As 2014 draws to a close, we, as gamers, are blessed with the annual harvest of games that are competing for your hard earned Christmas Cash. Like Hyenas tearing at each others throats for a scrap of meat, games publishers the world over are fighting tooth and nail to surgically extract money from your wallet with the biggest, and best releases of the season.
Wait, did i say best releases of the season? I apologize, what i actually meant was “releasing a biblical torrent of broken shit and hoping you’ll buy it regardlessly like the brain-broke fuckheads they think we are”.
It’s 2014. The “Next gen” has been “Current Gen” for approximately 1 year, or if you’re a PC gamer, its always been Next Gen.
The early cross gen ports like CoD Ghosts, & AC: Black Flag are fading into distant memory, and in their place, we have bona-fucking-fide Next-Current Gen games that could only be done thanks to the power of the the PS4 & Xboner, such as like Halo 2, and The Last of Us. The Xbone and PS4 are finally hitting their stride, and in the process, falling flat on their face. More and more games are being released in either broken states, or with performance problems worse than the ensemble cast of The Room. And this shit has got to stop.
Assassins Creed: Unity has released in a state of Fucked-up’edness normally reserved for someone on a Stag Weekend in a Red-Light district. Frame rate issues on all platforms, crashes, co-op not working as advertised, the list is metaphorically endless. The supposedly more powerful PS4 has a framerate that drops more frequently than soap in a Prison shower. Drops to 20 FPS have been recorded by Digital Foundry tests, and in 2014, 20 fps is motherfucking unacceptable. 20 FPS was unacceptable in the days of the PS1. 20 FPS was probably unacceptable in olde timey movie theaters where people jumped out of their seats to avoid the Train coming out of the screen at them like the moronic old Dipshits they were. So why is it happening now? Have we got unreasonable expectations of these supposed Next Gen machines, or have Ubisoft just spent most of their Dev time measuring their dicks with dental floss and coming up with ways to gate off access to in-game, on-disc content that they could be charging real money for? The answer is probably a bit of both.
The next gen machines are woefully underpowered for one thing. The XboxOne is easily the worst offender of the two, with most cross platform titles on the Xbone running at resolutions that barely even qualify as ‘next gen’, and the console struggling to achieve 1080p for most games. Their 8 Core CPU’s are outperformed by a last gen Intel i3 Quad Core CPU. And their GPU’s are matched easily by the entry level Geforce 750ti GPU, a budget graphics card. Yet Assassins Creed Unity requires a beast of a PC in order to play at 60FPS at 1080p, meaning that the game is un-optimized on every platform it’s been released on, so at least Ubisoft are nothing if not consistent in their bumbling fuckitude. If my GTX 970 & i7 CPU (currently some of the best hardware available) suffers from framerate dips and poor performance (thankfully not as bad as console performance), how can a Console like the XboxOne be expected to run this game at any kind of acceptable framerate without massive graphical compromises? And the first person to say “Coding closer to the Metal” gets a punch in the dick.
Ubisoft claim that there is a massive discrepancy between the performance they saw in internal testing, and what people are seeing now the game is released. Well no fucking shit, huh?? However this excuse sounds decidedly like horseshit unless Ubi were developing on a more powerful PS4/Xbone that doesn’t exist in the world outside of Ubisofts secret Underwater Moon Base. And how exactly is it possible that network activity could possibly affect the framerate of a primarily single player game?? And all these technical hitches are secondary to the absolutely disgusting use of in-game purchases to unlock treasure chests or armour, or the need to download a companion app to unlock chests that only works on IOS or Android (i guess us Windows Phone plebs will have to live with the eternal shame and torment of never finding out what’s in those blue chests).
AC:U isn’t the only game causing ripples in the shit-pond of next gen gaming however. The most hotly anticipated new title this holiday season on XboxOne, is a re-release of 3 games that have a combined age of 27 years. 343 Industries were tasked with updating Halo 1, 2 3 and some shit sandwich they made themselves that is masquerading as a Halo game with a number 4 on the end of it. Halo is one of the most beloved FPS’es of all time, and is widely regarded as the single best Console multiplayer games of all time. Which is obviously why 343 released it with an utterly broken multiplayer component.
At the time of writing, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, barely works online. With most users reporting wait times of over 15 minutes just to join a game, if they’re lucky. Reports of single player progress not being saved, graphical glitches, and crashes are rife. Thus proving that 343 cant even release other people’s games properly.
But don’t give up hope just yet! Sony’s big exclusive, Driveclub, is available now. Driveclub, which was held back for an entire year so as not to be released in a broken state, has, unsurprisingly, released in an utterly broken state. The game’s selling point, it’s online ‘Clubs’ (hence the fucking ‘Club’ in the title), don’t work. It’s like if Guardians of the Galaxy only featured scenes where the Guardians defended East Grinstead, UK. When i say the game is ‘available now’, i mean you can still pay €59.99 for it on PSN, yet the free PS+ version is nowhere to be seen. Proving that it’s okay to pay enough for a nice dinner for two for a game that doesn’t work properly, but providing a demo for a broken game is a little too unethical for Sony. The game has been out for over a month now and still isn’t fixed.
Next-Gen gaming is in somewhat of a doldrums at the moment. The best exclusive titles on either machine are just re-releases of games we already played several fucking years ago. New releases are plagued with technical problems. Outside of exclusives like Master Chief Chronicles and TLOU:Remastered, there’s very little to attract people one way or another to the XB1/PS4, aside from the PS4 generally getting better performance than the XB1. Which is about as reassuring as being able to choose your own rapist based on penis size. In 20+ year’s of gaming, it’s easily the worst first year for a console i can think of, with publishers seemingly in a race to the bottom to find how best to implement in-game microtransactions, lie to their consumers, get as many pre-orders as possible for games that don’t work, and generally be as anti-consumer as physically possible.
Roll on 2015. At least we’ll get Bloodborne. If it works.