The (Lost) Game Awards 2017
Published on December 25, 2017
It may have been a few weeks since The Game Awards, but many people are not aware that a couple of categories were not present at the show this year. I am happy to announce that through arduous snooping and making shit up as I go, I was able to locate the missing list of games that were not at the event. It’s important to note that the judges for these awards a bit different, as the panel only consisted of myself, and I used completely subjective criteria.
And with that, I would like to present to you the Lost Game Awards of 2017.
Best Game I Was Excited about and Was Good on Release: Cuphead
A few years passed, and after having delayed a couple of times, I questioned if they would even release the game or if it would remain in development hell. Due to the unique nature of the development required, the game ended up taking a lot more time, people, and money (with the directors even having to remortgage their house to finance the project)
Luckily, the game came out a few months ago and was great! You can read more of my thoughts in my in-depth review, but the tl;dr is that it was able to live up to its hype and provide unique and fun gameplay. I’ll be looking forward to more from Studio MDHR in the future.
Best Game That Many People Forgot Came out in 2017: Lawbreakers
Hey folks, remember Lawbreakers?
Looking at SteamCharts, roughly only 40 people seem to remember this game on a given day. I’m hoping one of those is Cliff Bleszinski, who has had a successful run with the games he’s developed during his time at Epic Games. Lawbreakers was the first game he made after coming out of retirement and creating Boss Key Productions.
It was an ambitious class-based shooter title but plagued by constant problems, such as changing pricing models (it went from potentially being free-to-play to $30), confused marketing, and releasing to a saturated market. But eventually, after years of development, Lawbreakers released on August 8, 2017, at a price point of $30… And no one knew about it.
Seriously, the marketing for this game was abysmal: it seemed to sell itself to a very niche market, with Cliff even referring it as the “Dark Souls of competitive shooters” there were very few gamers that wanted to carve out a chunk of their time to add another shooting game to their ever-growing library. The fact that it plays so much different from all the other games added to the learning curve as well.
It’s a shame too since it seems to be an enjoyable game at heart. Best of luck to Cliff and the Boss Key crew to hopefully achieve the coveted Warframe/Destiny 1 status of turning around their player base status.
Best Popular Game That I Disliked: Mario + Rabbids
What could go wrong with one of the most significant collaborations between the famous plumber in red and the original minions? According to the masses, not much. In fact, a lot of folks loved it. A turn-based RPS akin to XCOM and Fire Emblem, Ubisoft was able to merge the two behemoth franchises into a coherent experience somehow.
As for me? I couldn’t get too much into it. The mechanics weren’t as deep as the games it takes inspiration from, albeit it brings some new elements into play. Movement plays a heavy emphasis, as units can launch other units to far parts of the map (similar to throwing characters in Disgaea), and players can stack multiple movement combos to run laps around the opponent. Another new mechanic is overwatch attacks, which act as unique ultimates (per character) that have a variety of effects. Even with all these changes, I found myself missing some of the nuanced and detailed mechanics and breadth of characters that the other games in the genre brought to the table.
On top of that, a lot smaller bumps the game had detracted from the experience. Framerate issues that were consistent with my playthrough, and it’s disappointing that they weren’t able to optimize the engine when other games with high visual fidelity can run at full FPS on the Switch. The UI was less than stellar as well, with sometimes confusing UI flow, and a design that almost looks like it was copy pasted from a mobile app.
As I mentioned, this was a mainstream success, and I hope that we’ll be able to see these type of fun collaborations again in the future.
Most Disappointing Game: Destiny 2
Destiny has had a weird history. One of the biggest contractsbetween gaming companies and budgets in video game history, it’s at times touted its “10-year plan” with gamers ever since the launch of the first game back in 2014 with ambitious goals.
I’ve played Destiny 1 right after The Taken King released, and I found it to be an enjoyable experience with a fair amount of content and a constant stream of updates that kept me coming back. But beneath the rosy exterior, I found remnants of the disappointment that plagued the game at launch. Digging more, I found out that two teams worked on Destiny: the core development team who made the initial launch version of the game and a live team that worked on bringing DLC and updates. The live team was able to salvage the game into an enjoyable state after years of improvement.
And it seems like the communication between the two teams wasn’t as good as many would have hoped, as Destiny 2 had launched with very similar mistakes as the first. Yes, there were quality of improvements, but players were quick to realize that lots of things were missing from the game.
This was just the tip of the iceberg, as players continue to find XP limits and cooldowns, undocumented changes to slow down players, lousy balancing, and locking off players behind DLC walls. With all this frustration, many people have left the game entirely, and the lack of content in the most recent DLC has failed to pull them back into the game.
The optimistic group that is hanging on are in the hands of the live team, who have in the past have proved that they can turn things around for the better. With rumbling rumors of a third installment coming in a few years (most likely after DLC 2), let’s hope the two team at Bungie can work as one cohesive unit by then.
Best Game I’ve Played This Year That I Wished Would End the Entire Time: Resident Evil 7
I have the biggest love-hate relationship with this game. On the one hand, Capcom did an excellent job on fixing all the issues that Resident Evil 5 and 6had, and bringing the series back to its roots. But on the other hand, it ended up doing this a little too well and creating an experience that scared the shit out of me most of the time and had me counting down the chapters until the end.
Honestly, I wish I had recorded myself playing to prove how scary this was (I was on voice chat with friends while I was playing, if that’s close enough), as I found myself screaming for most of the game. The game reinvigorated the aspect of survival horror excellently through the use of the (controversial) first-person POV, as the player now has a very limited vision of what’s going on around them. Ammo and weapons are scarce, and encounters are sometimes not meant to be winnable, so the constant internal debate of fight or flight was at the forefront of my thoughts. Combine all this with the choppy movement, slippery aiming mechanics, and inventory management, and you got yourself a quality horror game.
As mentioned before, the game is relatively long, a rare instance of games in 2017. Multiple story arcs that span over various time periods and characters contribute to a single player experience that ran about 9 hours on my playthrough. With the addition of the (somewhat underwhelming) Banned Footage DLC, Capcom was able to milk the game to its fullest potential.
Worst Game Studio: EA
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other research we have done to maximize our revenues. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player profit rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players will spend most of their money on our games, DLC, and of course loot boxes.
Best Game I Keep Coming Back to Again and Again: Rainbow Six Siege
At launch, Rainbow Six Siegereceived the common Ubisoft criticism of graphical downgrades, poor balancing and lack of content. Constant server and client issues have plagued the game as well, with an outcry from the community that found their games unplayable at times.
Ubisoft heard them loud and clear and took it upon themselves to make things right. Operation Health was a massive undertaking by the development team to clean up all the bugs and add quality of life improvements that was never promised but direly needed. Balances changes have been frequent with regular post-release updates. Announced operators and maps that for each season released as promised. With a planned 100 operators, the game is here to stay. The community, although abrasive at times, is also fun to interact with.
I find myself going back to Rainbow Six Siege every season to try out the new maps and operators, and grind away at the ranked ladder for a few days. Speaking of new operators, the one complaint I have is the amount of grinding needed to unlock new content is way too high (roughly 40 hours per character), and for people like me, it’s guaranteed that I’ll buy them with real money.
Biggest Guilty Pleasure: Fire Emblem Warriors
Why is this game my guilty pleasure? I played it more than I played Super Mario Odyssey or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I played this game more than any other game I listed in this article. And I’m having fun. Look past the weird fan service story and limited character lineup, and you’ll find a pretty fun Musou game underneath.
To be honest, I’ve been looking for something a little less refined, non-competitive and mindless after spending so much time on high-quality games this year. And Fire Emblem Warriors was able to scratch that itch perfectly. Endless amount of maps to grind out, weapons to farm, and characters to level up combine to create a fun time killer after a long day of work. I like how Koei was still able to incorporate Fire Emblem elements, retaining some of the weapon triangle strategy, “perma-death,” and support system. It’s not entirely intrusive but still makes it different from the mainline Dynasty Warrior games.
I’m almost finished with the vanilla content, so I’m excited to see what the DLC packs can bring to extend this a little longer before I have to move onto Dynasty Warrior 9 (Or maybe I’ll go back and beat Super Mario Odyssey…)
My Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Well, what did you expect? This game was excellent on all fronts. I don’t want to regurgitate my thoughts again so that you can read my in-depth review here. Bye!
Ok fine, that’s a bit of a cop-out. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild managed to not only reinvigorate the series but the open-world genre as well. By creating a vast world with actual things to do, it succeeded where past games have failed and provided real choices to the player to fit their playstyle.
The DLC packs that released since my initial review in March supplemented the game even further by adding more modes and quests. If this game is what represents the new and improved Nintendo (which rings true, as they followed up with high-quality titles such as Splatoon and Super Mario Odyssey), gamers are only excited about what’s to come.
And… that wraps up The (Lost) Game Awards for 2017. No commercial breaks, no unnecessary trailer reveals, and no awkward interviews. You’re welcome Geoff. (But please, invite me to the show next year.)