2017 was an embarrassment of riches when it came to video games and hardware. Between the launch of newer consoles including the Nintendo Switch and powerful Xbox One X, and the current console generation really hitting its stride it was good time to be a gamer. There wasn't just one game that could be considered the best of the year, so we chose the top 30 games of 2017 to highlight instead along with the best games that you've probably not heard of. Yet 2017 was far from a flawless year...
As many unexpected surprises and excellent games that were released in 2017, there was also some huge disappointments. Our most anticipated games of 2017 partly delivered - those that actually released on schedule, that is - but there are more than a few examples of other games (both big and small) missing the mark.
The games gathered here aren't the worst of 2017. In fact, a lot of the most disappointing games of 2017 aren’t even bad games. They’re just games that missed the mark and should’ve been much better. Without further ado, here are the 20 most disappointing games of 2017.
20 Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Guardians of the Galaxy seemed like a perfect fit for Telltale’s unique adventure gaming format. Yet the finished product, which drew most of its stylistic choices from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, left a fair bit to be desired.
Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy's take on Peter Quill and the gang isn’t terrible (though the experience is filled with a lot of bugs). It just takes the most predictable and unexciting route imaginable. The obvious intention was for the series to ape the MCU films but in the process it lost everything that made those movies feel fresh and original. Unlike Telltale's other takes on classic comic book heroes, the Guardians' story was absolutely run-of-the-mill which is a shame given some of the impressive source material the movies were inspired by.
19 Friday The 13th: The Game
It's honestly shocking that it took until 2017 for someone to decide to make a multiplayer game where one player hunts a group of others as Jason Voorhees. Yet that game with its asynchronous format finally materialized … and it could’ve been so much better.
The problems with Friday the 13th: The Game aren’t just that its title is incredibly wordy. It’s that the game is a mess of technical issues and bugs. As an online only multiplayer title, server stability is everything and for players takes ages to connect to a game. And once you’re finally in, there’s a very good chance you’ll be booted out again or be faced with many annoying glitches. When the game works, it’s amazing. It's just a rare occurrence that it'll work.
18 Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the first mainline game in the Tom Clancy-Ubisoft series released since 2012's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. This alone was cause for a great deal of excitement. Yet when the game hit it turned out to be nothing like the classic games, or even as good as other recent Tom Clancy titles (see: Rainbow Six: Siege).
Instead of offering a tense and tactical shooter, Wildlands is more of an arcade experience with less precise game controls and shooter mechanics. It is not the game that many Ghost Recon fans were waiting for, at all. This doesn't mean it's a bad game but it's certainly underwhelming and forgettable, made worse by some of the worst dialogue/writing we've seen in ages. Its gorgeously rendered open world is filled with repetitive and boring activities, forcing players to run around to collect gear and weapons. It’s a sad case of quantity far over quality that PvP updates and the fun inclusion of The Predator can't make up for.
Yooka-Laylee is far more successful than the standard game born of Kickstarter. However, most Kickstarter originating games end up being little more than garbage fires. The bar has not been set very high.
Yooka-Laylee was promised to be a return to the beloved old-school collect-a-thon platformers of the '90s. The game delivered on that promise but also did almost nothing to reinvent the formula. Yooka-Laylee felt less like a brand new game and more like an old one that was just given a visual face-lift. It had all the warts and technical problems of the platformers it was trying to emulate but none of the charm.
16 Drawn to Death
Drawn to Death is the first terrible (and disappointing) game of 2017 in this list. Despite being a downloadable only title on PS4, Drawn to Death had a high pedigree behind it. It came from the mind of David Jaffe, who was instrumental in creating the God of War and Twisted Metal franchises. Yet Drawn to Death had nowhere near the spark of brilliance of either series.
Drawn to Death is an ugly and unbalanced arena shooter. It takes place in the world of a teenager’s doodle notebook and embraces that premise in the worst way possible. The game berates the player with crass, uninspired and juvenile humor. Worst of all, the mechanics of the shooting aren't fun to play. Every character is a bullet sponge and the controls are shoddy, at best.
15 Need For Speed: Payback
Need for Speed: Payback is emblematic of a lot of disappointing 2017 games. The core gamplay, the driving mechanics, are fun and satisfying. They’re just buried under a mountain of microtransactions and frustrating progression systems. Payback makes it incredibly difficult to customize your car, which is one of the hallmarks of the franchise. Specific customization options are traded in for luck based “Speed Cards” and obscure tasks must be completed to even start tinkering with your car. It turns the whole experience into a massive grind based purely on luck and as a result it's not a fun game to play.
It was so bad that developer EA had to publicly address the issue, just like they had to for Star Wars: Battlefront II on multiple occasions. Promising that a fix would be incoming but that has yet to materialize and it likely never will to most people’s satisfaction. Like Mass Effect, EA may have killed Need For Speed.
14 Forza Motorsport 7
Forza 7 Motorsport stands as another example of a fun, visually impressive game being utterly ruined by a terrible progression system. Xbox’s flagship racing title was burdened by microtransactions that severely limited the way people could play the game. Cars were locked away into tiers that required way too much work, for far too little reward.
The owners of the extra expensive VIP and Ultimate editions of the game were underappreciated as well with their purchase being devalued substantially and the VIP bonuses being limited use consumables for an already-bad progression system and economy. This resulted in a public apology being issued with announced fixes (this seems to be a trend...) Yet it wasn’t enough to reverse the game’s freemium business model altogether. Xbox One already struggles to have solid exclusives and Forza 7 let them down in a big way.
13 Sonic Forces
The 2D retro throwback of Sonic Mania, was one of the best games of 2017. It might very well be one of the best Sonic games ever and it was made with the help of fans. After the release of Mania, it appeared that the blue hedgehog was finally back on track. Then Sonic Forces released, and it was clear that Sonic Team still don’t completely understand their famous mascot.
Sonic has had way worse games than Forces. Still, Sonic Forces does feel like a huge step back for the franchise following the beloved Mania. There are moments when it nails the speed and feel of Sonic perfectly but they’re few and far between. The game suffers from inconsistent level design. The momentum, the most important part of a Sonic game, is janky and stilted. Everything comes to a halt far too often. Fans deserve better.
LawBreakers falls into the genre of a multiplayer-only “hero shooter” in the vein of Overwatch although the devs tried so hard to avoid this obvious and totally applicable comparison. However, Cliff Bleszinski's (Gears of War) brainchild does try for a bit more in the gameplay department, aiming for a wild and high-flying experience with impressive graphics. Gravity is a strange, nearly non-existent thing in LawBreakers and the mechanic works surprisingly well. Sadly, not much else is as successful in the game.
The LawBreakers characters play differently but they look largely the same making it feel more generic and certainly more confusing and boring to watch than Overwatch as a spectator. The maps fall into the same homogenous and bland camp. Worst of all, LawBreakers and its marketing failed to find an audience on Xbox One, PS4 or PC. A multiplayer shooter with no community is a dead and disappointing beast. And it's dead on PC.
11 For Honor
Ubisoft's For Honor is built on a pulse-pounding premise. It’s a 3D fighter that aims to bring to life exciting, violent, and historically impossible duels. In concept, For Honor's three-way rivalry between Knights, Vikings, and Samurai should be awesome. In execution, the game is the definition of disappointing.
There are moments in every online match where For Honor feels like the game it is trying to become. Unfortunately, they’re exceedingly rare. The game has way too many easy exploits that turn the "exciting" matches into unfair and unbalanced bouts. The game also severely limits the amount of fighters open to the player, hiding many behind in-game currency that, of course, can be acquired with real-world money. It’s for all these reasons that For Honor’s community has shriveled since its release.
10 WWE 2K18
WWE 2K18 boasts a slightly improved graphical look and some new mechanics over previous iterations of the annualized series. Yet that’s where the improvements end. WWE 2K18 focuses on improving the wrong aspects of the franchise and leaves bigger problems untouched. The MyCareer mode appears to be the flagship mode of the game and it’s by far the worst, held back by terrible writing and clunky and uninteresting RPG-like choices.
WWE 2K18 also boasts a loot box system for progression. Luckily the boxes can only be purchased with in-game currency, meaning there’s no pay-to-win system. Yet the fact that the loot boxes are included at all is a huge mistake. Drop the randomness, please.
And we can't forget to that the Nintendo Switch port is an ugly and broken mess of a game. Take this license seriously next year, please.
9 Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is an example of how a game can be good and still be very disappointing. This Lord of the Rings-esque sequel to Shadow of Mordor from Monolith Productions and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment goes bigger and better with some of its systems, gameplay, and story (mainly with its unique Nemesis system) but there are insidious and underwhelming elements that plague the game. Like many games in 2017, Shadow of War is filled with loot boxes, straight up pay-to-win gambling boxes in this one. While the boxes can be ignored sort of (there's no version of this game built without greed in mind though affecting progression and design), the game constantly tries to make players purchase them. It’s as transparent as it is greedy.
The worst part of Shadow of War is that the game’s true ending is locked behind a repetitive grind. It’s not fun, it’s just tedious. It wrecks the fast-paced flow of the game, an obvious and unnecessary case of padding - Obvious padding designed to make the player purchase those loot boxes to speed the process up considerably.
8 Mario Party: The Top 100
By releasing solely on Nintendo 3DS and not the far more desirable and sensible Nintendo Switch, Mario Party: The Top 100 was already a disappointment. The problems with the release go beyond the choice of console though. The Top 100 seems like every Mario Party fan’s dream as it was meant to bring all the games of the series into one “best of” package. Sadly, the game only understands one half of Mario Party’s successful formula.
There’s no boardgame play in The Top 100 outside of two barebones modes. One of which is single player, only. Instead the game is just a series of mini-games tied together with the lamest and most limiting modes. There’s no stake or interest to any of the mini-games and they’re all over in a matter of seconds. It's a hollow, dull and almost joyless experience. Fail.
7 The Walking Dead: The New Frontier
Telltale’s Walking Dead series has been a case of diminishing returns since the excellent first season. Season 3, The New Frontier, isn’t bad by any means. It just hits virtually the same notes and contains nearly identical big “decisions” to the first two seasons. Been there, done that.
The Walking Dead: The New Frontier tried to be do something different with an almost completely new cast with only constant presence Clementine returning. The new characters are likable enough, particularly the protagonist Javier. Yet the whole season feels way too familiar and unoriginal. The New Frontier isn’t a bold new step for the adventure franchise. It’s more like a sidestep into the same story with a fresh coat of paint.
6 Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
It could be unfair to expect too much from Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. It is, after all, a free-to-play mobile game. It was never going to be that complex. Yet even with these lowered expectations, Pocket Camp does feel underwhelming. It’s a been a very long time since a full Animal Crossing game has been released but Pocket Camp did nothing to make that time off feel bearable or worth it.
Pocket Camp is the simplest and greediest Animal Crossing experience. It’s filled with microtransactions and tasks that take forever to complete. It's completely devoid of the special and folksy magic of an actual Animal Crossing game and it sort of sours the brand. Pocket Camp is less a game and more just an brightly-colored excuse to bleed Animal Crossing fans of their real-world money.
5 Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite
The Marvel vs. Capcom series is one of the most beloved and successful fighting game franchises. It’s a fact that would hardly be known given the release of Infinite in 2017. The actual gameplay of Infinite is not bad at all. It might even technically be the best of the series. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is just severely lacking in content.
The story mode, a first for the series, is poorly done with some hideous character designs and writing. Yet the roster is where Infinite really falls flat. The Marvel side is full of Marvel Cinematic Universe movie characters and almost no one else. This leaves out all the X-Men and other beloved key characters from the franchise’s history. Infinite doesn't mash up the universe of Marvel and Capcom. It cheery picks the characters that Marvel wants to promote. The name Infinite promises a lot but the title delivers little.
4 Agents of Mayhem
The Saints Row series has gotten way out-of-hand after peaking with Saints Row: The Third. The wacky GTA clone has gone all-in of ridiculous hijinks and there’s almost nowhere else for them to land and no way to cover up its dated visuals and mechanics. So it seemed like a great idea to continue the universe of Saints Row in a superhero-themed spinoff. This game is Agents of Mayhem and it couldn’t deliver on the promise of its premise.
Agents of Mayhem has all the trappings of wild and hilarious Saturday morning cartoon made into a video game. The game is loud, colorful and crass but also occasionally very clever. It’s just not that fun to play. Agents of Mayhem is a series of repetitive actions with numerous dull heroes at the center. It’s set in the Saints Row universe but the game never feels daring or as refreshing as its parent series. It’s a passable open world game. In this case, passable is really just another word for boring.
With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild alone, Nintendo Switch had a great launch title line-up even if it depressingly didn't come with a pack-in game. When it comes to comparing Zelda to the game that bears the console’s name though, it’s wealth of difference in quality. 1-2-Switch doesn’t feel like a game. It’s a tech demo for Nintendo Switch that somehow doesn’t even hit on the specific fun of the console.
1-2-Switch should’ve been packaged with the console similar to how Wii Sports came with the Wii. On its own, however, there’s nothing really appealing about 1-2-Switch. It’s just a series of mini-games meant to show off the Switch’s unique capabilities. It plays more like checklist for the proof of concept than anything meaningful or memorable. After one session, it's useless.
2 Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a far cry from the game it should’ve and needed to be for launching a new space opera set in the Mass Effect universe. Andromeda takes place in an all-new galaxy, ripe with potential and endless possibilities. Instead we got something dated, forgettable, and predictable. And as a cherry on top, instead of expanding the multiplayer suite, it cloned Mass Effect 3's and made it somehow run worse but with the same microtransaction loot boxes, an EA special.
The planets of Mass Effect: Andromeda that can be explored are huge and numerous but lifeless. The plot has its moments but is pretty simplistic. With a couple notable exceptions the characters do very little to endear themselves to the player. Andromeda lacks the excitement and daring nature of the original trilogy. There's no Garrus, no Tali and certainly no threat like The Reapers and what is there seem like generic analogs of things we saw in the original trilogy.
Andromeda didn’t do it's job. It didn't launch a new series on a new console generation. Rather it seeming ended one with the Mass Effect being put on ice for the foreseeable future.
1 Star Wars: Battlefront II
In the build-up to its release, developer EA promised that Star Wars: Battlefront II would fix the problems of the first game. Yet when it finally arrived this proved to be completely untrue, if not an outright lie. Battlefront II does fix certain problems from the 2015 game but the devs focused strictly on adding content without making any of it great, and instead, added so many more issues. It's shockingly a worse game than its disappointing predecessor and the much anticipated story is downright stupid, made only worse by the gameplay scenarios it forces players through. Who would have though playing Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber would be so awkward?
Battlefront II is frustrating because the game that players and fans want is partly there on the multiplayer. It’s just hidden behind terrible business practices, an anti-consumer progression system, and dumbed down gameplay mechanics. In a year of awful loot boxes, Battlefront II has the worst ones and its devs - after apologizing and making changes on at least four separate occasions simply don't get it. Leveling up characters and customizing a play style is left to chance (and shortly before release) how much money you had at your disposal for an already premium-priced game. Take your free maps/DLC back and give us a game like Battlefield!
Battlefront II has seen an endless storm of controversies, followed by stock price drops for EA and meaningless apologies from its decision makers up top. There is a promise that everything will be fixed but it can't be, just like EA's Mass Effect and Need For Speed releases can't be. Based on the most popular brand/license in the world, Battlefront 2 is an example of what gamers don't want. With this mess and with EA shuttering Visceral Games and putting a halt to Amy Hennig's story-based Star Wars game, EA thrown up a lot of red flags indicating they aren't a great choice to be the license-holder for Lucasfilm's prized brand.
What were some of your biggest gaming disappointments in 2017? Sound off in the comments with your personal disappointments from 2017!