Step aside, Tom Cruise. This is the real deal.
Yes, 2014 was one crummy year. We saw the darkest depths of gamer culture bubble to the surface like a bloody turd in a community swimming pool. Broken games were shipped with $60 pricepoints. Games upon games were delayed. And women and queer people were driven out of the industry by the dreck of humanity.
But it wasn’t all bad, right? We’ll be spending the next couple days highlighting some of the most notable games from 2014, as well as the games we loved, but we can’t send off a year like that without a bona-fide ‘Worst Of’ list!
5. Gods Will Be Watching
I almost want to apologize for putting this game on the list, but I can’t think of another game this year that let me down so quickly. Gods Will Be Watching is a series of turn-based resource management scenarios, each one more frustrating than the last. This isn’t even a case of a game requiring patience, or using design to emphasize the inevitability of failure. You can be as patient as you want, but patience results in failure.
In notoriously difficult games like Spelunky, the rules are laid bare. Your decision to follow them or not dictates your future. In Gods Will Be Watching, apart from the very broad strokes, there’s no consistency between scenarios. Each one presents a complex Jenga-esque list of win conditions and fail states. There’s initial tension, but it quickly gives way to irritation. If the smallest thing slips through the cracks, you have to start all over. There’s something to be said for juggling different kinds of resource management, but not when it’s this unforgiving. You can’t expect both patience and speed. I will say this — Gods Will Be Watching has a killer look & soundtrack, but when your only recourse is to drop the difficulty all the way to the bottom just so you can see the next level, there might be something wrong.
Don’t you really want to know exactly what caused Destiny to turn out this way? The combat systems are debatably Bungie’s greatest achievement to date, but they’re stuck in an MMO world, with enemies and fights that would fit best with a keyboard and mouse. It’s the Borderlands problem taken to the extreme; your shooting skills don’t actually matter.
There’s also just not enough content to make slogging through the gameplay worth it. Do you want to run through the same tedious boss fights ad infinitum just so you can get a green sniper rifle? Because once you’re done with all those exceptionally dull boss fights, that’s all you’ve got. The story blows chunks as well, but I can’t even remember enough about it to give it the lashing it deserves.
3. The Evil Within
Man, how did Shinji Mikami go from Resident Evil 4 to this steaming turd? I didn’t even finish The Evil Within, because another bloody hair monster showed up and I didn’t have a lick of fun battling the last one. The Evil Within can’t decide whether it wants to be A) the scary Resident Evil 1; B) the tense Resident Evil 4; or C) the action-packed Resident Evil 5. Instead, it splits the difference, with different sequences devoted to each style.
This would not be a poor decision on its own, but the game’s movement and combat is technically suited for a Resident Evil 4-style game. So you’re too powerful to be scared, but you’re too weak to engage in a full-on action sequence. Of the 5-odd hours I played, there was a single mission that made me tense up; the rest were frustrating or simply dull. It also looks and runs like garbage; the final Agony Crossbow Bolt in the enormous novelty coffin.
I am sick to death of writing about how much DriveClub sucks. The driving sucks, the tracks suck, the AI sucks, the online is boring, and it doesn’t look as good as we were lead to believe. This game blows so much that the free version is still unavailable. Even the sweet price of literally no money is too much, apparently.
Look, 2048 is not technically the worst game on this list. But it’s certainly the game I hate the most, out of everything I played in 2014. It’s a clone of a superior game that utterly stole the spotlight by virtue of being free and easier (the iOS version is a clone of a clone) — there is nothing to it aside from causing another talented indie team to reconsider mobile as a viable platform. Yeah, it’s a crappy game on its own. But it symbolizes more than that. Call it capitalism, call it the realities of the market, call it whatever you like. It sucks. 2048 sucks.
Lazy and unethical, 2048 is my pick for the most insulting — if not the worst — game of 2014.