I haven’t been on top of things around here at Your Momma’s Basement and there are external forces that have left me disillusioned but none more than the state of gaming this year.
It started off decent. My first true next-gen experience was Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. I had never played the last-gen version but after hearing almost unanimous praise for it, I decided to give it a shot. I enjoyed it quite a bit and being an Xbox One owner, I’m not bent out of shape that the sequel is a timed exclusive on the console. These things happen. I mean Mass Effect was practically a timed exclusive for Xbox 360 and I seemed to manage with the wait.
I started to feel good about the direction that Xbox One and PS4 could head in after I played Watch Dogs. Sure the game wasn’t what I thought it would be but a portion of that is my fault as a consumer and hyping the game up in my mind. Watch Dogs was a game that sounded absolutely amazing on paper and piqued curiosity in the trailers but could not deliver what my imagination had spawned almost two years prior. Instead of focusing on the nifty ways I could hack cameras and remotely set off enemy grenades, I was more concerned with waiting. I had to wait for the game to install, wait for the day one patch to download then install and then stare at graphics I could swear my PS3 could handle. There I was playing a game I ultimately ended up enjoying but not feeling like anything innovative happened.
Even though I was lucky enough to be a next gen console owner pretty close after the release of the Xbox One, about 80% of my gaming time was still spent on the PS3/360 or even my PSP. I’d even wager to bet that I still spend at least 70% on the PS3/360 split which is something I would not have said when I switched up from the PS2 to the PS3 or Xbox to 360. The first game I played multiplatform on the PS3 was Fight Night Round 3. I love Round 3. I am king of Round 3. I will counterpunch your face to the ground. I am the reason they got rid of the counterpunching system in Round 4. Wait, where was I going with this? OH! I could see the difference instantly. I didn’t need to squint and notice the absence of pixels or jagged edges. I was seeing 30 frames per second without hiccups. I was hearing incredible surround sound as fists crunched into Roy Jones Jr’s nose… YA’LL MUST’VE FORGOT!
This generation, until Assassin’s Creed Unity passed through my dirty gamer fingers, I had not played one game that delivered visuals I expect out of a current generation system. Sure there were hiccups when I would wildly try to orient the camera while Arno was in a cramped space but camera troubles are nothing new. The visuals were finally catching up to where my mind wants them to be. The tighter controls gave me the feeling of more control and I’m finally not flinging myself accidentally of roofs. Too bad the damn game was broken huh?
This is a disturbing trend I’m noticing. It isn’t all that new either. The existence of the day one patch is not new but it used to be a much rarer dish. Previously in development, the developer would make a game as best they could and release it. The gamers out there would encounter minimal bugs or glitches and a few weeks or even months later they would be patched out of existence because they didn’t ultimately ruin the game for the player. Then at some point because of the new way content is delivered to consoles by way of the internet, developers realized they don’t actually have to ship a finished product. Somewhere in the development cycle they would select a date where the game had to be done and then add a few more weeks of production to work on a patch. That sounds absolutely batshit insane to me. I understand business and commerce is about making money but games are the only area of entertainment where you can patch a product and not risk a lawsuit.
If a car manufacturer issues a recall and your brakes stop working, you can still file a lawsuit. If you eat food that is tainted, even if the food producer knows about the problem there is still the option for legal recourse. If you bought a book where the last twenty pages were incoherent gibberish, you could return it. The book publisher can’t patch in a new ending, they would have to reissue the whole book. Developers and publishers can, will and have been selling unfinished products ON PURPOSE! This is mystifying because at this point in game development on the 8th or 9th generation of consoles, gamers expect the same things we always have. A FINISHED PRODUCT!
Games like Sim City that barely work at launch or Halo: Master Chief Collection that boasts a whopping 20GB DAY ONE patch still had catastrophic multiplayer problems. Battlefield 4 gets slotted into that category as well. Diablo III although seemingly sound, had a ton of login troubles during the launch. Even a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 Online (PS3/360), which launched horribly but managed to find its footing, still has not delivered on the promise of heists despite being able to add a first person mode to the game and release it on a completely new console.
Sorry that I rambled. I just had to put my thoughts out in front of me because I am just absolutely disappointed in everything that has to do with gaming in 2014. The developers, the fans… everything has been a shitshow this year.
The Jaded Gamer (@IamFN2K)