From remakes of beloved games like Resident Evil 2 and Link’s Awakening, to new releases like Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, Outer Worlds and Apex Legends, 2019 was another banner year for gaming. Sony and Microsoft revealed more about their next-gen consoles, the Switch continued to shine, and EA finally released a decent Star Wars game! But it wasn’t all rosy in 2019. Here are the biggest gaming disasters of the year.
Pokemon Sword and Shield
The first ‘proper’ Pokemon game on Switch, Sword and Shield should have been a tap in for Nintendo. Unfortunately, however, things began to unravel when it was revealed that past generations of Pokemon wouldn’t be returning for the new release.
It was claimed that support for every Pokemon would have been difficult due to the higher quality animations required for the Switch, although this didn’t appear to be the case when fans scrutinised pre-release footage. Things got so bad for Nintendo and developer Game Freak that launch events were cancelled and review codes held back ahead of release.
Despite the pre-release controversy, Sword and Shield sold by the bucketload, becoming one of the biggest-selling Switch games to date – so perhaps the Pokedex scandal wasn’t that big of a deal, after all.
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After a truly disastrous launch, Bethesda kept its head down and quietly went to work improving its live-service money-spinner Fallout 76. The game added lots of new missions, modes and features, including Fallout’s own take on the Battle Royale experience.
The game isn’t perfect and still needs a lot of work, but it was definitely heading in the right direction. Then in one of the most audacious and insulting moves ever, Bethesda announced its Fallout 1st subscription service.
For £11.99 a month or £99.99 for the entire year, Fallout 76 players could pay for the privilege of private servers, unlimited item storage and fast travel – aka things that should have been included to begin with.
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Google Stadia is a technological triumph, providing smooth game streaming across multiple devices with the press of a button. A glimpse of the future, Stadia needs a lot of work before it becomes a viable threat to the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
A confusing pre-release message, a lack of compatible devices and a lacklustre launch line-up didn’t exactly endear it to the masses, although it’s the pricing model that’s really turned people off.
You can pay £8.99 a month to subscribe to Stadia Pro – which is a bit like PS Plus in that you get free game(s) each month – or pay over the odds to buy a game that you’ll only own for as long as Stadia exists. Fortunately there’s a free tier coming soon, plus more compatible devices.