There’s been a lot of talk about 2017 being one of the greatest years in video games and though this seems to be a line that gets trotted out at the end of every year, it feels entirely justified this time around. Much of the output of outstanding game releases in 2017 can be attributed to the Nintendo Switch, which not only had a number of surprisingly great exclusives in the form of titles like Splatoon 2 and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, but also saw the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey — two titles that could realistically be considered instant classics. However, Nintendo wasn’t the only publisher that had a great year, as Sony too put out a number of must-have titles on PlayStation 4, such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, and Nier Automata.
Of course, we’re not here today to throw accolades around at the year’s best games. No, we want to highlight the games that let us down in 2017, the ones that we had high expectations for but simply didn’t deliver on their promise. Given how great a year it was overall for games, it was more difficult to come up with a list of disappointments than in more recent years but the following titles all stumbled in one way or another …
Halo Wars 2
Microsoft did not have a great year when it came to first-party Xbox exclusives. Case in point: a new Halo game was released early in the year and nobody cared. Granted, that game was Halo Wars 2, a sequel to the surprisingly decent 2009 real-time strategy game from Ensemble Studios, so it’s not like we’re talking about a new entry in the mainline Halo series here, but it’s still pretty shocking to see a new Halo game come and go with such little fanfare. This may have something to do with the issue of it not really being clear who Halo Wars 2 is for, as it’s too casual for RTS fans to really sink their teeth into and too much of an RTS to appeal to those who enjoy Halo for its first-person shooting mechanics.
Of course, this was also a criticism you could level at the first Halo Wars, but that game had the benefit of being quite novel for its time, as it came out at a time when it was rare to see RTS games released on console, let alone good ones. Unfortunately, Halo Wars 2 comes at a time when interest in Halo as a whole is at an all-time low and doesn’t do enough to make itself stand out in a crowded gaming year, even with it being one of the few Xbox exclusives to be released in 2017. The story missions certainly have something to offer for Halo diehards but overall, Halo Wars 2 simply isn’t deep enough to make a lasting impression.