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Modded For The Better

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Modded For The Better Modded For The Better

Games saved by modders

The vast majority of the time, developers tend to be a pretty savvy lot. Most games run well on their system of choice, are fairly well-balanced and devoid of glaring crashes, bugs and exploits. But every once in a while, developers, through ignorance, time crunches or a mixture of both, drop the ball in such a spectacular way that the community steps in and decides to fix it out of sheer dedication to the core idea of their choice. Here's a few instances where modders have saved games from themselves:

Project M
Mod of 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl'

Console modding is usually a niche area, generally focused around hacks and enabling pirated games to be played. However, this is an odd example of modders just attempting to balance a game specifically around what made its predecessor great. If you played 'Super Smash Bros. Melee' at any length, you know that the game is fast and borderline frantic with an incredible amount of depth. After years and years of this kind of gameplay, 'Brawl' felt like a major letdown, with more random elements, floaty physics, and all-around slower gameplay. The developers of Project M adjusted, balanced, and added their own flail to the game, vastly improving it in the minds of the surprisingly large number of 'Melee' fans. Advanced techniques such as wavedashing (a feat not possible with 'Brawl''s low gravity) made a return, as well as an overall bump to character movement. New character skins were added, and a few missing faces from 'Melee' were added back into the game, making Project M the go-to place for 'Brawl' and 'Melee' players to meet in the middle.


Mod of 'Dark Souls' (PC)

Japanese developers have a tendency to release PC ports of console games that, for the lack of a better description, are absolute crap. Where PC gaming isn't as big in Japan, many of the amenities that we take for granted in many Western and European PC games (silly things like being able to adjust the resolution) are absent from Japanese PC releases. One of the best RPGs of the previous console generations finally made its way to the PC, but with obvious pitfalls. The game's internal resolution was locked at 1024x720, making upscaling a muddy mess. There were no graphical options to tweak, so it basically came down to the fact that your computer would either run it or you would be doomed to subpar performance. Even if you had a screaming machine, your graphical prowess would be stilted by the fact that the game's framerate was locked at 30fps.

Taking issue with this, a single modder going by the handle of Durante came up with a wee mod that completely changed the face of 'Dark Souls' on the PC forever. He unlocked the framerate, added options that made the game much, much more scalable for low-end machines and opened the door to other modders. Durante single-handedly changed the fate of an awful PC launch with DSFix, but he didn't stop there. He's been working on fixing an even worse PC port of 'Deadly Premonition' so that computer players can experience the epitome of a so-bad-it's-good game.

'Team Fortress 2' Steam Workshop

Mod of exactly what it says

Now, do not mistake me here: I adore 'TF2'. It's one of my all-time favorite shooters, and it was wonderfully balanced from the get-go. However, this is a situation where modders made a really good game even better. Valve opened up the gates for modder not only to add to the game, but monetize their efforts. Soon after, guns, outfits and hats, hats, hats came pouring in from the recesses of the creative ends of the internet, adding entirely new meta-game and playstyles to the game. Valve keeps a rein on things and has a fairly lengthy approval process, but the sheer amount of content that players have accumulated has extended the already long lifespan of the cartoony shooter. Some purists may pooh-pooh the addition of so many variables, but to a casual fan, modders have made an incredible game much more nuanced and replayable.

Aaron Waite will make a text adventure game one day. Watch your back, 'Zork.'


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