Two posts in a day? WITCHCRAFT! BURN KAMI! BURN THE WITCH!
Ahem. Wow, my psyche is a bit dark right now.
Anyway, hey ho and yes, it’s that time of year where I’m compiling my list of the Worst Video Games of 2017. Now, spoiler warning; it’s gonna be pretty rancid this year. 2016 was a poor year for video games but unless your name was Nintendo, 2017 was frankly just liquid slurry of the most profane kind. I’m trying – really, REALLY trying – to keep it to five games again this year. But my shortlist so far consists of 21 games. Hell, 2016 I had a shortlist of maybe eight at this point. Do we need any more reason to really want 2017 to be over already for video games and Sony and Microsoft to actually wake up and start doing something, anything of note?
But that’s not why this post exists of course. No, the usual reminders need to be made.
First of all – my quantification for “Worst Game of The Year” is not merely down to quality of the game in question. I actually take into consideration the outside forces and business practices involved and backing a game up – I thought the last couple years this would help me nail down more specifically what games really were worth tearing into but Sweet Diabolos In a Pretty Pink Summer Dress, what that got me this year was a flood of games which actively tried to be the worst games of the year. EA, WB Interactive, Activision, Sony, Capcom – they’re all on the shortlist, and I really am struggling to quantify what, exactly, makes one piece of crap smell worse than the other. 2017’s list is going to be pretty damn vicious, is what I’m saying. If I do condense down to five games – the venom is going to be near as makes no different neat. I am not going to pull my punches this year. Which is why I’ve been toying with a Top Ten list – not as a running thing, but just to emphasise how terrible 2017 was.
Secondly – this list… doesn’t go live until 2018.
Whilst I of course have my shortlist – I keep a running tally throughout the year, in fact – the fact is that 2017 isn’t over until 2017 is over. The minute the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2018, that’s the end of the year for me and that’s why my lists now always come at the very start of the year. You never know when a company will try to sneak something out before the year ends – I mean, as a rule they don’t because who’d be stupid enough to release a game straight after Christmas when people are expecting the sales to start?
But let’s clear the air quickly for some of my… ahem… “controversial” thoughts and opinions so far this year;
Resident Evil 7: This game soured on me in record time and trust me, the additional content (which we still have to pay for with End of Zoe!) needs to be Shakespearean in quality to avoid this making a top ten list. Few games have just crumbled in my estimation like this one. I didn’t like that the game was short. It wasn’t that scary. It wasn’t that hard. There was plenty of ammo to spare and I wasn’t exactly scrimping on the gunplay. And all the interesting stuff is front-loaded, in The Guesthouse. For me, the rest of the game felt like filler material. Oh and did I mention that this game is as cliché and predictable as hell and I’ve played better indie horror games than this? Yeah. I know this game has its fans – but it wasn’t finished on release, and Capcom has admitted that. You were encouraged to buy a $60 early-access horror game. From Capcom. And people are still defending this game? Eesh.
1, 2, Switch: To be fair, I don’t think this is controversial just so much as for most people it seems a moot point. After all, this is meant to be about the worst video games of the year and in truth… 1, 2, Switch! wasn’t really a video game. Not really. Hell, I hated NintendoLand because it was just a procession of taster sessions but at least that thing had some gameplay to go with it. 1, 2, Switch! is more like a series of pretty stupid party/parlour games that just so happen to involve the JoyCon and I think most people agreed, it was not showcasing the best ways to experiment with the tech-crammed JoyCon. Hence why I am on the fence here – Vroom! In The Night Sky at least had gameplay to criticise. But that was a $6 tech demo. 1, 2, Switch! cost $45/£30. See the problem here? Can I actually criticise this as a game when it’s so hard to call it a “game”?
Life of Black Tiger: I know everyone is going to have this on their list this year. And yeah, the racism in it is pretty damn gross and explicit, intended or not. But therein lies the point – surely everyone is going to tear this PS4 port of a free mobile ‘game’ to shreds? Frankly at this point I’d argue the only real reason it would actually make my list this year is entirely down to the racism debacle. Otherwise, the game is just laughably forgettable and it was kind of painful to see Sony trying to market this during the E3 cycle, a time where Nintendo dropped a title screen for Metroid Prime 4 and walked off, Kanye-style, stealing all the attention. But still… I’d even forgive that because it wasn’t anything special. Is the racism bit of the game really enough to make it one of the worst games of the year? I mean, yes, but considering everything else this year?
Drawn to Death: The question is – can I actually smack down a game which cost me the grand sum of zero pounds and zero pennies? I’ve spoken about not looking a gift horse in the mouth before – that I can be remarkably tolerant of “free” games being crap because hey, I didn’t pay actual money for them so woo go me. But Drawn to Death, the PS Plus offering from Sony this year, really tests my patience on this. I mean… it was really, really awful. It’s not often you can look at a title screen and know you’re immediately going to hate this, but that was the highlight for me. The humour just tried my patience, the controls were terrible and the multiplayer… well, when I tried it, there was none. No-one. Nada. Zip. Zilch. In effect, this is the worst “free” game I’ve ever played and I’m sure that makes it at least worthy of consideration, no?
Sonic Forces: I didn’t want to hate this. I really didn’t. I love Sonic Mania. Forces, however, is just a mess and it’s the clearest sign yet that Sonic Team really has no idea what the hell they’re actually doing. They ditch Sonic – a bold move, to bring in a Player Avatar to fight the forces of Robotnik and oh wait, never mind, Tails and his magical powers summoned Classic Sonic wow awesome and now Sonic is actually free because they didn’t keep him or his legs handcuffed. Genius. The physics are all over the place, the pacing is awful and the storytelling is cringe-levels that Sonic Boom could only have dreamed of in its most fervent, questionable moments. Is it as bad as Boom or ’06? Maybe not, but it’s still truly an absolute train-wreck of a game and with Sonic Mania being so good, I think the time really has come to debate if Sonic Team is the best home for Sonic now…
… most of the others aren’t that controversial. I think we all know Star Wars: Battlefront II is on the list. As is Call of Duty: World War 2, for its egregious “watch other people opening loot boxes achievement” that adds peer pressure to buy one so others can get the achievement in kind (now that is ‘predatory’ business practice!) and sure, Shadow of War: Middle Earth is there not just because loot boxes but because trying to market DLC as charity whilst actually taking the lions share of that money because “outside these specific places we can’t donate the money” (wonder how Blizzard get around that every year raising money for charity with in-game WoW pets?) is just scummy as hell.
And yeah, games like Bubsy: The Woolies Strike back are on the list – seriously, why Bubsy? He was a stupid Sonic wannabe in the 16-bit era and trying to ape 3D Sonic now is… well… pathetic, really.
But I have at least another four weeks and hoo boy I’m not looking forward to this. I don’t think I’ve ever faced a year where I really just didn’t want to do a worst list at all and just rant at length about how stupid the year was overall…
… if that happens, forgive me. It’s just because I lost the will to live.