Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, Metaleater Media as a whole.
Countdowns of the good and bad things that have happened in gaming for a particular year are a regular thing now so I thought I would do my own top five for each and see what you wonderful readers thought. These is things that got to me personally so I would not be surprised if there were bits not mentioned here that people expected to be, but I would be happy to hear your thoughts on these, so do feel free to comment below. Okay, here we go:
5: Hardware Rereleases
Coming from a personal view point as an Xbox One owner, I didn't manage to get a Day One console so I had one just in time for Christmas and I still have the same model. I was greatly annoyed when newer versions were released with bigger hard drives but I always shrugged it off, especially after I purchased an external two terabyte hard drive. But this year Microsoft really got to me with the release of The Elite Console. It really didn't bother me that the hard drive was bigger or that it came with the frankly overpriced Elite controller, I certainly hadn't planned on buying one for the price they wanted for it. What bothered me was that part of its description read that it was able to access its memory and get you gaming "20% faster," cheaper than what I had originally paid for my current Xbox One. Thanks a lot, Microsoft.
It's not hard to see why Sony has always done better on the hardware side of things and I do not understand how Microsoft couldn't have done this right at the beginning. Trading my console in for this version is pointless as I know I will get screwed on the trade in value so I shall do my best to be content with it, knowing that there is a better, perhaps only slightly, version of my console out there at a cheaper price than what I originally paid for it.
4: Batman: Arkham Knight
With games like this I really do feel badly for PC owners, I really do. Games like this have forced me into the position, even though I am a console owner, to no longer pre-order anything as some companies just cannot be trusted anymore, I think. After PC owners reported so many faults such as frame rate drops and crashes, Steam pulled the game from sale and full refunds were offered to those who had purchased it. A patch was finally made available for the PC version in the beginning of September but some faults still remained and refunds were offered to customers no matter how long they had owned the game, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment said that they would try to sort out these issues for customers who chose to keep the game.
Well PC owners, you are not completely alone on this one. As someone who brought the Xbox One version I found the game to be pretty good but it crashed on me three times. It also didn't award me two story related achievements, both of which were right in the middle of the story and put me in the mind frame of "the hell with this." Once all the DLC has been released and I have played the ones I like, it will be deleted.
3: Questionable Crowd Funding
I know that there are a lot of backers for Mighty Number Nine who regretted backing the game. Due for release in September, the game has since been delayed and these backers just want the game to come out now so they can see the result of all this. It seemed so strange that even though the game has not come out yet, Keiji Inafune chose to launch not one but two Kickstarter campaigns: one for a new game called Red Ash: The Indelible Legend and an anime based on it called Red Ash: Magicicada. The anime reached its funding goal but with only a few days to go it looked like the game's Kickstarter looked like it was going to fail, only just crawling over the halfway mark to the target amount of $800,000 and then something happened that suddenly put a lot of people off. Inafune had seemingly pulled some strings behind the scenes and had gone to a Chinese game publisher, Fuze, who had said they would fund the game and any money they got from the Kickstarter would go towards extra content. Backers were not happy and it appeared that appeared they felt something fishy was going on so a lot of them pulled their money from the project and the Kickstarter failed, reaching only $520,000 in the end.
It is examples like this that put people off of crowd funding games, films and so on, and I don't blame them. I have backed three this year but that's it for me for now, as I find a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon or some of these projects simply are not worth it.
Of course, bad examples keep coming along. Tim Schafer launched yet another crowd funding scheme for Pyschonauts 2 using Fig, a crowd funding platform for video games and at the time of writing this the funding is over the half way point. Moments like these say to me that people like Schafer can't make games without crowd funding (because obviously he couldn't afford it from the sales of Broken Age), but there are a lot of fools who are easily parted with their money as his reliability with other people's money is now widely known because of Broken Age. People have been pointing out that Schafer appears to have extended the time of the fund raising period from 32 days to 37. As well as being noticed that in order to even comment in the forum of the game you must pledge $33. Yeah.
Finally, it is worth noting that Fig, the platform being used to help fund this game, Schafer sits on the adversary board, and that is worth thinking about in terms of conflicts of interest.
The only reason fuss was kicked up over this character was nothing more than the fact she was a woman wearing a bikini top. If it had been a man running around topless nobody would have said a thing but with all this gender politics crap around these days, it was almost a certainty. I took a look at the character when a picture of her emerged but after I studied it for a moment to see why there were people complaining. I didn't think it was anything worth complaining about and moved on but when I took another look at the whole commotion, I noticed that most of the people complaining about her were mostly men, which I found odd. Maybe this is a view from a rather simple male, which I am, but I just found it so strange. People like Jim Sterling, Michael Mcwhertor from Polygon (of course) and even (Angry) Joe Vargas attacked the design of the character. His video review of Metal Gear Solid V even wondered if Kojima was "five years old." The lady behind Quiet's likeness and eventual voice, Stephanie Joosten, has come out in support of the character design, showing pride in her work when she posted video play throughs of the game and her amused reaction to meeting "herself" in it. She even went as far as to say that male characters in the series have been through similar designs, such as a topless Vamp and even Raiden running around completely naked in Metal Gear Solid 2.
But what did other women think of this character design? I follow a lot of women cosplayers on my Twitter (I'm a man, screw you) and I noticed a lot of them either liked the character or had even cosplayed as her. One such lady was Danica Rockwood, who had done what I thought was the best job with the character. I reached out to her for a comment on this section and I shall end this with not only her quote but one of the photos she did with David Love Photography.
1: Rise of Microtransactions, bad or overpriced DLC in games
I am someone who likes value for money in the products that I buy. It's why I have not purchased such games as Star Wars Battlefront and Rainbow Six Siege, as I really don't think they are worth the asking price. Another annoyance I have had more this year has been either DLC that has not been worth it or as the title of this section says: the increase of microtransactions in full price games. To be frank: I think it is shit.
If I have paid full price for a new game, that is all I am going to pay and attempting to charge extra for an in game currency is just another way of squeezing more money out of the customer. Mortal Kombat X had them at launch, as did Evolve, Halo 5: Guardians and even Rise of the Tomb Raider, a single-player game that really had no need for them at all. Destiny, Blood Bowl 2 and Payday 2 added them post launch and received a negative response for doing so, Payday 2 being the worst. Season passes and DLC have either been overpriced or have simply quite cheap and nasty for what they offer. Dying Light's Bozak Horde and Batman: Arkham Knight's Harley Quinn and Red Hood DLC packs are prime examples of this. They are either far too short, or just comes across as a lazy effort in an attempt to make money.
Examples like these have pushed me into the position of not pre-ordering anything or being very very cautious of what I buy going into 2016, and I find that such a shame. To me, I used to see a game and ask "Is it good?" and that has now changed to "Is it worth it?" It has cut what games I buy down dramatically and that saddens me even more, but I can find some comfort in the fact that I will have more money in my pocket on a monthly basis, money which can be put towards a game I think is worth the asking price.