This blog post is for open minds only. Not people who are too full of themselves to consider other people's opinions. Now, inevitably this will focus on certain games and it may annoy people, so be prepared as I give you my undiluted take on certain games and why they were or were not successful as a game. This is totally opinion, in case you hadn't got that, already. And also, it could get pretty long, so if you want the short version of my point, skip to the end.
Case study 1: Haze
Now... First off, does anyone remember this game? How much potential it had? How hyped it was? This game was released back in the era of pessimism when the PS3 had very little to show in terms of exclusives. So it was a game that they figured would sell systems (before release). Now the general consensus is that the game sucked (as far as I know of on the internet).
It received a fairly average score of 55 on metacritic, so it indeed did not live up to the hype that surrounded the game. Now, as a whole, I didn't really think the game was that bad. It was really short. It had bad script writing.... and the multiplayer.... well, yeah. But I still enjoyed the game. It wasn't perfect, but I think there were a lot of things they could've done to make it better. Now, I'm going to propose this: imagine this game was released as a 360 title at launch (when it was most popular). Would the game have gotten the same amount of hype? No. My point is that hype can do really bad things in terms of a person's perception of games. A mildly entertaining game that has been hyped to hell is going to be described as "awful". The moral of the story is don't get too excited about games, because if your expectations are high, the game can only do so much to live up to those. Now, I really enjoyed the game but that was before I read what people were saying on the internet. They kept putting it down until eventually I started to see their point. I'm not suggesting that these people ruined the game for me, but they did sort of soil my memory of it to some degree. And your memory represents what games go down in history as very good games. You'll forget the average games. You'll remember the great games.
Wow, whole paragraph talking about haze. Took me longer to write that than it did to finish the game. (drum: bum bum cha!) Thank you, I'm here all day!
Case study 2: Mass Effect 1 and 2/ Dragon age: Origins and 2
Now, I'm gonna tread very carefully here, but were these games hyped up at all? I don't recall hearing much noise about them pre-release but after they came out, it was like a bleeping orchestra. Everyone and their gran was on the internet raving about these games. Now, how does that set us up for the sequels? They both have a gargantuan reputation to live up to. Millions of gamer's hopes are resting on what these games promised and if they'll deliver and improve on it.
Did they? Well, it's debatable. On one side, they were both very enjoyable sequels, but on the other hand, they were quite different from the originals in terms of the RPG elements that some say have been "dumbed down" for the masses. This was more so in dragon age very recently. People are overreacting because it isn't "the same" as what they were expecting. Now I realise, I'm going on a bit so there it is, whatever. Point made.
Case study 3: Grand theft auto 4
Majority of the opinions for this game is that it was good. I for one was actually disappointed. For the same reasons people were disappointed about the other games I've mentioned. The hype around this game was unparalleled in the long months before it's release. Especially with the delays etc. I think on a scale from 1 to blowing my freaking head off excited: my head was unhinged way before the game was released. It really didn't live up to the standard set by san andreas.
First off, the world wasn't nearly as big.
Secondly, the character customisation was not as good. No hair, no gym, no healthiness. No fun
The last thing that annoyed me was: No planes. You know the things with the wings that fly? None of them.
You'd think the idea with a sequel would be to add features and not take away. Fair enough, they added the phone. And the graphics were much better in IV. But that didn't really compensate for the things that were missing.
The game was a good game, no doubt.
So here is the short version. Not quite the point that I was going for, but I can barely finish a sentence without re-deciding what the sentence is going to mean halfway through.
Hype. Ruins games. How is hype generated? Word of mouth. You are reading this blog post on something called an internet. This is the biggest purveyor of word of mouth in the universe(especially regarding gaming). People here express their thoughts on games in an unrelenting manner. Without realising it, everyone here is being moulded by their fellow internet users to conform to the way they think.
So... thanks for ruining games that I would have otherwise enjoyed.
^^^I of course blame no one for this, because everyone's guilty of overhyping things.
Now that is my opinion of what defines a good game. A good game is one that is enjoyed by the people who play it. No matter how hyped it has been. Now, let's hear your thoughts. What do you think makes a game good or bad? Let me know in the comments below.