2014 is now coming to a close, and let’s face it, it wasn’t the best year for video games. The start of a new console generation is always a bit rough because we don’t get the complete sentiment that games are achieving their full “next-gen” potential, but the feeling of unsatisfaction was strongly present throughout this year, especially when the big budget AAA releases of the Fall/Holiday season finally hit the market. Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had some exceptional experiences this year with games like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Dark Souls II, Bayonetta 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition and indies such as Shovel Knight, Transistor and Velocity 2X, but part of me feels very underwhelmed with the amount of disappointing major releases we’ve had this year. Let me preface that the following list does not compile the worst games of the year, instead it regroups games that failed to deliver on their promises, games that launched in unacceptable states and games that failed to live up to their hype. Obviously this list can be entirely subjective, based on your personal expectation vs. appreciation for each title, however some of them were universal letdowns, and received a lot of grief from gamers around the world. Additionally, I did not play every release this year, so I may be missing a few, but the ones listed below are all titles I have personally tried out and forged my opinion on them. Now, with that being said, let’s take a look back at some of the most disappointing video games we’ve had in 2014 and hope for the best for 2015.
[Note: Current Metascore/User Scores listed below are taken from the highest-scoring version of the game on Metacritic as of December 31, 2014. Also, this is NOT a Top 10 list and it isn’t based on the reviews for each game; the following numbers are just here to showcase what the press thought of them vs. what the gamers though of them.]
[promo title=”Assassin’s Creed Unity“][/promo]
Released on: November 11, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 73/3.6 (XOne)
I bet you didn’t see this one coming, right? But in all seriousness, do I even need to elaborate on this one? We’ve all heard about the controversy surrounding Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed release, which was a complete mess on all fronts. It was very ambitious with its brand new protagonist, new 18th century France setting and next-gen scope and scale, but it had an unbearable amount of technical problems that completely ruined the experience. Just the fact that Ubisoft are still working on fixing some of the game’s broken aspects nearly two months after its release is enough to justify how big of a letdown Unity was. Not only that, but it was also so uninventive and brought nothing significantly different to the whole Assassin’s Creed mix, which is starting to feel worse and worse with its yearly releases. I’ve been saying this for two years now: Ubisoft needs to take a break with Assassin’s Creed, or else it’ll run it through the ground like other past yearly franchises. Although I am 99 percent sure we won’t see that happen anytime soon because it “prints money”, we can only hope at this point.
Released on: September 9, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 76/6.2 (PS4)
Destiny was my personal biggest letdown of 2014, and probably the most divisive game I have ever seen in terms of player reception. With Bungie’s iconic legacy with the Halo series, Destiny had a lot to live up to, and it simply did not deliver the kind of experience we were all expecting. Although I must give credit to the developers for successfully building an MMO-like experience with the fundamentals of a First-Person Shooter, Destiny did not have the required elements to make it the memorable experience it set out to be. Its story was practically inexistent and very inconclusive, the gameplay – which, in all honesty, was very tight mechanically – was very repetitive and way too grindy come the end game, the content was lacking, and its potential was completely wasted. The hype was what killed Destiny and, despite its amazing commercial success, it left a sour taste in a lot of gamers’ mouths once they realized it was less than what they thought it was going to be.
Released on: October 7, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 71/5.5
Evolution Studios has had a well-known legacy with their Motorstorm Racing games and hoped to expand beyond its off-road racing tropes with Driveclub, but unfortunately it fell flat because of its disastrous launch and lack of any particularly interesting features. Don’t get me wrong, it is insanely pretty, and possibly one of the best looking Racing games out there, but visuals can’t make a game good when it doesn’t have anything to engage the player. The worst part is that this game was supposed to be a launch title for the PlayStation 4 and it still managed to ship with that many issues. I can’t imagine how bad it could’ve been if it would’ve launched last year. Another disappointing element was with its PS Plus Edition that has still yet to launch nearly three months after Driveclub’s release. It would’ve allowed PlayStation Plus members to access a portion of the game with no additional fee, but it seems Evolution does not want more people getting their hands on its flawed Racing game.
[promo title=”Halo: The Master Chief Collection“][/promo]
Released on: November 11, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 85/7.3
As much as I am thoroughly enjoying The Master Chief Collection right now because of its numerous updates and patches (some issues are still present to this day), nothing will be able to erase its utterly disastrous launch on the Multiplayer side of things. For at least three weeks, MCC’s Matchmaking was completely unplayable due to a staggering amount of problems like long player search sessions, frequent crashes, UI issues, unbalanced teams and many more problems that made the experience completely frustrating. Nothing worked as intended and we got a faulty product out of it ultimately. Never have I wasted so much time trying to find a single match in Online Multiplayer. Following what is probably the biggest trend in gaming for 2014, Master Chief Collection’s launch state was simply atrocious and improper, and I hope 343 Industries will learn its lesson by the time Halo 5: Guardians comes out next year.
[promo title=”Lords of the Fallen“][/promo]
Released on: October 28, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 73/7.0 (PC)
This one is a little bit more personal, given that I am a huge Dark Souls and Zelda fan. Knowing that it was going to have elements from both of those beloved franchises, I was immediately hyped up to get my hands on CI Games’ RPG Lords of the Fallen. Unfortunately, its execution was simply lacking, and made for a poorly designed game that had no ambition other than copying the games it wanted to be. Lords of the Fallen doesn’t even compete with the level of gameplay depth involved in Dark Souls as it is buggy, clunky, very sluggish, slow and just not that fun to play. Unlike From Software’s Action-RPG, you don’t feel like it is your own fault when you die in Lords of the Fallen, as you must constantly fight with the finicky controls to succeed. Plus, mixed in with its crushing difficulty, it was a complete mess that did not really capture its own essence and soul, or even the ones from its inspirations. Nothing was relatively interesting within Lord of the Fallen, which is why I was never enticed in furthering my exploration of its world beyond my initial, frustrating playthrough.
[promo title=”NHL 15“][/promo]
Released on: September 9, 2014
Current Metascore/User Score: 60/3.3 (PS4)
Being a Canadian myself, there is no other game that defines what we stand for sports-wise as much as the NHL franchise. NHL 15 was the start of a brand new generation in the hockey franchise, and boy did it underdeliver. Although it was visually stunning and took all-new approaches with its core gameplay mechanics, the end result felt unfinished because so much content ended up being missing in the final game. Be A Pro mode received some mind-boggling tweaks that made it completely tedious, customization options were inexistent, core modes like Be A Legend, Winter Classic and Online Team Play were all gone, making it one of the most stripped-down games EA Sports has ever made. NHL 15 was a complete disaster and certainly not the “next-gen” entrance EA Sports wanted to have with its beloved hockey franchise.