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Bad games transformed by patches and remasters

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I’ve been playing Anno 2205 lately. At launch it rightly got a lot of flak for being over-simplified, it removed a lot of what made the previous games great and had very little content compared to previous titles. Since launch though it’s had four major pieces of DLC that add a lot of stuff back in and the “complete edition” (which you can get for about eight quid in the sales) is actually really good. It’s now just a streamlined, accessible entry in the series and actually a pretty good jumping on point. If it had launched with all the stuff in it that it has now, it probably still wouldn’t have been to everyone’s taste but it wouldn’t have attracted the vitriol (and negative Steam reviews) it gets to this day. 

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Street Fighter x Tekken. On release, it had sound problems, characters would freeze, it was a fucking mess. A few patches later and it's a decent fighting game.

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Mario Tennis Aces. At launch it was such a bare bones release. Now its been vastly improved with new free characters, new modes and tweaks. It's a far better release now.

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Big Rigs.

 

At first it was a racing game where your sole opponent doesn't move at all. Selecting one of the circuits crashes the game. There is no collision detection. You can accelerate backwards indefinitely. Clearly, something has fucked up here. Maybe they've accidentally pressed an early version of the game? Surely, this can be resolved.

 

Then they patched it. Your opponent now drives up to but does not cross the finish line. Selecting the crashed circuit loads up one of the other circuits. That's it. That's the fix.

 

What was once a bad early version is now an artistic performance on how badly one can make a game.

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30 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

Big Rigs.

 

At first it was a racing game where your sole opponent doesn't move at all. Selecting one of the circuits crashes the game. There is no collision detection. You can accelerate backwards indefinitely. Clearly, something has fucked up here. Maybe they've accidentally pressed an early version of the game? Surely, this can be resolved.

 

Then they patched it. Your opponent now drives up to but does not cross the finish line. Selecting the crashed circuit loads up one of the other circuits. That's it. That's the fix.

 

What was once a bad early version is now an artistic performance on how badly one can make a game.

 

My favourite thing about Big Rigs (which, coincidentally, I played last night!) is how the exe is called "carz.exe" and there aren't any cars (or carz) in the game.

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Obviously it's not a Bad Game but I'd never play Skyrim without the big dirty Unofficial Patch made by the community which fixes a lot of nasty errors and broken quests.

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I can think of an amazing game utterly ruined by patches - New Star Soccer on my iphone, I swear I'd still be playing it today if the original version had been left alone and not turned into an IAP filled stink fest.

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30 minutes ago, Gotters said:

I can think of an amazing game utterly ruined by patches - New Star Soccer on my iphone, I swear I'd still be playing it today if the original version had been left alone and not turned into an IAP filled stink fest.

That's mobile games generally, sadly. Perfectly good games ruined by mandatory updates which, more often than not, ruin the experience.

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Going increasingly off-topic here, but a bad game that is in dire need of a patch and update is Rise Of The Triad 2013. What I played of it I really enjoyed, proper oldschool level design, gets really difficult. But it was a janky mess, freezing, crashes. It lacked polish to the point where it became unplayable. And yet it still, to my knowledge, remains unpatched.

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Runner 3's gotten a huge patch after 8 months last year adding not only easier and even more difficulty options, but just refinements in general that definitely made it the better game compared to release.

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Diablo III is probably a contentious one. The original version of Diablo III didn't do anything for me. I played through as a monk went "Meh" and then left it. Then they ripped out the real world auction house (Which should never have been there in the first place), completely reworked the loot system and then introduced Adventure Mode with Reaper of Souls. It's arguable that you expect paid expansions to fundamentally change the game, but the loot system was before that on console and made the game so much better than the previous iteration it's not even funny. 

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I'm sure there are many more examples than those listed here so far. What it emphasises is that when you experience a game has a massive impact on your enjoyment of it.

 

I think it is actually a huge mistake by developers/publishers and here's why:

 

In the golden era of the birth of online gaming (at least console, I'm thinking motoGP era) and before it, being late to the party was a massive problem. The gaming experience was clearly at its peak on launch and tailed off over time. Some very good online games would simply not be the same experience as little as a few weeks post launch. This encouraged early adoption, pre-ordering, to make sure that you were there day 1.

 

Being there on Halo 3 launch or COD:MW on launch was absolutely essential. Picking up a physical release of Halo 3, early because sainsburys messed up the release date wasn't just about the exclusivity, it was about experiencing the game at its very best, guaranteed. Yes, there were always initial technical networking issues but nothing like we see today, where games are released broken. There was clear incentive to be an early adopter. If DLC came, it was usually months down the line and major patches were actually incredibly minor compared to today.

 

Today, the best experience with a game is almost exclusively, NOT at launch, but at some point later. Games are now so regularly released in a shocking state that early adopters are effectively punished. The time that the 'later' comes varies but many of the big online games can experienced at their best months, or sometimes years down the line.

 

And if you are a single player focused gamer then the situation is even more extreme, almost making buying a game at launch a huge risk that just isn't worth taking. Not only do bugs get fixed, content gets added, the price drops and potential mods appear.

 

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Doom 2016 is a game simultaneously fixed and ruined by patches. The on disc game has awful screen tearing yet to fix it you need to download nearly 100gb in patches, mainly consisting of multiplayer guff no one gives two shits about. It's the best game i've got I can't play.

 

Shenmue I&II had a lot of bugs on release, I was lucky and only encountered the cutscene glitch on my Shen 1 playthrough, I waited for 2 to be patched before starting and it was a near perfect experience. IIRC the music in II was pretty busted on launch, a terrible shame as the music is a huge part of the Shenmue experience. All good now though.

 

The Evil Within was a horrorshow for all the wrong reasons at launch, that absolutely terrible frame rate combined with borders that would make Daytona on the Saturn feel bad. Subsequent patches improved the framerate and more importantly allowed the player to disable the hilariously oversized black bars, so you no longer trod in bear traps every two minutes that were previously rendered invisible.

 

Just Cause 3 seemed to get worse with every patch and I dropped the game not long after launch. From what I hear it's still practically unplayable unless using boost mode on a Pro.

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29 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

I'm sure there are many more examples than those listed here so far. What it emphasises is that when you experience a game has a massive impact on your enjoyment of it.

 

I think it is actually a huge mistake by developers/publishers and here's why:

 

In the golden era of the birth of online gaming (at least console, I'm thinking motoGP era) and before it, being late to the party was a massive problem. The gaming experience was clearly at its peak on launch and tailed off over time. Some very good online games would simply not be the same experience as little as a few weeks post launch. This encouraged early adoption, pre-ordering, to make sure that you were there day 1.

 

Being there on Halo 3 launch or COD:MW on launch was absolutely essential. Picking up a physical release of Halo 3, early because sainsburys messed up the release date wasn't just about the exclusivity, it was about experiencing the game at its very best, guaranteed. Yes, there were always initial technical networking issues but nothing like we see today, where games are released broken. There was clear incentive to be an early adopter. If DLC came, it was usually months down the line and major patches were actually incredibly minor compared to today.

 

Today, the best experience with a game is almost exclusively, NOT at launch, but at some point later. Games are now so regularly released in a shocking state that early adopters are effectively punished. The time that the 'later' comes varies but many of the big online games can experienced at their best months, or sometimes years down the line.

 

And if you are a single player focused gamer then the situation is even more extreme, almost making buying a game at launch a huge risk that just isn't worth taking. Not only do bugs get fixed, content gets added, the price drops and potential mods appear.

 

 

This is so true. What's worse, it means that there's never an optimal time to get into a multiplayer game. Get in early and learn with everyone but put up with the technical issues, get in late and have a more stable / fully-featured product but everyone else is amazing at the game.

 

I agree that publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by releasing AAA games in unfinished states. It just encourages people to wait for price drops, by which time the game may have significantly improved.

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1 minute ago, Pob said:

 

This is so true. What's worse, it means that there's never an optimal time to get into a multiplayer game. Get in early and learn with everyone but put up with the technical issues, get in late and have a more stable / fully-featured product but everyone else is amazing at the game.

 

I agree that publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by releasing AAA games in unfinished states. It just encourages people to wait for price drops, by which time the game may have significantly improved.

I'm sure those in the industry understands that releasing unfinished games is a bad thing for the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, I think it is one of those situations where without a proper governing body or agreement put in place, everyone is going to do what is right for them, at that time. And if that means lauching unfinished, that's what they will do. There must be other great examples throughout history where this has led to the death of industries but I can't think of any off the top of my head. EDIT: Probably the class B era of Rallying, which while being thrilling at the time, almost put a stop to the sport entirely. Rally bosses and teams must have understood that going bigger, faster, more deadly was only eventually going to lead to disaster but if you didn't follow the trend, you died out.

 

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I think publishers are finally cottoning on to the fact that people are getting sick of buying bug-ridden games at launch, that by the time they are a decent state, are available for half price or less and the original purchaser feels burned. A casual gaming friend of mine bought the deluxe version of BF5 for a whopping £70 as he loved BF1 so much and thought he'd get his monies worth but he says it's a fucking mess and he had hit the top rank within the first few weeks which took him years on BF1 (I've not played either game, so can't comment). He said he would never preorder another game again due to this.

 

On the flip side, hasn't it been an absolute pleasure to play Resident Evil 2 and Apex Legends in the last two weeks and neither of them need a critical update , they just fucking WORK and are solid productions? I think Street Fighter V was a turning point for Capcom, since then almost all of their launches have been solid.

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Mafia 3. I'd heard horror stories about how poorly it ran and the bugs it was infested with. Playing it last year after getting it for free with PSPlus was one of my highlights from last year and I'm actually sad another one like it will never be made with the team being scattered to the four winds.

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It's essentially the PC-ification of console gaming that people are generally complaining about. In the past, when consoles couldn't act like PCs and have massive patches, games generally had to work before they were allowed to be released (though I'm sure Japanese gamers might disagree about just how great things were even back then and they just stealth patched console games instead a lot of the time).

 

These days, you ship it unpolished and just patch it, like people have been doing for decades on PC. The general massive complexity of current huge games doesn't help though, absolute nightmare to bughunt compared to the past.

 

 

Can't think of any actually fundamentally bad games that were saved by a patch or remaster, it's usually a good underlying game hampered by technical problems in reality.

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2 hours ago, Gotters said:

I can think of an amazing game utterly ruined by patches - New Star Soccer on my iphone, I swear I'd still be playing it today if the original version had been left alone and not turned into an IAP filled stink fest.

 

It made more money though - that's mobile I'm afraid.

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I can only think of two games I've played in the past few years that were greatly improved by patches.

 

The first is Assassin's Creed Unity which I bought at release and rinsed (don't like AC in general but I loved the Paris setting) and in those first few weeks you could gradually witness the game going from a bit of a mess to something closer the state it should have been released in.

 

That game made me realise that buying AAA games at release is a mug's game since you'll be dealing with issues that will be fixed a couple of months later(when the game will probably cost half as much too), and I haven't done so since (apart from Nintendo stuff).

 

That said, the other was the wii u Mario Kart 8 patch that swapped the order of the post race "watch replay" and "next race" options :)

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5 hours ago, womblingfree said:

GTA5. You couldn't play it for more than ten minutes at launch without it freezing.

 

 

Really? I cant remember any issues in the single player at launch.... online was another story :facepalm:

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