2014 Disappointments In Gaming – GameSided Roundtable

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Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

It took me a while to think of this, but the most disappointing game of this year for me was the MMORPG WildStar.

I love World of Warcraft. But a few of my WoW buddies felt burnt out by it and wanted to try something new. They tried out WildStar and hyped it extensively among my circle of friends. How innovative and interesting it was, how great the endgame content was, how in-depth the storyline was and interesting the characters were and on and on. One of them even got me a beta key, so I gave it a shot. I hated it.

The best thing WildStar had going for it was the combat system, which was active and used “tells” to affect aiming and dodging and to avoid the dull click and cast that WoW tends to fall into. But, other than that, I was sorely disappointing. The starting zones were repetitive and dull no matter which race or faction you started as, the plot was only mildly interesting and far too linear, and the quests were the exact same kill 10 monsters/collect 6 items we’ve come to expect from RPGs. Nothing hooked me or excited me, so I gave up. My friends told me I gave up too soon and that the endgame was fabulous, but it’s my belief that you shouldn’t have to get to the end of a game for it to be good. Like a well-written story or an exciting piece of music, it needs to hook the audience immediately to keep them interested.

Furthermore, now that the game’s released, it sounds like it’s quickly flopping. Few updates means the allegedly-awesome endgame content has run out, and players are getting bored. I’m glad I quit before I became too invested in it. Someday, I imagine, I’ll find an MMO to replace WoW in my heart, but WildStar wasn’t it.

Eric Chrisman (Twitter)

Can you really enjoy a game and still have it be your most disappointing of the year? I say absolutely, and that’s why my most disappointing game this year is Destiny.

I have rarely been on such an up and down rollercoaster with my feelings about a game. I had little to no interest until I happened to get an alpha key. Then my interest rose to an incredibly high level because I thought the alpha was indicative of so much more. The incredibly solid mechanics were there, but I really thought we were just getting a taste of what the game had to offer.

But no, the alpha was pretty much what the whole game was like, with some of the best content (equipment & missions) locked behind weird and arbitrarily limited systems that made little sense. It’s still a very solid game that I enjoyed, but this was the next big franchise from Bungie, given the time, money and manpower put into it, Destiny should’ve been the next big shooter franchise, maybe even toppling the currently ailing Call of Duty.

Frankly, given the hype put on it, it was basically expected to be a game changer on the level of the original Modern Warfare and it just isn’t. It’s got great art direction, incredibly tight shooting mechanics and a soundtrack that might stand out as one of the best this year, but it’s missing so much that was promised to us from the beginning, not somewhere down the line of the supposed 10-year plan Activision and Bungie have for the franchise. Destiny is my most disappointing game of 2014 for those reasons.

Daniel George (Twitter)

I agree with Eric’s assessment that a game can be disappointing and very enjoyable. I’m also proud that nobody else put Assassin’s Creed: Unity on this list, as it seems we were all smart enough to avoid that launch-issue garbage and its pre-order ugliness that ensued. Let me send us off with my disappointment with Dark Souls II.

Don’t get me wrong; this will likely end up in my Top 5 games list this year. However, the base gameplay that Dark Souls provided when it launched meant that Dark Souls II should have been a clear-cut favorite to win in 2014. It just wasn’t the case; not with a dearth of interesting bosses that weren’t “huge humanlikes,” a hub world that illogically used impossible space to make large jumps in imagination and a plot so convoluted in its conviction and reasoning.

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The worst part of Dark Souls II is that its base vanilla game pales in comparison to the DLC, with the “Crowns” series establishing mini-worlds that feel way more realized than the rest of Drangleic. Its NPC’s act more like players, using dubious tactics, mimicry, illusionary rings and the environment to hide from defeat to give themselves personality. The settings themselves are more detailed than the base game, and are weaved in the most beautiful and thought-provoking ways. They’re just so much better set pieces in practice to the point where you realize that the entire game should have been made with that focus in mind.

Dark Souls II is great, but because it isn’t a standout title like Dark Souls was, it is absolutely disappointing. It’s our fault, too, for our standards have been molded by a near-flawless entry into the Dark Souls series with the 2011 release.