Game Of The Year 2017 – Biggest Disappointment

It’s sad to say, but I feel that Biggest Disappointment is an award that’s here to stay. It felt like a one off in 2016, after No Man’s Sky’s ignominious release alongside the missed opportunities of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Mighty No. 9 and others, but 2017 has also offered up its fair share of games that failed to meet expectations or were dragged through the mud by exploitative business practices.

It’s that last point that made the biggest impact in determining our loser in this category – it’d be wrong to call it a winner.

Star Wars Battlefront II is actually a good game. It had a lot to do to satisfy those wanting more from the series’ 2015 revival, from adding more variety to the multiplayer through deeper role-based combat, through to featuring a meaningful single player side to the game. While not the most imaginative story, Iden Versio’s journey in the single player was a fun romp through the Star Wars universe, and there’s a lot of fun to be had online, whether you’re battling on foot or taking to the new Starfighter Assault mode.

Of course, EA contrived to mess it all up with its system of microtransactions and gameplay altering loot boxes. As dumb as that decision was, with a staggering negativity that seems to be hitting EA’s bottom line, it detracts from what the game gets right.

More importantly for this award, it’s had a huge impact on EA and the industry as a whole. EA’s stock price fell, the game has failed to light up the sales charts, and microtransactions and loot boxes are facing much greater scrutiny. There’s no denying the impact that this game has had and there’s still a huge amount of swirling resentment and disappointment in how EA have managed to mess this up.

NBA 2K18 – Runner Up

I could simply point to our review and the furore that followed it for NBA 2K18, in what is still one of my personal low points from the year. NBA was another good game twisted up by the omnipresence of microtransactions, and it was clear to see after our review went live that there were a lot of people who agreed that the game goes too far, to the point that it’s not fun to play.

Perhaps what’s more disappointing is that, while EA have back-pedalled and spoken to the community, 2K and Visual Concepts have remained silent on the matter. Hopefully they realise that they’ve gone to far this time and really reconsider the relationship that microtransactions have on progression in their future games.

Mass Effect Andromeda – Runner Up

The Mass Effect trilogy last generation was one that was rightly held up for its excellent storytelling and the relationships you built with others. Mass Effect Andromeda never came close to reaching those same heights, especially after the years of build up and the promise that a new trilogy held. There were glimmer’s of the series’ brand of science fiction within the story, but it was beset by poor writing and facial animation that led to more than a few derogatory memes.

Arguably it wasn’t a bad game, just one that’s not actually all the good, but that was enough to see EA shelving the series for the foreseeable future. With Andromeda’s story set to be wrapped up in a novel, Mass Effect Andromeda could easily be the last Mass Effect game we ever see.

Dishonourable mentions (in alphabetical order)

  • Agents of Mayhem
  • Gundam Versus
  • Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
  • PaRappa the Rapper Remastered
  • Sonic Forces
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  1. I’m really surprised by this award.

    Those that I know that have bought the game think it’s really good.

    Yet Destiny 2 doesn’t even get a mention?

    If Battlefront 2 is there for its missteps, surely Destiny 2 should be too?

    I had multiple friends that stuck with Destiny from day 1 right to the end, but with Destiny 2 they’ve all dropped out, nobody plays it any more. There’s so many different reasons for that, all culminating into what surely has to be the biggest gaming disappointment of the year?

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, obviously this is just opinion and as such you can’t be wrong, but I reckon there’s a lot more people disappointed with what Destiny 2 turned out to be than there are with Battlefront 2.

    • That’s fair. Biggest disappointment was on a more personal level as we were discussing things. Destiny 2 was overshadowed by other colossal screw ups, but should probably have been in the honourable mentions.

      At the very least, Bungie are actively trying to address the game’s issues, so there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Why do you think Destiny 2 deserves to be mentioned? Personally I had the opposite experience from your friends.

    I liked Destiny originally but that came to a grinding halt (pun intended) after a while. Unless you found a group to raid with the game became extremely unrewarding. Considering that they had virtually no matchmaking it was hard for a casual gamer like me to find a group to play with, especially since the player base was so “hard-core” – demanding that you always knew what to do all the time, that there was no virtually way to get over the treshold and become a player who knows what to do except for watching a shitload of youtube videos of gameplay. And you know what? I don’t have enough time for that. I want to spend the precious game time I have to actually play a game. I rather learn in-game from my fellow peers and have fun. The game gave me no option like this. I couldn’t try to explore on my own, no matchmaking and unforgiving player base isn’t fun. So that left some content you could do by yourself that exhausted quite quickly.

    Some say that my issues with the first game was fixed with some of the expansions, but by that it was too late for me. The game had burned me.

    Because of this, I was reluctant to get Destiny 2. But I tried it and found that I could play an hour now and then and it was still rewarding. I could find new stuff to do and get without having that glass ceiling over me all the time. I have now put more time into Destiny 2 than I did into the first game and it is still fun.

    Is Destiny 2 perfect? No. Has it got flaws? Yes. Does it deserve to be on this list? Perhaps.

    But unless you have some real information, no. Some anecdotal evidence of some friends not liking the game for some unmentioned reason isn’t good enough.

    • OK, they changed the formula quite drastically, and while he’s it’s more rewarding for the casual, the person who plays an hour here or there, for those of us who play a lot, you run out of stuff to do very quickly indeed.

      Getting an exotic used to be exciting, now they get given out like candy they don’t mean anything any more.

      The random rolls on weapons used to give something to grind for, that’s gone now. I have all legendary weapons and all exotics, max power on all three characters, meaning there’s now nothing to play for.

      So yes, they appeased the casuals, but in doing so they killed the game for the hardcore.

  3. Mass Effect Andromeda by some distance for me. I got Battlefront II for Xmas and honestly I’m really enjoying it (and haven’t even touched the online yet).

  4. I don’t really understand how anyone can be disappointed by Star Wars Battlefront 2. I played it from day one of EA access and it’s been thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve not once been affected by lootboxes in respect to progress or success in multiplayer. Most major fixes were implemented by day one, yes it was largely in part to the uproar, but it was done by release and whatever the surrounding politics the game itself was huge fun to play from day one.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s the opinion of TSA staff, but there hasn’t actually been any explanation above as to why it was a disappointing game outside of the politics.

    I’d definitely add Destiny 2 to the honourable mentions list. It was such a breathe of fresh air playing through the game, only to find a really weak endgame and terrible support for regular players. It was so close between Destiny 2 and Forza 7 for me when it came to choosing in the community poll.

  5. I’m with Tony on this one…Destiny 2 grabbed a lot of my friends…2 weeks later they had done everything and stopped playing it…whilst with Destiny 1 it took months to do so.

    Destiny 2 is a good game but billed against the hype of the first one it surely has been a massive disappointment.

    I have over 500 PSN friends from various games ove rthe years and hardly any are playing it anymore.

  6. I think my biggest disappointment is possibly GT Sports lack of a decent VR campaign. It looks, feels and plays great but there’s no progression, no in-game rewards and it all feels very detached. Something as simple as time trials or an online leaderboard would have given it ‘something’ to aim for but as it is it feels like a wasted opportunity. It’s even more disappointing because i’m actually finding the ‘flat’ game way more accessible than previous outings, the driving feels less sterile than in the past and it seems that they’ve taken a few tips from Driveclub with the in-game rewards. But if they don’t have plans to pad out the VR experience anytime soon i’ll be wondering why they even bothered with VR at all.

    • I’ve been trying to work out just exactly how disappointing GT Sport is.

      The VR side is just ridiculous when they’re advertising it as having VR support and putting it in bundles. And it earns you absolutely nothing. Except it might count towards your daily 26 miles.

      The menus are less of an abomination than previous games, but still a bit rubbish.

      And now it’s had the update (before I started playing), it’s got quite a bit of single player content.

      But then the online side is full of stupid decisions like races only happening every however long it is. And making you watch a patronising 5 minutes of YouTube videos on “driving like an arse is bad, m’kay?”. Which could also be called “how the AI drives”.

      And the things you can do to get bonus money are silly. Yes, it’s nice to be able to share your photos and cars, and approve of others you like. But it’s all a bit pointless when you get rewarded for just randomly liking 100s of them.

      On the other hand, it’s all strangely addictive, and it’s nice to take photos of fancy cars in nearby places. Before you get annoyed by it taking forever to decide which car it’s going to randomly award you. (It’s the old annoyance of “stupid loot box opening animations”, really)

      But the VR stuff is very disappointing. Shame, because it looks nice in VR, and driving suddenly becomes a lot easier.

      I’ll be generous and give them a few months to improve things before deciding how disappointing it is.

  7. I only played Battlefront 2 out of those noms, I feel lucky that I wasn’t disappointed at all! Sure the progression is still rubbish but I don’t think it ruins the game, the single player is charmingly Lucasarts and the multiplayer is just as fun as the first game, especially the Starfighter battles which on their own I reckon would make the best space combat game since Freelancer.

    • Oh and Micro Machines needs a dishonourable mention!

  8. Now that pay to win element has (rightly) been taken out, BF2 is great and is my most played game by a long way since it came out.

  9. Battlefront II still needs the ‘conquest’ mode that was the hallmark of the original games. Also, offline split-screen should include some maps with vehicles and starfighter assault.

  10. Although Battlefront II was the biggest disappointment of the year, I also think it was the most important part of this year. The chain reaction it had on microtransactions across the industry was very welcomed. I just hope they don’t come up with something else to take its place.

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