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After thoughts: Xbox One in 2014

As 2014 draws to a close it be expected that you will see many lists appear from various websites declaring what they believe to be the best and worst games this year. That to me will be tricky, games this year came out like a slow drip feed and some of them didn’t live up to the hype so much. We also had to deal with the constant HD rereleases of older games, which I didn’t mind so much as some were games that I had enjoyed but at the same time a lot of them felt like padding to me, something for us to do while we wait for the bigger releases. As an Xbox One gamer, the titles I were waiting for I have enjoyed, so for me the wait was worth it as such and I have decided to share with you my top game of 2014, my worst, and some others I played along the way.

1
The worst game I played of 2014 was Murdered: Soul Suspect.

I had been waiting for this game as the synopsis of the story had intrigued me quite a bit, a murdered police man’s spirit trying to stop a serial killer who had also killed him with the help of a psychic really sounded like something worth purchasing. Thankfully though I chose not to pre order and wait for a review before I brought it and I’m glad I did. Not only was the game play quite executed quite badly, it was beatable in about seven or eight hours, which for a game that was charged at full price was unacceptable for me. However as the months went by I began to wonder if I should have given it a chance because the story had interested me, so I went on eBay and picked up a brand new copy for £20, saving me £30 as opposed to buying it brand new. Now I will admit I enjoyed the story a lot and the way it ended was satisfying enough for me, but as reviews I had watched warned, the gameplay left a lot to be desired. The only enemies in the game were hostile spirits and the only way to deal with one was to sneak up on one and perform a quick time execution on it, doing that many times over got boring after a while and fast became an annoyance. When it comes to collectables, those who know me are aware they are my pet hate in a game as I have always felt they are often used as padding and it felt like it a lot in this game. Some were interesting as they provided little bits of story but they became a ball ache to find after a while and I ended using a video guide in the end. Controlling the character was not the best, he moved quite stiff and slow to me, running was not any easier and at one point in the game you are able to possess cat to access other areas, this was not much better either. The worst part for me though was the length of the game, as previously stated it roughly lasting about 7 – 8 hours which reinforced what I felt was certainly not worth its price tag, but the blow was cushioned for me by the fact I only paid £20 for it.

2

The best game I played of 2014 was TitanFall.

Now I know this game took some flak over its “campaign” and rightly so, to string a few multiplayer matches together with two different storylines and label it as such was a bad choice. The story that I managed to take in suggested to me that a proper campaign really should have been here to flesh the story out more and make the player care about the characters and what was happening, it felt like such a missed opportunity. TitanFall has also shown that publisher out there happy to put these games out, all multiplayer based and no campaign but charged at full price, something that never has sat well with me. Granted Plants Vs Zombies was slightly cheaper but besides the fact that it too had no campaign it committed a crime that TitanFall managed to avoid: micro transactions, something EA has become known for, and with Evolve on the way after a delay, I can only wonder. TitanFall had plenty of maps on release and they were well designed and I never grew tired of them, they accommodated all game modes with ease and had the added design of background animations to keep them interesting. It was fun watched ships crash, large beasts roam the lands and far off gun fire, but I found the DLC maps to be a bit of a disappointment and grew tired of them after a while, the only one that I can say I thought was pretty good was Swampland, the rest had nothing I really found interesting especially as one was based inside a simulator and let’s face it, that has been done before. When it came to gameplay anybody who has played a first person shooter would have had little difficulty adapting to it as the controls were simple enough, there was even a tutorial to help those who were in doubt but personally I did not need it. Movement itself was fun and fluid and along with double jumps and wall running it was something quite different and fun from your average Call of Duty. Of course the best part of this game is hands down, the Titans themselves. When you call in your Titan for combat and it lands in front of you, kicking up dust and debris as it impacts, it is a wonderful site followed by the cool experience of climbing into it and gearing up cause some major damage. They can both deal and take a lot of damage during the battle, but when your Titan is about to bite the dust you can eject to safety in another cool sequence, landing and then continuing the battle. Once a battle is over and you have lost you have to make it to a drop ship to evacuate from the battle, if you win the battle you have to terminate any remaining pilots and blow up the drop ship, this little event giving the battle that frantic ending which can be quite tense. I had also felt that the game had been well supported with the addition of daily challenges, the Black Market addition and of course, the Frontier Defense mode which was a lot of fun but also quite a challenge. Essentially a horde mode, you had to fight off not only grunts and specters but a variety of different themed Titans, from regular types to electric themed Titans and the suicide bomber type Nuke Titans, it was certainly not dull.

3
When I look back on the launch of both the Xbox One and the PS4 I was not impressed with either of them, I would have thought that an attempt would have been made to have a strong starting selection of games and what we ended up with was pretty average. I ended up going with the Xbox as I felt it had the better selection with games like Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct and Max: Curse of the Brotherhood, but it did certainly suffer from what a friend of mine would describe as “typical launch games”. A good example was Ryse: Son of Rome, a game that looked and sounded brilliant but when it came down to gameplay was very, very dull. This year the games have improved for the Xbox but the PS4 is outselling it still, no doubt in part due to Microsoft’s attempts to implement DRM and its rules on used games which were dropped quickly, and the inclusion of the Kinect sensor which was again, dropped quickly. I have enjoyed time on Alien Isolation and The Evil Within, which were both available on PS4 as well, but the one game which appears to have done well on the Xbox One was Sunset overdrive, an Xbox exclusive which has been a fun game to play and received high review scores as a result. To those who have not brought it yet, I advise you to do so, because not only is the game a lot of fun but it comes with some amusing humor as well and is very well priced, even its season pass.

I look forward to what is on offer in 2015 for games in general and the one I am certainly awaiting is The Rise of the Tomb Raider, I was a fan of the previous instalment and certainly want to see where the story takes Lara Croft next, but more than that I just want to see more games released that really test the power of these new consoles and not more HD rereleases. Time will tell I guess, Merry Christmas ladies and gentlemen.

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Husband, Father, Life Long Gamer.