Modern Gaming Woes: Performance Problems

Last week I finally got the chance to play Star Wars: Jedi Survivor! My most anticipated game of April. While I’m not really a Star Wars fan I enjoyed the previous game Fallen Order quite a bit and had been looking forward to seeing how the sequel would take what was done in that game and expand upon it. After all, there was lots of room for improvement with Fallen Order. And after playing Survivor all weekend I can happily say that the game does just that! It took the complaints me and lots of other people had about Fallen Order and fixed them while also expanding on the aspects that people loved. For an example of them fixing a complaint, fast travel was finally added in! No more having to run through an entire level for one collectable or having to run back because you don’t have the right ability to continue on. And for an example of an aspect they expanded on, customization is much more in depth! No longer are you restricted to just changing the color of Cal’s looks, now you can completely change his outfit and even his hair style! Customizing your lightsaber is an area in particular they expanded on as well as they let you get pretty creative and wild with your designs. It’s great! And as I said before, the game as a whole is great! However, despite all that, I cannot recommend the game. At least not yet anyways. Despite the game being great, your experience will vary wildly due to a problem that modern gamers are becoming very familiar with. And that problem is with the game’s performance…

Now to clarify, I am not the kind of person to preach that “classic and old games are the best” or “modern gaming is terrible!” Because that is just not true. While older and retro games are also very good and many are still worth playing now, it’s really hard to deny that gaming is pretty great right now. We’ve gotten some truly great experiences these past few years. From amazing AAA games like Elden Ring, God of War, and Breath of the Wild to smaller but still just as outstanding indie games like Undertale, Hades, and Stardew Valley. Modern gaming is in a good place. And yeah, you can argue that we didn’t have microtransactions or loot boxes back in the day, you can’t deny the good that exists around all that. However, as I said before there is a big problem that refuses to go away when it comes to modern gaming, and that is all the performance issues.

Getting super excited for a new game and picking it up on the day of release is such an amazing experience and one I really love. I even use to go to the midnight launches for some games back in the day! But sadly, some of the magic has been lost. Nowadays, buying and playing a game day one can be a massive gamble due to performance problems with the game. Now let me clarify, performance problems can mean a lot of things, but I’m mostly talking about how a game runs. Does the game stutter and have very choppy frame rate? Do things load in properly instead of needing a moment letting players see the world come together piece by piece? Does it crash regularly or need to be reset to fix a particular problem? If the answer to any of those questions is a ‘yes’, then the game has performance problems. Granted, some of these things can be excused. Especially if any of these problems happen very rarely, but more often than not if they happen at all they happen a lot!

As I was saying before this is very much what has happened with Star Wars Jedi Survivor. It’s the latest example of a highly anticipated game dropping the ball when it comes to performance and sadly won’t be the last. I’ve been playing the PlayStation 5 version which seems to be the version least affected by all the technical troubles but I have still noticed lots wrong with the performance of the game. From choppy frame rate to certain models not looking right. Nothing game breaking, no hard crashes or anything like that so the game is still playable but is far from a smooth experience. However that does not seem to be the case on PC. From what I’ve seen the PC release has been plagued with countless performance and technical problems. So much so that the game is unplayable for some. And while a patch that’s meant to fix a lot of these issues was just released, as I’m writing this anyways, it’s still not a great look for a game that is otherwise a ton of fun!

You see, a lot of performance problems are fixable with a patch or update. And the more glaring the problems the quicker the fix usually. But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is how these problems affect a game’s image, it’s first impression. Something that is more important than you might think! Mainly because releasing a game in such a state often makes people feel like the game was rushed or the developers didn’t care even if this isn’t really the case. So the real issue with performance problems isn’t that they can’t be fixed, it’s that they can leave a permanent black eye on a game.

Now sometimes performance problems are just the cherry on top of an already bad game. What really sucks however is when performance problems ruin what would otherwise be an amazing game! Not only does this make it hard to market games like this after the problems are well known, people who actually enjoy the games and can see how fun they are under all these problems have a real hard time recommending them. I remember having this exact problem when it came to writing my review for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. I would have loved to write that game a glowing review because I truly had a fun time with it. But I couldn’t bring myself to recommend it in the end due to all of the glaring performance problems. Because while I could look past them and still enjoy the game, I know most people couldn’t. And not only that, a big title like a new Pokémon shouldn’t be allowed to get away with releasing a game in such a terrible state like that.

But the really sad thing is that this just keeps happening. Just recently Redfall, one of the only two big Xbox exclusives that Microsoft is releasing this year, launched with quite a few performance problems! Granted, I hear the game has a lot of problems beyond those like bland game play and a boring world to explore but still. Redfall is suppose to be a pretty big game for Xbox, so it’s really weird to see it shipped out in such a state. Reviews are already slamming the game and people are getting worried for Xbox’s other big release this year, Starfield. And people should be worried! I can’t blame anyone for losing faith in any company at this point when it comes to new releases. Just look at CD Projekt Red. A developer that was absolutely loved by it’s community. A developer known for listening and releasing great games when they were ready. All of that changed however with the release of Cyberpunk 2077.

I still remember all the hype and excitement around Cyberpunk 2077. People were freaking out for the game. And while I didn’t have much interest in it, I understood the hype around it. The game looked pretty cool from the previews! It was offering a cool story with awesome characters and a ton of freedom. And while it did deliver on a lot of those things, the previews failed to show just how horribly the game ran!

If you were paying even a little attention to gaming news at the time then you probably still remember all this. On release, Cyberpunk 2077 ran pretty alright on some PC set ups, however on console it barely ran at all. Videos and images flooded the internet on release showing how bad it was. From hilarious glitches, to annoying crashes, to game breaking bugs. Cyberpunk 2077 had it all and then some! But the saddest part of all of this was the fact that underneath all the performance problems, the game was great. Most reviews at the time didn’t shy away from showing how terribly the game performed but they also generally mentioned how much fun the game was when it worked. You could tell how frustrated people were that they couldn’t enjoy what was clearly a fun game. Because if Cyberpunk 2077 was a bad game at it’s core, no one would really care about these performance problems. They’d laugh, make some funny videos and move on. Instead people were pissed. They wanted to play this game, they wanted to have fun! And that’s the real problem here.

When performance problems make a bad game worse, it’s whatever. Just another game in the pile. But when they make a great game unplayable? That’s when people are upset! And in Cyberpunk 2077‘s case, people weren’t just trying to cope with the fact that this game they waited so long for sucked, they were right. As I said earlier, I had no real interest in playing Cyberpunk 2077 so the state that it launched in never really bothered me personally. However, years later after most of the performance issues had been addressed and after watching the amazing anime based off the game, I gave Cyberpunk 2077 a try. And to my surprise, it ended up being a lot of fun! It’s not the greatest game ever made or anything and I would have never paid full price for it, I got it on sale, but I had a ton of fun and I’m planning to buy the DLC that’s currently in development. And now, I get why so many people were mad at the time! They wanted to love this game so much and would have waited through multiple delays to get it so they could play it in a state that they could not only enjoy but recommend to others. Instead, these performance problems, despite being mostly fixed years later, are a scar on Cyberpunk 2077. Take my case for example again. Despite being aware of all the updates and fixes, I still wasn’t super on board with getting the game. It was only thanks to PlayStation Plus and their Trial service that lets you play the first few hours of select games before buying them that I even gave it a shot.

And that’s why this needs to stop! Fixing performance problems after a game’s release should never be the plan. It can really affect people’s views on a game and will most certainly cost more time and money fixing the game and it’s image than if you just waited and released it after some polishing. I hate being in the situation where I want to love a game and get more people to play it but can’t recommend it because of how terribly it performs. It’s a problem that is becoming more and more common in this modern gaming era and it really shouldn’t be.

Developers and publishers really need to take their time and release their games when they are ready. It will always be better than releasing a rushed game that no one can really love no matter how much they want to. Because I’m tired of gambling on every new game release. And so is everyone else. Developers and publishers need to learn before people stop gambling on their games all together…

But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Are there any games you want to recommend but can’t because of how they perform? Do you buy games day one still or do you wait? I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t be shy!

And thank you for taking the time to read the post! If you enjoyed it feel free to leave a Like or share the blog with a friend. You can also follow the blog on WordPress or on Twitter if you want to stay up to date on new posts. Also if there’s a topic you’d like me to discuss sometime, go ahead and tell me in the comments! Any interaction is appreciated, even just viewing this post, so thanks again for stopping by.

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