If it’s one thing gamers are good at, it’s hating things. While we love to have experiences that lift us up and take us away on magical clouds made of unicorn farts and sunshine, we seem to equally love when a game sucks so bad that Stephen Hawkings starts theorising about the physics behind them. So what slackened the jorts of the DYEGB team this year?
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
If I’m being honest, there have been far worse games than Shadow of War to come out of 2017, but Warner’s much-hyped (read: heavily marketed) sequel to the pretty decent Shadow of Mordor commits so many crimes with so little self-awareness that it just pisses me off. An uninspired plot, monotonous combat, redundant mechanics and a laborious grind designed to feed into a microtransaction ecosystem all wrapped up in a package so bland it should come as a free prize in every box of All Bran. In a year already flush with brilliant open-world action RPGs, it’s a disappointment and a waste of a good license. DYEGB rating: 8
Oh fuck me that’s right the stupid rock thing came back this year. Look Mark Cerny, I could almost forgive the original Knack’s mediocrity by passing it off as more of a tech demo/launch lineup filler oddity but seriously, a sequel? Knack is a dumb character and nobody likes him, everyone would have been happy for his legacy to fade into obscurity, but no. Here he is again, in an equally mediocre game, equally as dumb as before. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about Knack 2 aside from the fact that it sometimes looks okay and it’s fun to laugh at. Other than that it’s an absolute chore to play and a blight on the PS4’s exclusive lineup for the year. DYEGB rating: 6
Flop of the Year: Sonic Forces
Sonic Team, please, stop.
For a year that promised to be the comeback for 3D platformers, it’s disappointing that I could have easily swapped Sonic’s place for Super Lucky’s Tale, Yooka Laylee, Knack 2 or Bubsy. However, Sonic has been an especially disappointing series for many years and multiple iterations now. It’s getting to the point now where it’s clear that Sega don’t have a clear vision for what the franchise is and it takes a single fan to bring some relevance back to the edgy hedgehog’s tired run. DYEGB rating: N/A
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
It seems EA can’t get a break (nor should they). Every decision they make is either disappointing or controversial or both. Battlefront fans asked for more content in the sequel and a single-player campaign after the barren predecessor, and EA seemed set to deliver the goods. But what players got was a lacklustre campaign with forgetful moments, and a multiplayer with more content but a baffling progression system marred by the spectre of microtransactions that were scrapped at the eleventh hour because even Disney couldn’t stomach them. Battlefront II proves you can’t deal with the devil. Be careful what you wish for. DYEGB rating: 4
Flop of the Year: For Honor
Despite a lot of the hate Ubisoft gets for rehashing their formulas across multiple AAA franchises, I casually enjoy them for what they are. Like comfort food. It is a shame For Honor feels like I am trying to force down my veggies when I really just want ice cream. A tutorial disguised in a campaign, crummy servers, a lack of variety, microtransactions and overall dull personality made this dishonourable title stick out amongst the phenomenal first half of the year. With Rainbow Six: Siege, Division and Wildlands getting so much post-launch support, you can tell Ubisoft doesn’t care about For Honor much either. DYEGB rating: 7.5
Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour
Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour, it’s a supreme example of a mediocre idea, somehow implemented in a way that is barely half-arsed – we’re dealing with barely a tenth of an arse here. The entire premise of having DUKE NUKEM as the player character for the original Bulletstorm campaign tickled me to no end – but the outcome was more like a bad touch. Voice acting was jarring, and there was no integration with any of the other plot points where The Duke might have had a chance to shine. It’s a bummer I won’t outgrow anytime soon. DYEGB rating: N/A
Troll and I
I played this game for 20 minutes on my friends PS4. It still haunts me. I genuinely thought his PS4 was dying based off the screen tearing and framerate issues. DYEGB rating: 2
Flop of the Year: Two Worlds II: Call of the Tenebrae
Two Worlds II: Call of the Tenebrae is like a massive, beautifully laid out buffet, only the closer you look, the more you realise it’s made of chalk and sawdust, tastes like burnt dog shit and you have to walk barefoot over lego bricks to get to it. The amazingly crafted world and rich variety of NPCs lured me in, and suddenly I was awash in a sea of mediocre combat and plodding mobility – I genuinely felt like I had been catfished. DYEGB rating: 4
Now we’re speaking my language; stinkers of 2017 – my speciality. Where to begin? I played a fair few duds this year and although I loathe to lambast publishers and developers with such fervour, I’m about to stick the proverbial boots into one company who takes home the trifecta of 2017’s stinkiest games.
When Illfonic and Psyop Games ran a beta for its competitive zombie shooter Dead Alliance you just knew it was going to flop. Hindered by terrible technical performance, mundane gameplay and empty servers, Dead Alliance was dead before it even begun. Maximum Games may as well have got the master copy, driven the short commute from its headquarters to San Francisco and thrown it off the Golden Gate Bridge into the San Francisco Bay to save having to pay for servers and further development work. Despite its neat premise, the full release was a mirror image of its beta: trash. DYEGB rating: 3
Developed by Dutch outfit Team6, Road Rage was intended to scratch the 14-year Road Rash itch, however instead it was the thing of nightmares. After being delayed a whole year to give Team6 more time to release something worthy of playing they still managed to release something that barely resembled a game. Plagued by technical issues, terrible gameplay and atrocious voice acting, Road Rage is a dire and abhorrent attempt at reviving the legacy of Road Rash. It has four-player split-screen though. DYEGB rating: 3
Flop of the Year: Troll and I
It’s hard to find the words to explain just how bad Troll and I is, and having chatted to the developers (Spiral House) before the game’s launch, it pains me to castigate a game so heavily because they were such nice people. But when push comes to shove it doesn’t matter how nice of a person you are if your product is utter garbage, which is what Troll and I is. Never have I played a game so bereft of technical polish and laden with so many bugs that it came close to mentally breaking me and wanting to quit gaming for a brief period of time. It wasn’t just the technical performance, it was everything; design, story, gameplay. Everything. It’s telling when the only positives I could list in my review are the game’s soundtrack and box art. I have no doubt that budget restraints played their part, but the stigma of developing such a bomb will be long-lasting. DYEGB rating: 2
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect resonates with a great deal of people, and why not? The first game was a brilliant mix of diplomatic RPG elements and third-person shooting. The second one was even better, albeit a bit more shooty. The third one never came out, which is a shame. I was so looking forward to having the story wrapped up in a meaningful way like Bioware had promised. I was also keen for more of that delicate balance between RPG and pew pew, despite rumours of it being more of the latter than the former. Andromeda was a fucking disaster. An okay third-person shooter and not much else. I don’t need to mention the atrocious production quality that apparently came from a lack of real experience on the team. You know all about it. I’m not going to beat a dead horse here. Andromeda did that perfectly well enough. DYEGB rating: 7
There’s nothing I’ve grown jaded about more than throwbacks. Those things suck. Amongst the slew of crappy nostalgiabait that came out this year (and there was plenty of it), none kicked up a bigger stink than Yooka-Laylee. One of the most anticipated games in a long time sputtered and staggered more than a drunk playing table tennis. It’s not the dated design philosophy that got me the most. It wasn’t even the serviceable-at-best visuals (an unfortunate side effect of the Unity engine). What got me the most was that I wasn’t furious…I was bored. It was a copy-paste of dated 3D platformers. Not the Rare ones, the other ones. The ones that weren’t bad, they were just uninteresting. This goes for almost everything that relies on nostalgia to get attention: things changed for a reason. Sure, your influences may hold up, but that’s no reason to emulate them completely. If you do that, what’s the point of your creation? Your hard work? If the end result is something that already exists, that’s not art. That’s emulation. DYEGB rating: 4
Flop of the Year: Strafe
What made 90s shooters so goddamn good? It’s a question that everybody asks themselves eventually. A conclusive answer is hard to come by, but I’ll give you a couple of hints. Hint number one: solid and open level design, with carefully crafted areas and secret areas. Hint number two: a wide variety of weapons that all behave completely differently. Strafe strived to replicate this golden age of…well, every game, but fell short on both of these points. Levels being procedurally generated made them bland and uninteresting and had only three weapons that don’t behave all that differently. Other attempts to replicate the 90s were ham-fisted and didn’t really serve the game at all. If I wanted to play a 90s shooter, I’d play a 90s shooter. DYEGB rating: 4.5
How did we do? Anything you think we missed? Let us know in the comments what your biggest flops of 2017 were.