Shadow’s Six – Biggest Disappointments of 2014

So we’ve talked about the best games of 2014 and we’re halfway through our discussion of the best anime of the year, having done the best of Winter and Spring, so I figured this was a great time to change the pace a bit… time to discuss the opposite end of the spectrum. What were the biggest letdowns of the year… those games, anime, or even scenes that were so disappointing it was hard to bear?

6) Log Horizon 2 – Early portrayal of Akatsuki

Akatsuki was one of my favourite characters in Log Horizon. Sure, she was a little bit obsessive over Shiroe, but she was so cool and always seemed, well, amazing. She came across as competent, skilled, and adorable… then Log Horizon 2 started. And I guess they felt she was too awesome to have a story revolve around, so they turned her into a weak pathetic child… and it just felt really awkward. I get that they wanted to give her character development, but they didn’t even really give a believable reason for her becoming so weak… it really soured the first half a dozen episodes.

5) Playstation 4, Wii-U, and X-Box One Lineups and Headline Releases

I’m going to be blunt here… if not for a few indy games and downloadable titles, I’d have nothing to play on my PS4. Looking at both the Wii-U and XBO, their lineups are essentially the same: Barren of good titles, and full of a ton of disappointments. There has been only one headline release title to come out that has been a redeeming quality for the PS4, and I’m not at all impressed with what’s come out elsewhere either. Infamous: Second Son was a solid game, but aside from that we’re looking pretty barren… and everything else that has looked promising has disappointed. Hopefully next year won’t be the same… at least there are a few exciting titles on the lineup.

4) Dragon Age: Inquisition – Ball Scene

Continuing on the topic of headline releases disappointing: Dragon Age: Inquisition. For those of you who are wondering where a review of this game is, I’ve lost all motivation to play it so I’m not sure I’ll be able to muster up the care to do so.  To be honest, I wasn’t really enjoying it all that much to begin with… the gameplay’s not bad, but it is very sluggish and somewhat dry. But then I reached one of the key story arcs, one of the main scenes… you’re tasked with attending a ball to prevent an assassination. It is one of the worst segments I’ve ever seen in any game – possibly even the worst. It is every bit as boring and awkward as attending a real royal court ball would be… and it is essentially mandatory. It is mind-boggling that such a horrible scene could pass QA, I don’t see how anyone could actually enjoy this.

3) Bound by Flame

Bound By Flame was one of the first PS4 “AAA Titles” to come out. And, well, it sucked. This game was absolutely terrible. It was an unparalleled disaster of a game, with virtually no positive elements. This isn’t even one of those ‘it could’ve been so good’ cases… no, this game was beyond redemption. They may have set out with the best of intentions, but they did virtually everything wrong here. The only reason that it isn’t higher on this list was because my expectations were fairly tempered to begin with simply due to the incredibly high standards they’d promised from the start – hard to believe when someone makes promises like that.

2) Brynhildr in the Darkness – The Ending

Brynhildr was really good… the characters and the concept were interesting, it did such a great job of building suspense and mystery. Every episode told me just enough to make me want to know more, but left just enough hidden that I always felt a little uneasy – it was such a delicate balance, and it was one of the show’s best features.

Unfortunately, its writers didn’t recognize just how good a feature this was, and abandoned it completely for the last few episodes. The last few episodes basically abandoned everything the rest of the show had done well, and really soured my impression of the series on the whole. The last few episodes were just so bad… so very bad.

 1) Valiant Hearts

And we have Valiant Hearts. Announced to be running on the UbiArt Framework – also used for recent Rayman titles and Child of Light – last year, I was intrigued. Rayman Origins was one of the best games I’d played for the PS3, after all. Then I played Child of Light, which was another fantastic experience, and I started getting really excited… it seemed like such a unique title.

But then it came out… and it was boring, bland, and didn’t even really tell much of a story. It just… fell flat. Everything about it just didn’t work. It had such high potential, a historical game focusing on a touching story about World War 1? It could have been so good. It just failed. And I guess that’s all there is to say.