It’s that time of year again folks, the time when the P2 team get together and give out their totally imaginary awards for the year. As always we can never decide as some sort of single entity so to save the fights every writer gets their own choice. Our first award for the year is the Biggest Disappointment.
The Player 2 2020 Awards – Biggest Disappointment
Stephen del Prado – Animal Crossing: New Horizon
This one is absolutely a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation and shouldn’t be taken to mean that AC:NH is a bad game. Animal Crossing falls into the same category as Monster Hunter for me; something I keep going back to time and again, even after it’s been made perfectly clear (time and again) that I don’t actually jive with the game that much. After a short initial burst of enthusiasm, my time in AC dwindled to basically nothing, pushing me to delete my island totally and pass the game over to my wife, who is much more engaged with what AC offers.
Will I have learned my lesson by the time the next AC game launches in 8 or so years? My track record so far doesn’t make it look promising, but I think I’ve finally accepted that both Monster Hunter and AC, while great games in their own right, simply aren’t my cup of tea.
Jess Zammit – The internet’s reaction to Cyberpunk 2077
I’m not even talking about the game – I haven’t put enough time into it to make any kind of comment. Reviewers say it’s buggy, and it’s actively offensive to a lot of minority groups, and physically harming others by putting them at risk of seizures. There are huge issues with crunch and labour practices. But that’s a topic for another piece. What disappoints me most, at the end of this absolute trash fire of a year, is the way it has brought out the worst part of the internet – the part that I, perhaps foolishly, had hoped was dying out. So many of my fellow game critics, particularly those who aren’t straight white dudes, are facing harassment, belittlement and discreditation, simply for saying that a buggy game is buggy. It’s still a case of damned if we do, damned if we don’t. If we say it’s good, we’re in publishers and developers’ pockets. If we say it’s bad, we don’t know what we’re talking about and we must not have even played the games we’re talking about. At what point are we allowed to do our jobs and express a wide variety of opinions? Because it feels incredibly disappointing to me that we’re still talking about this. So much so that I don’t really care about what bad games came out this year. I just want our industry and the people that claim to love games so much, to be better.
Paul James – Final Fantasy Chronicles Remastered
I loved Crystal Chronicles on my Gamecube back in the day and was stoked to take this remaster for a spin, and yet, I couldn’t have been any more disappointed in the final product. Firstly the visual tweaks are borderline non-existent and so the game looks pretty rubbish compared to most other remasters, and then there are the AU exclusive server issues which may (or may not) still be plaguing the region leading Square-Enix to pull the game from the local PSN and Nintendo eShops. The quicker we move on from this subject the better.
Chris Lawn – The Games Industry at Large
Something that has solidified for me personally this year is how much I avoid Big Game Releases like the plague (sorry) these days. The Last Of Us Part 2. Ghost of Tsushima. Cyberpunk 2077. Every single one of these releases has been exhausting to be online for. Fanboys getting their knickers in a twist about the most ridiculous things, then deliberately choosing to be absolutely horrible to the people creating / reviewing / talking about them on social media. If you participate in this type of behaviour, grow the fuck up.
Then we have the publishers. Yes Ubisoft, I’m looking at you. A company that espouses progressive values that allegedly cares about its people, yet has systemic, deep-rooted problems weaving throughout its very core. Doing the bare minimum to try and quell backlash, rather than try and actually deal with the problems permanently. For some, myself included, I can’t even look at a Ubisoft game without thinking about this. Get your house in order, and be better.
Finally, those that profit from harming others. I’m not even going to mention their names so as not to drive further traffic to them, but let’s just say that if you’re making youtube videos targeting female reviewers deliberately making up false drama for clicks, you are the neckbeard equivalent to the gossip magazines your grandmother buys at the supermarket. Baseless, useless, adding no value to the world. Again, if you consume this kind of media, consider moving on to creators who actually add value to the space, rather than just being giant whinge machines who don’t care about the harm they cause to others.
Harrison Tabulo – Resident Evil 3
Gosh, I could gush about Resident Evil 2: Remake for days! I just wish I could say the same about this year’s follow up. Resident Evil 3 felt really walked-back and streamlined comparatively. I’d liken it to a big funnel; starting wide with exploration but then swiftly becomes a big corridor that lacks much of the same intricacies that made its predecessor so beautiful. While I don’t think this makes it a bad experience, there’s just so much less joy to be had playing and then replaying it ad nauseum. Kind of brutally too, all I can say about its multiplayer is that it’s forgettable. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch but just did absolutely nothing for me. Altogether, Resident Evil 3, unfortunately, makes the case for; just because it’s the newest, doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Rob Caporetto – Microsoft Flight Simulator
I might not have been hanging out with excitement for Flight Simulator 2020, but its initial reception on launch was enough to pique my interest.
Sadly, the excitement of wanting to play it was rather short-lived for a number of reasons.
The first is the purely digital nature of the experience. One might say it’s the trappings of nostalgia, but including paper navigation maps and manuals with earlier games greatly added to the experience in those days. In fact, I’d say it was a big contribution to why I enjoyed flying with Flight Simulator II on my C64 as a kid.
There’s also the weight around the process of getting into the skies, whether from the infamously long installation and download times (even with my connection at home), to what’s needed to get on the runway. All of these really take away from the accessibility of the experience, especially when you can only justify a short flight session.
It may have disappointed me somewhat, but that won’t get in the way of me appreciating the technical and artistic work needed to recreate our world in such detail.
Matt Hewson – Halo Infinite
I love me some Master Chief, what can I say, and when Microsoft announced that Infinite was being delayed, my heart broke a little. Was it the right call by Microsoft and 343? Absolutely, we will get a better game as a result, but that doesn’t mean my disappointment was lessened. It has been way too long since I have spent some quality time with the Chief and I was desperately looking forward to it. Alas, it wasn’t to be in 2020.