10 games that deserve a second review
Recently we talked about how video games need more than just one review. Updates, patches, and DLC have the potential to change games in major ways, sometimes into an experience far different than what they were at release. Similarly, a lack of support post release can bury a multiplayer game that was meant to thrive on competition and community. Even if a game doesn’t receive any support, some games just don’t age well.
Well it’s time to practice what we preach. Here are ten games we reviewed in the past that we gave a second look. Some fared better. Some fared worse. Each feels remarkably different from the first time we played.
We hate to start with a bummer, but Artifact hasn’t aged well at all. In our original review we criticized its unbalanced and random gameplay and said that this could be fixed in a few expansions or balance patches. Unfortunately, Artifact hasn’t received any support to fix these issues and it’s still as expensive as ever. We gave it a 10 in presentation and while the presentation hasn’t gotten any worse, its luster has certainly worn off especially in the face of other digital CCGs upping their graphics game.
More importantly, Artifact has been averaging about 100 active players at any given time, meaning it’s hard to find a match and even harder to find any sort of variety in your opponents. This is a practical death sentence for a CCG. While we said it might have been worth tentatively getting into Artifact with the hopes that Valve will fix things in the future, now we can only say “stay away.”
New score - 3
Now let’s move on to something a little happier. We gave Beat Saber a fantastic score when it first came out and we are pleased to say it’s only gotten better. Our lowest score was in variety, as it only had 10 songs to offer upon initial release. However, several expansion packs have come out since then alongside a number of mods and custom songs.
In fact, it’s these mods that really make Beat Saber something else. Aside from custom stages, sabers, colors, and the like, recent mods have figured out how to mod the very experience. Now, instead of standing on a stage you might be running down a street or flying through a tunnel as you slash notes every which way. Of the many rhythm games that VR platforms have to offer, this clearly offers the most.
The only issue we can find with Beat Saber these days is that every new update breaks something, but the active community and second to none developer support has made this only a passing annoyance in the long run.
New score – 9.75
Dragon Ball FighterZ
We couldn’t stop singing the praises of Dragon Ball FighterZ when it first came out. It was an incredibly fun team fighter that looked great, sounded great, played great, and had all the fan service that a DBZ fan could want.
Despite some amazing post launch support, a few more flaws have shown themselves since the original release. In fact, DLC characters are one of these flaws. GT Goku and Bardock are so powerful that almost every professional competitive team runs them. This has made the meta incredibly stale. Gameplay itself has become overly reliant on things like super dashing to get instant pressure. It can start to feel like every match is exactly the same.
We also gave it a 7 in online simply because its netcode was kind of bad on original release, but to be honest it’s gotten worse. As more and more players have left for other fighting games it becomes harder to find matches and the quality of those matches drops.
In short, while DBFZ was an incredible experience filled with tons of interesting teams and gameplay for the first few months of its release, now it’s just kind of a stale fighter with bad netcode. We still have another DLC fighter and upcoming balance patch, though, so maybe it will change for the better once again.
New score – 7.50
Final Fantasy XV
We really liked FFXV when it first came out. We even gave it RPG of the year. You know what? At the time, we stood by this. However, then Square’s new business model came into play and things started to get a little annoying and a lot expensive.
What do you need to do to get the whole story experience of FFXV? Well you have to buy several pieces of DLC, watch several movies, and even play some games where Noctis is a guest character. It’s… kind of dumb.
And how is that experience once all the content is added? Honestly, not as great as the original. It feels disjointed at best as Square tries to shoehorn in new stories to fit their original skeleton of a plot. Not to mention they tried to make each DLC a completely different gameplay style and, frankly, Square doesn’t have it in them to make a competent shooter.
In the end, FFXV doesn’t feel like a bad game, but it certainly feels like an overdesigned game. It feels like everything that was put in was created by committee. “What do kids like? Cars? Guns? Tragic backstories? DLC? Multiplayer? PUT IT ALL IN!” Sometimes less is more, Square, and if you quit while you were ahead we might have still put this in a GOTY slot. Unfortunately, we have to rethink our descision.
New score – 7.50
We originally reduced For Honor’s score for having a boring single-player and shallow multiplayer. However, coming back to For Honor after all these years makes us look at it in a very different way. We probably wouldn’t have paid the single-player much mind in its current incarnation. With its expanded roster of characters and maps it’s very clear that this is meant to be a multiplayer game only.
Of course, that brings us to another issue, its reduced player base. It’s a better game now, but there are less people playing it. That hasn’t stopped Ubisoft from going all in with support, including a decent amount of support for its small e-sports scene.
So that’s going to end us in a pretty weird place, that place being the exact same score but for completely different reasons. Ignore the single-player and jump into the deep multiplayer metagame. Just know that you might have some issues finding a game or two.
New score – 7.75
Kingdom Hearts 3
Kingdom Hearts 3 aged like moldy bread. While the core gameplay is still fun, it’s become very hard to revisit this Disney/Square crossover.
The major flaw here is the story. On first playthrough the story seemed to be the same old Kingdom Hearts wackiness, and I could appreciate that. However, as time went on it became clear that absolutely nothing made sense, not even for Kingdom Hearts’ standard of internal consistency. It feels like events in other games were retconned, reveals were played with fast and loose.
For example, at one point you fight Terranort and it’s revealed that the gained guardian was Terra’s heart all along. Cool. Does that mean that Ansem, Seeker of Darkness’s guardian is also Terra? What about Rikunort? Is that Terra? Are these all just Terra time clones? And if they are, then doesn’t defeating Terranort totally change the time stream?
And you might be tempted to say “just ignore the plot, it’s Kingdom Hearts and its plot has always been wacky.” Then I ask you, what’s left? The combat is mashy, the mini-games are tedious, and the game has no sense of pacing. Not to mention they have been teasing the new Re:Mind DLC for the better part of a year, which is supposed to retcon the entire ending, and it still isn’t out. It feels like Square sold us yet another incomplete game.
New score – 7.00
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is perhaps the poster child for second chance reviews. The original game was kind of shallow. There wasn’t much to do other than explore planets that all felt like palette swaps of each other. It was an experience so slim that people claimed original demos and trailers were false advertising.
But what hasn’t been added to No Man’s Sky since its launch? We have new multiplayer support, new inventory systems, brand new planet generating algorithms, new lore and quests to follow, VR support, space battles, tons of new NPCs to interact with, base building, deep sea exploration, the list goes on! What was a game that barely delivered on its promises during development is now a game that has gone above and beyond its original scope.
It feels like we have cautioned people away from No Man’s Sky several times, and for good reason. It pretty much released in an unfinished form. But now it’s finished and it’s more than worth the experience. We’d even call it one of the best space exploration games in recent years.
New score – 9.00
When we first reviewed Overwatch we took off points for lack of variety. In its original launch incarnation it only had a few maps, limited game modes, and many characters kind of played the same.
You might imagine that this has totally changed over the years. Characters have been retooled to each have their own unique niche on the battlefield. Tons of new game modes have been added including some truly goofy modes in the arcade. There are plenty of new maps to play on. Heck, with Overwatch 2 coming out, we are even going to get new single-player content with RPG elements, another thing we said we wish the original incarnation had.
Simply put, Blizzard fixed every qualm we had in the game, and aside from a few presentation snafus which still plague it to this day, we are hard pressed to find anything wrong with what is arguably the most popular team shooter on the market.
New score – 9.50
Power Rangers Battle for the Grid
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a clear example of a game being released in an unfinished state. The launch version didn’t have voice acting, battle grunts, barely any stages, few characters and Zord options. It was, in a sense, an early access title without being called such.
Well the game isn’t in early access anymore. Put together the free and paid DLC characters and the roster has grown from eight to 18 characters, each with full voice acting, battle grunts, and sound effects. There’s a new expanded story with a plot that is both epic and campy, exactly what Power Rangers fans want. There’s new stages, new Zords, and all of this is layered on top of the amazing gameplay which we already rated a 10/10. All these updates have turned Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid from an unfinished mess into honestly one of the better fighting game releases this year.
New score – 8.50
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
When Smash Ultimate first came out, it wowed us. Still, we found some flaws. There was basically a lack of content. It was missing things like home-run contest that the Smash series was known for.
Well here we are about a year later and Nintendo has added a home-run contest, a stage builder, a VR mode, five new DLC characters with more to come, new stages, new music, new spirits… Sans….
I mean, what can we say? Sakurai is literally giving fans anything they want (except for Waluigi). This is a good game that got even better. It’s just about perfect, and our score should reflect that.
New score – 9.75