Without a doubt, 2017 was a great year for gamers and it certainly saw a number of excellent titles released on PC, including Prey, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Wolfenstein II, Battlegrounds, and many more. For our year's favorites see our Best PC Games You Should be Playing list which is updated a few times a year with a combination of the games we are playing (and thus recommend) and newer entries which we deem worth of your time and attention.
While outside of our usual scope, we must recognize that it arguably was an even better year for consoles with hits like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn dominating discussion for game of the year.
It’s nice to talk about all the great games that were released this year, but we’re also not going to let slide the games that really disappointed us, and there’s a few that stick out like a sore thumb. The following games simply weren't good enough; far from it in fact. We’ve narrowed the list down to five worthy entries, which we’ll be going through in no particular order. And kicking it off this time is a doozy: easily the most controversial game released in 2017.
Star Wars Battlefront II
When talking about Battlefront II I do want to mention that some aspects of this game are genuinely fun. Multiplayer is a blast, and the presentation captures the essence of Star Wars in such a brilliant way. There’s a lot more content to enjoy than its predecessor, too.
But the problems with Battlefront II are numerous. The much hyped single player campaign is very short and just complete garbage to be honest. And the multiplayer progression system is one of the worst in modern multiplayer shooters: it’s confusing and unnecessarily complicated, with items, abilities and upgrades for both locked behind odd barriers. As a regular player, the progression system just doesn’t feel rewarding and doesn’t do a good job of incentivizing goals or unlocks.
And let’s not forget the pay to win system that EA nearly thrust on us all, if it wasn’t for an enormous outcry from the community. Loot crates you can buy with real money that give tangible in-game advantages to players have no place in competitive games.
It’s a disgraceful money grab, when the game already costs $60. And while EA did temporarily remove the ability to spend real money on loot crates at launch, there is no doubt you’ll be able to pay to win at some point in the future. This could have been a good game, maybe even great, but instead EA chased easy money and ruined the hard work of the developers.
Mass Effect Andromeda
Mass Effect Andromeda disappointed almost every Mass Effect fan. Looking back, I’m not sure why I played 50 hours of this game, because it isn’t that good. The main story in particular wasn’t that interesting, and butchered what could have been a compelling premise. It takes a long time to kick into gear as well; the best parts and most interesting worlds are reached after a 15 hour opening slog, which no doubt led to many players giving up early into the game.
My main issue with Andromeda is that in many ways it just didn’t seem like a true Mass Effect game. The characters were weak, wooden and hard to care about, not helped by poor animation. The choices you make throughout the story seemed to have very little impact, and there weren’t enough of them. The game is also padded out with tons of boring fetch quests rather than compelling side stories, and it’s side quests that make or break a strong RPG. A huge disappointment from EA and BioWare, and there’s no doubt the game suffered from a horrible development cycle.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Shadow of War is a boring game. The story is boring, the combat is dull and repetitive (particularly if you played its predecessor, Shadow of Mordor), and the ending is downright disgraceful. Oh and there’s loot boxes with microtransactions, too, just to cap off one of 2017’s great disappointments.
It’s a real shame Shadow of War turned out in such a mediocre state, because Shadow of Mordor was a fantastic, innovative game that could have led to an interesting, equally-inventive sequel. Instead, Shadow of War is basically a stretched out Shadow of Mordor with a couple of minor gameplay additions. Siege battles are a lot of fun – by far the best aspect to the game – and it was nice to see a larger variety of environments, but the nemesis system feels stale and the story isn’t interesting in the slightest.
And let’s take a moment to talk about the ending. For no other reason than to pad out the game and incentivize loot crate purchases, Shadow of War gives you 20 consecutive fortress defenses of increasing difficulty. 20! It’s a 5+ hour repetitive grind; you’re better off just watching the final cutscene it unlocks on YouTube. I’m not sure who thought this ending was a good idea, but it’s a disgusting finish to a very disappointing blockbuster game of 2017.
Need for Speed Payback
Everyone’s least favorite game publisher has entered this list for a third time with Need for Speed Payback, so congratulations EA for having three of 2017’s most disappointing games. I’m not quite sure why EA continues to make Need for Speed games, as it feels like the last decade of entries has been subpar. Payback could be the worst entry yet.
The story is laughably bad with terrible characters, though that isn’t surprising for a racing game. The worst part of Payback is that it’s not a very satisfying driving experience, especially compared to the better racing games of 2017, and it compounds that with grind-filled gameplay and a bad upgrade system.
It’s the last racing game you should play in 2017 if you’re a fan of the genre, and to be honest, EA should retire the series for a while if it can’t make good entries anymore.
Wait, what? You'll be wondering why we’ve put Battlegrounds in our most disappointing games list when the game is clearly one of the best games of the year, too. Well, before you start slamming us in the comments, PUBG is a great example of a game that gets a lot of things right, but lets down players in other areas. In that sense, it’s both a great and disappointing title.
One of the key issues with PUBG is optimization. The game is not the prettiest and for some reason, even with the latest release, runs poorly on a range of hardware. AMD users are hit the hardest, whether they have Ryzen CPUs or Radeon GPUs, and while those with Nvidia/Intel systems fare a bit better, the framerates you get aren’t great to say the least.
It was easy to forgive PUBG for these issues in Early Access, but despite a large development team and plenty of resources, the game is still poorly optimized even at the official launch.
PUBG also suffers from technical issues and bugs, many of which seem connected to the network code. Stuttering and rubber banding is reasonably common, at least the last time I jumped in, though there’s also problems like texture pop in and random graphical glitches. PUBG needs a fair bit of work to improve how it performs, though the current technical problems are not exactly going to stop people from playing. It’s a ton of fun despite the problems, that’s for sure.
The five we listed in this article aren’t the only disappointing games of 2017, several other titles failed to live up to expectations including Call of Duty: World War II, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Lawbreakers, Agents of Mayhem and even Destiny 2.
There was no shortage of games that failed to live up to the hype in 2017; maybe nothing quite as bad as the No Man’s Sky disaster of 2016, though loot boxes and microtransactions certainly dominated discussions this year. 2018 should be a bumper crop of games, especially on PC, so there’s plenty of potentially great stuff to look forward to.