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Thin Crust

What games got better over time?

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You can take that title anyway you want.  It could be that the games got better as the series continued, or a game released many years ago seems better with age, or that during the course of the game, it just got better and better til you reached the finale.  Specifically I was wondering the third category because it seems all too often that game developers put so much work into the opening chapter to make a good first impression and then the quality only declines from there. 

I would have to say that Final Fantasy XIV counts as a game that gets better the further in you play.  It starts you off slow, but very soon into the story you become the village hero, travel to other nations, slay the gods of the local beast tribes, join a crew of mystics, and eventually topple the empire's invasion force.  I spent 6 months in that game and I am shocked at how much it was able to keep me involved. 

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Are you sure you put this in the right forum? (Competitions?) Unless you meant for the games to compete for which gets better over time than the other games :lol: That's a really difficult question though, because it makes me think of a game I really love, Bloodborne.. which I consider one of the best games on PS4.. and it was only not as good starting out because for me it had a pretty big learning curve and wasn't a fault of the game at all. There's games like Kingdom Hearts that start out insanely boring with fetch quests on the island, and stuff like that. 

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I think everybody has their favourite. Either because of it's quirks, or because of the feel of the art/story, or perhaps it just connects with them on some genetic level right there in the DNA. I have many, but the one that yelled out to me immediately as soon as I read the topic title: Secret of Mana.

SoM was the first RPG I ever played, my dad bought it second hand from an independent games retailer innocently and ignorantly (an independent retailer of games, not a retailer of independent games- they didn't exist back then the way they do now). He came home, threw it on the table. said "there you go," or words to that effect and that, as they say, is history. Talk about dumb luck. With Dad's knowledge of the consoles we played, he could just as easily have picked up a Megadrive or Atari cartridge. Anyhoo, back on track, the game is brightly coloured with lush graphics for its time, has addictive music, great story, days of gameplay and realtime fighting. I was in love. I used to draw the characters, daydream about playing it. I dust it off regularly to replay it on my SNES. No Roms, no Virtual Console. Has to be the ol' cartridge and controller setup. The nostalgia value is completely devoid of rose tinted glasses. It's like a vintage wine. Like an old friend. That unique rush when you put it in and turn it on is unparalleled. Here we go again... :)

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it's more like a sport, with a defined win/lose goal, and specific contained matches, whereas diablo is more freeform exploration. Also, while in each individual game, you can level up and buy items, it is only for that specific game (30-50min), and each game starts from zero. 

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I recently have been playing Vampire: Bloodlines and it's a good example. When it was released, it was incomplete - a lot of planned content was missing and there were many technical problems. To this very day, after 12 years, fans have been patching and modding the game. They have restored lost content, fixed bugs, etc. 

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To take one interpretation, I can't name a single JRPG I like that didn't start out kinda boring but got amazing later on.

All the main series Pokemon games...you spend the first couple battles spamming Scratch or Tackle, and then you catch more and your party levels up and finally learns moves of other types that do damage.

Personas 3 & 4, but especially 4...battle features that slowly get introduced over time (such as number of party members, number of Personas on you at a given time, interesting Persona fusions) and a plot that is generally front-loaded with character development and handholding of the game's various interlocked systems before it really gets going. 4 is especially paced like this, with an intro that is AT LEAST an hour long before you see a single battle...but it's all worth it. Not that the plots are boring or anything, but upon multiple replays you get kinda antsy to start wanting to use more advanced techniques than the stuff the game lets you have for the first several hours.

Devil Survivor is very much like P3 and P4, except that the battles are already harder to begin with, so the pace ramps up much faster...

In terms of games that literally got better over time: the two early access games I own are Minecraft and Starbound.

Minecraft I've had since beta, so early that the single player and multiplayer code were separate entities and long before any of the game's optimizations, as well as long before the new biomes, actual oceans, The End, hunger, many block types, many food types...just performance-wise the game has practically become new. A few years ago it'd tax my machine harder than Skyrim would, now it runs smooth as butter. 

Starbound is nigh-unrecognizable NOW, let alone when the next stable update will debut from the sounds of things. Completely different bosses, new tech tress, randomly-generated loot, new mobs, new biomes, new dungeons, colonization, ship customization...it is crazy amazing how much this game has changed from an unfinished, loosely-structured, "build your own fun or get bored after beating the bosses" sandbox game to a game that feels like an actual game with sandbox elements.

Skyrim's another game that got better over time...not just through official content but unofficial. The Unofficial patches alone make the game a lot better.

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Final Fantasy 13 got better - Hah!  Just kidding!  

Ummm...for me it was probablyyyyy all of the Souls games.  As Brandon Strader mentioned with Bloodborne, the learning curve is the primary issue...but so is access to good gear and spells early to mid game.  And then there's all of the doors that OPEN ON THE OTHER SIDE.  T_T

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Yeah, but that doesn't mean that it will stay bad. Patches, DLC and user content can improve the game from its original release version.

It's not an absolute, mind you. It's just possible.

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Metroid Prime II = It fascinated me at first, how the light / dark word was implemented. It differs by exploration, and health stamina. But once you find a rhythm, the atmosphere around you also transforms. (LoZ- Twilight Princess) also reflects that same sentiment. Even though its been years since either game was released. It still contains moments you want to re-explore, and possibly find new challenges.

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On 4/8/2016 at 10:36 AM, The Damned said:

Yeah, but that doesn't mean that it will stay bad. Patches, DLC and user content can improve the game from its original release version.

It's not an absolute, mind you. It's just possible.

no no, I mean like when people say "this MMO only starts to get good at the endgame," or "FFXIII gets really good at the twenty hour mark"

if a game is bad when you start playing it, it's a bad game

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1 hour ago, Bleck said:

no no, I mean like when people say "this MMO only starts to get good at the endgame," or "FFXIII gets really good at the twenty hour mark"

if a game is bad when you start playing it, it's a bad game

Is there an MMO that people don't say that about, though?

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I think Star Ocean 2 fits this pretty well. The game starts off really slow, the characters are pretty flat and poorly voiced, The combat system is fun but just as brainless as anything else, you think you've seen everything in this game before ...and then you hit the end of disc one and all hell breaks loose.  It takes the player from thinking "it's an ok game" to EXTREME EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER.  

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Calling something a good game or bad game as some kind of singular encompassing verdict when games have many, many aspects and parts to them is a useless evaluation.

The point is not that MMO's become good games in endgame when they start off as bad games. The point is that when someone says it gets better in the endgame, it is more fun to play in the endgame. So yeah, it might still be a "bad game" but no one really gives a fuck; if later on it's possible to derive enjoyment from it, and that enjoyment is of a quality the person likes, then that by contrast is a pretty useful evaluation of the game. If you're the kind of person who wants their games to always have that level of quality and enjoyment from start to finish, that's fine too, and there are plenty of games for you. I played WoW and had some pretty insane experiences with playing with OCR friends and pursuing tasks that had aesthetic and social rewards that I enjoyed. That was mostly at the endgame content, in the expansions. 

Would I say it was worth playing through the beginning parts to get to that point? Considering it was a mere fraction of the total time I spent on the game, absolutely. Was it objectively a bad game because it started off bad?

I don't... really care? What's the point of making that verdict? I'd prefer to tell it like it is; I had a potently good experience in several parts of the game and a boring one in a few others. That's far more useful in recommending a game to someone than saying "yeah the endgame is more fun but it's a bad game".

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47 minutes ago, Neblix said:

I don't... really care? What's the point of making that verdict?

the point is to communicate to people that it's a bad game

 

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I kind of have to agree with him on this, because wading through a pile of shit to get to a gem still means you had to crawl through a pile of shit.

When a movie is terrible, with the exception of a really awesome scene near the end, people have no problem skipping to that scene. We've all done it. But when it's a game, we're expected to slog through the bad parts until we get to "the good parts" because... ? We can't do that. The nature of games requires us to be active in the events of the game as it progresses. We don't get to skip ahead to the good part, because we have to actively drive the events into occurring. So here we are, forcing ourselves through the poor writing/art/mechanics/etc, just to eventually get to something worthwhile.

That's no entertainment. That's a chore. That's the exact opposite of what games are about.

On the other hand... if the ratio of "bad" to "good" is definitely in favor of the good parts (overwhelmingly so is even better), then becomes less of an issue. You might even be able to say, honestly, that the good outweighs the bad.

But not every game is like that, nor is it like that for everyone that plays it. Players A, B and C all play Game X. Game X has some bad spots scattered around it, and sometimes, they're pretty bad. But it has some really good spots as well.

Player A might like it overall, even to the point of forgiving the issues that plague parts of it. Player B, however, is getting bored after the half-way point, and is losing interest. But someone said it gets better after that point... so will Player B keep going?

Player C got fed up with the bad parts after only a few hours and abandoned the game completely.

Now we have one lost player, and a potential lost player. That's hardly a good way to encourage new and repeat players. From both a business and industry view, this should be a concern for developers.

So yeah, I think the complaint against "getting to the good part(s)" is valid, and something that should be addressed.

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26 minutes ago, The Damned said:

That's no entertainment. That's a chore. That's the exact opposite of what games are about.

That's pretty much where a game loses me these days - when it starts to feel like work rather than entertainment. Or when you have to find the ambition within you to force yourself to play it.

Like, I was playing System Shock 2 recently and got about halfway through and I'm just so tired of Shodan's stupid "fetch or fix this for me" quests and I have no idea where to find the next thing I need and I just find myself saying "Do it yourself" and turning the game off.

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12 hours ago, The Damned said:

I kind of have to agree with him on this, because wading through a pile of shit to get to a gem still means you had to crawl through a pile of shit.

When a movie is terrible, with the exception of a really awesome scene near the end, people have no problem skipping to that scene. We've all done it. But when it's a game, we're expected to slog through the bad parts until we get to "the good parts" because... ? We can't do that. The nature of games requires us to be active in the events of the game as it progresses. We don't get to skip ahead to the good part, because we have to actively drive the events into occurring. So here we are, forcing ourselves through the poor writing/art/mechanics/etc, just to eventually get to something worthwhile.

That's no entertainment. That's a chore. That's the exact opposite of what games are about.

On the other hand... if the ratio of "bad" to "good" is definitely in favor of the good parts (overwhelmingly so is even better), then becomes less of an issue. You might even be able to say, honestly, that the good outweighs the bad.

But not every game is like that, nor is it like that for everyone that plays it. Players A, B and C all play Game X. Game X has some bad spots scattered around it, and sometimes, they're pretty bad. But it has some really good spots as well.

Player A might like it overall, even to the point of forgiving the issues that plague parts of it. Player B, however, is getting bored after the half-way point, and is losing interest. But someone said it gets better after that point... so will Player B keep going?

Player C got fed up with the bad parts after only a few hours and abandoned the game completely.

Now we have one lost player, and a potential lost player. That's hardly a good way to encourage new and repeat players. From both a business and industry view, this should be a concern for developers.

So yeah, I think the complaint against "getting to the good part(s)" is valid, and something that should be addressed.

You know you're agreeing with me, and not him, right?

You're plainly stating that there's a degree of nuance here that isn't afforded by calling something simply a "good" or "bad" game. That's what I'm saying. I'm not saying games that get better over time are good games (please re-read " The point is not that MMO's become good games in endgame when they start off as bad games. ").

In fact you essentially parroted what I said and expanded on it. :<

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13 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

That's pretty much where a game loses me these days - when it starts to feel like work rather than entertainment. Or when you have to find the ambition within you to force yourself to play it.

Like, I was playing System Shock 2 recently and got about halfway through and I'm just so tired of Shodan's stupid "fetch or fix this for me" quests and I have no idea where to find the next thing I need and I just find myself saying "Do it yourself" and turning the game off.

It seems to be the case in modern game design that the game should be "enjoyable" throughout and the player should never be inconvenienced or made to feel uncomfortable one way or another.  Even if they are performing a task they have already done 1000 times over.  The games that engage the player the most have sections that are absolute torture to play with the sole comfort of playing through that part of the game being simply to move beyond it. the labyrinth zone in the first sonic the hedgehog, the nibelheim mountains in FF7,  The catacombs in the first Resident Evil. ALL of Dark Souls.  In fact Dark Souls has been able to capitalize off of this the most because so few games challenge the player in such a polarizing way. I still cringe when i even think of the name Undeadburg. If games are going to be respected as an art then they need to elicit a variety of emotions from the player and not just pander to their feelings of gratification.

Though in all honesty i think we are seeing the end player pandering with games like Dark Souls, FTL and PVP games with a sharp learning curve like War Thunder having the success that they have had.

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7 minutes ago, Garpocalypse said:

If games are going to be respected as an art then they need to elicit a variety of emotions from the player and not just pander to their feelings of gratification.

I don't think games require being boring, tedious or just frustrating to do this though.

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