keech / Member

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(Too) Great Expectations

I have noticed a trend, or rather a mindset, that seems to be getting more and more prolific in the gaming community. That gamers think games will be far far greater than they have any hope of being.

This problem has been around for as long as video games have. However with games becoming more and more commonplace among more and more people every year, and with games having bigger and bigger budgets and longer development cycles, this way of thinking seems to pop up more and more.

It seems many gamers are getting ideas of what they think a game will be like out of thin air. Sometimes years before the game is ever released. Despite what developers say the game will be like, despite any details about the game that get released over it's development cycle, they still have this idyllic preconception of what the game will be.

And what happens when the game falls short of this impossible expectation? As an example I'll use the most recent game that suffered this curse in my recent memory, Final Fantasy XIII.

The Final Fantasy series is legendary, is has endured over several generations of video games and produced some of the most memorable characters and stories in gaming history. It holds a special place in the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide. Yet Final Fantasy XIII was received by many fans very poorly.

Will I remember Final Fantasy XIII as one of my favorite in the series? No. Does it have its share of miss steps and odd design choices? Yes. However I found myself enjoying the game despite the flaws, accepting the game for what it is, rather than what I wanted it to be. At no point while playing the game did I think "This game isn't as good as (insert favorite Final Fantasy game here)."

This editorial isn't about Final Fantasy XIII being a good game or not. I could have easily used other games such as Halo or Call of Duty (the next two games that I fear will suffer this problem) as an example. It's about me asking gamers to do their homework. Research the game as it's being developed, not just buying into the hype or the games namesake. When it does come out, don't read just one review, read as many as you can find.

I personally find myself enjoying more games, and enjoying the games I play more, when I drop all preconceptions I have the moment I put the game disk in the tray.