What game are you glad you waited to play?

The Witcher
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Over on the Patient Gamers subreddit they only talk about games at least six months old. I just looked, they're happily chatting about Halo 3, Psychonauts, and 2020 indie game Call of the Sea. One of the best things about playing games when they come out is getting to be part of the conversation surrounding them, and though it may not give you the same sense of cultural moment at least there's one place just for talking about games that aren't brand new. As for why you'd wait? The obvious reasons. Patches and updates, complete editions with all the DLC, discounted prices. The longer you wait the more likely there are to be mods, ray-tracing, and guides for when you get stuck. Wait long enough and a flat game might get a VR mode, or a VR game might get flattened. Maybe you'll get spoiled on part of it, or miss out on the multiplayer being populated, but patience can pay off.

What game are you glad you waited to play?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Unintentionally, I feel like I play almost everything in the Patient Gamer way—I feel like I'm always a few years behind on actually getting around to games I've been interested in. But I don't think it's ever enriched the experience more than it did when I played the Enhanced Editions of the first two Witcher games. I played The Witcher in 2011, I think, four years after the original release and three years after the Enhanced Edition, which fixed approximately one billion bugs, improved the translation, reworked the inventory and more. Even when I played it on a fairly new gaming PC (I'm pretty sure I had my i5-2500K overclocked well over 4GHz) performance wasn't great; I can't imagine how bad it would've been if I'd played it in 2008.

I wasn't as late to The Witcher 2. I think I played it shortly after the Enhanced Edition came out, in 2012. The Witcher 2 was in much better shape at launch relative to the first game, but the Enhanced Edition still made some major additions, including new quests and a pretty rad introductory cutscene. Most important was the tutorial: The Witcher 2 was freaking hard for its first few hours until you unlocked some better dodge moves for combat, and I can't imagine how much rougher it would've been for me if I'd played the base game, which just threw you right into things. Enhanced Edition added a tutorial that at least gave you a crash course. Oh, and there were new recaps after each chapter voiced by Dandelion. Imagine missing out on those! Would've been a tragedy.

Raft Juicer recipes

(Image credit: Axolot Games)

Chris Livingston, Features Producer: Usually I'm the first one to dive into a new Early Access survival game, but for some reason I steered clear of Raft until it reached 1.0, which took about five years. I'm glad I did because a lot has been hammered onto it since it first appeared in 2016 on Itch as a sort of prototype, and even more after it bobbed up on Steam in 2018. 

I think if I played it before it was finished I might have bailed early, but the game it grew into is really good (except for the choppy opening hours). It's a really compelling survival adventure that I've sunk lots of time into. As a bonus for reading this, feel free to read it again and count up all the terrible Raft puns I just made.

Nier Replicant

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: I waited until the remaster of Nier Replicant to finally play it. I wasn't as hot on Nier Automata as a lot of other people, but liked a lot of small things about it. Although it's deeply interested in the same things as Automata, Replicant is a much more honest game. I don't think I would have appreciated it as much without having played Automata first, though. It's a messy, dour game that has the bouts of absurdity that you'd expect from a Yoko Taro-led story.

Before playing Replicant, Nier fans were alien to me and, frankly, kind of annoying about the series. It put me off because nobody could ever actually sell me on what made them so unique. I'm glad I was able to play Replicant on my own terms and with some distance away from all of the praise and people spouting "I told you so" when Automata came out. It's a wonderful game, and definitely enhanced by not having to expect it to be transcendent.

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

Andy Chalk, News Lead: The Witcher 3 came out in May 2015, and I started playing it in July 2020. My reasons for waiting so long are varied and weird, but it proved to be absolutely the right thing to do. The game I played was virtual perfection, with all the bugs ironed out, all the bonus content available right from the start, all the DLC integrated seamlessly into the story, and all of it running at a flawless 60 fps at 4K.

I've never been one to charge into new games the moment they're released, but the Witcher 3 taught me that giving games time to age properly really is worthwhile. Yes, I missed out on the discourse when it was new, but who cares? In exchange for not being part of the cool crowd I got the best Witcher 3 experience possible: A masterful grand finale to one of the best RPG trilogies ever made, properly finished, complete, and done. More than a fair trade-off, and more than enough to convince me that slow gaming is the way to go.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: I waited six years to play Assassin's Creed Unity, which meant I didn't see a single missing face, have it crash from the main menu, or experience any of the other problems Unity had at launch. I did see a couple of people floating above the street, and I fell through the ground into an endless gray void one time, but that's happened to me in every single 3D Grand Theft Auto so I can't hold that against it. 

I got to ramble around a lively recreation of Paris where thousands of people jostled each other on the boulevards, meet Napoleon and the Marquis de Sade, climb a cathedral, dangle from a hot-air balloon, and basically have a jolly time in Revolutionary France (and a few other eras). Then I got to plow through the Dead Kings expansion immediately afterward.

Unity turned out to be one of my favorite Assassin's Creed games: the kind you can mainline in 30 or so hours of daft popcorn history tourism, and then be done with.

From our forum

Pifanjr: I started playing Total War: Warhammer II about 3 years after it launched when one of my friends shared his game library with me. From what I've read the game had quite a lot of issues when it released, but after three years almost all of those had been fixed, plus all the DLC except for the last one is half off multiple times a year.

Robert the Bruce

(Image credit: Firaxis)

Brian Boru: Almost everything I've bought for the past ~decade, but Civilization 6 is a good ambassador for them all. I waited for 5-6 years, because Civ's track record is significant improvement via the 2 major expansions in the first 3 years. They do some patches on the final one, and then the fabulous community produce an unofficial final patch, and the best mods get updated or created at that stage.

There were loads of quality comments about the game on CivFanatics, so I knew what I was getting—ie I was neither delighted or disappointed. Anything which puzzled me when playing was just a search away.

We the playing community are in a fortunate place today that there are loads of older games which are still fine plays today. So far this year I've had my usual good fun with games from 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013…

(Image credit: Sega)

ZedClampet: Total War Troy. This is the one they gave away for free at launch on Epic, but it was pretty far from being a complete game at the time. Later when they came to Steam, they added a huge update that basically finished the game. Creative Assembly has become really bad for this. Warhammer 3 launched in what should have been considered an early access state.

McStabStab: At the top of that list is No Man's Sky. It didn't interest me at launch and with the wave of backlash Hello Games was facing I figured I would never touch the game. Then the "Next" update came out two years later and people started talking about how amazing the game had become. I grabbed it for 50% off and it was one of the best gaming purchases I've ever made.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

mainer: Many times I'm just too impatient to wait to purchase a game that I'm looking forward to, like an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game, even knowing that there will be bugs and limited mod support at release. But there are also a few games that I've waited on purchasing and been happier for that decision.

I think the most notable of those games would be waiting on the purchase (and playing) of the first Witcher game, which was first released in 2007. I was really interested, but hesitated because it was from a developer I'd never heard of before and it was a "game world" that I never knew of, having not read the Andrezj Sapkowski novels. But in 2008 the Enhanced Edition of The Witcher was released, and that was the one that I bought and played. It had numerous bug fixes, better animations, translation corrections, re-recorded voices, and reduced load times (which were reportedly as much as 80% faster).

It was a great game, and still is, but I think my experience with it was more enjoyable because I waited for that Enhanced Edition.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

WoodenSaucer: Skyrim. I didn't get into it until the Special Edition came out, which I believe made it a better experience.

Arkham Knight. I didn't play it until they patched it and it wasn't crap anymore.

No Man's Sky. I didn't play it until this year, so I didn't have to go through years of disappointed expectations. It was already a robust game when I got to it.

Zloth: I do most games late now. It paid off well in Just Cause 3. Not only did I get the game and all DLC for cheap, not only did I get the benefit of patches, but I also had the ghosts of some friends' past play-throughs to try and match! Fun stuff!

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

Kaamos_Llama: Waited about a year for Cyberpunk 2077. By the time I played it, there were still some bugs but it was perfectly playable and I guess working mostly as intended. I played it mostly as a stealthy hacker, and it worked well that way. I didn't have that much hype for the game in the first place, but I thought it was a pretty solid 7/10 game by the time I played it, had fun all the way. Honestly I could have done with less Keanu in the story if anything. Normally I'm happy to wait for a discount on most things anyway though.

Sarafan: I would want to say that I waited until Cyberpunk 2077 received all those patches, but unfortunately I played it on release date.  I'm glad that I waited until the complete edition of Skyrim was released however. The game was known for being very buggy. When I played Skyrim most of these bugs were non-existent. Also the DLCs influenced the gameplay in a meaningful way. House building, the option to become a vampire and the possibility to visit Solstheim once again are all very interesting features.

I'm not a huge fan of the further re-releases of the game, but it's hard to deny that this is one of the best games in history of the industry. Even the unpatched version was unmatched in its time when it comes to open world design. The complete (or special, or whatever it's called right now) edition improves it even further and I'm glad that I didn't play the game right after it was released.

Horizon Zero Dawn

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

Slasken: Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the games that comes to mind. I played it after the DLC, Frozen Wilds, came out, so I could play through both the main game and DLC at once.

Zimbaly: Oh man that's a tough one. A few games I've really wanted and I'd just suck it up and pre order or buy close to release. Most thankfully I haven't regretted.... most.... As for ones where I waited, I'm glad I waited for Cyberpunk, but that was cause I didn't have a pc to run it either. So that was a win win. I don't think it would of ran on a A10 5800k with a geforce 1050.

Starcraft 2. I bought the "first one" and came close to beating it. I got bored though and put it on the back burner. Well now it looks like they gave the other two away after so long???? I just restarted it and it looks like I have the other two parts. WIN!!!

The early Souls games. I never got into them like others did. I never bought the systems they were on either until they were starting to die out. Glad I waited so I could just dive head first into those games. They are both utter garbage and amazing at the same time and by being late to the party, there was less invasions and pvp and more people leaving symbols to help. Made things so much more enjoyable.

I still have my copy of bloodborne and the last guardian so if I ever get a ps4 *as in my kid gives me his, even though he won't and has a ps5* I can enjoy those games long after everyone else had..... oh it shall be great....

On a side note. I put off ARAM and TFT in LoL and I just got into aram over the past year "hardcore" and have been hooked on TFT the past month after hating it the first few times I tried it. It just sucks ya get no exp for TFT.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.