Games That Were Bad on Release, But Are Now Great

bad games that became great

Some of the most popular games have had a rough start, with some of them being downright unplayable.

Despite that, developers have managed to turn it around for them and make their game worth playing. Here are some games that had a rough start but were pretty great.

18. Dragon Age: Inquistion

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Photo Credit: Electronic Arts.

Although Dragon Age: Inquisition is a highly popular game now, it wasn’t at all when it was first released. Despite the excitement for a new Dragon Age game, Inquisition failed to meet the mark.

The game would boot up on the console and crash just a few minutes in. If you had the game on PC, you’d find that the game just wouldn’t start up at all. It wasn’t exactly the ideal gaming experience. Luckily, patches and bug fixes were released and helped make Dragon Age: Inquisition a cult classic.

17. Batman: Arkham Knight

Harley Quinn - Batman: Arkham Knight
Photo Credit: Rocksteady Studios

While the game ran fine on the console, it was on PC where Batman: Arkham Knight had problems. The game was fantastic, but when it came to porting it over to PC, it could barely run at all. The game was completely unplayable thanks to a frame rate of below 30 FPS, sometimes even dropping below 10.

It took months for the developers to fix the game, but since then, it has become a fantastic game to play on PC and console. 

16. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Demora Lord in Skyrim
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

It’s no surprise that Skyrim is on this list. Bethesda is notoriously known for making buggy messes. Despite that, Skyrim went on to become one of the most famous games of all time and one of the most popular. 

While Bethesda couldn’t be trusted to fix the game, the diehard fans in the community were coding geniuses and helped them polish the game and fix the main issues at hand.

15. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves Sets Sail on the High Seas
Photo Credit: Xbox Game Studios

Sea of Thieves had a pretty rough start when it was first released. Although it is nothing like how it was when it first came out, it left a bit of a stain on the opinion of Sea of Thieves. Players found that the game lacked content, and the servers were constantly overloaded, leaving them waiting for an age to get into the game.

Since then, Sea of Thieves has had many quality-of-life updates and a pretty big fan base, which is completely different from what it was at the start.

14. No Man’s Sky

No Man's Sky How to Get Exocraft
Image Credit: Hello Games.

No Man’s Sky is one of the most well-known games for being a failure at launch, but it is going on to be a stunning game. It’s nice to see when developers listen to their community and the feedback given, and Hello Games did just that. 

Despite being released in 2016, it continues to receive free updates that add all sorts of content to the game, and they seem to be nowhere near done with adding to No Man’s Sky. If you haven’t played it yet, this is the perfect time to get stuck in.

13. Fallout 76

Fallout 76 Foundation
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

Fallout 76 was known for having a disastrous launch. From players being able to give themselves overpowered items from a hidden-away vault to Bethesda straight up asking players to rat on themselves for doing things they shouldn’t be doing, the game had a bit of an interesting start.

Since then, it seems that Fallout 76 has become a pretty decent live service game, all things considered.

12. Halo: The Master Chief’s Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Photo Credits: 343 Industries.

Although it has become pretty popular now and is a great source of nostalgia, upon release, Halo: The Master Chief’s Collection was a source of agitation for Halo fans. Although the single-player campaign was fine, the multiplayer was where the problem really lay. It made it difficult to join up with friends to play through the game; matchmaking was just generally horrible and tedious. Additionally, the match stats afterward were horrifically inaccurate. How was anyone supposed to tell how good they did in a match?

Since then, 343 Industries offered freebies to players as an apology, as well as many patches and bug fixes. The game now works as it should be and has a healthy player base.

11. Cyberpunk 2077

Mercenary in Cyberpunk 2077
Image Credit: CD Projekt Red.

Where do we even begin with Cyberpunk 2077’s rough beginnings? From faces being pixellated blobs to bugs galore, it certainly wasn’t worth playing on release day. It’s a shame, as players had incredibly high expectations considering the success of The Witcher franchise. However, this game just fell a little bit flat on release.

Since then, there have been DLC and quality-of-life updates, and the game runs as it should! It’s gone from being a bit of a nightmare to being a graphical masterpiece that is worth playing.

10. Diablo 3

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls
Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Despite Diablo being very successful and well-loved, Diablo 3 wasn’t quite the success the other iterations were on release. Instead, it was the complete opposite; it was a dumpster fire. The game constantly requested online authentication, there were nonstop connectivity issues, and Blizzard seemingly didn’t care about the consumer’s complaints.

It took a while but sold over thirty million units by 2015. We still aren’t quite sure how, considering how poorly Blizzard handled it, but there we go.

9. Destiny 

Destiny 2 Ritual Mission
Image Credit: Bungie.

Destiny was Bungie’s first big game after stepping away from helping develop the Halo series. However, it wasn’t exactly… great. The story was boring, the game was monotonous, and the grinding was nonstop. 

Even though you can’t play Destiny anymore, you can play Destiny 2, which is bigger and even better than the first.

8. Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 on PC via Steam
Image Credit: Electronic Arts

Although the game is more than enjoyable now, it was off to a rough start at the beginning. It was so much so that the game wasn’t even playable; it had so many technical issues that players couldn’t even get into the game.

Sadly, it wasn’t as if it was limited to multiplayer. The issues were prominent in single-player campaigns, too. It was just a bit of a mess, from corrupted save files to nonstop crashes. However, the developers worked tirelessly to fix the game that Battlefield 4 was, making it a great game to get stuck into.

7. Final Fantasy XIV

Zadnor - Final Fantasy XIV
Photo Credit: Square Enix

Considering how much of a powerhouse it is today, you would never think that Final Fantasy XIV had issues. It has become a widely successful game, with fans worldwide. When it was first created, it received so much backlash that Square Enix shut down FFXIV and moved on to create FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, adding so much quality of life to the game.

It went from being abysmal to a commercial success with the hard work of Square Enix’s development teams and has become one of the most popular MMOs ever.

6. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda - Mass Effect Games Ranked
Photo Credit: BioWare

Fans were delighted to see that the beloved Mass Effect franchise would be getting a new game. However, upon release, that excitement was quickly dashed. From an engine not working correctly to technical issues all over the place, Mass Effect: Andromeda was quite the disappointment on launch.

Since the embarrassing release, the developers have gone on to make some significant fixes to the glitches and bugs while adding quality-of-life updates to the game to make it enjoyable again. It’s still quite a controversial game in the Mass Effect franchise, but it’s up to you to decide whether you enjoy it or not.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity combat
Image Credit: Ubisoft.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity predominantly became an issue for PC users. With players experiencing bugs that left them with no face and the surrounding civilians, it’s no wonder that the game was disorienting to play. That said, the console edition featured its fair share of bugs. From unhinged jaws, clipping issues, and many other technical bugs, it wasn’t the Parisien affair players were hoping for.

It took a couple of months, but Ubisoft got to work on fixing Assassin’s Creed: Unity and made it a worthwhile game. While it may not be a fan favorite for many, it is still a great iteration and deserves a place within the well-loved franchise.

4. Star Wars Battlefront 2

battlefront II
Image Credit: Electronic Arts.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 had an infamous launch, but not for the reason you may be thinking. Although it didn’t have many technical issues like some of the games on this list, it had some aggressive microtransactions and loot boxes that turned a lot of the players off from the game. It’s understandable, really. Is it worth it when you pay for a full-price game and still have to get cosmetics through loot boxes?

Since then, EA has listened, removed all microtransactions and loot boxes from the game, and replaced them with a natural progression tree that allows players to unlock new content as they go.

3. Street Fighter V

Street Fighter 5 VS screen
Image Credit: Capcom.

Although Street Fighter is one of the most popular fighting games of all time, Street Fighter V was off to a very rough start to begin with. It didn’t have any additional game modes that fans wanted, meaning it didn’t feel worth the $60 price tag. Where were the arcade game modes? Why didn’t lobbies allow more than two players? These were all questions players had at the start of Street Fighter V’s release.

Capcom listened and added the game modes the fans wanted, including an extensive roster, online tournaments, and much more. It became one of the most well-put-together fighting games out there. Luckily, there is now a Street Fighter 6 to get stuck into.

2. Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand Theft Auto V
Photo Credit: Rockstar Games

Considering how popular GTA Online is now, you wouldn’t think it was universally hated when it was first released. Yet, it was. So many issues at launch made it practically impossible to play. [Editor’s Note: It took me 10 hours to make it through a loading screen, only to be greeted with a permanent disconnect.]

With lengthy loading screens, bugs galore, and connectivity issues, there was seemingly no point trying to play GTA Online.

Despite these issues, Rockstar has continued to issue free updates over the years, adding tons of free content, heists, and new missions. There’s so much to do in the game that you’re unlikely to get bored if you start now.

1. Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout New Vegas Wasteland
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

Despite Fallout: New Vegas being a cult classic, it certainly had its issues at launch. On release, it came out with mixed and negative reviews from critics as the game had many problems with crashing. Even on the best hardware, the game would crash every ten minutes. 

However, the game soon became one of the best-ranking games of all time and one of the most popular. With a few patches released here and there, the game is playable and has some of the most memorable quotes and NPCs.

That concludes our list of games that had a rough start but have gone on to become great games. Making a game isn’t easy, and issues are sure to pop up here and there. Hopefully, there won’t be any games with such strong issues in the future.

Avatar photo

Written by Amy Eastland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *