There is a situation that many a gamer has found themselves in regardless of how dedicated they are to their hobby. I’m talking about being at a social gathering and being around other gamers who are chatting away about some great new release that is taking the world by storm…and you haven’t played it yet. You’re left wondering whether you should come clean and admit you’re behind on the latest games, or if you should pretend to be neck deep in the title in question, nodding in agreement whenever someone mentions a boss you’ve never fought or a sidequest you have never completed. Being late to the party can be awkward at times, but here are ten reasons why it can actually be a good thing.
10. Bug Fixes
We have long since entered an age where companies can patch a game post-release, and that’s a great option to have. In the sixth gen and prior, any game that released with bugs couldn’t be altered. On the other hand, it seems like pre-release bug-testing has gone out the window in recent times as many a game has launched with often game-breaking bugs, and we often have to wait a week or more for a post-game patch to address any issues. Few things feel worse than forking over the full price of a new release only to find that early adopters have paid for the pleasure of being beta testers.
Sure, no amount of bug fixes could put Mass Effect: Andromeda on par with the original trilogy, but at least some of the technical issues have been addressed. Bethesda titles are notorious for releasing with bugs. Anyone who has played an Elder Scrolls or Fallout title can attest to that. If you’re a little late to the party, you will have likely missed the frustration early adopters had to deal with, and can instead get right to enjoying your games as they were meant to be.
9. It Takes Time to Know Which Games Truly Stand the Test of Time
It can be apparent right away whether a game is well received or not, especially if it’s a high profile release. It didn’t even take 24 hours for people to praise Horizon and shun Mass Effect: Andromeda. Sometimes the grapevine can provide more quick and easy data than pouring through reviews.
One mark of a truly great title, however, is its longevity. Singleplayer games fare better in this regard as online servers can be shut off far too soon for even the most fondly remembered games. That said, whether a game is still talked about even six months down the road is an indicator of how much of a mark it left. If a game is still in the popular consciousness, it might be worth checking out even if you haven’t so far
8. Getting the Complete Experience
The last couple gens have been notorious for DLC-fests, a term I use to describe games that are riddled with DLC. Some DLC is free, some isn’t. Some is worth the price of admission and the HDD space, and some isn’t. When purchasing a game it’s now almost expected that the disc or initial download doesn’t actually contain the entire experience. Heck, sometimes it doesn’t even include most of the experience.
One advantage of picking up a release that’s at least a little bit older is that there may be a re-release with some if not all the DLC included. With even physical games being installed on HDDs now, and many re-releases either not including the DLC on the disc or requiring it to be manually installed, the space-saving advantage has dwindled, if not diminished entirely.
That said, the purchaser of re-releases can rest assured they are getting the complete experience with less or none of the extra time and money early adopters had to expend to get it, which leads into the next advantage.
7. Lower Cost and Ease of Access
One advantage shared by both the classics, and just titles that are a little bit older than the more recent releases is that they’re generally cheaper. Exceptions include games where the physical release is highly sought after and/or rare, and titles that have never been re-released digitally, and the occasional case of a stubborn publisher refusing to lower the price of their games but thankfully the latter is uncommon.
Here in Canada, a new release usually costs a whopping $80 before taxes, and that’s for the standard edition. Thankfully, many titles do end up dropping to only $30 within a year, and can sometimes even go as low as $20. On the retro side of things, games that even a decade ago would cost $80 or more can now be had for $10 or less.
Of course, with digital storefronts we no longer have to worry about scarcity of physical copies. Some games are tragically lost to time, but most of the well-regarded classics have made a return in digital form. PS2 Classics now even come with trophy support.
6. DLC and Sequels
Whether you save money or not, one advantage of waiting on games is that there is usually DLC to be had. It can be acquired through a complete package deal, or just through the traditional means of buying each DLC pack individually or investing in the season pass, but regardless of how it’s obtained, the player who bought the game later on doesn’t have to wait for all the additional content to come out or at the very least has to wait through a considerably smaller interval of time.
Sometimes a game comes around that I just don’t want to end, and having access to more content after the credits roll is welcome in my book. Having to play the waiting game for more content can be agonizing, but that’s a problem easily fixed with time.
Of course everything I just said applies even more so to the presence of sequels. Sequels take longer to come out than DLC as they’re entirely new games. The high of a great game experience can continue with the knowledge that it’s possible to jump right into its sequel immediately afterwards. As an added bonus that sequel may further refine elements of its predecessor, making for an even greater experience.
5. Access to FAQs and Walkthroughs
Figuring out how to solve puzzles and advance further in games can be hard, especially if you’re too lazy to use your brain. I myself am guilty as charged, as I have long since fallen into the habit of trying a puzzle once and if I don’t immediately find the answer I’ll look up a FAQ. Of course the fault lies with me, as someone who can obtain a degree should be able to solve a simple riddle or figure out where to put a crank, and I probably could if I bothered trying hard enough.
One frustrating thing about new releases is that they usually lack sufficient guides, and if the game is not a AAA title it may even be hard to find helpful forum posts for one particular part of a title. Of course that necessitates actually overcoming the game’s challenges the way it was intended, but that makes too much logical sense in an age when logic is thrown out the window.
Remasters and some really faithful remakes that don’t change much avoid this problem as there is plenty of help for the original games, which was really helpful for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Today I finally got to not only play Shadowgate again, but actually beat it thanks to a guide that well predates the 8-Bit Adventure Anthology. However, repackaging games doesn’t make them completely brand new experiences again. Time is the reason why they have guides, and time is something completely new experiences haven’t amassed yet.
The only thing better than a new game purchase is a game purchase that includes multiple games. Yeah, I can buy multiple games regardless, but it might cost a bit. With collections, older titles can be purchased in bulk. Heck, they don’t even have to be that old as collections exist for games from the current gen. That last type of collection tends to be more commonplace in the tail end of a given gen, but they’re still a great option for picking up games that you’ve missed. The Bioshock Collection somehow manages to be four cents cheaper than just buying all the DLC for the original games. I don’t know how that’s possible, but we live in strange times.
Collections also generally include the most up to date versions of games, which might add trophy support to games that don’t have it, or act as a new set of trophies for ones that do. They are up to date on patches, which usually ensures the games run smoothly, and they sport the best visuals.
3. Remasters and Remakes
As I’ve just established, remasters are generally the definitive versions of games. Konami’s blunder last gen, which will remain nameless for all the shame it has earned, is literally the only example I can think of where a remaster has truly gone wrong, and they cited a problem literally no other dev or publisher has had, including Kemco who just had a collection of games from the 80s ported over to current consoles.
Otherwise, remasters are great, and as a bonus they can be played on your modern system of choice. I don’t know about you but while I can go back and play games on my PS3, I’ve long since grown accustomed to the feel of the Dualshock 4, and having Trophies sync instantly instead of having to wait an hour.
Remakes on the other hand are generally entirely new games. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is an exception as it is very faithful to the original games, but most remakes go in the direction of being entirely new games. Not all remakes are good, but those that are provide a new way to enjoy old titles with modern engines and mechanics, and are a great jumping on point for new fans who may not be as interested in playing an older title. I can’t imagine the Resident Evil series without REmake for example, and I’m still holding out for the promised REmake 2.
2. To Experience Games With a Fresh Mindset
This point ties into the previous one but applies more to titles that have been around for a long time, also known as “the classics”. Old games may lack the graphical prowess of newer titles, but they have one thing that newer games won’t for a while, and that is time to create a lasting legacy. Many games are fondly remembered as they were initially a part of our childhoods or teen years, or came at some other critical point in our
I still maintain that Persona 3 is my favourite Persona game, but it also released at the point in time when I had been out of high school just long enough to miss it, but not long enough that the memory of it had faded. It reminded me of high school in all the right ways, which is part of why it resonated with me so deeply. Persona 5 and even 4 just came too late to have that effect on me, although I still got to experience them as excellent games in their own right.
Many people have long since declared that Final Fantasy VII is the king of the JRPG genre, and can never be topped. I strongly disagree, but I experienced it much later and find its battle system too shallow and noob friendly, and its graphics and storyline too mediocre. Some quick research revealed that it was the first JRPG many people played.
I’m not saying that old games never hold up, and it is true that all experiences are subjective, but there is merit to experiencing old games without the rose-coloured glasses that accompany nostalgia. Besides, I maintain that Chrono Trigger is among the greatest JRPGs ever made, and I was over a decade late to that party. There’s something to be said for experiencing something the first time and being able to enjoy it without any nostalgia attached.
1. It’s Never Too Late to Find a New Favourite
The underlying purpose of investing in a game of any type is to have an experience that is both enjoyable and memorable. New games can provide just that in spades, but so can titles that aren’t current. Whether you’re looking for a diamond in the rough or find one in plain sight, there are plenty to choose from.
Sometimes there is a practical reason to choose something older over something current. Some years ago I really wanted to try some Japanese dating sims, so I signed up for a Japanese PSN account and downloaded five PS1 Classics for less than one current title would have cost, knowing full well that the language barrier would mean I wouldn’t be enjoying them for some time.
So far I’ve only played through the first o with the help of a translation app, but while I won over Shiori while satisfying all the other girls in the game, it was such a tedious experience that I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a savant who somehow got the language down. But, it was an experience I had, and it was new to me.
Even older titles can provide new experiences as they’re new to anyone who hasn’t played them. That rings just as true in the much more comfortable, English speaking realm of gaming. I may have plowed through the Costume Quest games again this Halloween, but last Halloween was all about dipping my feet in the Fatal Frame series for the first time via the PSN download of the first game. I’ve lost track of how often I’ve come across non-nostalgic favourites. Coming across new favourites is kind of the point of checking out a new game, and in my experience, it doesn’t have to be a new release
So, the next time you find yourself at a social gathering and feel awkward about not having played something…don’t ever admit that you haven’t played it. But, don’t let being late to enjoy something permanently bar you from checking it out either.
Can you think of more reasons why checking out older titles is a great idea? Can you think of some favourite old games that you never tried when they were new? As always, feel free to leave your comments below.