2013 is dead and buried but will be remembered as the year that somehow gave us both The Last of Us and Aliens: Colonial Marines. We saw some incredible games that received praise from us at NSFW Gamer and everyone else who calls themselves writers, editors, journalists and/or some form of wanking themselves off. Just as many games, however, were called out for being utter shit that insulted the people who were asked to spend money on such drivel.
The trends started this past year are not showing any signs of stopping. We, as paying gamers, need to shout obscenely with our wallets and Paypal accounts in the direction of quality; this is probably why I spent all my extra holiday funds on Steam and GOG.com. There are plenty of great things coming our way, but a look at the release list, particularly for consoles, also warrants a warning.
Let’s discuss this over coffee.
The likeness of former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan has been kind enough to assist me with this article. As you can see, he is clearly excited by the same potential games this year that I and a lot of other gamers are anticipating.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Release Date: March 18, 2014
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
I never thought we would be getting another properly numbered Metal Gear Solid, especially after the finality of Guns of the Patriots and the huge storyline gap between Snake Eater and the original Metal Gear Solid. It seemed to me there was enough room for plenty of side stories a la Peace Walker and the under-appreciated Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but Hideo Kojima has built an entirely new engine and there really cannot be a better way to show it off than with a new game starring Big Boss.
Since Kojima-san is one ambitious bastard, Metal Gear Solid V is being split into two parts. This March will give us the prologue of Ground Zeroes, which should hopefully be enough to tide us over until The Phantom Pain is unleashed on our poor checking accounts. It sounds like this could be the equivalent of Revenge of the Sith and we finally see what causes Big Boss to go from dedicated hero to the ultra-villain and big bad of Metal Gear. Considering my next tattoo is going to include the FOX-HOUND logo, trust me when I say I am excited for this.
Release Date: 2014
Wii U Exclusive
While testosterone-laden tirades were traded over the holidays about whether the Xbone or PS4 was the better system to get, I secretly was gifted with the best of them all. The Wii U is a system that every developer should be clamoring to get their hands on, and for good reason: you don’t need to spend a billion dollars to make a top seller. Nintendo’s advertisements eschewed explosions and energy drinks for gameplay, and when I was unable to register for the Nintendo Network on December 26 due to high traffic, I knew the ads had worked.
Over a year ago, I talked about Bayonetta 2 and the serious case of butthurt the internet felt as a result of Nintendo deciding to publish it, thereby enabling the game to exist. Looking at the current crop of AAA games vs. the indie scene, the Wii U looks like a perfect fit for a Bayonetta sequel, a middle-ground production that probably would have gotten lost in the ocean of landmines that makes up the PS4 and Xbox One’s schedule. I LOVE using the Gamepad as both a tablet and controller and I am psyched to see what Platinum Games is going to do to utilize all the neato tools the Wii U can afford a creative company.
Release Date: Q2 2014
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Wii U
Ubisoft may get lumped in as another evil, tyrannical publisher akin to EA and Activision. The difference is that while they engage in some of the same practices (Assassin’s Creed VI is likely halfway done by this point), they will also be the first to green-light a new project. Along with The Division, Watch Dogs looks to show off exactly what an open world can be on today’s hardware. Having just bought Deus Ex from GOG.com (there’s another plug), I am anxious to get hacking, specifically on the Wii U whose Gamepad controller was called a perfect fit. I hope plenty of other companies paid attention to that.
Grand Theft Auto V took home several awards from major publications, but honestly, what is there to say about GTA V that you don’t know already? I have talked to more people who were excited to play Saints Row IV than Rockstar’s game, and Watch Dogs has the potential to not only become a mainstay franchise but put Ubisoft above even the level of Electronic Arts.
As Daniel Bryan can tell you, there is one thing happening this year that needs to be called out and put to rest.
“Full HD” and Other Re-Releases
Stop it. Right now. Stop this shit. Stop it stop it stop it stop it.
Before any other publisher catches so much as a hint of this shit smell in the air, stop it. I can already see it: Tomb Raider a great game that was perfectly fine on PC and current consoles, gets a full-priced reissue with more strands of hair on Lara and included DLC. This sells a decent amount of copies. The monkeys in suits start throwing bananas after realizing the cash cow they have uncovered. Before you know it, every great game released in the last seven years gets the same treatment.
Ubisoft is doing the same thing with Rayman Legends, a game that was once Wii U exclusive; this is why they still get lumped in with the bad guys. In 2015, if this trend keeps up, you can look for “HD-HD” versions of Dead Space, Uncharted, and Halo. It’s this sort of blatant money-pandering that makes it harder and harder for me to justify spending $60 on a game cranked out by the giant publishing houses. I spent about $70 this past Christmas/New Year’s on PC games and while I do not have physical copies of them, I now have almost 20 games to play. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo need to figure this out.
2014 has every reason to be a good year, but my final word is this: if you have not yet invested in a PS4 or Xbox One, save your money. For the price of a PS4, you can get a Wii U, New Super Mario Bros U + New Super Luigi U, and have $100 leftover for ZombiU and a pre-order of Bayonetta 2. The other two games I mentioned in this article will be out on current systems as well as the Wii U. The dollars you would put down for an Xbox One would leave you with even more.
Also, GOG.com again. You’ll thank me.