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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Most disappointing games of 2017
Star Wars: Battlefront II – the most controversial game of 2017

Readers discuss the worst games and biggest upsets of the last 12 months, from loot boxes to Destiny 2 and Super Mario Odyssey.

As is tradition for the last week before Christmas, this weekend’s Hot Topic asked what was your biggest video game-related disappointment of 2017. What was the game, news story, trend, or hardware release that you considered to be the low point of the year for games?

Many people picked a particular game as their big disappointment, with everything from the critically acclaimed to the universally panned. But predictably it was loot boxes which were the most common complaint of 2017.

Formula for failure

There’s a formula for performance that can be applied to a wide variety of situations: ‘Happiness Equals Reality Minus Expectations’.

The game I have in mind had reasonable expectations, a small amount of hype, excitement given the previous instalment, and more potential than you could shake a brown lightsabre at.

The reality was that it had a lacklustre tacked-on story mode, complete loot box chaos, and deeply dissatisfying and dull multiplayer that made Jar Jar Binks look fun by comparison.

Therefore, it follows from the formula, happiness is low, and so my biggest game disappointment of 2017 is awarded to… Star Wars: Battlefront II.
SU DOKU (gamertag)/mydeadgran (PSN ID)

No better than good

I’m glad this Hot Topic is for disappointment rather than worst game, because I certainly wouldn’t say Horizon Zero Dawn is a bad game. It’s a good one even, but the way some mates were talking I was expecting some groundbreaking game of the forever.

What I got was an incredibly pretty game that got old worryingly quickly. I still haven’t come anywhere near to completing it after all this time and I don’t think I probably ever will. The world looks great but there’s not really anything interesting to do in it, and after all the talk of Aloy being this amazing character I just thought she was a bit dull.

You get this a lot in games that take themselves seriously, where they think the best way of getting that across is making everyone really boring. This is a game about giant mechanical dinosaurs, it should not be boring!

Negative waves

In terms of games released this year I haven’t been disappointed with any of the ones I played, it truly has been a great year all round so this is a difficult Hot topic. If I had to choose a disappointment for the year though I would suggest two things. Firstly, there is the whole loot box controversy. I totally understand why people are annoyed about it and the ramifications it could have on gaming but I don’t enjoy how it has come to dominate the gaming news so much.

We have enough negative news in ordinary life, let alone in a hobby we’re supposed to enjoy. I was also disappointed that VR hasn’t taken off as much as I hoped it would. There has been plenty of games released but the majority of the VR bespoke experiences tend to be shorter games. I was hoping for a AAA lengthy VR exclusive game to be released.

Come to think of it, there were games that I was looking forward to but skipped due to poor reviews, these include Mass Effect: Andromena and Mafia III. Both sounded great in previews, but didn’t live up to their predecessors it seems.

Hope everyone at GC and all the readers have a great Christmas and New Year!
Truk_Kurt (PSN ID)/trukkurt (Steam ID)/Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Will be playing over Xmas: Super Mario Odyssey on my new Switch! Bleed (Switch) and Pokémon Ultra Moon (3DS)

GC: Ignoring problems is not how you get them to go away. EA’s U-turns on Star Wars: Battlefront II only came about because of poor sales, brought on by bad publicity.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

A real stretch

My biggest disappointment in 2017 was ARMS. After the success of Splatoon I had high expectations for Nintendo’s spin on 3D beat ‘em-ups. What eventually launched was a huge let down. The game had a catchy title track and a lot of polish on the presentation front, but when it came to actually fighting all the characters played virtually the same.

While ARMS isn’t a bad game, the drip feed of new characters throughout 2017 all seemed a bit pointless when everyone has essentially the same move-sets. It was a bit like someone saying lets have ’Super Dhalsim Fighter’ where you just play against slightly different versions of the same character.

Each character can eventually unlock every other characters’ arm attachments, essentially stripping them of their individuality. It doesn’t help that the super move you build up is the same for each character as well. The game was also plagued by throw spamming; throwing is all too easy to do by mistake when playing with motion controls, and often matches would just turn into a game of dodge and throw.

ARMS got lost in the succession of new releases on the Switch and while Nintendo are keen to keep it alive there is a sense that while it sold well it’s not got the same zeitgeist that Splatoon achieved.

Nintendo have made improvements to the game with regular updates and it may fulfil its potential in 2018. But for me, until the characters feel and play differently it’s going to remain a casual experience played after pub and at gaming social events. I will stick to Capcom fighters for my beat ‘em-up fix.

The end game

For me the biggest disappointment has been Destiny 2. I’m not going to say it’s terrible or anything, but after being so excited about getting it and really enjoying the first 20 or so hours I now wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. The end game seems better than the original at first but it actually ends up in an even bigger dead end than before. And that’s before I found out Bungie was scamming us for XP.

And that was before I found out how much of a rip-off the first expansion was. I won’t say Bungie didn’t learn anything from the previous expansions, they obviously did. But what they learned is that fans will buy anything and put up with anything. I hope that Star Wars: Battlefront II in particular has changed that attitude amongst publishers, but I’m not sure I can be that optimistic.

I’ve already sold Destiny 2 so there’s no going back for me (I tell myself) and next year I’m planning to stick only with games that are microtransaction and scam free.

Fallen idol

I think The Evil Within 2 was my biggest disappointment. I got it despite GC’s very negative review, and while I still think they were too harsh it’s obvious that most of the complaints were based in truth. The whole thing just feels cheap and badly put together, and the story manages to be weird, silly, and boring all at the same time – which is some feat but just not very interesting to sit through.

I found it most disappointing though because I’m a great fan of Shinji Mikami’s previous work and I really wanted to see him bounce back with a major hit. I’m worried though that he’s a bit of a spent force, and seem to be relying too much on past glories. The game’s still worth the ridiculously low prices it’s being sold at now, but I think the fact that it is so cheap tells its own story…

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Boxed in

The biggest video game related disappointment of this year was by far and away the rise of loot boxes in full priced games like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Need for Speed Payback. I was looking forward to both of these games, especially Battlefront II, but their reliance on buying loot boxes to gain an advantage in the games was a disgusting move by EA.

It’s a real shame, as Battlefront II was shaping up to be a cracking game and they got a lot of positive press for releasing free content for it, rather than a costly season pass. But all that goodwill vanished like a dying Jedi when it’s dependence on costly loot boxes were discovered.

It was pure corporate greed by EA, who were desperate to force microtransactions onto full-priced games, as they have proved to be so lucrative for them in the mobile market. Unfortunately they didn’t learn from Microsoft’s botched launch of the Xbox One, that gamers aren’t daft, and will boycott anything that is anti-consumer and forced on them.

I do hope that the uproar has caused them to rethink their strategy on microtransactions in future titles, as I’d hate to see the next Battlefield dragged down by them. Games like Fortnite and GTA V have shown that microtransactions can be done right, without unbalancing the gameplay. If companies like Rockstar can make millions of dollars from GTA Online through microtransactions, then there’s an opportunity for EA to do the same with their franchises, but only if they do it fairly.

Apart from this disappointment, 2017 has overall been a fantastic year for gaming, with some classic games being released, along with the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft’s powerhouse Xbox One X. Here’s hoping 2018 proves to be loot box free, but with a wealth of quality games to play.

A very merry Christmas to all at GC, and fellow readers and contributors. Hope you all have a fantastic time, and get some quality gaming and family time in over the holidays. Here’s hoping 2018 is at least as good for gaming as this year has been, although it will be a tough one to match.
Cubes (PSN ID)/Cubes73 (NN ID)/Kevin M

GC: Vanished like a dead Jedi, eh? We’re so stealing that.

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