Best, worst and blandest games of 2017 (Zero Punctuation)
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Best, worst and blandest games of 2017 (Zero Punctuation)

August 28, 2019

It’s been quite a year. A year of hot starts and egregious ends, of
Nintendo bouncebacks and EA faceplants, of reading political news through the cracks
between my fingers. But as always we can’t call it a year until
fifteen of the games I reviewed have been arbitrarily compartmentalised for future reference
by weirdos. Greetings, weirdos of the future. You must be feeling like you were born in
the wrong era. “If only I’d been around in 2017,” you’re
thinking. “I’d have been practically lionised for my
inappropriate behaviour around women.” My fifth best surprises even me; I thought
a fucking typing tutor would get into my top 5 before a fucking JRPG did, but here we are. Perhaps it’s all the ways Persona 5 distracts
from it being a JRPG – the style, the soundtrack, the investment in likeable characters, the
high school girls in vinyl catsuits sticking their bums in the air – hey, weirdos of the
future, have you elected a patron saint yet? Sorry to wound you, Volition, but be fair,
you wounded me first. After the peerless Saints Row series their
next game was going to be one to watch. And while they clearly went into Agents of
Mayhem full of energy and ideas, all they did to follow through on that was rotate their
wrist for a while going “burbeduh burbeduh burbeduh burbeduh.” Hey, I get it, games industry – Dark Souls
is hot spit on a cheerleader’s lower back tattoo, so obviously you wanna make games
like it. And hey, no one’d done Dark Souls in a science
fiction setting, the opportunity was there. But sci-fi Dark Souls that’s annoying and
stupid and plays like you’re trying to unjam a kitchen drawer was probably too much innovation
all at once, wasn’t it, The Surge. It’s The Surge I’m talking about. It’s Breath of the Wild. Yeah, fanboys, I’m putting it in at 4. What’re you gonna do about it, you gonna cry? “Ooh mummy! Call the police! He only moderately lavished it with praise! Bring me my coat that looks good from the
back ‘cos I’m gonna do some serious shunning!” Yeah whatever it’s fine. Organic, looks nice, plays well, even if the
protagonist could be out-charisma’d by his fucking horse. If I were giving out lifetime achievement
awards for blandness, Bioware would definitely be a hot contender. Bland, obvious settings where bland characters
blandly goldfish-stare their way through bland dialogue and occasionally blandly knob each
other in a sequence designed by someone with very bland ideas about sex scenes who couldn’t
get a job at Cinemax. But I digress. More like Mass Effect Bland-romeda, am I right? As we all know, the greatest indictment of
a horror game is not being particularly scary, especially if it compensates by instead trying
to put me off my fucking dinner. Outlast 2 covered a wide spectrum of bad – bad
gameplay, nonsensical plot, and you come away from it just feeling kinda gross like you
spent the afternoon at the old folks home sitting opposite a very talkative man eating
pickled beetroot from the jar. The Game Awards always does this thing where
they pick one prominent indie game and give it a bunch of token noms so they can quickly
go back to noshing triple-A todger. This year it was Cuphead, so while I’m slightly
hesitant to heap further praise on it, it is unique and well-realised and monstrously
hard so the man with the jar of pickled beetroot won’t keep bugging you for his turn. I always feel slightly unqualified to criticise
multiplayer focused shooters, which are after all intended to be bland and for people with
friends, but I can’t help feeling that the best possible result of enlisting friends
to help you grind through Destiny 2 would be not having to pay for as many Christmas
presents. Sorry you couldn’t be higher in the list,
but hey, there is something appealingly ironic about coming third in a mediocrity contest. Naughty Yahtzee, this game came out last year. I know, but I reviewed it this year, versions
of it came out this year and I really want to give it one more kick in the baubles before
the holidays are over. Dead Rising 4. A stripped-down, tarted-up holiday special
of a Dead Rising game with none of what makes Dead Rising good, even alongside the mediocre
Dead Rising 3 it resembles a dog turd in a bread bin. It was gonna be this or Mario Odyssey, and
giving it to Mario felt like writing a sports movie where the winner is the team that practised
more and had the most funding. Perhaps to be expected, but nonetheless unsatisfying. I don’t love Mario like I love A Hat In Time. Mario merely meets expectations. A Hat In Time is a bit wobbly and not very
long but it’s fresh, it’s surprising, it’s charming, and it did it without needing a
roomful of sweatshop workers filing every last imperfection off Princess Peach’s left
bum cheek. Well, it wouldn’t be the bland 5 without a
token Ubisoft Sandbox, would it, and this year it’s Ghost Recon Wildlands for its protracted
adventures in going to the icon and shooting the thing. Not Assassin’s Creed Origins, that gets to
go alongside games like Prey and Horizon Zero Dawn in the category of “Not quite bland enough
for the bland list,” which I suppose some might argue makes them the blandest games
of all. SEGA really don’t learn their lesson, do they
– you can have all the great ideas in the world for fixing Sonic, but they are naught
but ash in the hands of Sonic Team themselves. Sonic Forces starts with the good ideas of
a custom protagonist and plot curveball, but I guess something spooked Sonic Team and like
a nervous badger they darted back to their comfort zone of shitty characters, horrible
physics and masturbation. Don’t think I’m supporting the view that your
long running series might come back around to being good if you just keep plodding along. Rather, I’m supporting burning your series
to the ground on a regular basis to make snowmen with the ashes. Resident Evil 7 is a successful change of
tune that also manages the balance between disturbing and knowingly camp that marks Resident
Evil at its best. Well done, Capcom, looking forward to seeing
how you fuck it up this time. I know it’s the loot box controversy that
still haunts this game like the ghost of an albatross but let’s not forget it also had
a single player campaign. An entirely obvious single player campaign
composed from flakes of rust that peel off the grinding wheels of the corporate machine,
every inch focus grouped to most efficiently trick the audience into finding the same nostalgic
bullshit as always as valuable as new ideas. I’m not even going to say the name. It knows what it did. But after righteous anger I want the worst
game to be something so bad that I come back around to feeling positive about it, something
so fucking pathetic all you can do is laugh. And for that, it’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. Ugly, boring, badly optimised, and with a
story straight from a twelve year old boy locked in the bathroom with a Tom Clancy themed
pinup calendar and severe familial issues. Still, at least it has a positive message
on diversity: there’s a place in the games industry even for complete morons, and not
just holding up the archery targets.

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  1. Can 2018's be grouped by category? All the blandest, then all the worst, then all the best? That would make it easier to find which games you recommend most highly.

  2. 5th best: Persona 5
    5th blandest: Agents of Mayhem
    5th worst: The Surge
    4th best: Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    4th blandest: Mass Effect: Andromeda
    4th worst: Outlast 2
    3rd best: Cuphead
    3rd blandest: Destiny 2
    3rd worst: Dead Rising 4
    2nd best: A Hat in Time
    2nd blandest: Ghost Recon Wildlands
    2nd worst: Sonic Forces

    Best: Resident Evil 7
    Blandest: Star Wars Battlefront 2
    Worst: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

  3. Call me mad (no, seriously, it's an accurate thing to say about me), but I have this theory about Yahtzee's three games of the year categories. It ties in to what he said about it being "appealingly ironic" to come in 3rd in a mediocrity contest. Ya see, the 5th place blandest is usually something that is perfectly acceptable, but utterly bland and meaningless. Where as the 1st place game is usually so bland that it represents what's wrong with the industry, and is thus really terrible. So it's like the 5th blandest is basically 6th place in "best", while 1st blandest is sorta like 0th place in "worst" (so bad, it drops off the scoring system).
    Look at it this way:

    .. Wost ….. Blandest ….. Best
    5,4,3,2,1 … 1,2,3,4,5 … 5,4,3,2,1

    As 1st and 2nd blandest games are leaning towards "worst", and 5th and 4th are leaning towards "best". We see that 3rd place sits exactly in the middle. It's neither good nor bad, it simply exists in a state of dull boring grey. Evoking no strong emotions or reactions in any significant way; it is truly the blandest game of all. We can therefore say that the actual "blandest" game is typically 3rd place.

    Thus have I demonstrated that Destiny 2 is the blandest game of 2017, and one of the blandest games of all time! It was, in fact, SO bland that it has since fallen down the memory hole of most people, in just two short years (less then that, really).

  4. Two years before this video, Star Wars: Battlefront was #5 on the worst list and it's #1 on the blandest list. I think that's honestly worst.

  5. Can't wait for Yahtzee to start mapping significant games of the year on an axial chart of "Good to Bad" and "Interesting to Bland".

  6. Giving your 2nd place to A Hat In Time instead of Mario Odyssey felt like you just wanted to do that for the sake of shitting on AAA developers.

    Other then that, great video.

  7. A Hat in Time made an experience on par with Mario Odyssey for $508,000 and didn't require any crunch time. I heard they didn't even have a single solitary employee hiding in storage closets to cry and ponder the pros and cons of different methods of suicide.

  8. This video must have been one of the strangest year end awards in gaming episode I've EVER seen! Heyyy..well then thank you for the video Z.P.!

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