As we roll ever closer to Christmas, we have one last edition of Our Year in Games to share with you before we bring you Our Games of the Year on Christmas Day. If you’re reading that on Christmas Day, then you don’t have enough Christmas dinner to eat. With that, let us move on with Our Year in Games…
I think it is somewhat safe to say that 2014 has been quite a bumper year for first-person shooters. I’ve played the majority of the major releases, even if I haven’t reviewed them all. And in some small way, they perhaps go some small way to defining my year in games on a broader level than when I talked about the Wii U and PlayStation 4 in recent weeks.
Things all started back in March when the Xbox One big hitter Titanfall arrived and also made its way on to the PC which I where I picked it up. It featured several of the wonderful movement mechanics that can also be found in Destiny and Call of Duty along with massive, joyous mechs. It was fun, but I just didn’t click with it like some others have done. Some people have bounced off Destiny, for me it was Titanfall which I bounced off. The mix between the campaign and the rest of the online action was blurry and confusing and I….just wasn’t that good at it.
A couple of months later, a once almighty series that had fallen on hard times came storming back with a fantastic new title. Wolfenstein: The New Order surprised me, I went into the game expecting little, and walked away hailing one of the strongest singleplayer experiences in the recent first-person shooter genre since Dishonored. I might not have stated that in my review, but it is certainly how I feel now when I look back on things. There are definitely better singleplayer experiences out there at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dragon Age: Inquisition ranks amongst those while the PlayStation 4 release of The Last of Us was pretty strong too. But looking at the shooter genre, The New Order is definitely a title that sits high up there.
While the summer months were fairly fallow for shooters, things picked up again with the double-barrelled approach from Activision who brought us Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The former had some of the singleplayer issues that were present with Titanfall but I personally felt that it managed to pull of the balancing act of combining singleplayer and multiplayer modes with greater finesse. That doesn’t mean I’ve thrown down my hard earned money for The Dark Below expansion, from what I know about the expansion, it doesn’t suit the MMO-eque approach that the game should be taking. At the least they could have given us a new planet….
Finally we come to Advanced Warfare at the tail end of this year. A great multiplayer game even if it lacked some of the depth of Destiny, but it was left straddled with a singleplayer portion that, while better than recent Call of Duty entries, just didn’t stand out as it could have done. It showed flashes of what could have been with the stealth mission, but too often, things were too narrowly focused with silly gameplay restrictions. Advanced Warfare would have been a riot if it approached things like Wolfenstein or even Dishonored by letting you choose how to approach each mission. A missed opportunity.