I hate to let you down man. These games aren’t necessarily bad, but like getting stood up on a date, they left us feeling slightly more dead inside.
Dishonorable Mention goes to…
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
We waited through years and plenty of delays for the newest Zelda adventure. What we got was a generic open world game that doesn’t quite feel finished.
Breath of the Wild borrows a lot of good concepts from other games in its genre, but fails to really flesh them out. It’s empty world with often frustrating combat, a lack of quest variety, bad dungeon design, a horrific weapons durability system, and an inconsequential story. That makes this one feel the least Zelda out of any 3D Zelda game we’ve seen thus far. It’s not a bad game by any means. We love its atmosphere and music, while crafting and the hang-glider are certainly welcome additions. However, it falls short of living up to other entries in its legendary franchise. In a post-Skyrim/Witcher 3 world, we’ve come to expect a little more from Nintendo.
We’re also quite mystified as to why Breath of the Wild has been sweeping the awards when far better titles have come out this year. It’s certainly not our first choice, which you’ll find out soon.
Our runner up is…Star Wars: Battlefront II (Electronic Arts)
The first EA Battlefront was an incomplete game which left Star Wars fans, and fans of the LucasArts originals, feeling a little underwhelmed. Battlefront II was supposed to be the apology tour. The new Battlefront would have an actual campaign this time, and space battles. Oh boy, did those space battles look sexy in the trailers. What we got instead was the worst kind of cynical cash grab, with a pay-to-win system that bordered on gambling. The micro-transactions were so heavily integrated into gameplay mechanics, that EA’s decision to temporarily remove them fundamentally broke the game.
Seems people aren’t so hot on playing 40 hours just to unlock Vader. Battlefront II has been seeing heavy discounts over the holiday season, which is unheard of for such a huge release so soon after launch. With The Last Jedi getting a lukewarm reception, 2017 is proving to be a bit of a bad year to be a Star Wars fan.
And the winner of most disappointing game of the year goes to…
Mass Effect: Andromeda (Electronic Arts)
EA is batting two for two when it comes to destroying revered science fiction franchises. Mass Effect: Andromeda was going to be the big return to the series, with a whole new crew and a whole new galaxy to explore. The hype was so real, it even won the Golden Joystick award for the most anticipated game of 2016. Yeah, it got delayed a bit.
What we finally got was all kinds of weird from Bioware Montreal. A rough, poorly paced plot filled in with wooden characters and ugly graphics that made Mass Effect III ending look like a masterpiece.
Delving deeper into the development process revealed questionable credentials from certain crew members. Bioware has been accused of hiring people solely to fill token diversity spots rather than on actual merit. Additionally, one developer appears to have lost their job after going a bizarre racist tirade on Twitter, leading many to boycott the game. Seems he didn’t quite understand the message of the original trilogy.
Sadly, the mixed reception and negative PR surrounding Andromeda seems to have soured EA off of continuing the franchise. At least for the near future. Which is a damn shame because Mass Effect gave us one of the richest sci-fi worlds we’ve seen in a long time. That’s a lot of potential that was flushed down the toilet in one fell swoop. Not many games can claim to go from most anticipated of the year to franchise killer in just a few short months.