10 Disappointments Geeks Faced in 2014
Man, we can be suckers. Every year there’s something we get overhyped for whether through over blown or misleading marketing or building it up in our own minds, and we sometimes get are expectations completely crushed. In the future we can remember 2014 as the year that gave us Guardians of the Galaxy and Shadows of Mordor but first we’re going put to rest some sad disappointments.
To make this list something needed to have had high expectations. There won’t be any TMNT or Sonic Boom turning up because we knew they’d be garbage before they came out.
10. The Serial Finale Gets Lost
Ok, don’t freak out. I’ll be gentle with this one because there’s no way the producers of this podcast blockbuster could have anticipated the level of expectation and investment that grew around their true crime exploration. As listeners were following the story as it unfolded we understood that we weren’t getting a big, dramatic resolution or reveal because, well, the world isn’t that simple. Even then, the final part of this series was the definition of anti-climatic.
After tackling the case from many different angles the final podcast seemed to do nothing but recap and add a few new bits of communication. We could have taken a wider look at the judicial system, considered what lay in Adnan’s future or even the producer and investigators personal feelings about the case, but it felt as though they were being so careful not to imply guilt or innocence without solid facts that we wound up with a winding, pointless diatribe to conclude the first genuine podcast success in a long time.
9. PS4 Mercilessly Trolls Final Fantasy Fans
If you were to create a collective wishlist for gamers one item near the top of the list would be a current generation remake…or even a remaster…of Final Fantasy VII. The PS1 JRPG is widely considered to be one of the best games of all time, ushering in a generation of anime fans, relaunching a franchise and contributing to the Playstation gaining a firm foothold in the industry.
At a keynote address in the middle of 2014 Shinji Hashimoto came out on stage and the screens behind him lit up with the Final Fantasy VII logo. The crowd goes ballistic. This is what they’ve wanted to see since a remade FFVII trailer was made to show off the PS3 hardware. And then we had the fastest wave of disappointment on this list wash over the audience when it’s revealed the PS4 was getting a straight port of the 1997 PC version of the game. No remake. Not even a HD remaster. Just the same version we’ve played already, but we get to pay for it again.
8. Veronica Mars Needs a Clue
Did you contribute to the Veronica Mars kickstarter? I sure did, Veronica Mars is one of the best TV shows ever made. It’s brilliant. Even Joss Whedon called it one of his favourite shows. It was cancelled well before its time and replaced with the culture icon Who Wants to be the Next ‘Pussycat Doll’. Yeah, proud moment for us all right there.
It didn’t take long for Veronica Mars fans to turn the movie into the fastest growing crowdsource project in history. Whilst the movie wasn’t bad, it was misguided. Rather than looking to the future and rebuilding the franchise the movie had it’s sights firmly pointed to the past, dredging up every obscure character and in-joke available for a cameo. It look until the final act for the movie to really heat up and give us a solid mystery script, having spent most of the movie winking at the audience. This could be why they’re trying to launch a spin-off centred on Ryan Hansen’s surfer dude Dick instead of gearing up a fourth season.
7. Justice League May Have Already Failed
Opinion on Man of Steel was certainly divided. It looked flashy but the story and characters were dull as dull gets. As the first step towards a team-up movie intended to challenge The Avengers it wasn’t Iron Man. The biggest problem is Zac Snyder who struggles in adjusting his distinct visual style to different material has now been locked into Batman vs Superman and Justice League parts 1 and 2. He’s not a bad director but he is not the creative juggernaut Joss Whedon is. Plus they’re distancing the DC movie universe from the DC television universe – the one thing they’ve managed to do consistently well. Recasting the Flash so quickly after establishing the character on the small screen is ridiculous, and not including the already popular Green Arrow would be a mistake.
Sure, Marvel and Disney have gone just as overboard in scheduling a hundred movies for the coming years but they’ve got an established cast and story to build on. DC are trying to do the same thing off the back of one moderately successful reboot movie.
6. Doctor Who Flies Off Course
The introduction of a new incarnation of the Doctor is an exciting time for Whovians. What will they be like, what new direction will they take the show and how will it change the relationships with the existing characters? Most agreed that Peter Calpadi was a slam dunk choice and we weren’t disappointed. After the increasingly younger and goofier David Tennent and Matt Smith it was a welcome return to a cantankerous Doctor.
Sadly he wasn’t given the best material to work with. Major plotlines, such as the search for Gallifrey, were put on the backbench in favour of increasingly disjointed monster-of-the-week episodes. Some of the best episodes in the series are the stand alone stories, but the quality wavered up and down and the focus often felt like the focus was on Clara rather than the Doctor. Clara’s story had felt done and finished since the end of series 7, and the back and forth about whether or not she was leaving grew tiresome. Eventually she made a decision to stay in a drawn out sub-plot of the season finale, only for the decision to be reversed in the Christmas special. Can we get a new companion and/or show runner please? It’s not working right now.
5. The Assassin’s Creed Franchise Stabbed Itself in the Foot
After Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag made amends for the boring third numbered entry in the series things were looking brighter for the series that was getting left behind in the market. Then…Unity. In spite of the great setting and Ubisoft banking on TWO major releases in the Christmas market this became representative of all the bad habits of game developers this decade. I haven’t heard much about Rogue because the awful mess of Unity was all people wanted to talk about.
It was full of glitches, including skinless faces during cutscenes, it had a poorly implemented multiplayer, it was criticised for not including female characters, it forced players to download a phone app to complete puzzles, it was relentless is offering in-game purchases, it forced players to sign up to ‘Uplay’, which is pure marketing…it was endless. Even after a ridiculous 4 patches totalling 7GB of data to download in the first month it’s still considered a bomb.
4. Batwoman Got Hung Out to Dry
For Batman fans (like me) there are plenty of comics to follow week to week. Some are dark, some are gritty and some are…dark and gritty. Ok, they’re all pretty similar. Except for Batwoman. Featuring a unique art style and a striking black, white and red colour scheme the covers jumped off the shelves. Then there was Batwoman aka Kate Kane herself. With a strong military background, Jewish heritage and homosexuality she could have been DC’s attempt to represent a number of subcultures in one hit, but she was a remarkably well written character who felt more realistic than her bat-themed allies.
Then in 2013 the lead writer quit following a conflict with the DC publishers. They didn’t mind her being gay but they drew the line at letting her marry her partner. The creative team was left in shambles, leading to a downturn in quality. Stories included a very poorly received and distasteful rape subplot. Rather than coax the team back and try to repair the damage, Batwoman was cancelled at the close of 2014.
3. Watch_Dogs was Unbridled Hype
Every new gaming console has a champion, a game they can point to and say “that is the reason to buy”. Assassin’s Creed, Halo, Mario 64…every console has the big release title that becomes the driving force behind launch day. Watch_Dogs was that game for the PS4 and other new consoles. At least, it WOULD have been if a massive delay happened been slapped on to the release date, happening so close to the launch of the console that retailers had to scramble to ensure pre-ordered bundles weren’t lost. It’s easy to see why we got hyped up for the game. The developers were treating it like a sure fire hit and it looking amazing in the trailers. The number of special editions available required a chart to be drawn up to pick the best one.
Then it came out to a resounding ‘meh’ from critics and gamers alike. Whilst a functional game with some nice elements with graphics that were very nice (not as nice as the trailers, mind you) the story and main character were generic and unmemorable. The hacking mechanic at the centre of the game felt like a side-gimmick to the usual GTA clone activities and the lack of consistent morals for the character became laughable. You could actively hack a persons bank account and steal their money while beating their mugger with a stick in the name of justice. Sure isn’t going to make any 2014 Top 10 lists.
2. How I Met Your Mother Pissed off Everyone With Their Finale
So you’ve stretch the show out roughly five years longer than you should have. You’ve finally, FINALLY, introduced the title character who we’ve been yearning to see for eight years and you get ready to launch the final season. Here’s what not to do.
Don’t hinge the entire season on a cheap gimmick like all 22 episodes taking place in the two days before a wedding. Don’t move all the action to a previously unseen location and introduce a bunch of unknown characters. Don’t remove one of your five main characters from the location, having them interact with a total stranger instead of the dynamic that made the show popular. Don’t turn the entire final season into a tribute to running jokes and repeated cameos that have already run their course. Don’t write the final season around two people finally come together in a wedding that didn’t make sense and required 6 years of character development to work, and then flash forward to their emotionless divorce two minutes later. Don’t build up the show about how Ted met his perfect woman and then rarely feature them together. Don’t then kill her three minutes after they meet on screen. Don’t finish the show with a coupling that was RULED IN THE FIRST EPISODE AND YOU’VE USED AS A FALL BACK PLOT FOR EIGHT YEARS AND EVERYONE WAS SICK OF IT AND NOBODY WANTED IT.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro
Just…just…Jesus, what the fuck was this? You did such good work with the first one and THIS is what you kick things up a notch with? There’s so much wrong with this movie we couldn’t list them all here. It felt like a different writer was brought in to write each scene and none of them were allowed to communicate with each other. What the hell was with Oscar Winner Jamie Foxx and that terrible haircut muttering to himself about Spider-Man giving him a birthday cake? What the hell was with Oscar Winner Paul Giamatti playing a Russian mobster who would look culturally insensitive during the Cold War? Why the hell was Rhino a central part of the marketing? What the hell was with that secret train car? How did they even make that thing?
This prequel to the Sinister Six movie was so badly received it’s seen the sequel pushed back until they cleanse the palate with Sinister Six and a Spider-Girl or something. It jammed together a series of increasingly bizarre plot threads until we were lurching from one stupid exposition to the next without any sense of continuity or character development. The Green Goblin and Rhino were given one brief action scene each, tacked on at the end of the movie, while we were given bleeding eardrums by the shitty Electro dubstep. It’s amazing they had the sense to cut the scene where Richard Parker turns up alive at the end. Although by that point of the movie such screwiness wouldn’t have fazed me.
Enough of this shit, onward to 2015.