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By 5 December 2014 | Categories: feature articles

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2014 is drawing to a close, and although I for one am most definitely glad to see the back of it (it’s been a rough one!), there have still been some pretty awesome highlights as well as some bright spots on the horizon for the upcoming year.

Sometimes we look back over a year and everything seems to blur together – an eclectic mishmash of games, a few of which stand out brightly, and the rest of which blend into a generic mass of quickly forgotten, meh titles that no-one will remember a year from now. Luckily the highlights in 2014 have been good ones. Although I don’t think that 2014 has been the best in video gaming in recent years, it’s still had some pretty darn good moments. 

The South African release of the Xbox One, almost a year after its release in other territories and the release of the PS4, meant that we took the final step towards next-gen. It’s been a bit of a sore point for many that we (and some other territories) were so late on the rollout when the PS4 released worldwide within the same month, but finally we have managed to catch up. The question of course remains whether or not it will do well in our territory (there are certain features that are designed for an infrastructure better than ours), but for those die hard Xbox fans who avoided getting a PS4, it meant the opening up of a whole new next-gen world. 

Interestingly, both the games that really made an impression on me in 2014 are both Ubisoft titles, the one being Watch Dogs. Although it certainly wasn’t perfect, it initiated an excellent and thought provoking discussion around issues of privacy and online access. Sure it’s something we’ve seen in other forms, but I think Watch Dogs has been one of the most successful in making us question how much of our information is available to those who know how to look.

Add to that Assassin’s Creed Rogue – a game that has been a complete surprise to many of the gaming population. Honestly, this flew so far under the radar that I completely forgot about it until my promo copy was delivered. Released only on “previous gen” consoles PS3 and 360, it gives an alternative to the assassin viewpoint as well as tying up and linking any loose ends from the previous games. If you haven’t yet sold or discarded your old console before going next-gen, make sure you pick up this title.

Just like gaming highlights, this year has brought its fair share of gaming disappointments. The biggest one for me has been the 2014 reboot of Thief. This version was far less a stealth game than its predecessors and ended up being a forgettable, somewhat clunky addition to the franchise. 

As 2014 finally draws to a close, we look ahead to a year with another hotly anticipated line-up. For me this includes The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt and Tom Clancy’s The Division among others. Let’s hope the titles we’re all waiting for in 2015 don’t blend into one another, and we have even more stand out moments than ever before.

Article first published in TechSmart 135 (December 2014)

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