Before I get into this, letís get something straight. Iím sure most of you realise that what follows will be my personal experiences with a game, and is not a reflection of said gameís quality. Because no matter how well-made, fun or engrossing a game is, the hype generated by either the internet or your expectations can make or break it.
The number of games that I have ruined for myself through hype is staggering. Probably the biggest in that list is Battlefield 3. For years I wanted it, at one point Googling it daily just to see if there had been any announcements. This was a game that I had the very biggest expectations for. Its announcement only added to my expectations, as the original 12 minute trailer just looked brilliant.
Of course, the extent to which I wanted this game was always setting me up for disappointment. Itís not that Battlefield 3 was a bad game, but there came a moment after I had been playing for a few weeks where I thought, ĎHuh, so this is it.í Something was missing, this wasnít how I had pictured it. Teamwork was pretty much non-existent, the maps felt uninspired, and perhaps the most shocking part was playing it just made me want to go back and play Bad Company 2 instead.
And that is exactly what I have been doing for the past 9 months. This is a game I had been playing since launch day in 2010, and a game where I feel right at home in. Every inch of every map was familiar to me, unlike Battlefield 3. Even the campaign was better, because battlefield 3 felt like it was straight out of a B-grade film.
And Tekken 6. Oh boy, Tekken 6. This is a game that I played about 3 times before taking it back. Again, not a bad game, but after years of playing Tekken: Dark Resurrection on my PSP, something felt missing.
I canít do a blog like this without mentioning my PlayStation Vita. I use my Vita almost daily Ė but not for games. Itís for music, or Facebook, or spinning the world around on Welcome park while making the floating icons collide. It really boils down to all the games I pictured playing on it. I watched its announcement live when it was the NGP, and pictured myself playing Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, Bioshock, Gravity Rush and more shortly after launch. None of these have happened yet, Killzone hasnít even been revealed. But with all the games lined up for later this year, I think the Vita might just get used a lot more.
But everything Iíve said above can also work the other way around. Games mostly hated, be it critically or by players in general, can be great experiences when going in blind. This is what happened with Haze.
I bought Haze for $15 preowned a year or two after it was released. I had seen no reviews, heard nobodyís opinion, and saw it as that game I heard of years ago that got delayed a lot. And I had an absolute blast with it. This and Resistance: Fall of man were my first experiences with the PS3, and I loved them both. Hazeís online component was mostly empty by that time, but Resistance had a loyal fanbase, and still has one awesome server running today that is one-shot kills, which still gets the odd game out of me.
Who could hate The Simpsons Skateboarding? It was one of my fondest PS2-era memories, along with Road Rage and Hit & Run. I was shocked to find Skateboarding had 1/10 reviews everywhere, and Road Rage around the 4/10 mark. My 15-year-old self would have given them both 10s.
This is why Iíve never used a review to convince me of a game. Skyrim bored me like crazy, I loved Medal of Honor, and hated Modern Warfare 3. As for the games soon to be released that I am excited for (The Last of Us, Most Wanted, Halo 4), I just hope they donít disappoint, and will avoid their reviews upon release like the plague.