As we get ready to close out 2017, one can’t help but look back at how fantastic this year was in gaming. With a wide selection of amazing titles on all platforms, there is no denying that 2017 is one of the best years we’ve had in gaming for quite some time.
While we had a lot of great games this year, it can be very easy to overlook the games that failed to meet expectations. Whether due to poor PR work, controversies, or a lack of interest, we had a fair number of titles that fell into the category that I like to call “Anti-Hype.” These are games that failed to get us excited when they got ready to launch. It isn’t to say that these games were bad per se, but rather they didn’t grab our attention or deeply upset us.
So today, I’m going to be taking a look at the most “Anti-Hyped” games of 2017. I posted this question around a few gaming communities and got their feedback to help write up this list. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Starting off this list, we have the Nintendo Switch’s Tech Demo: 1-2-Switch. Other tech demo games like Wii Sports and Nintendoland might not have been huge blow-out games, but they did help to grab the attention of newcomers, showing the possibilities of what the new systems had to offer. In some ways though, 1-2-Switch wasn’t exactly the best way to sell the new console. Games like Ball Count, Treasure Chest, and Quick-Draw did a good job at showcasing the power of the Joycons. And then you have games like Zen and Baby that make you wonder, “Why am I even playing this exactly?”
Some of the games in 1-2-Switch definitely can be enjoyable to play with friends. When you have 26 different games, you might only find a small handful that is actually worth your time. Had Breath of the Wild not been there right at launch, chances are that people would have used 1-2-Switch to judge the system as much as Nintendoland for Wii U and it wouldn’t have ended well. If you were getting a Nintendo Switch, chances are that you had other games in mind and passed up this one altogether.
9) Pokémon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
Depending on who you ask, fans of the Pokémon series are starting to get burnt out. To some, the look and feel of the game has become a never-ending cycle that has gone unchanged for the longest time. Graphics and gimmicks may change, but that magical spark has long since gone out. Enter Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
When announced, fans asked themselves, “Did anyone ask for this?” Gamers looked at Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and didn’t see many changes from the previous game. In some regards, it was almost like the exact same game that they have been playing for so long now. There might have been a new story, but the flow of the game wasn’t that different from last year’s Alola trip. By the time the game launched, fans were already crossing their fingers in hopes for a better Pokémon game on the Switch. For it to make changes to the game to make it feel fresh again and not the recycled paint by the numbers that it has been going on for the last several years. At least it was fun to go up against Team Rainbow Rocket, right?
8) Destiny 2
Poor Bungie, can’t ever catch a break when it comes to the Destiny franchise. Their “10-year plan” went up in smoke and Xbox One owners felt like they got slapped in the face to finally get the content that was on the PS4 version two years after it came out (and right before Destiny 2 was about to launch too). Two days after Destiny 2 launched, players raised concerns about shaders and character customization. What used to be free and infinite now had a cost for a one time use. A one time use that only covers one piece of armor at a time rather than all at one time.
There was recently a bigger complaint surrounding the game’s loot boxes called “Bright Engrams.” After you max out, you can earn Bright Engrams when you fill up the XP bar. Earning a Bright Engram can help you (hopefully) with better armor or weapons. Sounds like a great mechanic until gamers discovered that Bungie reduced the rate you can earn them through activities. Bungie had removed it after gamers found out to avoid the backlash. By that point, though, fans weren’t happy about it being a thing in the first place. It was small missteps like this that can make people decide to stop playing and move on. Last thing that gamers want to feel is something trying to force their way into your wallets.
7) For Honor
How can you undersell a game where knights, Vikings, and samurai murder each other on the battlefield? Released earlier this year, For Honor had the potential to be another runaway hit from Ubisoft. While the combat was spectacular, the game’s servers were a disaster. For some reason, Ubisoft had decided to have players connect to do peer-to-peer. Because of this, players complained how playing matches online were next to impossible. Action on-screen was jumpy, disconnections happened a lot, and some couldn’t connect to matches at all.
After the first month, a good amount of the player-base jumped ship. Other players actually prepared a boycott of the game on Reddit. It wasn’t until the end of summer that Ubisoft finally announced dedicated servers coming next year. It was nice that Ubisoft finally addressed the issue, but it left some wondering if this was another case of “Too Little, Too Late.” Hopefully, For Honor will to make a comeback soon enough next year. Until dedicated servers go online, we’re going to have to get our medieval destruction elsewhere.
If I asked for you to tell me a game that’s a “Hero Shooter,” chances are the first thing you will say is Overwatch. A game that was so big when it launched, it buried all others that dare tried to do that same genre. Those games didn’t get to raise up to the same level as Overwatch.
One year later, Blizzard’s grip on the genre was still tight when Cliffy B launched LawBreakers. Calling it the next “Billion Dollar Franchise,” LawBreakers was a pretty good shooter. Too bad there was a lack of marketing behind it. To the untrained eye, it looked like another Overwatch and people overlooked it. The launch was so poor that people online wasted no time in pointing out that no one was playing the game. For all we know, Lawbreakers could make a comeback soon but the future of the game remains uncertain. LawBreakers is another example of a good game that came out at the wrong time.
5) Sonic Forces
Oh, Sonic… What happened to you? When people say more favorable things about Knack 2 and Bubsy’s lackluster game, you know something has gone wrong. As the sequel to Sonic Generations, Sonic Forces tried way too hard. Eggman has taken over the world and it was up to Sonic, his younger self, and your fursona to save everyone!
The game itself felt underwhelming and levels left fans wanting so much more. The idea of having your very own Sonic character was a neat idea, but the character was almost as silent and memorable as the younger Sonic. Even the idea of Sonic tortured for six months gets laughed off when the first thing that comes out of Sonic’s mouth when he escapes capture is, “CHILI DOGS!” A return to grace, Sonic Forces was not. At this point, it seems like Team Sonic will try and do anything to get players to buy the game. Even going as far as making a “Sanic” t-shirt for your character to wear.
4) Shadows of War
The sequel to one of the best games of 2014, Shadows of War continued Talion’s story. He and his Elf Lord Spirit Buddy forge a new Ring of Power to wage a full out war against Sauron. It brought back the “Nemesis System” and allowed you to build massive armies for you to command. The game had a lot going for it as it got closer to release and was one of the top games of E3 as well. Nothing could stop everyone’s excitement for the game… until August rolled around and they announced micro-transactions. That’s a sure fire way to kill the mood.
What was originally a game where you got to build your army from the ground up turned into a game where (if you wanted to) you could just… buy an army… out of your own pocket… For a single player game… We also had a giant spider which is actually a hot woman and the misconception behind the Forthog DLC. Top it all off with how micro-transactions felt forced to get the true ending and you have a game which tripped over its feet as it got ready to cross the finish line. It a shame since the game isn’t that bad once you start playing it. It kept making one mistake after another before release that turned a lot of people away from getting it.
3) Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite
When you talk about hyped fighting games, most people would point to the Marvel vs Capcom series. Unlike most of the games on this list that either had their excitement turned 180 degrees or never had it built up, Infinite‘s issues started shortly after the game was first announced. If the reveal didn’t make it obvious: tthe X-Men were gone. Everyone hoped that Capcom would announce the X-Men later, but it would never happen before launch. In fact, when people wanted answers, we got the infamous response from Peter Rosas. “If you were to actually think about it, these characters are just functions.”
We also had 80% of the roster from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 carried over. There were only six new playable characters, and the rest were DLC. The story mode was lackluster, arcade mode had no endings, and the overall presentation was too ugly to look at. The only thing that everyone agreed that Capcom did right was the gameplay. The Infinite Stones did offer a brand new feeling to the gameplay as long as Reality Stones weren’t spammed. Let’s hope that 2018 will be more kind to Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite since hell knows 2017 was a complete nightmare.
2) Mass Effect: Andromeda
Fun Fact: Did you know that Mass Effect: Andromeda came out back in March and you can buy it right now for $20? What was to be the start of a brand new chapter in the world of Mass Effect failed completely to meet expectations. The game did so bad that it is currently sitting on the shelf with its future unknown. Some fans were still upset with how Mass Effect 3 handled the ending (even after that got patched), but there was no excitement at all for this new entry. People wanted Shepard, not… whoever the main character was.
The storytelling itself didn’t feel as if it had the same impact as the original. How can you make the idea of exploring unexplored worlds uninteresting? Combat was okay, but the game had its wide share of bugs and other technical issues (including facial animations). Some had questioned if Bioware will be joining Visceral and other studios that EA had closed up. Let’s hope that when Anthem comes out, it doesn’t meet the same fate. Knowing how EA has handled their games this year, it is questionable if Anthem will actually do well or not. It isn’t like the last game on this list shouldn’t already be a strong indicator that EA hasn’t had the best year…
1) BattleFront 2
To say that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is Anti-Hype would be a massive understatement. Those who hated the first Battlefront had two different groups. The first saw the game as a watered down battlefield game that had a fancy Star Wars paint job to distract you from how lackluster it was. The other questioned why you paid full price for a half finished game that had everything else locked behind DLC. Battlefront 2 was set to be the game to bring the fans back when it was later discovered during the beta that the game was going to be using micro-transactions. Even worse was the discovery that these loots crates were the only way to make progression in the game.
EA turned a $60 game into something it should never be: A Pay-To-Win. You could earn your credits by playing the game, but you didn’t earn more by being the best. Whether if you were first or last, the number of credits you can earn was about the same. You can’t earn credits by playing the arcade mode since it gets capped after a while. I guess EA didn’t want you to farm for credits the easy way.
If you wanted to have a character with better stats, whip out that credit card and buy some crates. There was also that issue of EA charging outrageous prices for heroes that would take 40+ hours to unlock characters.
By the time the game launched, the response from gamers everywhere was astronomical. It caused EA to backpedal and turn off micro-transactions for the time being. While EA thought that would fix the complaints, it was too late. Not only did gamers call out EA, but governments stepped in to call EA’s use of loot boxes “predatory behavior.” Chris Lee, the Governor of Hawaii, even labeled Battlefront 2 as a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money.”
Top this off with a recent article posted about how Battlefront 2 is costing EA $3 Billion in stock value, and you have a game that seems to have failed on every front to bring the hype.
Again, it isn’t to say that any of the games listed here are “Bad Games.” If you enjoyed the games listed, then all the more power to you. There is no denying though that for as many highs that we got in 2017, there were as many lows. Let’s hope that 2018 will deliver even better titles, shall we? I can’t wait to see what hyped games are coming out soon and hope that games don’t revolve around Micro-transactions.
So what games would you consider to be “Anti-Hype”? Do you agree with this list? Or was the hate against a few of these games unjustified? Leave a comment down below and stay tuned to Culture of Gaming for more fantastic editorials.