Monday, 19 August 2013

It's Been a Dull Year (So Far)

Seriously, how many good games have come out this year? So far, my Game Of The Year is BioShock Infinite,  which was really bloody good, but there was loads wrong with it. There was also The Last Of Us, which was heavily flawed but still fun and entertaining and was well presented, it's just not the Citizen Kane of gaming. There hasn't been a Spec Ops: The Line yet. A game that really challenges you and the industry as a whole. Maybe Binfinite, but still not as good as The Line. There hasn't been a Journey; a game that's really unique and beautiful. Hell, I'm not asking for beautiful this year, I'm asking for unique. Something short and different and quirky. There was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which was pretty much Team America meets the 80s. It was really cool, but was just a Far Cry 3 re-skin. Antichamber is possibly the Fez of 2013. Different, challenging and indie. I haven't completed it, due to how complicated and huge it is, but it's still possibly my second favourite Game Of The Year.

There have been so many disappointments. Crysis 3 for example. On consoles, it runs like a narcoleptic on a PowerPoint Presentation. But as a game, it's just a dull shooter that doesn't even look that nice. It runs at 30FPS, it's in desperate need of ambient occlusion, and it's just really god-damn boring. To think I was actually looking forward to this. Gah. There was also Dead Space 3, which I knew was going to suck, but still, I was expecting it to be somewhat entertaining. It was; I didn't complete it, but it held my attention long enough to stop me remembering that the game is actually really bloody bland. Look at it in contrast to the original Dead Space games. Sure they weren't great, but it was refreshing to see a mainstream game at least try to be survival horror. If not that, they at least they were trying to be something different. Now, it's just Gears of War in space, which is really freakin' disappointing.

And then there were the crap games. Aliens: Colonial Marines, in which Dead Space 3 was a better Aliens game than Aliens. I'm pretty sure it goes without saying now; birds fly, fish swim, and Aliens: Colonial Mariens was crap. What about Star Trek? We all know that video game adaptations of films suck weenus, but I was hoping that this would be at least mildly entertaining. Whatever. Video game adaptations of TV, however... The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct looked quite cool. I like a good DayZ clone that isn't laggy and still in Alpha. But no, it was bland, boring and crap. And too short, like all the other games I've mentioned.

Since there seems to be no life or originality in the Triple-A market, it's up to the indie market to remind us that gaming is still worth defending. There was Antichamber, but what else? Seriously, what else has there been? There was Gone Home and Bleed that look mildly interesting but still haven't played. There was Battleblock Theatre which looks so hilarious and awesome but I don't own an Xbox. It has to come to PC at some point. I mean, it has to.

Oh, DotA 2. Hasn't that been out for a while though? Oh no, it was just in Beta for ages. Its official release date was July 9th, and yes, I have played it, and it gives me a headache. I can tell this is only for the hardcore crowd of PC gamers. I really don't see the appeal in things like DotA and League of Legends. It's bloody impenetrable. I've played an hour of DotA 2  and surely by that time things would start getting interesting, but it doesn't. Oh, you know how when your character moves, the camera moves with you? There's an option to change that on LoL so you have to manually move the camera separate to the character. I hoped the same would be for Dota 2, because they're the same genre. "Well, hope into one hand and s**t in the other, and see which fills up quicker!" says Valve, "Because we don't want you horrible console gaming scum on out turf!". "What's that?" says Valve, "Approachable? Options? FUN?! Not on our PC gaming hardcore crowd, you don't! Paint yourself generic fantasy, add hats and an asshole fanbase, and you've got yourself a hardcore PC game!" I'm sure it gets better later, but that's not an excuse. There are so many brain-cells I'm willing to squander. 

On an unrelated rant, where the bloody hell is Half-Life 2: Episode 3? Valve seem to have enough time to make Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2, and DotA 2 after the last episode, but not enough time to wrap things up after that?! Valve are really starting to piss me off. They don't even make any announcements about it. Portal 2 was my game of the year, yes, but I would have preferred another episode. Half-Life 2 is my favourite game ever, and Valve fear that. They fear that they will cock-up a beloved franchise, and it only gets worse with time. Do Valve have the ability to make a game that lives up to 6 years of expectations? I think so, but I doubt Valve think so. 

Let us be looking forward. We still have Saints Row 4 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified to keep us busy until the annual series' start showing up. The COD's, the Battlefields, the FIFA's, the Assassins Creeds, and with the new consoles coming out soon, we might be able to see some new, revolutionary games. Or they could all suck. I'd say 50/50, apart from The Bureau, because there is no way Mad Men combined with XCOM can fail. No way.