While 2017 was a banner year for video games, there were some surprising disappointments.
If you were to make a list of the best years for video games, 2017 would surely be close to the top. This year saw Nintendo rise from the ashes and start killing it again. It saw the launch of incredible new games (Horizon: Zero Dawn, Cuphead) and massively successful sequels (Destiny 2, Resident Evil 7).
But we’re not here to talk about the winners. Let’s look at what didn’t work. Here are the biggest video game disappointments in 2017.
1) Mass Effect: Andromeda
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Mass Effect trilogy ruled the galaxy during the Xbox 360 era. These games introduced us to a new sci-fi setting, complete with alien civilizations, intergalactic councils, and lore as deep as a wormhole. But that was just the backdrop. The story centered around a group of memorable heroes, led by Commander Shepherd, who saved the universe from existential threats.
Expectations were high for the inevitable follow-up, which everyone assumed would kick off a new trilogy of games. But when Mass Effect: Andromeda came out in March, it flopped like a Turian sea bass. The game, made by Bioware Montreal, lacked the heart and excitement of the original trilogy. It was also plagued by bugs and glitches that angry fans passed around online like Citadel credits. Andromeda’s reception was so bad Electronic Arts merged Bioware Montreal into another studio and put the Mass Effect series on ice.
2) Lack of Xbox exclusives
In 2017 Nintendo fans got new installments of Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and Splatoon. Sony diehards got Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Those were all amazing, well-received games.
Xbox owners weren’t quite so lucky. We got Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and Cuphead. Those are fine games, but none of them were particularly thrilling. The biggest exclusives Microsoft had promised for 2017—Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3—both got delayed to 2018.
Even in November when Microsoft launched the Xbox One X, literally the most powerful gaming console ever, it didn’t come out alongside a big new game that would show off its power.
Microsoft: Your hardware is great. We just want more exclusive games.
3) Star Wars Battlefront 2
Publisher Electronic Arts had a tough year. The Mass Effect: Andromeda debacle happened early in 2017, and to cap off the year, EA released Star Wars Battlefront 2, a game that could have been a massive hit with fans eager to jump into the Star Wars universe. The key words there: could have. But, shortly before launch, fans got outraged. For starters, it looked like unlocking heroes would take an unreasonable amount of gameplay time. Second, the loot box system seemed to be a “pay to win” scheme.
In response, EA made some major tweaks to the game. Just hours before launch, EA removed all micro-transactions, saying it would bring them back in a more fair way. The fixes came too late for many fans, who promised to boycott both the game and EA in general.
Despite the outcry online and mediocre review scores, Star Wars Battlefront 2 debuted as the number two best-selling game in November, just behind Call of Duty: WWII. So maybe the vocal mob didn’t speak for everyone.
4) 1-2 Switch
When a company debuts a new console, it helps to have a few great games to convince people to buy it. The Nintendo Switch had one killer game at launch: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of the best titles of this generation. That was the good news. The bad news was, it also launched the same day as 1-2 Switch, a mini-game collection that failed to wow just about anybody.
1-2 Switch has you and a friend compete in mini-games mostly centered around motion controls. The mini-games are enjoyable enough in party situations, but they’re not very diverse or deep. They seem designed to show off the Switch’s hardware capabilities to friends and family. But if that’s the case, why didn’t Nintendo just pack the game in with every Switch sold? Why does this subpar mini-game collection cost $50? Who knows!
5) Destiny 2 controversies
It seems like Destiny fans are always on a rollercoaster that goes up and down. The first game launched to middling reviews, but still racked up a large player base who kept coming back to shoot aliens and earn gear. By the time the Taken King expansion came out, fans and critics alike had fully come around on the game.
A similar thing is happening with Destiny 2, but in reverse. The game was a major hit when it first launched, thanks to its stellar campaign and enjoyable progression to the Power Level cap. But once enough players reached the limit, they realized there wasn’t much incentive to keep coming back. So fans grew disgruntled until new content came out.
But nearly every time developer Bungie puts out a new update or feature, fans discover some glaring flaw in it and hop online to fume. Cue Bungie’s apology and a promise to be better at communicating in the future. The thing is, nothing ever changes. Destiny 2 is a phenomenal game, but it can’t keep fans happy forever.