Every gamer knows the anticipation. The scouring of the internet for any scrap of information, the taunting of the new issue of Game Informer, the annoyance at the clickbait emails touting new information regarding the next release and the sweet glee when you depart your retailer of choice, box in hand (or hear the “Ding!” signifying your download has finished.)
And just as many know the bitter reek of disappointment as that shiny new game not only fails to live up to the hype (which, let’s face it, almost nothing does, anyway) but lets you down in some fundamental way. The pain is only increased when the title has a numeral or subtitle and previous entries have given you nothing but pleasure.
But, damn. This year sucked. I mean, seriously. Every game but one that was released in 2015 has been an utter letdown for me. Departure from the things that made the series awesome, just not all it was cracked up to be, or broken in ways that ruin whatever marginal sense of amusement one might have been expected to find.
I’ve already discussed my issues with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 was another letdown – though, to be fair, in this instance it’s my own disabilities rather than the game to be blamed – and then Fallout 4 reached out and crushed me, seeming to exist only to remind me that New Vegas was an amazing game that can’t be topped.
Yakuza 5‘s announcement of a PS4 release, followed by the disappearance (with the slight balm of at least the PS3 version coming, even if I can’t play it) was also extremely saddening, while the destruction over at Konami and their seeming abandonment of gaming makes me wonder if the train isn’t about to finally go off the rails completely; who’s left, of those old favorites, that actually is making anything worth playing? Certainly not Capcom. Activision is riding the WoW/CoD train all the way to the end of infinity. Nintendo has managed to shove their head so far up their rears that they’ve turned inside out. Twice. And still don’t show any sign of actually giving a damn about technology, core gamers who don’t want to fap every time Pokemon or Smash Bros. comes out, or any regard for logic. Sega, while occasionally tossing me a bone, seems more interested in crapping out bad Sonic games or chasing Nintendo’s leavings.
And, sorry, folks, but the indie game scene is honestly not all that exciting to me. Eight hundred Minecraft, Five Nights or *Blank* Simulator clones, alongside a horde of clickers/idlers and games that are just poorly designed (while claiming it’s part of their “charm”) don’t do it for me. There are exceptions (Five Nights, Isaac, and Slender come to mind, and I have hope for Allison Road and Outlast 2, though I don’t know if those really count as “indie” games). And as entertained as I am by revisiting the games of my youth, I can only handle so many HD Remasters (and I don’t care how fun you are, Baldur’s Gate, Grim Fandango or Indigo Prophecy… and that is certainly not drool on my chin as I contemplate remasters of Full Throttle or Day of the Tentacle. *hides credit card from himself*)
As noted. Only one release this year has really wowed me, entertained me, pleased me. Witcher 3 is a flat out amazing game. It has issues – what game doesn’t – but not only was it still great even once I got to play it, it actually almost lived up to the hype. Which was impressive. But past that, the games I’ve enjoyed the hell out of this year were all reissues of old games (Shadow of Mordor GOTY, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, Darksiders II Deathinitive) or older titles I just hadn’t gotten to yet (Bloodborne, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel).
So what the hell happened? Has gaming finally run out of steam? Has the siren call of mass-market dollars, indie bandwagoning and general malaise finally murdered the chance to make something amazing without interference? Has backroom politicking and idiot licensing agreements (I’m looking at you, Bayonetta 2 and Fatal Frame 4/5) combined with sequelitis to ensure that nothing new, amusing and original will reach the people who most want it?
Is it dead (again)? I don’t know. I hope not. But I don’t think there’s been a year this disappointing to me since 2005, when everyone was holding their breath and waiting for the 360 to drop, so nothing really awesome hit for PS2, Cube or Xbox, and the 360’s launch lineup was rather… meh… at best. And unlike that year, when at least you had a new console launch to explain it (launch games are almost always meh, while developers work out the new tech, and it makes sense to hold your big titles while you wait to see how a new shiny works out), there seems to be no real explanation.
What do you all think? Time to dig another landfill, so that we can pile in Fallout 4 and Black Ops III discs to hang out with copies of E.T.? Or is it just a lull, and things will pick back up? Is there some truly amazing game from this year that I missed? Let me know down below.