they did with Zombie U and Rayman Legends I was excited. After playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut and how that game used the Wii U Gamepad to make hacking more interactive instead of just pressing buttons, that made me think this would be how the Wii U version of Watch Dogs would work.
After countless delays and rumors of the game getting canned, Ubisoft did a quiet launch of the game just three days before Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. The game is good, but what was promised with the Wii U Gamepad is used only for seeing the full map and Off TV play. The hacking elements were just pushing buttons. While this is currently the only open world game on the platform, (until Zelda and X), I would advise giving Deus Ex a playthrough, since that game was made with the Wii U Gamepad in mind.
Other Selections by Andre Calvert:
2. Scrolls (PC)
As a beta player, the official release caught me by surprise because a lot of elements for the game were still incomplete. Scrolls is not an easy game to pick up for new players, so tutorials are important. The tutorials in the official release simply aren’t good enough. Furthermore, the in-game UI isn’t good enough, and not much has changed since the beta. When many Scrolls are played in one turn by a player the game can be confusing. The lack of a combat log is a huge detriment to the game, and especially new players who have never seen the Scrolls before. What’s also disappointing to me are the decisions made for release. Instead of a full reset at release, Mojang decided to let beta players keep all their Scrolls giving them a significant advantage over new players. The release window was also puzzling because they put their game up against the Goblin vs Gnomes expansion for Hearthstone, which is not smart business wise or for player acquisition. The release trailer was also a very poor effort because it’s nearly identical to the beta trailer and fails to mention a lot of the features of the game. How are they supposed to get new players with that mess?
Scrolls is a game that I will still play because I enjoy the actual gameplay, it’s not pay-to-win, and has a high skill cap. The game has a lot of cool features like gold dailies that reset every day, a live spectator mode where players can see a list of live games to spectate, a mode called judgement (similar to arena in Hearthstone) with card rewards, scrolls trading, and a scrolls marketplace. Ultimately, the release date, overpricing their beta, and incomplete features are reasons this game might not survive and Mojang can only blame themselves for that. It’s unclear whether the Mojang acquisition by Microsoft played a role in the release date, but the already struggling playerbase numbers will ultimately determine whether Scrolls lives or dies.
3. Hearthstone (PC)
This game might be a surprise to see on a disappointing games list, but it’s on my list because this game is a tale of two factions. If you like playing arena, or you’re are good at it, then you will probably not have much of a problem with Hearthstone. However, if you don’t want to risk your gold on possibly getting a poor arena draft selection and prefer constructed play, then prepare for a grind! Hearthstone has been officially released since January, and it has always been promoted as a “free-to-play” game, but it flirts with “pay-to-win”.
I was once a Magic: The Gathering player, so I wrestle with myself calling Hearthstone a “pay-to-win” game because I understand that there is somewhat of an exception when it comes to card games and buying packs. Not everyone can have every card. Players that don’t like the arena mode will find gold acquisition very difficult because you only get 10 gold for every 3 wins. There are quest dailies that are given every 24 hours that can reward anywhere from 40-100 gold , but they are random and can be re-rolled. Unfortunately, because players can only hold up to 3 quests at a time, I only log on every couple days to do the quests because the grind for gold is so difficult. In August, an expansion was released called Curse of Naxxramas, which added many new cards, but players had to either pay 700 gold or pay money to unlock the opportunities (5 wings) to get the new cards. 700 gold is not easy to get when we’re talking just constructed (10 gold per 3 wins), plus a new quest every 24 hours. It seems this model is almost pushing people to pay money to open the wings. The major issue with the game is that RNG almost kills the skill cap in this game. Players will lose games to randomness, which makes the grind for gold to buy packs even more frustrating than it already is. A recent Q&A on reddit by the game director revealed they “have no plans” to add more opportunities to obtain gold. I will continue to sporadically play Hearthstone, but constructed play has gotten little to no attention, and it’s still very unrewarding to play unless you have quests.
Other Selections by Christopher Joseph:
2. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
3. Destiny (PS4)