games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Disappointments of 2017 – Mass Effect Andromeda, Telltale, More

January 9, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Mass Effect Andromeda

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! Last week was a positive feel-good category about what games I think were the best in 2017. Here’s the flip side of that coin with my most disappointing games/trends of 2017. This isn’t an all-inclusive list, for example, Battlefront 2 would be on here if I even considered playing it, but I didn’t, so it’s not. The odd thing is, even though I put a few games on here I am slightly positive on, I am still disappointed by a few cases. With that said, let’s begin:

#8: Call of Duty: World War 2

This game is on here, but at a “low” spot on this list. It’s a weird thing for me, but this game has really flipped my usual CoD mindset. I normally play CoD games for the single player and only really dabble in the multiplayer to confirm I don’t like it. With this one, I was completely underwhelmed by the single player, thinking it’s about as on par with Ghosts, if not slightly worse. However, I have oddly really gotten into the multiplayer portion of the game. I usually try to play a few matches every day, just to fulfill the orders (objectives) you pick up daily. Also, if you can get on a good team, you feel really good about steamrolling the other team. Granted, this last part can be said about any CoD game, but it’s the first one where it really clicked in with me.

#7: Sonic Forces

Like all 3D Sonic games, this one isn’t great, but it’s not a complete travesty like Sonic 2006, or Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric are. The disappointing thing is that Sega really thinks that people want more 3D Sonic games to begin with. During their 25th Anniversary stream last year, they kind of brushed off Sonic Mania and were like “This (Sonic Forces) is the game for real Sonic fans!” And the game they got it a middling, half-baked platformer with some incredibly short levels and an extremely creepy character creator. Also, like most (if not all, really) 3D Sonic games, most levels are suspended in mid-air, so if you get off the beaten path, you die instantly. Try comparing Sonic Forces to Mario Odyssey and see who comes out on top. So please, Sega, make more Sonic Mania games, and stop the 3D Sonic crap.

#6: Assassin’s Creed: Origins

I don’t think Origins is a bad game, in fact I gave it a somewhat positive score in my own review, but I cannot fathom some of the praise the game has received. I do think it was time to shake up the formula, but I don’t think Origins was the correct path, necessarily. I don’t think it’s the gameplay, fighting one-on-one is pretty fun, but fighting against groups of people is a nightmare. It’s really the (lack of) story, bad characterization and pointless busywork that the game has you do. There are hundreds of camps for you to clean out, or get treasure from, but it is all pointless. Bayek is a great character, but his story goes practically nowhere, with some real naked attempts at emotional manipulation with the death of his friend. Also, while I appreciate the idea that Bayek has a wife, the relationship is extremely hollow, because she’s only in the game about 10% of the time.

#5: Mass Effect Andromeda

Andromeda would likely be higher if I had played more of it. As it is, I only made it about 10 hours before stopping. I didn’t find the gameplay bad, actually it was the best shooting has generally felt in a Mass Effect game, it was just the lackluster way they set up and don’t execute the story. It should be “Wow, we’re in a whole new galaxy, here are 10 new and different alien races for me to talk to and/or fight!” Not, “Well, we’re in a new galaxy with Krogan, Asari, Turians and Salarians on my ship. Oh, here are two new races that don’t factor in much at all.” They completely failed to capitalize on the story concept, which is just disappointing. Also, the fact that Clancy Brown’s character (Papa Ryder) dies within the first hour or two, is unforgivable in my eyes.

#4: Friday the 13th

This game was never going to be good, but it has snowed a lot of people into thinking it is special. It’s a basic 4 on 1 multiplayer game, which is the same thing Evolve was. I imagine it’ll suffer much the same fate, with the playerbase eventually getting so small as to not being able to sustain it. I guess the idea is theoretically interesting, but also the constant bugs and other problems really do hamper the experience as well. Another example would be Lawbreakers, which would be high on this list, assuming anyone actually played it. Also, Friday the 13th is just kind of an ugly game, the objectives aren’t really there, etc.

#3: Microsoft (in general)

This was one of the most dismal years Microsoft has had, when it comes to game development. They released a new console sure, the Xbox One X, but had…nothing to really show for it? Their big games this year were Forza Motorsport 7, Cuphead and uh…that’s it? I guess it had Halo Wars 2, but that was forgotten about within a week. Oh, and PUBG, but that’s much more of a PC game at the moment. Why have what Microsoft claims as “the most powerful gaming console ever created” when it had virtually no new games to show it off? Granted, Microsoft can’t come out with a Halo or Gears of War every year, but it hasn’t bothered to court third party developers this console generation to help supplement their first party development. Sony had first party development with games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Gravity Rush 2 and Uncharted: Lost Legacy, but the PS4 was also vastly helped by Persona 5, NieR: Automata, and Nioh. Microsoft better have a damn exciting 2018 year, otherwise I don’t see their console division lasting much longer.

#2: Telltale

There were four Telltale Games games, or titles released in 2017: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (Season 3), Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2, and Batman: The Enemy Within, and who cared about them? Virtually no one. Think back to when the first Walking Dead game came out, new episodes would be released and the internet would be abuzz for a few days over the choices you could make and where the story was going. This was in 2012, not 5 years ago (from a 2017 perspective), and since then, Telltale has been in a gradual decline in relevance, creativity and overall importance. Their games continue to use the same busted game engine year in and year out, and they crank out licensed stuff that has no real personality. I think their last two exciting games were Tales from the Borderlands (2014) and The Wolf Among Us (2013). They’ve announced another Wolf Among Us season for 2018, alongside another season of The Walking Dead and, god only knows why, another season of Game of Thrones. 2017 was really the solidifying year for how far Telltale has fallen.

#1: Middle-earth: Shadow of War

My god, was this game a disappointment to me. Even if you ignore the really dumb fan-service moment of having Gollum show up again, or the contrived way they turn a spider into Goth-Arwen, this was a huge mis-step of the game. The breaking of the game was it not really being an open-world game like Mordor was, and instead it having separate zones you visit to do quests and kill orcs in. Sure there was another landmass in Mordor, but you reached it like halfway through the game, and both areas of Mordor were massive in scope. In Shadow of War, each area feels incredibly closed off and constrained. Also, each area has its own hierarchy of orcs for you to contend with, which really drags the game down in pointless BS. That’s not even the biggest problem I had with the game, with me finishing it at level 45, me having a level 55 Orc-related sidequest in the game and no way for me to get more experience without grinding out another side mission over 300 times to get the required experience. More so than Battlefront 2, which I will never play in my life, Shadow of War was a huge disaster of a game to me.

For comments, list which parts of gaming you found disappointing in 2017 and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Most Anticipated Games of 2018

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison