It’s been an interesting year in the games industry 2017. A year that saw great controversy across the board, Nintendo revive its fortunes and some legitimately brilliant games push boundaries. So of course, not every game hit the mark this year. Some outings proved disappointing to those unfortunate souls who spent actual money on them.
With December here and 2017 almost done, I figured I’d look back at the games that didn’t quite hit the mark. These are the 15 video games that disappointed me most in 2017.
15. Mario Party: The Top 100
I love the Mario Party series but I get the sense Nintendo doesn’t quite share my sentiments. At least, not off the back of this fairly slapdash attempt to harvest my nostalgia.
Mario Party: The Top 100 is exactly what it sounds like, a huge selection of minigames squeezed together for your multiplayer delight. The problem? Without the Mario Party game to bring the package into one whole package, this comes off feeling incredibly hallow. Sure, it’s fun to revisit the best minigames of the entire franchise – but the entire thing falls down right around the time you realize there’s little to play for. You’re effectively passing time – that’s quite sad in a Mario game.
The only good thing here is that the mini-games themselves are enjoyable. But they certainly don’t hold a game up on their own weight.
14. Need for Speed: Payback
EA showed some incredible restraint in 2016, opting to give its veteran Need for Speed franchise a much deserved year off. The decision was made to afford new developers Ghost Games time to fine tune their take on the popular franchise. The good news is the game looks amazing on the surface – but pop open the hood and you’ll soon realize what kind of rust bucket you’ve bought into.
The game goes all-in with its central story – which sees you driving around a so-so recreation of Nevada. It all sounds interesting but the execution ultimately comes off as ham-fisted. Light on entertainment and stuffed to the gills with padding and not-so-fun mission objectives. There are some interesting set pieces sprinkled in – but never truly gels with the overall experience.
It gets worse though when you really look at the game. See, instead of letting you upgrade your car and buy parts (like every other Need for Speed going back to Underground) the game has a bizarre loot box system in its place. Now you buy cards and slap them in to “power up” your car’s attributes. Because of the way the game leans so heavily on these attributes, it effectively places a paywall slap bang in the story mode. Your starter car won’t get you far – so you’re forced to either grind in those tedious side missions (Which we discussed earlier) or pony up for some in-game currency to get out of the bind.
Just go play Forza Horizon 3 instead. It looks better, plays better and doesn’t come with the stench of desperation that EA bathed this title in. Truly disappointing.
13. Lego Worlds
I was so excited for this game when it was announced. Given that Minecraft lifts inspiration quite liberally from Lego, it made sense that they’d follow suit and try to repeat the success of Mojang’s monster hit. Then you play Lego Worlds for an hour and realize that, much like that toy car you built with Lego, dreams are destined to be shattered.
Everything just feels somewhat off. From the awkward menus to the lack of excitement that Minecraft conjures up – Worlds just feels like a sad tribute act. It’s not helped by the fact that everything feels less intuitive. In Minecraft, there’s a logic to the madness which makes learning all the more important. In Lego Worlds, everything feels cumbersome and lacks polish.
Given that I was waiting for Lego to do their own Minecraft thing for a good five years, this one was really disappointing.
12. Mario Superstars
Bad Mario games are hard to find. Nintendo is normally very careful when releasing titles featuring their premier plumber. Yet somehow this bizarre compilation of sports titles made its way to Nintendo 3DS this year – it wasn’t great.
Featuring a mix-up of various sports outings – the quality of these games varies wildly. Golf, for example, is almost laughably shallow against previous Mario Golf titles. The soccer game isn’t fun on any level, lacking depth or any kind of draw. The game features some decent modes – tennis being my personal highlight – but all of the modes within feel stripped back and ultimately lacking.
Oh, and it’s insanely disappointing to see Nintendo chasing the microtransaction crowd so openly with this game. For shame Nintendo.
When originally showcased, Farpoint was hailed as the breakout VR first-person shooter. It was intended to not only show that Sony’s VR platform could do the games we wanted, it could do them better and more immersive. We kind of wish they hadn’t bothered.
My limited experience with the game only cemented the notion that VR just isn’t where it needs to be right now. While the game begs to be taken seriously among modern shooters, it feels more like it was thawed out from the early 2000’s. The graphics are bland, the soundtrack is dull while the gameplay never excites. It adds up to a tedious experience, falling well behind the pack of top end first person shooters across the board.
It’s hard to recommend the game to anyone but those desperate to find a use for the PSVR headsets.
10. Super Bomberman R
The idea of sticking a Bomberman title onto Nintendo’s brand new Switch console made huge sense. The title screams multiplayer fun, and with Nintendo’s early slate of games needing something other than Breath of the Wild, Konami’s veteran series could have been the ticket. Sadly it was anything but.
The game is shockingly light on content for a full price release. The single player component could be best described as ‘lacking’, while the multiplayer mode was riddled with issues and slowdown – reducing early multiplayer sessions to Powerpoint slideshows. The game received patches to quell anger, but it’s hard to get over the feeling that Super Bomberman R would have been better served as a cut-price digital only game.
Yes, the game has been patched and yes, it’s better now. But with so many great games landing on the Switch in the last two months, why would anyone want to revisit this painfully average outing?
Another year, another disappointing WWE game from 2K. At this stage, it’s beyond funny to mock them for their lack of effort – even with the much touted new engine in tow.
The game launched with yet another roster of bugs just waiting to undermine the entire experience. Like the bug that caused Universe Mode promos to crash the game, rendering Universe Mode effectively unplayable if they were dropped into your universe. Or how about the bug that in the games career mode where several of your characters would manifest at once, like something from a nightmare. What about those gameplay bugs that turn collisions into hilariously awkward merging moments – as wrestlers fall into one single mass?
Even with patches and fixes, WWE2K18 is a tedious experience. The matches are slow and plodding while the game feels older than it should. The game just isn’t all that fun to endure through, disappointing in almost every aspect.
Can we just give someone else a try at this point? I’m tapping out.