Category: verdicts

a hole in my life

[Please pardon any typos in this entry; I have a bit too much adrenaline in my system for reasons I can’t yet disclose, but will hopefully reveal in the not-too-distant future.]

So where was I?  In last week’s post, I had rolled credits on Mass Effect Andromeda after sinking in 60+ hours and nearly all of my remaining available attention after worrying about my mom in the hospital and being alone in my house while my family vacationed in Florida.

I am now in that familiar post-game void, where the urge to sit down and play something is at odds with the lack of anything fresh in my library.  I mean, yes, I have dozens of games in my backlog, but a lot of them are either things that I’ve already played or are things that I can’t find my way back into.  (Exhibit A:  Final Fantasy XV, which I’m just not sure I’m ever going to get into.)

That said, I do need to play something, because there’s a giant Mass Effect-sized hole in my life, and so over the weekend I started and finished What Remains of Edith Finch for the PS4.

I don’t know how to describe this game without spoiling it or, arguably worse, comparing it to Gone Home.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Gone Home!  I adore that game.  And in all fairness, I’m not sure that Edith Finch would even exist were it not for Gone Home; after all, Edith Finch is, among other things, a story about a family that is told via the exploration of a strange house.

That said, Edith Finch is a remarkable achievement, and one that will linger in my mind for a very long time.  I’m not sure I’ve been as emotionally affected by a game since, well, probably Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.  To be sure, this is a story about death, of a family that feels cursed, and of the eerie and odd spaces of the mind.

I should also state, very loudly, that Edith Finch is not a “walking simulator.”  That is perhaps the most ingenious thing about it; as you explore the house and experience the final moments of your family members through journal entries, those journal entries become playable set pieces, and part of the puzzle is seeing just what you can and can’t do.  Ironically, my least favorite character narrative (that of the older brother, recovering from drug addiction and working a very repetitive job in a cannery), contained the most compelling gameplay – your right hand goes through this very mechanical and repetitive (but necessarily very precise) movement pattern, while your left hand ends up doing something utterly different and fantastical, and then suddenly the end of that sequence comes out of nowhere.  (Well, not nowhere – and again, it’s impossible to talk about this without spoiling it – but in the most general terms you’re led to expect that the actions of the right hand are where this person’s end will result because you’re too busy paying attention to what’s happening with the left hand, but what ends up happening is something else entirely.)

And, of course, the game’s ending is – look, I can’t talk about it.  It is better to not know.  Perhaps I’ll write up a spoiler-filled post and talk about it, because I HAVE to talk about it.  But GODDAMN the ending hit me like a ton of bricks.

Folks, the game is $20 on Steam and PS4 and you should play it.  It’s about 4-5 hours and it’s unlike anything else you’ll play this year, and it will move you in ways that you might not expect.  As I’ve noted before, I spent $90 and 60 hours on the deluxe edition of ME:A and didn’t care about a goddamned thing I was doing; I finished Edith Finch in two sittings and I’m not sure I’ll ever get it out of my head.  It is executed about as well as it can be, and this will be near the top of my GOTY list without question.

The (Possibly) Final Few Hours: No Man’s Sky

I very nearly beat No Man’s Sky last night, except for one stupid thing I did 20+ hours ago.

Let me back up for a sec, though.  Firstly, don’t necessarily take my completion time as an average: I was specifically on the Atlas questline, which supposedly gets you to the center much more quickly than the regular way; secondly, I did finally upgrade my warp drive, which makes a huge difference when it comes to warping – I was jumping 4-5 star systems at a time, rather than just 1.  And honestly, at this point, I kinda just want to wrap things up and see what happens; there’s not enough meat here to keep me satiated, and meanwhile there’s still that Witcher 3: Blood & Wine DLC I keep meaning to finish.

So, then:  if you were to look at any NMS guides right now, one of the first things they’ll tell you is don’t sell your Atlas Stones, no matter what – doesn’t matter if you need the inventory space OR the copious amounts of money.  As you might imagine, then, my particular problem is that when I started playing the game, this wasn’t common knowledge.  I needed money and saw that a Stone was selling for something absolutely absurd on the Galactic Trade market, and so I went for it.

You need 10 Atlas Stones to get the Atlas ending; I currently have 9.

I’m in a bit of a dilemma, in other words.  I don’t want to start over from scratch.  I’m not particularly interested in farming 2M units’ worth of materials in order to buy a Stone off the market – and I don’t even know if my current star system’s market is even selling them.  And I’m very reluctant to leave this system until I can resolve this situation, as I’m not sure if I’ll run into any more Atlas Waypoints – and I foolishly forgot to rename the system so that I could easily find it again if I got too far ahead.

So the way I see it, I’ve got two viable choices.  I can either use that item-duping glitch and get myself the 10th stone as soon as possible (i.e., before they patch it out), or… I sell all 9 stones and buy myself the sweetest ship I can find, and continue on my merry way through the galaxy… doing the exact same shit I’ve already been doing since I started.  I’m not necessarily in favor of using glitches and exploits, but in this specific case I can’t help but feel like it’s the right answer, since I didn’t know I was supposed to hold on to them when I first got one.  And, well… I’m starting to get a little bored.  I don’t really know what else there is for me to do beyond getting all my “Journey Milestones” up to level 10 – and as it currently stands, I’m mostly there on that score anyway.

I should also admit that I looked at the 10 Atlas Stones ending on YouTube – just because I needed to know if it was worth it.  I’m not going to spoil it here, but I will say this:  if the ending I saw is indeed the real ending (since it might’ve been filmed pre-Day One Patch), then HOLY SHIT what a colossally stupid waste of time this has been.

I don’t mean to sound so angry.  The game’s ambition is staggering to behold and I certainly don’t regret my purchase, even if I’m ultimately disappointed in my experience – the lethal combination of infinite monotony and incessant crashing would do that to anyone.  And I can certainly see Hello Games patching in a whole mess of interesting content down the line, and I’d be legitimately curious to see what they have to offer.  I’d love to see some hand-crafted planets with some new questlines; or, at least, some new variations in the planet-forming algorithms.  The game doesn’t take up that much space on my PS4, anyway, so it’s not like I’m going to delete it.

But I do wish that there was a bit more there, there.

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The End of Uncharted / The First Few Hours of Doom

It’s been a weird week, folks.  That’s all I’ll say about that.


I was hoping to have already written up – if not a “review”, at least a summary of my experience with Uncharted 4.  I finished the game last Sunday evening and then immediately went back and started it over again, this time playing it with the cel shader turned on (which also looks amazing, by the way – I mean, the vanilla U4 is already the best-looking game I’ve ever seen, and the cel shading isn’t a quick thing that Naughty Dog cobbled together; it changes the way you view the game, and somehow makes the violence refreshingly cartoonish).

I’d written on Twitter that it’s rare when a big-budget AAA game feels special.  And what I mean by that is simply that for all the spectacle of U4 – and there is plenty – there’s also a great deal of heart and soul.  There’s an attention to detail – not just in terms of environments, but also in terms of emotional storytelling.  A pause in a conversation; a look passing over a character’s face.  The Uncharted games are lauded for their conversational writing, but U4 also contains a great deal of words left unspoken.

Point being, in terms of blockbuster games feeling “special”, there aren’t many that I can think of.  In recent years, Witcher 3 certainly qualifies (even as I wonder if it’s truly AAA – though the definition of AAA is something for another post); BioshockRed Dead Redemption and Portal 2 certainly come to my mind as well.  I’m sure you can come up with your own examples of Big Games that went above and beyond the call of duty (pun intended) and tried to mean something.

Or maybe I feel this way simply because my expectations for Uncharted 4 were somewhat lower than I anticipated, considering how U3 felt very much like a big fat let-down after U2, and that I worried that U4 was just going to be one soul-less gunfight after another, with some technologically staggering but empty-feeling set-pieces staggered here and there.  That U4 is very much NOT this game, when it just as easily could’ve been, is maybe why I’m so relieved.

I said in my last post that the game felt remarkably well-paced, and that remains the case through the finale.  The gunfights are still my least favorite part of this franchise, but at least here they weren’t ever truly frustrating the way some of U2 and U3’s gauntlets were; you can anticipate when they’re coming in U4, and they’re over fairly quickly, and then the game just lets you take as much time as you want to explore.  (And play with the camera mode, of course, because HOLY SHIT this game is really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.)

And so while U2 might still have the most exciting set-pieces (the train, the giant climbable dagger, the Nepalese village), I think Uncharted 4 might be the best overall experience.  Certainly it has the most satisfying ending.

On that note, I’m reluctant to do a deep-dive because of spoilers, but I feel compelled to link to Carolyn Petit’s follow-up essay to her review – there are MAJOR SPOILERS in the essay, but it’s also incredibly insightful and well-written and speaks to a lot of the larger issues with the franchise as a whole.  (Funnily enough, I read that follow-up essay as I was beginning my 2nd playthrough; at one point she writes about Nathan Drake’s casual relationship with violence, and immediately after I finished reading that and went back to the game itself I found myself in a prison fight – arguably one of the more brutally violent sequences in the entire franchise.)

I may also be participating in a write-up of the game elsewhere, so I’m going to save some of my thoughts for that piece.  (And believe me, there’s at least 1000 more words I could write right now that I’m holding back on.)  In any event, Uncharted 4 is, for whatever it’s worth, my current front-runner for Game of the Year, and if anything manages to knock it from the top spot, I’ll be very impressed.


It is exceedingly weird to go from U4 to Doom; the two games couldn’t possibly be more different.  Maybe this is why I’m having trouble enjoying it.

Doom feels weird.  I almost wish it was running at 30fps if only so that the graphics would look less… artificial.  Again, it’s hard to come to Doom after spending nearly 20 hours with Uncharted 4, which is almost certainly the most dazzling graphical display I’ve ever seen.

I can appreciate the old-school feel it’s going for; it’s not slow and methodical, there’s no cover to duck behind.  Standing still is instant death.  You fly around the maps, blowing the shit out of everything you see, and even if I’m not necessarily in the mood for this type of thing at the moment, I can at least appreciate the endorphin rush as you melee staggered enemies and commit bloody atrocities in gleefully exciting ways.

To that end, I will agree with Polygon’s assessment that Doom has the best videogame shotgun in decades.  I’m just not sure if that’s enough to get me through the next 8-10 hours.

Shameless Plugs, Raiding Tombs, GOTY prep

1. OK – first thing’s first, my gigantic essay about my history with the Metal Gear Solid franchise is finally available in this similarly gigantic Unwinnable double issue.  It’s one of the longest things I’ve ever written, and if you’re a big fan of MGS then (a) you’ll probably hate it, although it also follows that (b) you’re probably not reading my blog.  But anyway, if you want to read 3000+ words about me v. Kojima, get to it!  There’s a ton of other great stuff in this issue, and I’m pleased as punch to be in it.

2.  As it turns out, I was correct after all – I only had a little bit left in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and it went pretty much as I expected it to.  After the credits rolled, I went back into the story (where there’s an additional coda before you regain control), finished the last Challenge Tomb, and now I’m at 91% completion.  That’s not bad for a first run!  That remaining 9% is still pretty substantial/time-consuming, and it’s not really all that impossible to achieve, either, so I may end up going for 100% if I get overwhelmed by Fallout 4.

My quibbles with RotTR’s story aside, I think it’s an excellent sequel to an already excellent first game, and I’m very happy indeed with where the franchise currently stands.  I think the move to make it a timed console exclusive probably did wonders in terms of focusing development; there’s a level of polish here that really shines through, and it’s abundantly clear that a lot of love and care went into building this thing.

And while I’m still a little “meh” as far as the combat goes – especially as everything else is really, really good – the game doesn’t feel as grotesque about murder as, say, Uncharted.*   There’s still too much killing, and I’m not sure that any of these kinds of games will ever be able to avoid it – even the first 3D Prince of Persia had too much of it and didn’t really know what to do with it.  But at least there’s a LOT more non-combat stuff to do here, and I’m all for it.

3.  So here’s what the rest of the gaming year is looking like:  I’m gonna be starting Fallout 4, possibly tonight.  There’s gonna be some Battlefront, and maybe my buddy and I will continue to slog through Halo 5 in online co-op.  I’m going to give Just Cause 3 a rental, just ‘cuz.  And… I think that’s it, as far as new stuff goes.  I do kinda want to get back to some of the Witcher 3 DLC, even though the New Game + mode was kicking my ass in ways that were not all that pleasurable.

Which means that I guess I can start working on GOTY stuff in earnest, or at least once I get 10-20 hours of Fallout under my belt.


* Indeed, after having recently replayed the first halves of all three of the original PS3 games, I’m a little concerned about the upcoming Uncharted 4; the parts that I love of those games do not appear to be the same parts that everyone else does, and I suspect that U4 will be far more combat- and action-heavy than I’d like.

 

What’s Next for Assassin’s Creed?

(Sorry for the brief hiatus; I was inadvertently and unintentionally off the grid last week.)

1. I finished AssCat last week.  I don’t know how many hours I put into it, but I finished with an 84% completion rate; there are a few side missions (Dickens, Darwin, Doyle) yet to do, and I suppose I could go out and hunt down every last collectible though there’s really no point now – I’m level 10 and more or less completely maxed out, and so a slight uptick in weaponry effectiveness as a reward for finding every single chest isn’t going to make that much of a difference at this stage, and I certainly don’t lack for money or crafting materials – nor do I have anything left to craft).  As a whole, I can comfortably say that it would fit somewhere in my top 3 AC games, alongside AssBro and BlackAss; whatever faults it has – and there are plenty – are more than mitigated by Evie Frye, my favorite of all the AC protagonists.  The larger question, though, is this:  even if AssCat is one of the best games in the franchise, what does that even mean anymore?

Let me back up, though, because while I certainly enjoyed my time with the game, I have a rather lengthy list of problems that I have to address.  And at the very top of this list is Evie’s brother Jacob.  As awesome as Evie is – and she’s awesome, and I could easily spend 1000+ words talking about it – Jacob is, unquestionably, the worst protagonist in the franchise, and one of the only playable characters in my entire history of gaming that I’ve ever wanted to repeatedly punch in the face.  I find his entire character arc bewilderingly stupid, and find it impossible to accept that his current form was the result of focus testing and deliberate design choices.  He is a stupid, brutish asshole, and he does stupid, brutish things, and he makes incredibly stupid and brutish mistakes, and I dreaded having to play his missions because I didn’t want to spend any more time with him than I had to.  Sequence 8 in particular is more or less entirely a Jacob sequence, where he does one stupid thing after another and then has the temerity to be outraged that the villain he was knowingly helping ends up turning on him – which is doubly stupid because it’s not like Jacob cares about the sanctity of human life either, given that he is, you know, a fucking Assassin – and the whole sequence was, on a narrative level, so incredibly stupid that I couldn’t even appreciate the mechanics of the sequence’s final assassination (which, in retrospect, is actually kind of neat). Every time I fucked up and Jacob died, or every time the controls didn’t respond to me and Jacob died, a part of me smiled inside, because that stupid asshole had it coming.

Speaking of which – yeah, the controls.  Oy.  Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton says it better than I could; I only wish I’d beaten him to it with the rant that the controls deserve.  I seem to recall that when the very first game was announced, the thing that the developers wanted us to focus on – more than the climbing or the combat – was the quality of the animation.  And there’s no question that the animation is still, for the most part, astonishingly good and believable (even as our heroes do impossible things).  But it’s 2015 now, and this is the, what, eighth iteration of these games?  The simple act of moving forward shouldn’t require the pressing of more than two buttons.  And if the on-screen prompt tells me that pressing certain buttons means I’m going to drop down, then that’s exactly and only what I want to do.  Even though AssCat is mostly good about this, especially when compared to other AC games, “mostly good” shouldn’t be the standard we’re aiming for.

I could go on, but it’s actually been a few days since I last fired up the game, and I’m having a hard time remembering some of the more specific nits I could pick.  I suppose part of the problem is that, unlike other open-world adventure games I could name, I have literally no desire to go back and get 100% in this one.  I’d maxed out Jacob and Evie’s stats and gadgetry long before I’d finished the main story, and at this point doing stupid errands for famous people feels like a waste of time.

So, then, let’s get back to my original question:  even if AssCat ranks as one of the three best games in the franchise, and completely wipes away the bad taste that AssUnit left behind, what does that mean anymore?  There’s going to be a new one of these games next year, and I already don’t care about it.  The gameplay of AssCat is still more or less the same as it was in the original game; there’s only been iteration upon iteration, rather than any sense of evolution.  (Black Flag certainly feels like an aberration at this point, doesn’t it?)  The AC game we’re going to get next November will take place in another unique place and time, but it will also most likely be the exact same thing we’ve already done 8 or 9 times already, and it’s hard to care about it anymore – especially as those things we keep doing are still retaining the original game’s jankiness.  I beg you, Ubisoft – take a year or two off.  Let people miss these games again.  Take however much time you need to fix the controls, and get your narrative shit together.

2.  I’ve been dabbling in Halo 5, for some reason.  I have zero interest in the multiplayer, which means I’m playing the campaign, and holy shit the campaign is so dumb.  I’ve decided that I’m only playing the campaign in online co-op with my buddy Greg, because that’s the only way I can get through it without beating my head against the coffee table.  The mission designs are so antiquated and unoriginal that it’s actually a little hard to believe that this game was intended to come out this year; the end of Mission 2 has you defending your position while your escape ship prepares itself for lift-off, which is only a thing I’ve done several thousand times before.  I pity the poor voice actor who plays Governor Sloan in Mission 3; he has some of the dumbest lines of dialogue this side of a Metal Gear Solid game, and he delivers them with all the gravitas of an over-baked ham sandwich.  Luckily, I’m about to be heavily distracted by this week’s new releases.

3.  And speaking of those new releases… well, look.  I’ve got a lot of things going on all of a sudden; I’m very much re-engaged with this music project that I’d put on the back-burner for the last few months, and free time is at a premium.  To that end, I’m going to be playing Rise of the Tomb Raider first, because that’s definitely more my speed at the moment, and by the time I finish that, hopefully Fallout 4 will have received some of the necessary patches that it apparently needs.  (Also, it should be noted that I’m not even sure where my Pip-Boy edition even is; I haven’t heard anything from Bethesda since October 22.)

3a.  (I also ordered a Steam Link and a Steam Controller a while ago, and those are similarly lost in the FedEx ether.

4.  I was gonna whine a little bit about the Xbox One backwards compatibility list and how none of the games I was hoping to see made it on this initial reveal – no Portal 1/2, no Red Dead (or really anything by Rockstar for that matter), etc.  But it’s OK, really; even if I can play Fallout 3 again, there’s no way I’m actually going to.

5.  I’ve been remiss in talking about books lately.  I’ve been working my way very slowly through “City on Fire“, which I’m not enjoying as much as I’d hoped I would.  It’s not that it’s bad; it’s just not really hitting any of my buttons.  In fairness, I didn’t pick it up at all last week, and so whatever momentum I might’ve had has been lost.  But it also should be noted that I’m not particularly filled with any nostalgic yearning for the dirty, grimy NYC of the 70s.  Yes, it would’ve been cool to have seen Television or the Talking Heads at CBGBs, but I was not a punk, and I would’ve been beaten to death had I set foot anywhere east of Broadway.  (Hell, when I was at NYU in the early 90s, anything east of 2nd Avenue was considered dangerous and sketchy; when I lived on East Houston Street after I graduated, Ludlow Street was still somewhat dirty.  Now there’s a fucking Whole Foods two blocks away from my old apartment.)

Three Things for Friday

Prologue to today’s three things:  I’ve had an incredibly stressful week, day job-wise, and yesterday was perhaps the roughest of all.  I was in no mood to make music; I kinda just wanted to play with my kid, have a drink after he went to bed, and then sleep.  On the bright side:  I did end up making music, AND I had a drink, AND I played some games and read.  But I was not in the best of ways, I guess you could say.

GAMES:  As noted above, I was in a rough mood.  I did happen to come across Patrick Klepek’s video/article about Grow Home during one of the quieter moments during yesterday’s storm, though, and that did seem to be the sort of thing that might alleviate some stress.  For those of you that don’t know – Grow Home is an experimental game that Ubisoft just announced only two weeks ago, a prototype thing that they were working on based on procedural animation techniques (and which we’ll probably see an adaptation of in the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed games, I’d bet), and in it you play as a charming little robot named B.U.D. who climbs a gigantic plant.  I was certainly charmed by it, though for some reason the game wasn’t working with my 360 controller, and so I had to use mouse/keys, which was a bit more difficult and not particularly intuitive.  Nevertheless, it was a welcome breath of fresh air; pure platforming, exploration, minor environmental puzzle solving, charming art style and sound design.  Hard to pass up for $7.

After a music session (which I’ll get to in a second), I then ended up finishing Far Cry 4; well, I saw the credits roll, at least, though I still have the very last fortress to conquer and a Golden Path epilogue to watch.  (And all the other side stuff to do, of course, none of which I will be doing.)  Kinda screwed up the ending, though.  I’ll try to talk about it in as non-spoilery a way as possible:  after the climactic battle, I was given the opportunity to confront the big baddie, and then, after a speech, I was given a choice to either do something or wait a bit longer, and because I was tired and a little impatient and perhaps somewhat distrustful, I did that thing instead of waiting, and now I kinda wish I’d waited.  I’m certainly not going to go through all 30 hours of that game again just to get the preferred outcome (I’m sure I could look it up on YouTube) and I don’t necessarily regret my course of action (as I simply didn’t care enough about the plot or the characters), but I do kinda wish I’d been a little more open to the idea of seeing what might happen.

What can I say about FC4 that I haven’t said over the last 2 weeks?  It is the same exact game as Far Cry 3 except more bland and far less risky, filled with superfluous side content that doesn’t really mean anything, some occasional, unnecessary nudity that somehow feels more obligatory than gratuitous, and a whole lot of shooting people and animals until they die.  Now that I’m more or less done with it, I’m sure that the only time I’ll ever think about it going forward will be when Far Cry 5 inevitably arrives.

MUSIC:  Again, as noted above, I was in a rough mood.  Really didn’t want to work on music; all I wanted to do was space out and relax and not be required to think.  But eventually I did relax, and realized that I owed it to myself to stick with this RPM Challenge thing and do it anyway, especially since I’d be missing tonight and tomorrow.  To that end, I decided that instead of working from scratch, I’d try to reinterpret one of my older songs that had never been given a proper recording.  This particular song is a bit tricky, given that it goes from 7/4 to 4/4 a few times; it’s also tricky in that I’d always played it on guitar, but decided this time to try it out on piano.  I only laid down one verse and chorus; I never figured out a bridge for it in the past, and in any event I’m not sure if it will make the final cut.  At the very least I’m glad to have learned how to switch time signatures in Logic.

BOOKS:  I remain flummoxed by the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy; that’s pretty much all I can say at this point.

The Last Few Hours: Destiny

Current Status:  Story complete; level 21.


Destiny_BG

I finished Destiny‘s story and hit level 20 on Thursday night, and then sloooooooowly grinded my way up to level 21 by Sunday night.  Did a lot of strikes, co-op missions/patrols, a few rounds in the Crucible.   (I am terrible at the Crucible.)  I’ll even cop to spending 20-30 minutes shooting at the Cave of Loot (though I didn’t get all that much for my efforts).

I am more or less done with it, though, I think.  While it’s true that the next big game doesn’t come out until 9/30 (Shadow of Mordor), I’m not really feeling the pull to keep coming back.  Destiny’s endgame is similar to Diablo III in many respects – you’re basically just doing the exact same stuff over and over and over again, grinding away for better gear, BUT Diablo III has several big advantages over Destiny, even if it’s similarly tedious after a while:  there’s far more to do in Diablo right now, the loot is far more generous, and you can also hit the pause button if you need to take a bathroom break or if your kid is crying or if your aging TV decides to suddenly switch itself off.

Now, to be fair, the launch version of Diablo III on PC had a similarly lackluster endgame and barely resembles its current form.  And as Bungie has repeatedly said that they’re playing the long game with Destiny, I fully expect new content to roll out over the next few months, and I might even come back to check it out every once in a while (though I expect I’ll be woefully outclassed when I do).

But even as Destiny’s gameplay remains mechanically solid – and it is, there’s no question about it – there’s almost nothing else that’s compelling me to stick with it.  Leveling past 20 is arduous and arbitrary (as @LegendaryEngram is so cruelly brilliant in pointing out).  The Strike playlist consists of maybe 4 missions – maybe there’s more, but it certainly feels like there’s only 4 – and I’ve done them all to death.  I’m done with final bosses that sponge up 15 minutes’ worth of shooting, and I’m even more done with final bosses that are bullet sponges AND teleport, because teleporting is bullshit.  Few things feel as cheap as when you only get one grenade that takes minutes to recharge, and then the boss vanishes mid-throw.

I’ve said before that it can be a bit of a critical cop-out to compare one game to another, and so it would be hypocritical of me to compare Destiny to its most obvious influences and contemporary titles – Mass EffectBorderlandsDiablo III, Halo.  But if I’m being honest with myself – and therefore with you – I have to admit that the game that Destiny most reminded me of is this year’s Watch Dogs.  Both games were hyped beyond all rational measure, and they both appeared to look like phenomenal games during their preview stretch.  And then they came out… and left so much to be desired.  Both games featured solidly designed mechanics and impressive-looking graphics, both games eventually grew somewhat tedious and tiresome and repetitive, and both were saddled with dreadfully poor writing and voice performances (though it should be noted that each game’s writing is bad for much different reasons).  I think there’s obviously still plenty of time for Destiny to right the ship, and as said above Bungie’s playing the long game here, but as of right now, these two games are battling for my Biggest Disappointment of 2014 award.