It’s been half a year so far, and plenty of high profile games have been released to the waiting public, prepared to love them or loathe them. For every great game that exceeds expectations there’s bound to be a dud that gains a lot of hype either from the public or from a marketing department. While it’s far too early to decide which games are the greatest of the year and worst, it’s never an awful idea to look back on the year of releases as of now and gain perspective for the future, or just to see what holds up at the very most.
Games that exceeded their expectations will be the topic of choice for now, which is always more difficult than choosing a game that failed in every possible measure. It’s the topic that’s more likely to cause disagreements amongst the readers which ultimately leads to discussion. As a fan of discussion, this writer will provide a list of games that he himself felt were the ones that lived up to anticipations and then some in the first half of the year. This is an opinion and not a fact, so feel free to disagree if the need arises.
Strider – Double Helix Games: The general public was not happy that Strider was being remade by Double Helix Games. The makers of such esteemed classics like Battleship, Silent Hill: Homecoming and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, it’s not unreasonable to grab a pitchfork and torch ready to hate it. Strider surprised everyone by being a perfectly competent platformer with flashes of greatness sprinkled throughout. Of course it wasn’t without its problems, but it certainly lived up to the very, very low expectations piled onto Double Helix without mercy.
South Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian Entertainment: Obsidian can’t catch a break. It seems every title they begin developing on start with grandiose concepts and vast amounts of content before having their hand forced by publishers to release early or make cuts. Every game Obsidian released as a cause have been great at its core but littered with bugs and forcibly cut or half-finished content. Lump that track record with a South Park brand that has never had a tolerable game created using the material and the publisher being THQ only made worries worse. The icing on top of this unfortunante cake was Microsoft’s cancellation of Obsidian’s Xbox One title named “North Carolina” which led to staff cuts. Only a few months later THQ shut its doors. Despite Obsidian’s terrible luck which looked like something directly out of a black comedy, Ubisoft won the contested rights for the property and the game saw release. Even though content had to be cut the game was fantastic, meshing Paper Mario type combat elements with the combined writing prowess of Obsidian and South Park’s creators. The wait for a publisher ambitious enough to take a chance on a completely finished Obsidian game continues, but we can be rest assured that no other developer can roll with the punches like Obisidian.
WildStar – Carbine Studios: The popularity of the MMO, if measured by the initial success of Elder Scrolls Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and World of Warcraft’s dwindling sales is waning. Chalk it up to mediocre new titles or a general disinterest in a genre that’s grown stagnant over a decade skepticism floated over WildStar like a storm cloud. When the beta was released to the public in set increments it showed a game that was prepared to be a contender in the genre both critically and commercially. Fast forward a month or two and WildStar is trucking onward with nary a hitch, when considering the current state of the MMORPG genre is actually an incredible accomplishment.