When was the last time Ubisoft released a game that was properly finished?
Like, you boot it up, play it, and there's no performance issues or graphical glitches or hilarious gameplay bugs of any kind. Just a nice, neat, finished game that has been properly bug tested and just works straight away.
The Division has been interesting thus far. Perhaps a little grindy, in an attempt to push one toward playing in a team, or just to artificially extend the lifespan of the game. I luckily didn't attempt to play it before the chortle-worthy laptop bug was fixed, but I have experienced a significant amount of other issues. None of them have made the game unplayable. They've just been a bit of a snide chuckle as I think about how much money I spent on it, and how long it was in development.
But then it is a Ubisoft game, isn't it? This isn't a new thing. The face-ripping graphical bugs in Assassin's Creed: Now We're In France, the frankly disappointing Watch_Dogs; Ubisoft as a company are very, very good at putting out a product that isn't quite done yet.
The thing is, this is surely their bread and butter. Like they make games for a living. Right? That's what they do. It's how they earn their money. If a bridge-building firm consistently made bridges that kept falling the fuck over (or at least were a bit wobbly) you'd think the governments of the world would stop giving them money.
I suppose that is how we differ as gamers.
Of course the game isn't going to be finished. They never are. And of course, if you want the best out of it, you're going to want the season pass - a fantastic evolution of paid DLC that means that you can essentially charge double for a game on release day, with the promise that some DLC may be coming out that will be worth it. Borderlands 2 totally over-delivered on that particular score. Other games, well... I'm not so sure.
It's our expectations that are the problem, in my opinion We're very forgiving. We keep pouring money into the same shitpits in the hope that the gold at the bottom will rise to the top, which encourages the companies to keep bulking out the pit with more shit. It makes money. How can it be the wrong thing to do?
I bought The Division and Stardew Valley at the same kind of time. Stardew Valley was a quarter of the price and I have put almost sixty hours into it. The Division has struggled to hold my attention for more than two hours.
Stardew Valley is, simply put, a better game.
Perhaps that is the SNES gamer in me speaking, the man who thinks that three of the best RPGs of all time were released on that console. Perhaps I am too casual for The Division to really grab me by the balls. One thing that can't be argued is that Stardew doesn't fall into a great many of the modern gaming traps that The Division does - and despite the game being coded, developed and essentially made by hand by one single individual (one Eric Barone, aka Concerned Ape), it feels finished. It feels like it is complete when you pick it up. Yes, there will be more - you feel it will be EXPANDED upon - but that is the difference, isn't it? Stardew Valley will get bigger, and you probably won't have to pay the game's cost again in order to experience it.
So how come Ubisoft can't finish a game but one guy can?
And why will we (me included) still end up paying for the unfinished product?
Sometimes I think the only reason the Triple A game industry hasn't been rocked to the core is because we're too busy just hovering up the next release to actually stop and ask questions.
One question you SHOULDN'T ask is if you should be playing Stardew Valley.
Yes. You should.