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