2014 was an eventful year in gaming and while it had it’s highs, there were some miserable lows too. And it is the special effort that went into creating these lows that we wish to bestow with our Not So iLL Awards. You might notice the inversion of our colours for this segment to convey this message. There were no nominations for these awards, rather the award is tailored to the winner in this segment.
Best climax to ruin your memories of the entire game
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor had lots of Quick Time Events (QTEs) that involved moving a cursor to the centre of a circle, something easily done with a mouse but a tad more tricky with a controller. It also had this shadowy antagonist whose encounter the story of whole game was building up to. And then instead of the epic boss battle that you expected, the ‘brilliant’ designers of the game decided to make it a QTE only affair. Such was the crappiness of this encounter that you forgot all the fun times you had in the 20 or so hours that preceded it. Rarely can a final boss fight make you hate a game that you so dearly loved previously.
Most Brilliant Marketing Campaign that was too far ahead of the times
“Let’s launch our new console in India One year after it came out in the US. Let’s also make it available for purchase exclusively on One E-commerce site.” Whoever was the Genius that thought this up, going against common sense, certainly was living far ahead in the future. The ground reality is that while hardcore fans bought the console this way or had already imported one from abroad, increasing the potential market in this country is still more reliant on getting that kid at an electronics retailer to throw a tantrum so the parents will buy this new toy, rather than an impulse purchase looking at some random picture on an e-commerce site.
Most Interesting Game that didn’t feel complete
Tim Schafer decided to split Broken Age into two chapters, funding the second act with the money of the first. While this is not the first time we have seen this happen, Telltale being the first to comes to mind, all those episodes have an episodic nature to them where the subsequent chapters felt like a tv show with changes based on your choices. For a linear point and click adventure tale like Broken Age it doesn’t work all that well. We felt like the wait for the second part had just been too long especially considering the the game was massively overfunded initially in kickstarter and then funded again by pre orders and investors. This is just a disappointing case of an incomplete game launched to audience that have already supported this more than their fair share.
Most Anticipated game that was banned in India for flimsy reasons
Dragon Age: Inquisition had built up a massive hype train and was eagerly awaited as a redemption of the series after the divisive Dragoon Age II. And then EA, in it’s wisdom decided to not release the game in India at all, hiding behind the flimsy excuse of homosexuality and ambiguous local content laws. The fact of the matter is, they could have sold a censored version, but the numbers were probably not worth it. And there is clear hypocrisy on EA’s Part since the game is sold uncensored in countries where homosexuality is actually banned like Russia. India merely has an archaic penal code made by the British that only declares ‘unnatural sex’ illegal and doesn’t apply to video game characters. Heck, there aren’t any laws or even a censor board for video games here.
Best Marketing Campaign that masked a broken Game
Ubisoft has perfected the art of churning out Trailer after Trailer of its newest titles in a marketing blitzkrieg that will trap you into considering a preorder. Too bad all this budget on hype building didn’t go towards Quality Assurance so that they game was released in a polished and Bug-free state looking just as good as the trailers. The perfect way to lose the trust of your customers.
Most Awesome Game that has the least takers in India
Nintendo doesn’t have an official presence in India (A primary reason for our lack of coverage) and its consoles here are usually bought or imported by diehard fans. While e-commerce sites do stock these and their games, the lack of an official presence does hurt promotion and thus results in Nintendo’s exclusives largely being ignored by the country. Even when they are as excellent as Mario Kart 8 or Bayonetta 2.
Best Game that should never have been released
If you were brave enough to watch the full trailer of this game, we wouldn’t fault you for subsequently checking the date to see if it was still 2014. An on-rails shooter with broken mechanics, it was critically panned and was probably the worst game of 2014. We pity the poor fools who paid the full retail price of ₹2499 for it.
Best Indie Game that was ruined by trying to be AAA
Our editor’s (Tathagata) love for Murdered happened because it reminded him a lot of Beyond: Two Souls, a game that he highly recommends for its constructive plot and diverse action points. Murdered: Soul Suspect started off well, but drifted in the direction of a boring, lifeless, glitchy AAA game that was painful to beat and recommend. If it would’ve been an explorative, tranquil indie game (like the PS3 game – Rain), he would have seeped deep inside its soul, with coffee and Mazzy Star. The gameplay and story in Murdered felt like the roots of a good Indie game but it was the AAA execution that took away its Soul, in fact ‘Murdered’ it.
Most Cringeworthy new jargon to grace Gaming
Ubisoft’s brilliant marketing machine coined a new term to promote The Crew. They called it a CarPG. Ugh, even typing that makes us cringe, let alone saying it out aloud. A Car game that has RPG elements is what they mean to say. In practice it’s just multiple part slots to minutely increment the overall performance of your car, something you barely notice until pitted against cars of a much lower level. As for Role-Play, there’s none to be found, since this isn’t a game based on the movie Cars.
Best effort for getting India so stereotypically wrong
Far Cry 4 used India as a setting though it was labelled Kyrat. While it’s a showcase of the general western perception of India, Indians will easily notice a multitude of flaws that break the immersion. For one, the entire Devanagari font rendered on the textures seen everywhere in the game is completely broken and messed up. Then there’s the inconsistency in voice acting with half the cast speaking in a proper Indian accent and the rest speaking in their native American, including that of the protagonist. (Ok, so Ajay Ghale was raised in the USA, but his mother would probably never have brought him up to call himself A-J.) And then there’s the radio playing a selection of songs from all over India, rather than sticking to music that one might actually hear if one visited the Himalayan foothills where the game is set. And they forgot that all countries in this part of the world use the Right Hand Drive system on their vehicles.
Most Pointless Collectible in a Game
Collectibles have become a staple of modern games and it seems developers are running out of ideas as to what could be a desirable collectible. Ideally it should be an item that is useful to your gameplay so you have proper motivation to collect it. In The Crew however, you have only two types of collectibles. One of these is wrecks that give you parts to build a hidden car, which is useful. The other requires you to visit landmarks and watch a cutscene. All for some ingame currency and experience. The Game is already heavy on cutscenes as you have them before and after a race, when entering or exiting a building and every time you randomly crash. The pointlessness of this collectible just makes us shake our heads, because these cutscenes are rendered in-engine and the Crew is not that visually spectacular that anyone in their right minds would want to stop and admire its beauty. A bit of additional information about the location is perhaps the only redeeming feature.
Best game that no one in India has heard of
It is bad when over marketed games disappoint, its even worse when well made games go unheard. It maybe a lack of advertisement of just the lack of media time as that seems to be occupied of AAA titles that look and feel the same as they did 3 years ago only with a slightly higher no as prefix. The talos principal is a philosophical game about exploration and narration that came out late in the year, but unfortunately is one game not many people have heard of. This is a kind of game that feels similar to the classic popular adventure games like myst or zork. The game puts you in the middle of the action as a waking up conscience with no idea who or where you are. you slowly uncover everything using random audio and text logs. This brilliant game is both engaging and intelligent as you talk philosophy with a computer while reading snippets of conversation of people in trouble. The narration is wonderful to hear and running of the unreal 3 engine this is one good looking game too.
That’s all for our 2014 awards, hopefully 2015 will be a blast. iLL Out.