Not every game has a great launch – sometimes there are horrendous performance issues, other times it just doesn’t live up to the hype. Today we want to put a spotlight on three games that despite initially having major problems and facing criticism, managed to greatly improve, and perhaps are worth checking out again.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves wasn’t exactly a bad game at launch – it featured beautiful cartoony graphics, incredible water physics, and systems that encouraged people not only to team up but to actually communicate with each other and work together. The problem was, in the beginning Sea of Thieves was merely a foundation of a game. Anyone who played it for 30 minutes could see an ocean of potential but was ultimately let down by shallow quests, unsatisfying rewards and a lack of features. Many felt that the $60 price tag was unjustified (although the game was – and still is – available to “rent” via the Xbox Game Pass subscription).
It’s been over a year, and Sea of Thieves has changed dramatically. Over multiple patches, the developers at Rare added a whole new volcanic zone to the open world, a new 3-person ship type, a PvP game mode called “The Arena” and a full-on story campaign. There are also rowboats, fishing, new factions, new monster types on the islands and challenges on the open sea, and of course hundreds of new rewards. Additionally, players have a chance to gain unique loot by participating in occasional time-limited events. It’s been a delight watching Sea of Thieves grow in content and popularity, and I’m looking forward to all further adventures in the game.
People’s expectations of Destiny 2 were quite high before its premiere. The original game had many fans on consoles, and the series was finally coming to PC. Unfortunately, Destiny 2 launched in a state that left a lot to be desired. The main criticisms centred around flawed systems and lack of challenge.
With the Forsaken expansion, Destiny 2 finally resolved some of the biggest gripes people had with the game. Apart from major system changes that improved the overall experience, there was a new interesting campaign, a new world full of challenges and raids to explore, and a mode called Gambit that mixes PvE and PvP. More importantly, at the beginning of this year Bungie split with its publisher Activision, which many players consider a step towards making the game even better.
Recently the developers at Bungie announced that on September 17th the base game will be going free-to-play and moving from Battle.net to Steam. The free version is called Destiny 2: New Light and includes all content released in the first year since launch. They are also merging PC and console versions, getting rid of platform-exclusive content and allowing cross-saving.
Destiny 2 is definitely not a game for everyone, but this year it is going to be easier than ever to give it a try, so keep an eye on it in the following months!
No Man’s Sky
A redemption tale like no other. No Man’s Sky launched to overwhelming criticism from players and mixed reactions from reviewers. Despite being an indie game made by a relatively fresh studio, it was overpromoted and hyped up as if it were a huge triple-A title. In the months leading up to the premiere, many claims were made about the unlimited possibilities of No Man’s Sky, its mysterious ending, multiplayer features and the procedurally generated universe. Ultimately, everything turned out to be quite disappointing, and some of the promised content simply didn’t exist.
After that, you could say the developers at Hello Games went into hiding for at least a couple of weeks, quietly hotfixing the game. Players were understandably furious and many demanded refunds, but then the Foundation Update arrived. The first big patch to No Man’s Sky added base building, farming, game modes and a number of other major features. It wasn’t enough to compensate for everything that was promised, but it was a good start.
Since then, No Man’s Sky had multiple big updates – Path Finder introduced new vehicles, base sharing, and a visual overhaul. Atlas Rises added a new story, more complex galaxies, new world types to explore, missions, and a better trading system. No Man’s Sky Next finally gave us some multiplayer features and character customization, and The Abbys allowed us to dive underwater to build bases, discover sunken wrecks or sea creatures.
This is just scratching the surface, but the game has evolved into something much bigger. Now the Beyond update is on the horizon, promising changes that will make the game akin to an MMO. Perhaps that will be a good time to give it a second chance.