2011 - The good, the bad and the ugly

Not about the good games of 2011, there's already a thread for that.

What news, events, and trends have caught your eye in the last 12 months? To start

The good:
Indies getting more time in the spotlight - Not just the increasing amount of bundles, including Valve using the potato sack of 13 games to cross promote with Portal2, but with the increased exposure indies seem to be more professional and the quality of their games is great too.

The bad:
Various game networks getting hacked - PSN and the steam forums are the headliners.
Developers still getting the whip cracked for months of crunch time before a game is released, or years in the case of LA Noire.

The ugly:
Origin - It's not yet a joy to use, and integration with EA's own games is sketchy. I hope EA bring it up to a higher standard.

I'd put the handbag slapfight between EA and Steam on The Ugly. Same with the BF3 vs. MW3 fight that EA tried to pick.

My attitude towards EA right now is that I'm not going to give them the benefit of the doubt for a while. Sure, I know they've got a business to run, but their actions seem counter to what I want, so no more buying on release for a while. To get my money they have to show me with the release version. (and if you could remind me of this a few months down the line I'd be grateful)

Another one
The bad:
Bethesda who think it's acceptable to release games under their wing in varying states of bugginess. Brink, Rage and Skyrim were all poor experiences for some groups.

Scratched wrote:
The bad:
Bethesda who think it's acceptable to release games under their wing in varying states of bugginess. Brink, Rage and Skyrim were all poor experiences for some groups.

That's pretty part for the course for Bethesda, though. Their games are like Windows, always wait for Service Pack 1.

I'd say something to include in the good:
This is has been an absolutely fantastic year for gaming...while most were sequels, still, some fantastic games this year.

Scratched wrote:

The ugly:
Origin - It's not yet a joy to use, and integration with EA's own games is sketchy. I hope EA bring it up to a higher standard.


It's funny, I signed up for Origin when The Old Republic started their preorders; now that ToR has launched I don't use Origin for it.
I do have BF3 on there but I don't play too much.

The Ugly:
Sword of the Stars II. What the hell, guys?

The Bad and/or Ugly:
Duke Nukem Forever was the longest-running joke in gaming history, and it probably would have been better if it had stayed that way. I picked it up for five bucks, still shrink-wrapped, at Best Buy the other day, six months after release, meaning the game effectively went from funny joke to just a joke. It should have stayed unreleased forever; I haven't even been inspired to put it in the disc tray yet and play it.

Yeah, I would have to agree that DNF wins The Ugly category for 2011.

Although Gearbox did restore their karma with the Claptrap eulogy, which definitely belongs in The Good category.

The Good:
EA's continuance of taking chances on interesting new IPs (Bulletstorm, Shadows of the Damned)

The Bad:
EA's continuance of sh*tty marketing for said new IPs, thus damning them to the void

I think Origin is pretty competent, compared to other Steam competitors and EA's own previous attempts. It's still no Steam and I still wish they'd stuck with Steam, but I think I'm now in the "Steam + Origin" camp. Steam still autoloads and Origin still doesn't, but I'm fairly confident Origin isn't going to fold for a long time. I'd say it still fits as "Ugly," just not THAT ugly.

From my point of view

The Good
Another great year for PC games, several memorable titles played and even a couple for my personal hall of fame.

The Bad & the Ugly
The whole mess that was Crysis 2 getting yanked from Steam. With EA now saying its going to hold certain titles as Origin exclusives I fear the day is approaching where I will be forced to have 3 or 4 different Steam style services to play games.

The Weird
2011 was apparently a year for sequels. 2012 looks to be the sequel to the year of sequels..

The Good
I've paid for and played more Indie games this year than I ever have before.

Dropping the cash and putting together a real gaming PC for the first time in 6 years. My 360's pretty much been collecting dust since I discovered League of Legends. I am enjoying more titles and discovering a lot of great titles I would have missed if I hadn't built it.

And speaking of Free to Play games... There are some absolutely killer FtP games out there. League of Legends, Tribes:Ascend, DDO, DC Universe... There's a lot of fun to be had for "free". Which makes me even more curious to see how SWTOR looks in 6 months.

Google Plus (I love it at least) and the fact that they put the G+ Games in their own little isolated area. It's really a fantastic network without all the bloated / unusable features.

The Bad
More titles shipping incomplete with DLC to fill in the gaps.

It parallels the hacking discussion but the stripmining of personal info by Zynga, Facebook and other third party developers.

The explosion of Android tables of dubious quality / capability.

The Ugly

Fantasy Flight's Elder Signs. Fantastic little mobile timewaster that crashes / hard locks everyone's phone I know. I can't play it at lunch because my wife usually calls and if that happens I have to pull my battery out to reboot my phone.

WiiU. Seriously, Nintendo really needs to rethink this.

Facebook. You almost need ADHD to understand half of what the UI is trying to do.

The Good
At least one RPG came out with a deep complicated system.

The Bad
Arkham City style DLC that I have to start a whole new game to enjoy.

The Ugly
I don't have a DOTA2 beta key yet...

Just a few items that haven't already been said, I won't repeat the rest...

The Good:
Orcs Must Die. It's true, they really must.
Steam sales. All the New Vegas DLC for $7? Yes, please.

The Bad:
Riot still hasn't been able to have a smooth champion release for LoL.
DotA 2 still has the DotA community, with players leaving the game if you die twice (calling you n00b just for dying once).

The Ugly:
Battlefield 3s browser-based launcher. Functional it may be, but a good idea it was not.
+1 to Jeff's ugly list.

[quote=Scratched]

mcdonis wrote:
The whole mess that was Crysis 2 getting yanked from Steam. With EA now saying its going to hold certain titles as Origin exclusives I fear the day is approaching where I will be forced to have 3 or 4 different Steam style services to play games.quote]
Something I wonder, assuming all the different clients are fully developed, is this any worse than 'the old days' when you had to manually patch? It kind of hinges on that "fully developed" part I think, and I'd go so far as to say even steam isn't there yet, but it's furthest in front by a mile.

The biggest stumbling block right now does seem to be the relationships between companies and their various digital offerings, business and technical.

Even worse back in the mid 90's you had to send off a request to get a patch disk via mail.

But having said that I think we have progressed with Steam, I like seeing all my games in one window and not ever worring about patches. I only wish I could have Valve purchase GOG and integrate them into the steam collective.

I just hope I dont have to have a different "steam" for every publisher.

I've only played about an hour or so, but so far, DNF is *fun*. I'm getting the same vibe so far as when I played Brutal Legend, where all the critics just decided the game stinks because it doesn't meet a certain criteria of quality and forgot to ask the question of whether it's an enjoyable experience.

Nevin73 wrote:
I'd say something to include in the good:
This is has been an absolutely fantastic year for gaming...while most were sequels, still, some fantastic games this year.

trueheart78 wrote:
The Weird
2011 was apparently a year for sequels. 2012 looks to be the sequel to the year of sequels..

I think this was in large part a function of the console cycle. By this point in previous generations there would have been a new console and probably original games to go with it. Since these consoles are still around, companies are going to keep making the games that these consoles are most strongly identified with.

The Good:

  • While it's nowhere near ideal, Nintendo has been quietly patching together a reasonable online platform on the 3DS. It's still behind the competition, but it gives hope that they'll get better as they go along, especially since they've added functionality with each system update.

The Bad:

  • This year's AAA titles seemed to almost all have really rocky launches on the PC. Even as someone who avoids PC gaming like the plague, I felt bad for everyone affected.

The good: the year of the indie. loads of great indie games, and great indie bundles. the year of the finished game. I should have 20 completed games this year, a personal best. The year of the deal: incredible gaming values to be had all year, and the best may be yet to come. Witcher 2's great success (1M units sold despite being DRM free).

the bad: GFWL continuing to exist. Origin popping up and yanking games from Steam. Stronghold 3 flops, released in shoddy condition. Rage/Bethesda shafting PC gamers with a crappy port. WoW jumping the panda shark.

the ugly: Gamestop buying Impulse (puke). Ubisoft continuing their online-only DRM. Blizzard announcing Diablo III would have the same.

mcdonis wrote:
The whole mess that was Crysis 2 getting yanked from Steam. With EA now saying its going to hold certain titles as Origin exclusives I fear the day is approaching where I will be forced to have 3 or 4 different Steam style services to play games.

Something I wonder, assuming all the different clients are fully developed, is this any worse than 'the old days' when you had to manually patch? It kind of hinges on that "fully developed" part I think, and I'd go so far as to say even steam isn't there yet, but it's furthest in front by a mile.

The biggest stumbling block right now does seem to be the relationships between companies and their various digital offerings, business and technical.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

  • This year's AAA titles seemed to almost all have really rocky launches on the PC. Even as someone who avoids PC gaming like the plague, I felt bad for everyone affected.

+1.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
The Bad:
  • This year's AAA titles seemed to almost all have really rocky launches on the PC. Even as someone who avoids PC gaming like the plague, I felt bad for everyone affected.

I don't really agree with this. I'm exclusively a PC gamer and can't really recall a large number of issues with games. Of course I didn't play Rage and Skyrim was made by Bethesda, some issues are expected.

Off the top of my head, the threads for Rage, Dead Island, Deus Ex, Arkham City, and Skyrim were almost all overrun by people posting about technical issues on the PC. Mixed in with that were issues with smaller titles like Renegade Ops and its ever-shifting release date. Maybe I just happened to read a coincidentally poor sampling of threads, but it seemed like a larger problem this year than in recent years.

The only big multiplatform release that I don't recall people having a bunch of issues with was Portal 2.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Off the top of my head, the threads for Rage, Dead Island, Deus Ex, Arkham City, and Skyrim were almost all overrun by people posting about technical issues on the PC. Mixed in with that were issues with smaller titles like Renegade Ops and its ever-shifting release date. Maybe I just happened to read a coincidentally poor sampling of threads, but it seemed like a larger problem this year than in recent years.

The only big multiplatform release that I don't recall people having a bunch of issues with was Portal 2.

I haven't played Rage, but read the .. uh .. rage about it. Dead Island was pretty fubar on release for PC, but was patched and fixed up pretty quickly. Arkham City was near flawless in DX9 mode (save for GFWL issues some had), and it's complaints stemmed from the broken/missing DX11 mode that Rocksteady and WB promised us would be the cat's meow (and 3 weeks later, it's still broken).

"Fubar on release" but "patched and fixed up pretty quickly" and "broken/missing DX11 mode" that was promised doesn't sound like an acceptable way to treat your customers. Note: despite my history of friendly ribbing of the PC gaming hipsters master race, I'm not knocking PC gaming here. It just seemed like there were a lot of problems on that platform and a lot of players getting screwed-over. I'm quite happy if that's not the case and I just misperceived things.

Dead Island and Rage came out in pretty close proximity this fall, and both were pretty hosed on PC at release.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
"Fubar on release" but "patched and fixed up pretty quickly" and "broken/missing DX11 mode" that was promised doesn't sound like an acceptable way to treat your customers. Note: I'm not knocking PC gaming here. It just seemed like there were a lot of problems on that platform and a lot of players getting screwed-over. I'm quite happy if that's not the case and I just misperceived things.

I know you weren't knocking it, and likewise, I wasn't defending it, more commentary is all. I was disappointed in the Batman AC DX11 issues, but fortunately the game looks amazing in DX9. Outstanding textures and lighting and really is not in need of any DX11 features, so I kind of felt like it was a very complete, and well-done port.

There were also a lot of fantastic ports this year, where a lot of TLC was given to PC. Saints Row 3, Crysis 2, (I had zero issues with DXHR), Space Marine, DA2, Dead Space 2, and many others.

In fairness I didn't play Dead Island either, but I really had no problems with DX:HR or Batman, which I just started.

The Good: I bought a Playstation 3, finally ending my anti-fanboyishness, and discovered a number of awesome 1st party titles like inFamous 1 and 2, Resistance 3 and Heavy Rain.

Metroid: Other M wasn't a fluke. Super Mario 3D Land, Super Mario Kart 7, Pokemon White and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are all fun. It's good to love the company that made me love video games in the first place.

The Bad: I was hoping E3 this year would be Microsoft's chance to pull out a bunch of new IP's or other sorts of good games, but instead they just want to be Wii-again. Even Nintendo had Twilight Princess, though, during their system's launch, with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption around the corner. I don't want to drop money on a Kinect. I want something that can play on the f*cking system that I bought.

The Ugly: Hacking. Lots of hacking. Sony getting a lot of flack for a bunch of asshole hackers.

Not quite sure: The 3DS not meeting expectations, which was bad. The rapid price drop, which was bad for early adopters. That said, the ambassador games and current titles have made the system more than worth the investment.

ccesarano wrote:
Not quite sure: The 3DS not meeting expectations, which was bad. The rapid price drop, which was bad for early adopters. That said, the ambassador games and current titles have made the system more than worth the investment.

Yeah, I've been thinking about this, too. On the one hand, the 3DS didn't meet its sales expectations at $250, on the other, it beat them at $170. I'm not happy to see Nintendo losing money with each console sold, but I am happy to see the 3DS doing as well as it is. The software lineup has definitely improved, as well.