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Games That Haven't Aged Well

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So lately I've been playing old games. Some hold up, some don't and I would like to talk about the ones that don't

 

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I've been going through the old Elder Scrolls games, namely Morrowind and Oblivion. While I can say Morrowind still holds up Oblivion does not. Which is funny because Oblivion is younger than Morrowind. Oblivion is like Morrowind except with significantly less freedom. You can't kill everyone, there's invisible walls, Levitate, lock, mark and recall spells are gone. Customization was a huge part of Morrowind for me but what's the point of making your own custom spells and gear when you can't do whatever the fuck you want with it? Most important of all is you can't break the game as you're far too tied down by balancing constraints which kills another large portion of my enjoyment for a game like this. Overall Oblivion is just a generic, linear, slog which is sad because there are some aspects of it that are really good like the soundtrack and the subtle atmosphere. But unfortunately that isn't enough to save the game IMO.

Edited by Guest

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Kingdom Hearts 1

 

Final mix helps a bit with reaction commands, and right analogy stick for camera control, but it just doesn't hold up.

Story progression is annoying at times, mainly in Deep Jungle. Some of the worlds can be a bit of a maze, especially Monstro. Combat feels... lacking I guess, maybe a bit slow. Still fun/solid for the most part. 2 is still amazing, just has that Namek long prologue.

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IMO a technical example of a game that hasn't aged well is Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

 

I love the game, but the fact that you need to install a community-based mod for it to work on any modern computer (despite the fact that there is no mention of NEEDING the mod for it to work on the store page at all) really just shows me how old a game is, or that it really hasn't transitioned well over the years. Even with the mod, the audio's shit in how it can sound like two voices are talking at the same time in both ears sometimes depending on where your character is standing, other times just wherever the hell the camera is moving (this really pissed me off to the point where I just listened to the whole game with one headphone on, there is no point to two with how weird it sounds). Also ending phases of the game are arguably severely broken depending on how you spent your upgrades. I mean, I spent the whole game without any major problems regarding ammo, blood, or weapons that could actually do sufficient damage, but the last string of missions, I ended up running through and cheesing just because of how much they drain your gear. I was also flush with cash before, went broke buying full stocks for the last few missions, and STILL almost ran completely out of gear by the time I faced The Sheriff (went for Camarilla ending, so no Anarch help, no avoiding the Sheriff fight, and no avoiding the Kuei-jin). Then there were similar moments in the game where the game would just throw ludicrous amounts of difficult stuff at you for certain missions. Really frustrating stuff for an otherwise great game.

 

Fallout also hasn't aged well IMO, since at least the version I have, there are frequently moments you can encounter that literally break your game and you cannot proceed or leave from them so you have to quit out. While the dialogue writing is good, the overall writing could have been a lot better to make you feel like you were actually making a meaningful impact (the later games address this with proper epilogues that actually go into detail about your various choices. New Vegas is my all-time favorite Fallout Game in terms of writing in all respects, it simply felt a lot more polished), it simply doesn't feel up to par with more modern games. Wasteland 2 feels like what Fallout SHOULD have been in terms of modern quality, so I guess we did luck out and get that by the same devs.

 

The Myst Games. I've become a bigger fan of Point and Click puzzle-solving adventure games over the years (The Deponia series and other works of Daedlic really got me hooked), and although I love watching play throughs of the Myst games and their stories, I find them to be INSANELY frustrating to play. The loading times even on more modern systems can be atrocious for such an older game, a bunch of the puzzles require PIN-POINT accuracy or just completely random chance that not even if you're good with a pen and paper can you replicate to the game's satisfaction at times, and even if those aren't the cases then you're left with some puzzles that require insane leaps of logic since you're in a world that doesn't really operate on any logic you're familiar with on Earth. All of this just makes these games feel like a real chore to play compared to modern games of the same genre.

 

Assassin's Creed 1 in terms of gameplay hasn't aged well especially in relation to the other games. The gameplay and controls feel incredibly clunky and slow compared to how smooth and fast paced the latest ones feel, even if it was the shit back when it first released. Story progression is also insanely tedious compared to basically any other game in the series, it really shows how much Assassin's Creed II alone was a massive improvement.

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Mass Effect 1

It has slowdowns on modern systems, it has graphical issues, and the sidequ-- uh, I mean assignment order is botched.

Let's start with graphical issues. Some model clipping and texture overlapping aside, there are some areas in the game where all characters, NPCs included, turn into these black pixelated blobs. Like this.

To explain why this problem happens, I'll have to quote one guy from Steam Community who explained this better than I ever will:

This bug is caused by two completely independent, yet equally stupid decisions made by both designers of this game and designers of the newer AMD CPUs (yes, you read that right, CPUs, not GPUs).

 

First the game devs.

They chose to implement AMD 3DNow (without further checking) the moment the game detects OEM string AuthenticAMD (which is, btw., grossly improper method to do so, this is by no means correct way to detect advanced instructions).

 

And now, guess what... the AMD decided in 2010 to discontinue 3DNow support in their newer CPUs, so basically, all AMD CPUs/APUs based on Bulldozer or Bobcat (or newer) architectures are affected by this.

 

So, in order to play Mass Effect 1 the way it was intended, you either need Intel CPU, or vintage AMD CPU/APU with 3DNow support (up to Phenom II/Athlon II range, also "Llano" based APUs are OK).

So yeah.

 

And another issue is the assignment order. Now, I have no qualms about being able to wander into high-level areas, but there was this situation where I got an assignment that basically said "Go kill some space human supremacist terrorists who conduct brutal and illegal experiments". The problem: I was at level 7. The quest was oriented around the characters who were at least level 30 or so.

I don't like when the game gives me a quest WITHOUT any PROPER indication of what I should expect. No recommended level, no level restriction (as in, get the quest when you reach a certain level). It basically wastes your time. Yes, the game told me "those terrorists are super dangerous, be careful", but most in-game terrorists are super dangerous either way >_>

 

And finally there are unskippable cutscenes.

 

In short: yeah, Mass Effect 1 didn't age well

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IMO a technical example of a game that hasn't aged well is Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

 

I love the game, but the fact that you need to install a community-based mod for it to work on any modern computer (despite the fact that there is no mention of NEEDING the mod for it to work on the store page at all) really just shows me how old a game is, or that it really hasn't transitioned well over the years. Even with the mod, the audio's shit in how it can sound like two voices are talking at the same time in both ears sometimes depending on where your character is standing, other times just wherever the hell the camera is moving (this really pissed me off to the point where I just listened to the whole game with one headphone on, there is no point to two with how weird it sounds). Also ending phases of the game are arguably severely broken depending on how you spent your upgrades. I mean, I spent the whole game without any major problems regarding ammo, blood, or weapons that could actually do sufficient damage, but the last string of missions, I ended up running through and cheesing just because of how much they drain your gear. I was also flush with cash before, went broke buying full stocks for the last few missions, and STILL almost ran completely out of gear by the time I faced The Sheriff (went for Camarilla ending, so no Anarch help, no avoiding the Sheriff fight, and no avoiding the Kuei-jin). Then there were similar moments in the game where the game would just throw ludicrous amounts of difficult stuff at you for certain missions. Really frustrating stuff for an otherwise great game.

VTMB is a good example of a game that I think belongs in the Game Dungeon. It's almost as if they released the E3 demo of the game to the public. Very clunky, very broken, almost like a developer copy of the game. It's a very interesting game to me, and I can't shake why. It makes me want to pull it apart and fix it.

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VTMB is a good example of a game that I think belongs in the Game Dungeon. It's almost as if they released the E3 demo of the game to the public. Very clunky, very broken, almost like a developer copy of the game. It's a very interesting game to me, and I can't shake why. It makes me want to pull it apart and fix it.

Because that what it basically was? The only part that got polished was Santa Monica before Activision rushed Troika games to ship it. Something about being the first Source engine game if I recall correctly.

 

That's why, in the current unofficial patches, a lot of stuff has not only been restored but recreated entirely - as the files in the released version were unreadable by the engine. Not to mention a huge chunk of those files had slightly different names, resulting in a lot missed content and error log spam.

 

Sidenote:

Steam VTMB version: 1.2 official.

GOG VTMB version: 9.5 unofficial basic.

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Mass Effect 1 is indeed outdated.

 

I'd say GTA IV is also outdated, at least on PC- interestingly enough, only GTA game to be so (despite choppier gameplay & graphics of 3d era). Its mainly caused by its poor port, which makes it near impossible to mod, even when having beastly computer.

 

All Hitman games before newest hitman (episodic title). I know this will cause "what are you talking about" moment for some of you, but here is the thing: Old hitman games are classics (heck, 2 is one of my old favourites), but even excluding graphics, their gameplay is too choppy & sloppy.

 

Assassin's Creed 1- it was already outdated when AC2 game out. Poor mechanics, not lot of variety, literally doing same thing over and over again....

 

Rome: total war. This is perhaps most sad one to write in here. Fantastic game, probably spent well over 1k hours in it, battle gameplay actually still holds up, but just too many things are outdated. Now, granted- this one is salvagable as it has great mods that eliminate lot of its issues (Europa Barbarorum), but still.

 

Max Payne 1 & 2. Again, fantastic games, graphics are good, sounds are good, gameplay is good, however it is outdated for one very simple reason: enemy spawns. Worst thing AI can do in shooter game is to always come in exactly same way, exactly same formation, same weapons, everything. In shooters you shouldnt know exact position & number of enemies (or at least it should be harder to remember), but in Max Payne 1 & 2 it was easy- after playing trough once (including couple of deaths), i already knew exact points where enemy will spawn, how they move, when they spawn, etc. Its so integral part of the game that it seriously makes game boring.

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The first Splinter Cell game

 

AI is horrible, especially when stealthing, doesn't work very well on modern computers, among other issues I'm sure others could go into greater detail. Shame too, cause I want to get into the Splinter Cell games, because I really enjoy stealth, and as much as I enjoyed the first SC game, it was very obvious from the start, it didn't age well. I don't know which ones do, I don't know which ones are the best, but I'm willing to give the series another try.

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The first Splinter Cell game

 

AI is horrible, especially when stealthing, doesn't work very well on modern computers, among other issues I'm sure others could go into greater detail. Shame too, cause I want to get into the Splinter Cell games, because I really enjoy stealth, and as much as I enjoyed the first SC game, it was very obvious from the start, it didn't age well. I don't know which ones do, I don't know which ones are the best, but I'm willing to give the series another try.

Pandora tomorrow was great (my favourite), but it has one huge problem from what i hear- it has supposedly lighting issue. Chaos theory is ok as well- also last pure stealth one. Havent been able to play my copy for years though, so cant confirm or deny

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The Oddworld games. They were all clunky on release, and it's only got worse as time went on. Abe's Oddysee is frustrating, Abe's Exoddus is slightly less so - but the movement is just so clunky you don't have any fun solving the puzzles. Abe's Oddysee got a remake a couple years back which improves on a lot of things, but it really lacks the atmosphere the original had - is having the same graphics, but in a rebuilt engine too much to ask for?

The same goes for Munch's Oddysee, only in the opposite direction. The movement is so imprecise and you feel like the characters are on rocket skates, which is kind of important for a puzzle-platformer. All of the environments were built for what I figure is a very precise input, and the controls just mess that up completely. Not to mention squad mates have a habit of ignoring orders due to buggy engine or buggy port of it on the Windows version. It's just a mess, but I still recall having fun with it on the original XBox release.

 

In general, I find myself hitting the turbo button when emulating a lot of old RPGs, with the worst case being Pokemon. I don't know why game designers think they need to load every letter by itself, or load text after/before the attack animation is taking place rather than in parallel. It's incredibly annoying to me, but I think I was too stunned as a kid when I could take videogames to school on my monochrome Gameboy to notice.

 

Eternal Darkness is certainly dated. I'm not sure millennials would even get most of the sanity effects they used there - turning down the sound (in a CRT overlay), saying you've reached the end of the demo (there aren't any game demos anymore), etc. It was meant to fuck with the player, unfortunately the medium has changed drastically since its release and its prediction of players is now inaccurate. Also, sanity effects shouldn't force you to reload the room unless they're very extreme - on a low sanity run, you'll find yourself playing every room twice, and it's a chore when the jokes and tricks it pulls on you just don't land anymore.

 

@Psychotic Ninja - can also recommend Chaos Theory. Installed it for a friend who has never played the Splinter Cell games and he's having a blast.

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Spider-Man 2

 

Swinging is still amazing, don't get me wrong, but almost everything else just doesn't hold up. (Besides, everyone I know, only praises the swinging, and never mention anything else.)

 

Combat's a bit of a mess, and a joke if you can get a good juggle routine going. Last time I played it, almost every thug kept on blocking most of my moves, so I had to resort to cheap attacks. Before you can do the next major mission/story mission, you need to collect a lot of hero points, and you barely get enough with each task, so you're doing the exact same 3-4 tasks over and over and over.

 

Again, the swinging is the only thing that people bring up. Both Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3 have the exact same swinging mechanic.

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The Oddworld games. They were all clunky on release, and it's only got worse as time went on. Abe's Oddysee is frustrating, Abe's Exoddus is slightly less so - but the movement is just so clunky you don't have any fun solving the puzzles. Abe's Oddysee got a remake a couple years back which improves on a lot of things, but it really lacks the atmosphere the original had - is having the same graphics, but in a rebuilt engine too much to ask for?

The same goes for Munch's Oddysee, only in the opposite direction. The movement is so imprecise and you feel like the characters are on rocket skates, which is kind of important for a puzzle-platformer. All of the environments were built for what I figure is a very precise input, and the controls just mess that up completely. Not to mention squad mates have a habit of ignoring orders due to buggy engine or buggy port of it on the Windows version. It's just a mess, but I still recall having fun with it on the original XBox release.

Abe's Exodus did have a considerable improvement over it's predecessor in that it had (a rather novel concept at the time) quicksaves. Being able to save literally anywhere took a considerable amount of frustration away from the games harder moments without compromising on the overall challenge. It saddens me that one has to look considerably harder to find a franchise with the Oddworlds sense of aesthetic and thematic uniqueness.

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So lately I've been playing old games. Some hold up, some don't and I would like to talk about the ones that don't

 

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I've been going through the old Elder Scrolls games, namely Morrowind and Oblivion. While I can say Morrowind still holds up Oblivion does not. Which is funny because Oblivion is younger than Morrowind. Oblivion is like Morrowind except with significantly less freedom. You can't kill everyone, there's invisible walls, Levitate, lock, mark and recall spells are gone. Customization was a huge part of Morrowind for me but what's the point of making your own custom spells and gear when you can't do whatever the fuck you want with it? Most important of all is you can't break the game as you're far too tied down by balancing constraints which kills another large portion of my enjoyment for a game like this. Overall Oblivion is just a generic, linear, slog which is sad because there are some aspects of it that are really good like the soundtrack and the subtle atmosphere. But unfortunately that isn't enough to save the game IMO.

 

I feel this

I love Morrowind to death, but Oblivion is just way too hard to get back in to nowadays

The way they made Skyrim, it's likely to have the same pitfall when it ages

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I feel this

I love Morrowind to death, but Oblivion is just way too hard to get back in to nowadays

The way they made Skyrim, it's likely to have the same pitfall when it ages

Which makes me even more fearful for Elder Scrolls VI if Bethesda makes it. After Skyrim and Fallout 4 I don't know what to think. What is Bethesda going to carve away this time from Elder Scrolls VI if it comes to fruition?

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The Oddworld games. They were all clunky on release, and it's only got worse as time went on. Abe's Oddysee is frustrating, Abe's Exoddus is slightly less so - but the movement is just so clunky you don't have any fun solving the puzzles. Abe's Oddysee got a remake a couple years back which improves on a lot of things, but it really lacks the atmosphere the original had - is having the same graphics, but in a rebuilt engine too much to ask for?

The same goes for Munch's Oddysee, only in the opposite direction. The movement is so imprecise and you feel like the characters are on rocket skates, which is kind of important for a puzzle-platformer. All of the environments were built for what I figure is a very precise input, and the controls just mess that up completely. Not to mention squad mates have a habit of ignoring orders due to buggy engine or buggy port of it on the Windows version. It's just a mess, but I still recall having fun with it on the original XBox release.

 

In general, I find myself hitting the turbo button when emulating a lot of old RPGs, with the worst case being Pokemon. I don't know why game designers think they need to load every letter by itself, or load text after/before the attack animation is taking place rather than in parallel. It's incredibly annoying to me, but I think I was too stunned as a kid when I could take videogames to school on my monochrome Gameboy to notice.

 

Eternal Darkness is certainly dated. I'm not sure millennials would even get most of the sanity effects they used there - turning down the sound (in a CRT overlay), saying you've reached the end of the demo (there aren't any game demos anymore), etc. It was meant to fuck with the player, unfortunately the medium has changed drastically since its release and its prediction of players is now inaccurate. Also, sanity effects shouldn't force you to reload the room unless they're very extreme - on a low sanity run, you'll find yourself playing every room twice, and it's a chore when the jokes and tricks it pulls on you just don't land anymore.

 

@Psychotic Ninja - can also recommend Chaos Theory. Installed it for a friend who has never played the Splinter Cell games and he's having a blast.

 

I thought Stranger's Wrath was pretty damn good though, even though it strays from the style of the other Oddworld games, and the endgame difficulty does feel a bit unbalanced.

 

But then again I also set the difficulty high for myself during my first playthrough of the game because I literally tried to save up the 20 grand thinking it would actually make a difference, and sure enough if you buy nothing and are reasonably good you do get 20k by the time you go to see Doc Vykkers again, but then to get to that point you're dealing with some pretty intense difficulty spikes.

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Abe's Exodus did have a considerable improvement over it's predecessor in that it had (a rather novel concept at the time) quicksaves. Being able to save literally anywhere took a considerable amount of frustration away from the games harder moments without compromising on the overall challenge. It saddens me that one has to look considerably harder to find a franchise with the Oddworlds sense of aesthetic and thematic uniqueness.

While it was a towering accomplishment at the time (and on the PS1!) and it hasn't been incorporated to Abe's Oddysee on PC, the issue of quicksaves can be easily sidestepped by emulating those games, which you can do on every PC and phone nowadays. Heck, I think the PS1 version were always superior since the ports were so shitty. I think you can say those games improved as time went on in that regard, although they are still very dated - why can't I can only call one Mudokon at a time? (fixed in Abe's Exoddus) Why do I have to chant for like 10 seconds before I can control a Slig? Why is the fastest and most accurate way to move around is to roll around like a jackass?

Don't get me wrong - I love the puzzles which aren't bomb-diffusal, manipulating and running away from Scrabs, etc. But it all has a very clunky movement to it which detracts from the entire experience.

 

I thought Stranger's Wrath was pretty damn good though, even though it strays from the style of the other Oddworld games, and the endgame difficulty does feel a bit unbalanced.

It's still good! If you play it on the original XBox, that is. I think the PC port is kind of horrendous, but that might be just a bad experience on my part. But that's game preservation, I don't think I'll mind playing Stranger's Wrath again if given an actual working copy - I meant that Abe's Oddysee/Exoddus and Munch's Oddysee didn't age well.

Also, I started a whole game and didn't buy anything so I could have enough moolah to pay the doc during Stranger's only visit to him. I was disappointed, especially since it took quite a bit of grinding to get the moolah out of infinitely spawning outlaws in one of the bosses.

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Resident Evil 4.

 

I played this game to death in highschool to the point where me and my friend were competing to see who could beat the game on Pro first without using any cheesy strategies such as RPG on the difficult bosses. I went back to it recently and the controls just frustrated me and little of it had that same feel I remember. Could just be that the time I tried to go back to it was really stressful and all the clunkiness of the game frustrated me more than the game entertained me but it certainly didn't feel good.

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GTA 3 and Vice City

 

Controls are weird (especially compared to modern controls). PC version you're fighting the camera, switching between keyboard & mouse with conttfoller, or mod the game. Health and armor drained in seconds. I'm sure others could go into more details.

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Resident Evil 4.

 

I played this game to death in highschool to the point where me and my friend were competing to see who could beat the game on Pro first without using any cheesy strategies such as RPG on the difficult bosses. I went back to it recently and the controls just frustrated me and little of it had that same feel I remember. Could just be that the time I tried to go back to it was really stressful and all the clunkiness of the game frustrated me more than the game entertained me but it certainly didn't feel good.

You get used to it actually

My problem is the game has a locked framerate, so unless you have a PC that can run it at above 60fps in all parts you're going to be playing in slow-mo which is really annoying.

I recently beat the whole game in a single play session, slow-mo and all, just a testament to how much I still love the game I suppose.

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You're probably right. Like I said the last time I went back to it was a super stressful time (middle of my senior thesis for my game design major) and I was having trouble enjoying it.

 

I should go back to it and see if my last experience was made in sound judgement.

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