With 2018 just around the corner the Gaming Nexus Staff is taking some time to reflect on the games they played in the last year.
Every year there are games that fail to meet our expectations. Either they are buggy messes or the game fails to deliver on what the developer promised was going to be there. Today we are going to take a look at our biggest gaming disappointments of 2017 that wasn't Battlefront II (it's just too easy if we didn't pull it from selection). Here's our list.
WWE 2K18 (Switch) - I'm going to cheat a little bit on this one as my biggest disappointment is a game that I haven't played yet...well, technically I have, but on a different system. When a launch date was finally announced for WWE 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch I immediately went and pre-ordered it at Best Buy. Then launch day game and I got an email from Best Buy that said the launch was being moved back to December 12th. Strange, but since I work at Best Buy I wondered if it was because the date was announced so close to the release that we just hadn't gotten them in yet. Anyway, this turned out to be a blessing because I decided to watch someone stream it on YouTube and the game had quite a few issues with it, namely the frame rate is kind of bad, and it wasn't just the quality of the stream on YouTube. The streamer was playing a match between Naomi and Asuka and I just happened to jump on as Naomi was doing her entrance. Needless to say it was as if she was going about 2/3 of her normal speed. Then you get to the match itself and you can see the frame rate slowdown quite a bit to where it was still playable, but not nearly what it should be. A couple of reviews I've read said this was the case for both the physical and digital versions of the game and that the developers are working on a patch to correct some launch day issues, but there's nothing saying when it'll be out or what exactly it'll fix. If the patch does come out sometime soon to fix the frame rate issues, I'll likely pick it up but until then, I'm pretty disappointed that the first WWE game on a Nintendo system in several years ended up like this.
PUBG - My biggest disappointment this year was Player Unknown's Battlegrounds. The concept was so romanticized to me in the leadup to my actual purchasing of the game that I think the disappointment of discovering it's a bad game was even worse than usual. And what an awesome concept it is. I was expecting a pulse-pounding, high octane battle across a huge field, interspersed with moments of anxiety as you sneak through ghost towns to find more ammo. What I got was long stretches of time where nothing happens broken up by either just outright dying from a surprise attack, pitched battles that aren't fun because of lag issues and poor gunplay, or death by blue circle. The whole game is just constant build up to nothing, and I am super disappointed by it. It's less that it's a bad game and more that it's just really not what I was lead to expect, and it's not something for me.
Strafe - I'd have to say Strafe is my biggest disappointment of 2017. It's not a terrible game by any stretch but it billed itself as something that it really isn't. The high-production-value trailers evoked a sense of 90s nostalgia and overt references to Quake, so I was expecting a tightly-engineered shooter throwback. The end result certainly looks like Quake but in terms of gameplay Strafe is more of a frustrating rogue-lite experience with some serious balance issues. I really tried to love Strafe but the tedious, repetitive dungeon crawling, unforgiving difficulty and seemingly random weapons and powerups show that its polygonal, unfiltered graphics are nothing but a retro facade.
Mass Effect: Andromeda - It pains me, but I have to go with Mass Effect: Andromeda - not because it in and of itself was a terrible game (not that it was GREAT, either), but because of what it could have been. It was very much a game of this era in that BioWare (ahem, EA) caught the open world bug, but didn't quite know what to do with it.The original trilogy set the bar high, and I mean high. Even with its rather messy ending, Mass Effect was a classic story that simultaneously brought a thousand new things to the table. You had rich characters, cool settings, a loveable main character, and a game that you could just tell had heart in every inch of it. After EA got its hands dirty here, we were given a game that ended up playing like a corporate machine spit it out.
"But Kinsey," you cry, "you rated it so highly in your review! This doesn't follow!" Well, yes, but the primary reason for that was because many of the game's flaws were out of BioWare's control (and you might notice by now that I absolutely hate huge corporations that are only there to turn a profit, hence why I'm so bitter about EA's business here). To name one, they forced BioWare developers to use an engine that wasn't right for the game (one of the most basic flaws that paved the way for a thousand others). I speak from a place of nostalgia and not-wanting-to-spit-on-BioWare's-work; I thought the graphics were beautiful, the environments were stunning, and the story had a lot of unexplored potential. But I also acknowledge that EA did not give BioWare the chance to work on it as a well-loved, inspired game, making the quests overcrowded, the enemies lame in comparison to the Reapers, and the morality questionable (let's go back to the Manifest Destiny conversation, here). Basically, it's an attempt at a high-graphics, open-world game that got half its profit from hype. I can't fault BioWare and feel good about it, not when they were blocked at every turn. I guess you could say my biggest disappointment of 2017 was EA, actually.
The Golf Club 2/The Golf Club VR - My biggest disappointment, by far, was a twofer: The Golf Club 2, and The Golf Club VR. I have been a HUGE fan of The Golf Club since early open beta and was looking forward to the new and improved The Golf Club 2, but rather than add depth of play with new ways of playing (it desperately needs a "Skins" game), they added hokey stuff like clubhouses. Rather than fix multiplayer to be synchronous, they dorked around with the physics and swing mechanics, rendering it nearly unplayable for veterans of the first version. The VR experience was even worse. Perhaps due to Rift support being slapped in when people complained about the original Vive-only release, The Golf Club VR is next to impossible to get configured. I'm here to tell you, playing golf with a two foot long club is an exercise in futility. It's saddening to compare the incredible playing experience of the original Golf Club to these new "improved" versions. What a missed opportunity!
Mafia III - Mafia III really made me sad. I loved the atmosphere of the game, the storytelling, the fantastic music, the setting, pretty much everything. But playing this thing was like wrestling an anaconda. Any open world game where I get stuck going through a doorway will quickly get the axe, no matter how good the tunes are.
MechWarrior Online - My biggest disappointment of the year was MechWarrior Online (MWO). MWO was a game that I have been playing since beta and have invested a lot of time and money in. Over the summer the team at Pirahna games decided to change the mech skill system which is great in theory. Sure you get more control over what each mech can do but with each mech having over 100 different points that can be updated and with me owning over 50 mechs there wasn't any way I was going to have enough time to spend to research the best options for each mech and then laboriously update each one.
Mass Effect: Andromeda - I was rapt by developer Bioware Montreal's ups and downs this year. Well, sadly, it was all downs. After a 10-year run as one of the most celebrated RPG series of all time, Mass Effect: Andromeda launched to a low 70s Metacritic. You don’t want to know what the user scores were. Andromeda had poor enough facial animations to trigger a Gamergate witch hunt for the lead animator. The line “My face is tired,” spoken by an Andromeda NPC, became an internet meme and, subsequently, Andromeda’s unofficial subtitle. The combat was dynamic, but seemingly everything else had suffered for it. Besides, Mass Effect didn’t become the sci-fi phenomenon it became because of combat. The following months put out a few paltry patches fixing things like eyeball shaders rather than legitimately glitchy gameplay. Kotaku published a scathing account of Andromeda’s troubled five-year development. A novel was announced that’s somehow supposed to explain why several alien races never made it into the final game. Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of Bioware, left. Casey Hudson, former General Manager of Bioware, returned. Immediately afterward, Bioware Montreal, developer of Andromeda, was absorbed into EA Motive’s studio. As it stands, there are no further plans for Mass Effect video games. This is the way Mass Effect ends. Not with a bang.
No Man’s Sky: Atlas Rises - Is No Man’s Sky really only one year old? It seems impossible. I don’t have to rehash what a year it’s been for developer Hello Games. But I’m disappointed that this latest update, Atlas Rises, released only in August, as enormous as it is, with as much polish it layers on, as much originally promised content it fulfills—still isn’t enough to make me play very much of the Last Game I Ever Had to Buy. I’d returned for the Foundation Update, building a base of operations. I’d returned for the Path Finder Update, rolling around in my planetary vehicle. And then I’d returned for the Atlas Rises Update and its overhauled storyline, procedural mission system, and joint exploration. There's so much more. But none of it is enough. I gave No Man’s Sky everything I had when it launched last year. While the updates kept me coming back, nothing could seemingly make me stay. Yet every once in awhile, I think back fondly on whatever I thought that game was going to be. I applaud No Man’s Sky’s tenacity. I really do. I hope I want to fly its skies again some day.
Destiny 2 - My biggest disappointment of 2017 was surely Destiny 2. Not that I think it's a bad game. I gave it an 8.8 in my review and two months later I don't think I would subtract much from that if at all. It has an excellent single player mode, certainly better than any FPS I've played in years. The visuals are top notch and the music and soundtrack were the best of any game I've played this year. It has phenomenal gameplay and gunplay that stretches encounters vertically as well as horizontally and introduces moments of pure awesome with supers. It's just that it was such a far cry from what made Destiny 1 great. I really feel like Bungie has abandoned their player base to try and reach out to a casual player mass and are only offering a casual playing experience.
The cherry on top was definitely the mea culpa from a few weeks back where Bungie tried to admit their mistakes and provide the roadmap that would introduce changes that would eventually correct the course. Unfortunately that mea culpa only further illustrated just how out of touch the developer is as their proposed changes really do nothing to address the core issues with this game, namely that PvP is in its most broken state in Destiny history largely due to a strive for "balance" that has neutered all weapons useless and that there is no real end game to keep players involved once the story is concluded. It's bizarre really how Bungie abandoned so much of what made Destiny 1 great. A number of people have pointed out on Reddit and elsewhere, that Destiny 2 is such a step back that when you look at the feature list, Destiny 1 seems like it should be the sequel to Destiny 2.
Call of Duty: WWII - I hadn't touched the series since Modern Warfare III, and to be honest I've forgotten how long ago that was. I was expecting a well-written campaign, explosive violence, and an old school zombies mode. Suffice to say, the result was pitiful. I don't see myself going back there except for the multiplayer, and even then only if I get bored enough with Battlefield 1, the shooter that actually contributed something new to the genre.
And I don't want to be a sore loser, but my other disappointment has to be the Crash Bandicoot collection. I understand that it was supposed to be a refreshing blast from the past, but it was fun only at times. For the most part, it always felt like the game was working against me. As Reggie Fils Aime once said: "If it's not fun, why bother?"
NieR: Automata (PC Version) - Well this is going to seem contradictory. But for me, the biggest disappointment was the PC release of NieR: Automata. The biggest reason for this? The game has to be run through a fan patch to get the resolution to display properly, and fix the performance issues caused by the game's anti-aliasing. Square Enix, and to a lesser degree, Platinum Games, fix your damn game. I've already gotten E route cleared on the PS4 two times, and I'm wanting to get a third done on PC. It's utterly ridiculous that a game released in March hasn't received so much as an acknowledgement that there are problems with this port. Oh, and I'll dogpile on Mass Effect: Andromeda as well, what a letdown.
Mass Effect: Andromeda - My biggest disappointment wasn't only the biggest one of 2017, it was the biggest in my 36 years of gaming. To say Mass Effect is my favorite gaming trilogy of all time is a HUGE understatement. I have logged over 400 hours of play over the past bunch of years and that may even be a bit modest. You see, Shepard's story of overcoming evil, romancing some of the sweetest female companions you could have (yes, even Jack), and eventually giving his life for the human race (unless you believe the 3rd game's BS "maybe he lived" stuff), IS one of the best comprehensive stories in gaming history. Mix that with excellent gunplay (even ME1 was good for it's time), fantastic characters and stars voicing them (Keith David, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Seth Green, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Martin Sheen), and other-worldly music and you get the best of the best.
Fast forward to 2017 and Mass Effect : Andromeda. A game that die-hard fans like myself had to wait through 5 years of delays and re-announcements. A game that was as bad of a sequel as Rocky V was. Start with an underwhelming little wuss of a hero and add characters as uninteresting as a fossilized turd. Bring in only TWO major races after traveling 600 years worth of distance AND make both of them flat and uninteresting. Plug in a weapon creation section as difficult to figure out as instructions written in a foreign language. Make the bad-guy 10% as evil as the Reapers were and as threatening as a bad case of the flu. Wind that together with annoying glitches, underwhelming weapon creation, poor romance stories, and the worst directions of any FPS story made and you have a game that is not only worth a "mediocre" rating, but is THE worst disappointment of 2017 (or any other year).
Mass Effect: Andromeda - Of the two games that pop into my mind for this, I think Mass Effect Andromeda takes the prize. The game's been hyped for a while, but now we know all the problems that came with the development process. There was never a chance this game would succeed and it's really sad as this could have been a launching pad for a brand new Mass Effect trilogy. A lot of fans out there were clamoring for more games in this universe, but not like this. Not like this. I hope there's a way that the series can be salvaged because Andromeda has done a lot of damage to a well beloved series
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.