This year has seen a lot of tremendous highs in the video game industry, including the return of many iconic game heroes, as well as some new franchises that have taken off like a shot since their debut.
But, like all gaming years before it, we’ve also seen our fair share of disappointments, titles that took gamers for the wrong kind of ride as they dragged them through the mud and back, either with poor design decisions or choices with the game’s set-up that made them miserable to play.
So let’s go ahead and get this out of the way, as we name the ten worst games of 2017. Trust us, it’s not going to be pretty.
We’ve got a rough idea of what David Jaffe and his team was going for with this competitive shooter, but we can’t help but think something went wrong with the design process. The main reason for that is Drawn To Death just isn’t fun to play. The gameplay doesn’t offer up enough diversity; the matches take quite a bit of time to start; and the art aesthetic, while innovative, doesn’t really do the game’s general design any favors. This is one of those instances where the team had a great concept, but just couldn’t, ahem, get the lead out.
The idea of a smaller character teaming up with an AI-driven bigger character isn’t the newest one on the block, but the team behind Troll and I decided to give it a shot anyway, teaming up a young lad with a gigantic creature as they embark on a series of adventures together. Unfortunately, none of them are worthwhile, as the game is terribly bland as a whole, drowned down even further by forgettable gameplay and glitchy visuals. It’s almost like the only thing truly being trolled here is the audience.
There’s something to be said about developers giving an old, successful sports formula a try in a new guise, just as the developers behind NBA Playgrounds and Bush Hockey League did. But, sadly, both of these games failed horrifically because those same developers decided to screw with formula. Playgrounds suffers from overcomplicated gameplay and poor AI decisions, while Bush Hockey League fails to rise to the occasion with stunted controls and a lackluster presentation. If you want the vibe from classic sports games, just stick with the classics.
All we have to ask Ark System Works is…what happened? Double Dragon IV sounded like a dream come true at first, bringing back the retro 8-bit style of the original for a new game. But then, when it released, it was a full blown nightmare, thanks to awfully programmed AI, frustrating platforming segments, sloppy graphic design and limited two-player options, including a somewhat inane arena mode. If you really need that Double Dragon feeling back, go hunt down a copy of Double Dragon Neon.
Again, we’re naming a game on this list that just had to go and mess with formula. The Valkyria series was just fine the way it was with Chronicles, but then the developers had to go and reinvent the wheel with Revolution – and essentially wrecked the car as a result. The gameplay just feels predictable and lifeless, and the story isn’t nowhere near as well told as it was in the previous adventure. Fortunately, it sounds like Sega learned its lesson, and the next Valkyria adventure will return to proper form. Good – we can forget Revolution ever happened.
Here are two racing games that could’ve truly been game-changers in a year that we needed them. But instead, they were held back because of choices in how they were put together. Gran Turismo Sport, for instance, is the worst game in the series because it requires you to be online for practically everything – even saving. That makes no sense. Meanwhile, Payback self-destructed thanks to a lackluster story and cast (they wouldn’t last five minutes in Fast & Furious), the inability to play “big moments” in the game, and a microtransaction system that forces you to grind to earn anything. No thanks – we’ll stick with Split/Second.
Any other year, players might have accepted Bubsy for what it was and probably been pretty good with it. But 2017 was a year that we saw Legend of Zelda, Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Metroid make monumental comebacks. In the face of that, The Woolies Strike Back just can’t keep up. Terrible level design, average gameplay, an unbelievable amount of bad quips and low-grade graphics don’t do this bobcat any favors. “What could possibly go wrong?” Um, how about everything?
Once again, we have an example of a game that could’ve been way better had the developers stuck with sheer simplicity. After all, how badly can you screw up Micro Machines? Quite a bit. Along with the addition of several unnecessary online components (including the ability to race), World Series falls flat because the gameplay somehow became incredibly worse. You struggle even with turning. Turning. Even the original Micro Machines cars weren’t this complicated. This series either needs to return to basics or go away entirely.
2017 was a year that we saw the return of the Road Rash formula in a whole new light, thanks to the amazing Road Redemption on PC. Unfortunately, Maximum Games tried to follow suit with Road Rage, and the results are disastrous. The game just isn’t any fun to play, and has some of the worst physics you’ll ever discover in a racing game. And don’t bother with an online match – you’re not getting one. Throw in an awful PlayStation 2 level presentation and a lack of any kind of replay value, and you have a game that will certainly induce rage – especially when you realize you’re not getting a refund.
1Games’ Life of Black Tiger just stupefies us. And how it got past Sony’s level of quality control is beyond us. It’s a PlayStation 1-grade adventure game where you control a black tiger as he fights to survive while separated from his family. But the only fight here is your struggle to try and find any sort of entertaining gameplay out of this. It’s a low-grade wannabe that’s so poorly constructed, even the game’s official description sounds like it was half-assed:
“The story of a black tiger, born as a variant and abandoned by his parents and brothers, fights against human and shows his love to his family. You can have a vivid and realistic experience set in jungle, field, and forest. Acting as a cruel hunter in the vast plains and fields, players are thrown into a fight against human beings and other beasts of prey.”
Boy, we can’t wait to visit jungle, field and forest. What variety. Thanks, but we’ll be playing Legend of Zelda instead.