The Year That Was: December 2013Platforms: Android
And so it came to this – the bleak midwinter of the seventh generation, wherein the torch was passed to the successors. November had seen console launches, new games and a truckload of hype but it was December at The Digital Fix wherein we truly got to know those monolithic blocks now occupying the space beneath our televisions. Or, as many of our editors and writers discovered, the complicated negotiations of customer service when buying a console goes awry.
Yes, at least three of our writers – myself included – rang in December bemoaning the shoddy service exhibited by retailers. From Amazon to Zavvi, consoles went missing or were completely lost. Forget Day One Editions – we were lucky to see Day Fourteen Editions, causing Luciano to give up and vent his frustrations at the delayed dawning of a new era.
Once properly into December – console finally on hand – it was time to evaluate the games on offer. And what a smorgasbord of mediocrity dazzled our jaded eyes. Andy found the shiny spectacle of Ryse to be ‘style over substance’ – a glorified tech demo that is perfect to show off a new console but has little in the way of lasting impact. Even the gleaming surfaces and freshly-waxed beauty of Forza 5 didn’t impress Andy beyond the visuals. ‘[The] crisp, clean, almost sterile graphics feed into the overriding feeling that it’s a simulator, not a “fun” racer’ he noted and the review explains why this jewel in the Xbox One crown isn’t as precious as first thought.
The average Sony fan might be smirking in sadistic pleasure at these mediocre scores for the Xbox One launch titles, but the case unfortunately stands that the PlayStation 4 fared about as dismally. Seven was the number across the board with most launch titles, yours truly reviewing Killzone: Shadow Fall and declaring it another benchmark for visuals but a step back in terms of story or longevity. Token launch title flub of the month came in the form of Knack, a platformer from 1992 that had evidently mastered the art of time travel to bring its own special brand of dated gameplay to 2013.
Meanwhile, as is often the case, Nintendo quietly pottered about in the background and managed to show everyone how game development is done by releasing the stunning, potential Game of the Year, in the form of Super Mario World 3D. Ryan reviewed it and declared it ‘a joy from beginning to end’, quite possibly being the killer app that the Wii U has needed. A new Zelda also proved that even the oldest dog can be taught new tricks as well. Spare a thought, though, for Gareth who had the misfortune of playing Deadfall Adventures, rendering him speechless in abject disgust.
We spoke to a fair few industry pros during December too, from Hugo Giard (Mission Director for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag DLC Freedom Cry) to RedBedlam studios and their game-turned-book-turned-game Bedlam (no relation). We also began our retrospective on the best soundtracks of the last generation – twenty prime pieces of sublime bliss for your ears. Lewis even went a bit meta and took reviewers to task for some questionable practices.
And of course we took a look back at the year here at The Digital Fix. From press events to interviews, from the pinnacles of our medium to the dross destined for the bargain bin, we’ve covered it all. And all of this, yes, in this, the Year of Luigi.
Here’s to the next year at The Digital Fix. It looks to be a great one.