Without being too negative with this list, it certainly hasn’t been a great year for video gaming. There have been some definite duds released this year; but beyond the obviously bad games that were released this year it would irresponsible of me not to mention the controversies that arose regarding certain practices within the industry and, in my mind, ruined one of the games that I was eagerly looking forward to playing this year. You’re going to read more about here below, but I wanted to warn you about it before you got to it, especially since there are a lot of people out there defending the practice. Anyway, here is my list of the five games that disappointed me the most of 2017.
Dishonorable mentions: Agents of Mayhem, Inner Chains, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Need for Speed: Payback, Road Rage
5. Drive Girls
Developed by: Tamsoft
Published by: Aksys Games & Rising Star Games
Genre: Action, Role-playing
Platform(s): PlayStation Vita
Release date: September 8, 2017
Summary: In a world where humans can transform into automobiles, the Drive Girls are ready to hit the road and save the day! Play as five different Drive Girls and transform from superheroine to supercar and back again, as you smash through wave after wave of mechanised Bug enemies attacking the paradise of Sun Island. Combining action and driving into a hack ‘n’ slash bonanza, Drive Girls lets you burn rubber through the high-octane missions in the epic single-player campaign or enjoy local and online co-operative action for up to four players. Visit the garage between missions to tune, modify and customise your rides, as abilities and attacks can be enhanced with new parts and decals for stat-busting skill augments. Discover the unfolding story and enjoy interactions between the Drive Girls as they bond and get to know each other better, forming close friendships amidst the heat of the battle zone.
I usually don’t mind these quirky Japanese games, especially role-playing games (given that the Neptunia series is one of my favorite video games series), but when a game has broken mechanics the way that Drive Girls does – a forced driving mechanic that looks clunky as hell, horrendous writing and story, and barely playable role-playing aspects – and you have a recipe for disaster that even I can’t overlook.
4. Tokyo Tattoo Girls
Developed by: Sushi Typhoon Games
Published by: Nikkatsu & NIS America
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Vita
Release date: November 14, 2017
Summary: The game is set in Tokyo, after a catastrophe has isolated the city and the inhabitants who survived from the rest of the world. In an effort to maintain peace, the city is divided into twenty-three wards, each controlled by a group called a Kumi; the twenty-three Kumi form the Union, which it is rumored must be defeated for escape from Tokyo to be possible. Following the catastrophe, some of the inhabitants of Tokyo learn that they have been granted powerful abilities through tattoos.
I usually don’t mind a bunch of cute anime girls filling my video game screen as I play a niche and quirky Japanese game. However, when the developer decides to concentrate solely on the cute anime girls and ignore every other aspect of the game, especially a fun and unique strategy mechanic that could have been used to make the game interesting, and you have a gross example of negligence in game development that is hard to ignore – and that is exactly what you have with Tokyo Tattoo Girls.
3. Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle
Developed by: Cubetype
Published by: NIS America
Genre: Action, Fighting
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Release date: October 10, 2017
Summary: Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is a bullet-hell battle game that takes place in the Touhou universe. Take control of one of nine Touhou characters and eliminate your opponent using bullet-hell patterns, melee attacks, or spell cards. Featuring ear-tingling beats for each character, you might just find yourself dancing while you play.
How the hell did a game this broken get released and dare call itself part of the Touhou game series? Seriously, how did Touhou Kobyto V: Burst Battle ever get released? I mean, this game is glitchy as hell, almost unplayable, has lackluster gameplay mechanics, and has a seriously slowed paced, uninteresting story that just makes me want to chuck my game pad out the window.
2. Valkyria Revolution
Developed by: Media Vision
Published by: Deep Silver & Sega
Genre: Action, Role-play
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Release date: June 27, 2017
Summary: Jutlands elite soldiers, the Vanargand, must band together to defeat the Ruzi Empire and stop death itself – the Valkyria. This grizzled anti-Valkyria squad is equipped with advanced mana weaponry and has the powerful ability to wield ragnite spells to combat this terrifying threat. The unit is comprised of soldiers who have a high affinity for ragnite, and even Jutlands own Princess Ophelia has joined the ranks. The princess carries the utmost love for her country and has answered the call of duty to liberate those who are suffering from the Ruzis tyranny. However, Amleth Gronkjaer, the commanding officer of Vanargand hides a terrible secret. Is he friend or foe to the country he has sworn to protect?
I usually don’t mind a video game with a heavy story that drives the game – in fact, I am a huge proponent of story-driven games; but when you have a story that slows down the game to the point of being molasses, you have to wonder just what the development team was hoping to accomplish with a game of this caliber. Yes, there is a full 70 hours of game to explore in Valkyria Revolution – but you have to take in the fact that many of those hours are taken up by extremely long loading times and story points that severely impact the playability of the game.
1. Star Wars Battlefront II
Developed by: EA DICE
Published by: Electronic Arts
Genre: Third-person shooter, First-person shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release date: November 17, 2017
Summary: Star Wars Battlefront II allows players to experience the untold story of an Imperial elite special forces soldier in an all-new single player campaign. In epic multiplayer battles, players pilot a First Order TIE fighter through intense dogfights in space, and play as ground troopers or iconic heroes and villains, such as Yoda and Darth Maul, across all three Star Wars eras. Featuring new characters created by Motive in close partnership with the story group at Lucasfilm, the Star Wars Battlefront II single player campaign delivers a new story to the Star Wars universe. Taking place in the 30 years between the destruction of Death Star II and through the rise of the First Order, the single player story introduces Iden Versio, the leader of Inferno Squad, an elite special forces unit of the Galactic Empire, who are equally lethal on the ground and in space. In addition to Iden, players also encounter and play as other iconic Star Wars heroes and villains like Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren during the campaign.
I’ll be honest here, I was really looking forward to playing Star Wars Battlefront II when I heard it was being released in 2018. I am a huge Star Wars fan, a huge fan of the DICE development team, and I was even a huge fan of the first Star Wars Battlefront game that was released by DICE/EA. But, it is hard to separate the game from the controversy surrounding it at this point, especially when I am one of the people who considers what EA is doing to be unethical, borderline illegal, and just plain wrong. Never have I been this motivated to take action against the practices of a game publisher the way that I have been with Star Wars Battlefront II. Despite the amazing story, despite the great gameplay, when I look at the overall presentation of Star Wars Battlefront II and what a mess EA made of its release, I just cannot look past that to all the good that the game does.