Game of the Year 2017

Most Disappointing Game

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t enjoy not enjoying games. In a perfect world, every game would execute amazingly on what it sets out to do. But due to budget, timing, or other limitations, not every game comes out the way that was intended. These are the games for which I had the highest expectations compared to how I felt about the game after finishing my time with it. To be clear, these aren’t necessarily the worst games I played in 2017, just the ones I wanted to be better the most.

Honorable Mentions:

Nier: Automata
I was only interested in checking out Nier: Automata because of the praise it received from GiantBomb. I found the gameplay monotonous, thought it looked downright fugly, and thought the story was more weird than charming.

Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Telltale games have been on a somewhat downward trend in recent years, but considering their success with humor in Tales from the Borderlands, this one should have been easy to nail.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Don’t get me wrong, Breath of the Wild is a phenomenal game in many ways. But it can also be a chore to play, with design decisions like UI controls and thunderstorms getting in the way of my good time.

5. Life is Strange: Before the Storm

My reviews for Life is Strange: Before the Storm should make it obvious that this surprise prequel belongs on this list. It at least justifies its existence thanks to some strong character relationship work and good performances by its leads, but most of the writing and gameplay leave a lot to be desired.

The trash talking mini-games that replace the time altering mechanics from season one are downright embarrassing. Season one sometimes suffered from the writing feeling forced, like it was obvious the teenage dialogue was written by 40-year old dudes. This is an even bigger problem in Before the Storm. For fans of the original that want more context on Chloe and Rachel, this one is worth slogging through. But no one else should play it.

4. Destiny 2

My journey with Destiny has been a wild ride. My expectations for the first game were through the roof, and despite putting close to 100 hours into it, I can’t really point to much of that time being exceedingly fun. Expectations were significantly tempered for the second game, but I couldn’t help but hope and assume Bungie would learn from the mistakes of the first game and finally deliver on the promise of the premise. I was still disappointed.

Destiny 2 gives a little more context for why you’re doing what you’re doing, but not much. Sure, there are actual cutscenes in the story, and there’s a beginning, middle, and end. But none of that is interesting. Sure, the NPCs get actual character development, but it’s too little too late. And even worse, Bungie took things that worked in the first game and decided to undo or change them. The monotony is still there, the frustration for solo players is still there, the lack of meaningful progression or personalization is still there. Unfortunately, I think my time with the Destiny series is completely over.

3. Yooka-Laylee

I was totally ready to dive back into an old-school 3D platformer when Yooka-Laylee released. But, in what is probably the saddest disappointment on this list, Yooka-Laylee isn’t a disappointing game solely for the fact that it’s bad. At a core level, it definitely isn’t terrible. Yooka-Laylee is mostly disappointing because this genre of game just doesn’t really work in the modern gaming world.

There are definitely some annoying design decisions in Yooka-Laylee that could have been fixed. The camera is often terrible and the game is buggier than it should be considering the development time. But its repetition, simple combat, and somewhat grating personality are intrinsic to this style of game. I still think it’s possible to make a modern 3D platformer that feels nostalgic, but it’ll require a larger overhaul than Yooka-Laylee attempted.

2. Star Wars Battlefront 2

Look, Battlefront 2 is functional. It plays like a Battlefield game, which is good, and the multiplayer is decently balanced and thankfully offers more depth and variety than the first game. But EA’s anti-gamer business practices make me actively want to avoid anything they publish at this point. I hate this game.

The microtransactions and multiplayer progression system are completely inexcusable, but I even hate what they did with the single-player campaign. There was a great opportunity here to bridge the original trilogy with the new one, and instead, they threw in a bunch of boring space combat sequences and missions where you play as hero characters that were clearly included as primers for the multiplayer. Battlefront 2 would have been less hated if EA didn’t do the things they did in the multiplayer, but it still wouldn’t have been a good game. And at this point, I’m not sure we’ll ever get a good single player Star Wars game — at least not as long as EA has exclusive publishing rights. That makes me very sad.

1. Mass Effect Andromeda

Hey look, more EA on this list! Seriously, they clearly do not care whatsoever about letting game designers make a good game. They only care about hitting deadlines and publishing games as soon as possible so they can make their money up front. And sadly, that strategy makes sense when most of the games you’re putting out are rushed, unfinished, or designed in a way that punishes players. Ugh.

But back to Mass Effect Andromeda specifically, there isn’t a single thing I can point to in this game that I think is good. Sure, some of the worlds look cool, but the game runs so poorly with so many bugs that it’s hard to truly appreciate — not to mention plenty of the worlds are derivative of things we saw in previous Mass Effect games. The characters are uninteresting, the dialogue is laughable, and the music is uninspired. And the combat, which some people wrongly say is the best in the series, I found to be extremely buggy and imprecise. The jetpack rarely works the way I want it to, and the fact that you can’t issue commands to squad members makes them near-useless. Even the multiplayer, which I absolutely loved in Mass Effect 3, feels tacked on. The game just doesn’t feel good to play. They killed Mass Effect.

Continue to the next page for my Top 10 Games of 2017!

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