Watch Dogs 2 is the hot new release this week. From my time with the game over the past week, I can confirm that it far surpasses the disappointing original in every way. San Francisco is rendered beautifully, the hacking has been refined, the controls are tight, the combat is fluid, and the writing is solid. That’s perspective on the single player. As for the touted “seamless multiplayer,” well, it’s broken. In fact, the bugs found by the development team were so significant that they disabled it entirely until they can get it straightened out. So if you planned on spending much of your time hacking into your friends’ games, best to wait this one out. Still, I highly recommend the game for the single player alone, and Watch Dogs 2 isn’t an anomaly anyway. In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile games that shipped with broken multiplayer modes.
On the heels of the hugely successful Battefield 3, EA was hoping to make even a bigger splash in the war against Call of Duty with Battlefield 4. Maybe it was because of quickened development cycles, or the need to push it out the week prior to Call of Duty: Ghosts, but Battlefield 4 shipped in a dire state. The single player was riddled with glitches, but it was the multiplayer that was deemed virtually unplayable by eager consumers. Combining bad serves with 64-player matches across enormous matches and a new feature dubbed “Levolution,” the troubles were enough to delay the planned DLC, and effectively hurt their sustained community.
Besides Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft’s other big game of 2016 was the spring IP, The Division. The much hyped vision of apocalyptic New York launched to tepid fanfare, as players and critics began to encounter some game-busting glitches. While the game was mostly playable in terms of single player and co-op through the main storyline, the main draw of the game was that it had MMO aspects. Much like Destiny, The Division‘s endgame, The Dark Zone, was a place for PvP combat, gathering loot, and exploring the richly painted city. Yet, because of many hiccups, players ran into enraging hiccups, massive amounts of cheating, and malfunctions that ended up making The Dark Zone a frustrating place to spend time in. Recently, with its subsequent updates, The Division is much improved but one has to wonder if it was too little too late for many early adopters.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
The Halo series has been known for its remarkable matchmaking system. Admittedly, Bungie did a better job at this then 343 has, but Halo 4 and Halo 5 turned out much better than the commemorative, Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Much better. If you were even able to get into a match at launch, you were one of the lucky ones. In fact, TMCC was so broken that it took a dozen patches, a beta testing program, and months of trial and error for 343 to make the game consistently playable. The greatest debacle in Halo history happened when Master Chief was to be remembered for all the good times he gave us.
Error 37. If you were personally victimized by Error 37, raise your hand. Blizzard’s Diablo 3, the long-awaited followup to the gem that was Diablo 2, came out in 2012 to incredible fanfare. The only problem: Blizzard didn’t adequately stress test the servers. The login screen for Battle Net spouted out numerous errors, all of which seemed to conclude the same thing: the game is utterly broken. It took a few weeks for uninterrupted play to be commonplace, and in those weeks, Blizzard took down the servers a number of times to combat the problems. Thankfully, Diablo 3 became one of the industry’s greatest comeback stories. Now, over four years after its launch, the game has gotten better and better. Diablo 3 has come a long way since Error 37.
Remember when Driveclub was supposed to a PS4 launch title? Funny, me too. Remember when it finally came out in late 2014 and it proved the critics wrong? It didn’t quite go down that way. Sony’s exclusive racer shipped with a myriad of issues, most notably the inability to join the overfilled servers. This prevented the game’s most intriguing feature, racing clubs, from being showcased properly to the world. The servers were so stressed that a waitlist component was implemented. Yes, just like the old days, you had to wait for the figurative passing of the controller to get your turn in Driveclub.