Best of 2017 – Day Seven: Developer, New Character, Microtransactions, Most Disappointing, Worst Game

Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2017 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best Developer, New Character, Worst Implementation of Microtransactions, Most Disappointing Game and Worst Game.

Studio MDHR

Of any studio or team this year, the developer founded by brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer that is Studio MDHR encapsulates everything that’s critical about the joy of following independent game creators and why this section of the industry is such a bastion of creativity nowadays. In an industry full of profit-led corporations and mass-hundred teams all with their own motives and objectives at hand, MDHR from the get-go had a uniformed idea and aspiration that wasn’t guided by malicious greed or financial gain. Cuphead is the epitome of a studio who’ve put their heart and soul – and a fair few gallons of [figurative] blood/sweat/tears — into a project that, while visually stunning and audibly arresting, shines just as brightly in its desire to rekindle a once-lost gameplay style. Only humbly stepping from outside their studio once in a while to greet press and consumers alike, Studio MDHR’s lack of otherwise distracting over-indulgence – focusing all their efforts into making their debut title the best it could possibly be – was admirable to see. And if the final product is anything to go by, Studio MDHR’s years of hard work have paid off.

Runner-Ups
Guerilla GamesNintendo EPDNinja Theory PlatinumGames

9S (NieR: Automata)

Admittedly, NieR: Automata is one of those cases where it was tempting to simply nominate the whole cast for a “Best New Character” award. But the honor ultimately went to 9S, 2B’s assistant and Scanner. The confident and curious android is quite the enjoyable sidekick indeed, one the makes a perfect companion and contrast to 2B…at least until you finish the fist third of the game. Yes, the only downside here is that going into detail as to what exactly makes 9S such a compelling character and how he develops means going into spoiler territory (let’s just say you’d be surprised how much twelve words can make an impact), but let’s just say that the guy ends up being more vital to the story than he first appears, and discovering the reasons WHY he’s vital sends him through a LOT. Don’t let the cute demeanor fool you, 9S is easily one of the year’s most complex characters, and definitely deserving of this honor.

Runner-Ups
Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)Aya (Assassin’s Creed Origins)Futaba Sakura (Persona 5)Mae (Night in the Woods)

Star Wars Battlefront II

2017 will go down as the year publishers went too far with monetization. They cut content out of the game to sell it in Loot Boxes, snuck them into single player only games and put prices so high that it would take hours to unlock an item you’d want using in-game currency. But none went as far as Star Wars Battlefront II. EA and DICE ripped out the game’s progression system and stuffed it into Loot Boxes. New abilities could only be earned through Loot Boxes, giving off the impression that the game was pay-to-win. Iconic heroes like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader were locked behind ludicrously high paywalls to get players to spend real-world money. Though EA removed microtransactions temporarily and DICE has altered some prices, no one could forget what a mess Star Wars Battlefront II was. Star Wars Battlefront II overreached and it was disgusting.

Runner-Ups
Destiny 2Need for Speed PaybackMiddle-earth: Shadow of WarFor Honor

Mass Effect: Andromeda

This year was just filled with disappointing releases, but the one that stands out on top is Mass Effect Andromeda. Say what you will about Mass Effect 3, at least the trilogy as a whole was very well done. When BioWare announced they would be starting a new saga in the beloved franchise, there was nothing but excitement; unfortunately, it was only until a little before release that certain aspects of concerned peered their head, namely buggy gameplay and really bizarre animations. When it was released, Mass Effect Andromeda was nothing but a mess. While the combat system was better than ever, a lot of the quests were poorly crafted, with many ending seemingly prematurely, and the dialogue not being up to par with BioWare standards. In the end, we were left with a half-baked attempt to push the series further and the biggest disappointment of 2017, amongst the many that came from EA Games.

Runner-Ups
Star Wars Batlefront IIDestiny 2Syberia 3Agents of Mayhem

Road Rage

Road Rash was an outstanding motorcycle racing game with a heavy blend of brawling thrown into the mix. It reached its apex on the Genesis, with an outstanding 32-bit entry effectively ending its era of highly-regarded titles. A slew of low-grade titles killed the series, but fans still wanted something like it — and two games entered that fray. Road Redemption was the first and Road Rage followed suit. While Redemption has been finely-polished for years, Road Rage released in a horrible state. The world is vacant and missions offer little variety. It features racing and brawling, but none of it works well and attacks ring hollow thanks to shoddy animation. The world itself is devoid of life and what is there repeats constantly and is full of fog on par with the worst of the N64. There’s no good reason for anyone craving some motorcycle mayhem to play Road Rage unless they’re also craving punishment.

Runner-Ups
Drive GirlsRandallReservoir Dogs: Bloody DaysHusk

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