Thanks to the magic of patches, updates and downloadable content, many of today's video games are ever-evolving platforms rather than static products. Games that are absolute disasters at launch can be repaired into something special, and great games can get even better over time. From unexpected comeback stories to multiplayer titles that consistently deliver something fresh, here are nine games that have improved in a big way since they first hit shelves.
When it first launched in 2016, Street Fighter V was rife with online issues and completely devoid of engaging single-player content. Fortunately, Capcom's flagship fighter has evolved significantly over the past two years, getting balance patches, a steady stream of characters and even a proper cinematic story mode. The game's recent Arcade Edition update (which is free for all owners) practically transforms SFV into a whole new game, adding a fresh interface, new V-Trigger moves for every character and a robust Arcade Mode that pays homage to every era of Street Fighter.
The 2012 release of Diablo III is one of the most well-documented disasters in gaming history. Blizzard's much-hyped action/RPG was plagued by server issues on launch day, and the game featured a controversial "auction house" that let players trade in-game loot for real-world money. Fortunately, Blizzard heard the fan outcry and eventually squashed the biggest bugs, removed the auction house and overhauled much of the core game with 2014's Reaper of Souls expansion. This add-on introduced a much-improved loot system, a free-roaming Adventure mode and competitive seasons that have players chasing the top of the leaderboards to this day.
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
Rainbow Six Siege launched to little fanfare and a whole bunch of network issues in late 2015, but Ubisoft Montreal didn't give up on it. The developer has consistently plugged away at this tactical online shooter since the game first hit shelves, releasing four major expansions per year consisting of free maps, unlockable characters and major balance fixes. Ubisoft's consistent support for Siege has fostered a strong online community that now includes more than 25 million players. With a third year of fresh content set to drop throughout 2018, this ever-evolving shooter shows no signs of slowing down.
After the initial version of Final Fantasy XIV launched in a dull, unfinished state in 2010, Square Enix shook up the game's leadership team and ultimately shut the servers down in 2012. The game returned in 2013 as the fittingly titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which earned major praise for its vastly improved combat, brand-new story and polished presentation. Square Enix's online RPG is still evolving to this day on PC and PS4 with a string of improvements and add-ons, including 2017's well-received Stormblood expansion pack.
Credit: Square Enix
Arms' brand of quirky fighting-game action was a lot of fun to begin with, but it felt a little thin when it first hit the Switch in 2017. Thankfully, Nintendo's motion-controlled brawler received a string of significant (and free) updates throughout the year, including five extra characters, a handful of new stages, local-area network play and a spectator mode for hard-core competitors. But Arms' best post-launch addition just might be its badge system, which rewards players for completing all kinds of challenges, and makes it a whole lot easier to unlock new parts for your fighters.
When Warframe launched in 2013, it was just another solid online loot-based shooter in a sea of similar competitors. Today, it's one of the most popular free-to-play games around, all thanks to developer Digital Extremes' excellent ongoing support. This sci-fi space-ninja adventure is constantly getting new characters, features and fixes. The game's massive new Plains of Eidolon expansion adds an exciting open-world element to Warframe's mix of cooperative and competitive combat.
Credit: Digital Extremes
Overwatch was already a great multiplayer shooter when it first arrived in 2016, but Blizzard's stellar post-launch support is what keeps millions of people playing to this day. The game has received a ton of free heroes and maps since its original release, as well as an ever-changing Arcade mode that lets you take a break from standard matches for some decidedly more off-the-wall action. With a steady barrage of limited-time events, competitive play seasons and unlockable skins, Overwatch is the kind of game that just keeps on giving.
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment