The difference between the worst and most disappointing game is how much potential the title actually has. If it was a simple matter of being extremely bad, something like School Girl/Zombie Hunter would get it and that isn’t interesting or really fair to the developers, who likely achieved this due to size and/or budget. What makes 2017 so difficult is the fact there are multiple disappointing games, all of which are not without their redeeming aspects.
Earlier this year I would’ve said Fortnite was the standout choice. A whole archetype of weapon and character class is useless in mid to late game, with one of the most annoyingly long grinds I’ve ever seen and I’ve platinumed Lost Planet 2. However, it’s hard to discount the success of the PVP mode, the fact Epic has made a lot of progress towards improving the product, the understanding it is suppose to be a free-to-play game and that it has taken a several steps forward.
Another strong contender is Star Wars Battlefront II. The microtransaction stuff caused a lot of outrage, ultimately resulting in it being removed for the time being, and potentially hurt future sales. However, it isn’t really fair to say it’s the most disappointing game due to a brief period before launch there were bad microtransactions. If anything, it would be better to say it has the worst practice of 2017, though even that is a toss up between that and Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite.
Regardless of how you feel about Capcom, there were some questionable choices in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. The exclusion of X-Men characters, including Wolverine, who has appeared in every crossover title, is more than a little disappointing. From there, the fact all six DLC characters were announced and will be released, as of next week, in a couple of months might not sit right, but again, this deals more with practices than anything else. If there is really one saving grace of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, it’s that fan expectations were pretty low. Between terrible models, recent practices, keeping shut on certain characters and more, it isn’t surprising it wasn’t the hit previous titles were.
Then we have Destiny 2, which is in a weird spot. There is no denying that fans are not thrilled with it, with player counts decreasing and Reddit becoming increasingly restless, coupled with Bungie’s lack of solutions, causing all kinds of problems. However, today Bungie commented on changes to come later this month, addressed concerns and promised to do better in the future.
This brings me to a topic I plan to explore in a future editorial, about whether or not updates and DLC should impact whether or not a title receives an award. Because, if there is one common thread between the three of the four titles I listed, it’s that they’ve changed or plan to change for the better. Fortnite is far better than it was at launch, Battlefront II currently lacks the microtransactions and Destiny 2 took months to get off square one, though they’re all in a different place than they were at the start. As much as I don’t want to applaud them for doing better, I find myself still disappointed in Destiny 2.
While some might say I’m bias against the space shooter, considering I awarded the original and Taken King versions this award in the past, I’d say, if anything, I would say the opposite is true and that is the real irony. As much as I want Destiny to be the space shooter MMO of my dreams, it continues to fall short, not just in my eyes, but the communities as a whole. It’s hard to argue that the original release was underwhelming and the addition of The Dark Below did little to change that. And, as much as Taken King was a step forward, it wasn’t without its problems (dropping the raids, infusion system, how to hit 320 light, no max level artifacts, lack of events, addition of microtransactions, etc) and it certainly didn’t help that there were few titles that stood out as worse.
If anything worked against Destiny 2, it’s the idea that the new release would solve all the structural problems that plagued the original. While I expected Destiny 2 to fall short of fan expectations, which admittedly hit an unrealistic level, I couldn’t quite anticipate how far the series fell. By taking out most of the depth, almost all of the chase and making it a shell of its former glory, it’s hard to say it can match the appeal of the original. While I’m open to creating a most improved title of 2018 award and giving it to Destiny 2, assuming Bungie follows through with their promises and we see improvements, I don’t think any title this year had a bigger fallout and negative reaction than it, which is why Destiny 2 is inevitably our choice as the biggest disappointment of 2017.