We now live in a time where a video game release doesn’t mean the developer can stop caring. Instead, the rise of digital downloads and persistent connectivity (for many) means that post-launch fixes and updates are the norm right now.
In fact, we can think of a few games released in 2016 that became good or even great with a constant stream of updates…
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No Man’s Sky
I practically made this list for No Man’s Sky (review), having seen a series of substantial updates in 2016 and 2017 to finally become a great game in its own right.
It’s a stark contrast to launch, when the gaming world discovered that pre-launch marketing material and interviews were downright misleading. In truth, the game was miles wide but a centimetre deep.
Fortunately, 2016 and 2017 saw numerous meaty updates to bring the game up to par. From base-building and improved world variety to a photo mode and basic multiplayer, No Man’s Sky is almost a different game to the one you played at launch. No wonder Kotaku declared that the game was “good now”.
Ubisoft’s cooperative action game was certainly a looker, but gamers were also salivating at the prospect of a big-budget cooperative shooter in the Tom Clancy universe.
The Division‘s launch wasn’t smooth by any stretch though, owing to server niggles, that infamous laptop segment and a reported lack of gameplay variety. Fortunately, the devs hacked away in the background, bringing several updates in 2016 and 2017.
And the latest 1.8 update offers a brand new area, a new Skirmish gameplay type, a Resistance game mode and loads more. Meanwhile, the 1.6 and 1.7 updates delivered Global Events, a commendations system, three new areas, the legendary difficulty level and more tweaks.
Recore: Definitive Edition
The Microsoft exclusive held a lot of promise, especially after pre-release marketing touted the creators’ previous titles (Metroid and Mega Man). Unfortunately, it saw decidedly mixed reviews at its September 2016 launch.
That didn’t stop the Definitive Edition from being released in 2017, bringing performance enhancements, reduced loading times, a new adventure, new environments, more enemies and HDR support. The result? Metro called it a “major improvement” and one of the more significant game upgrades they’ve seen.
It was arguably 2016’s biggest tech sensation, and for good reason. Pokemon Go may have been built on Ingress‘s framework, but it captured the spirit of Pokemon in a big way. Still, the title was definitely unpolished and somewhat barebones at launch.
Fortunately, we’ve seen a ton of updates since then, introducing dynamic weather effects, better AR (for iPhones), battle parties, legendary Pokemon, raid battles and Johto Pokemon. Niantic has certainly been busy in 2017.