The Waiting Game

Gears Of War 2 arrives tomorrow. I'm getting pretty excited. So much so that I cant actually play anything else. Fable 2 is persistently NOT Gears Of War 2, and as such I cant seem to stay focussed.

I love the hype that surrounds computer games. I love the super positivity of every preview, and hate the consequent inevitable disappointment. However when a game manages to manage expectations and be awesome despite the hype, its the best feeling in the world. In some cases I often enjoy the anticipation far more than playing the game. I was stoked for Little Big Planet even though I don't have a PS3. I'm just happy great games are being made and receiving the appropriate consumer interest. Ultimately peoples expectations are often far greater than the achievements of any realistic development cycle. The best games often turn out to be the ones which people never see coming.

It does my heart good therefore, to see Gears Of War 2 taking the world by storm.

But it seems the only reason that games have such high expectations placed upon them is a result of the franchise name that has been slapped on the box. This seems to be a double edged sword - both restrictive in terms of content and development, whilst securing the interest of the originals fan base and assuring quality of a specific level. Fallout 3 is a great example of a title that is suffering because of its notoriety as an old-school gamer franchise. I haven't played Fallout 3 - mostly because I cant afford it, but also because there are other titles better suited to my needs. Fallout 3 seems to be suffering at the hands of the reviewer as a result of it being called Fallout 3. The "Oblivion with guns" cliché is thrown around but only seems to be insulting to the people who value the roots of the original Fallout games. To everyone else this is encouraging praise.

 Reading the reviews of the multiple titles that have been released over the past few weeks has been interesting. Its weird how the games we have played may effect how we perceive new experiences. Its all about context I guess. A fan of one shooter will continually make comparisons to an alternative, and will standardly compare to the best. Maybe someone who had never played COD4 would find World At War to be the best FPS game ever made. Perhaps this is why the World At War beta is struggling to find any community support. If Treyarch had gone it alone and removed itself from the Call Of Duty series perhaps its latest game would not have been reviewed so harshly by the community. But in the process of doing so would have severed its accessibility to the COD4 engine. Tough call...

I'm going to step into hot territory by saying I didn't really enjoy reading Jeff's review of Gears Of War 2. This is brutal honesty, because I have mad respect for everyone in the Giantbomb team, and in truth they are the reason I joined this website in the first place (I love Vinny and Coonce especially and I don't care WHO knows it). In fairness, I didn't really enjoy Nate Ahearns review either (that man is an eejit). But considering Jeffs review is so full of praise, there lacked any real flair or written enthusiasm. I have sympathy, because it must be hard to visualise a fresh way of expressing yourself in a new way having written so often.

(if anyone is searching for a really well written Gears Of War 2 review, head on over to IGN UK. It's not because i'm British, it really is an immaculately well written review.)

All was forgiven after seeing the Giantbomb Video review. I think the guys here at giantbomb have so much personality its hard to fit it into a block of text - but the videos here are top notch. After watching the video I felt much better, much more encouraged and understanding of the 5 star rating. So thumbs-up Jeff, keep up the great work dude =D

So yeah. I guess what i'm saying here is - think outside the box. Walk up to a game with fresh expectations, play it for what it is. Its a real shame to see people almost purposefully not enjoying a game on the principle that its not what they were expecting.

This blog is pretty reflective and I don't have any real conclusion so I guess I can stop writing whenever I want. I'm feeling pretty mellow so I guess I'm going to go watch some futurama and hit the sack early. My weekend is going to be fucking nuts, there's a huge street party on Saturday night with about 30 live bands playing - loads of DUBSTEP which I love so I'm going to be flat out. Also there will be Gears 2 to play (bombing run!!) and driving lessons on Sunday. Busy busy.

Anyways, thanks for reading
See you in gears 2 multiplayer. I'll be the one shooting you in the face.
Love Sweep

11 Comments
12 Comments
Posted by Sweep

Gears Of War 2 arrives tomorrow. I'm getting pretty excited. So much so that I cant actually play anything else. Fable 2 is persistently NOT Gears Of War 2, and as such I cant seem to stay focussed.

I love the hype that surrounds computer games. I love the super positivity of every preview, and hate the consequent inevitable disappointment. However when a game manages to manage expectations and be awesome despite the hype, its the best feeling in the world. In some cases I often enjoy the anticipation far more than playing the game. I was stoked for Little Big Planet even though I don't have a PS3. I'm just happy great games are being made and receiving the appropriate consumer interest. Ultimately peoples expectations are often far greater than the achievements of any realistic development cycle. The best games often turn out to be the ones which people never see coming.

It does my heart good therefore, to see Gears Of War 2 taking the world by storm.

But it seems the only reason that games have such high expectations placed upon them is a result of the franchise name that has been slapped on the box. This seems to be a double edged sword - both restrictive in terms of content and development, whilst securing the interest of the originals fan base and assuring quality of a specific level. Fallout 3 is a great example of a title that is suffering because of its notoriety as an old-school gamer franchise. I haven't played Fallout 3 - mostly because I cant afford it, but also because there are other titles better suited to my needs. Fallout 3 seems to be suffering at the hands of the reviewer as a result of it being called Fallout 3. The "Oblivion with guns" cliché is thrown around but only seems to be insulting to the people who value the roots of the original Fallout games. To everyone else this is encouraging praise.

 Reading the reviews of the multiple titles that have been released over the past few weeks has been interesting. Its weird how the games we have played may effect how we perceive new experiences. Its all about context I guess. A fan of one shooter will continually make comparisons to an alternative, and will standardly compare to the best. Maybe someone who had never played COD4 would find World At War to be the best FPS game ever made. Perhaps this is why the World At War beta is struggling to find any community support. If Treyarch had gone it alone and removed itself from the Call Of Duty series perhaps its latest game would not have been reviewed so harshly by the community. But in the process of doing so would have severed its accessibility to the COD4 engine. Tough call...

I'm going to step into hot territory by saying I didn't really enjoy reading Jeff's review of Gears Of War 2. This is brutal honesty, because I have mad respect for everyone in the Giantbomb team, and in truth they are the reason I joined this website in the first place (I love Vinny and Coonce especially and I don't care WHO knows it). In fairness, I didn't really enjoy Nate Ahearns review either (that man is an eejit). But considering Jeffs review is so full of praise, there lacked any real flair or written enthusiasm. I have sympathy, because it must be hard to visualise a fresh way of expressing yourself in a new way having written so often.

(if anyone is searching for a really well written Gears Of War 2 review, head on over to IGN UK. It's not because i'm British, it really is an immaculately well written review.)

All was forgiven after seeing the Giantbomb Video review. I think the guys here at giantbomb have so much personality its hard to fit it into a block of text - but the videos here are top notch. After watching the video I felt much better, much more encouraged and understanding of the 5 star rating. So thumbs-up Jeff, keep up the great work dude =D

So yeah. I guess what i'm saying here is - think outside the box. Walk up to a game with fresh expectations, play it for what it is. Its a real shame to see people almost purposefully not enjoying a game on the principle that its not what they were expecting.

This blog is pretty reflective and I don't have any real conclusion so I guess I can stop writing whenever I want. I'm feeling pretty mellow so I guess I'm going to go watch some futurama and hit the sack early. My weekend is going to be fucking nuts, there's a huge street party on Saturday night with about 30 live bands playing - loads of DUBSTEP which I love so I'm going to be flat out. Also there will be Gears 2 to play (bombing run!!) and driving lessons on Sunday. Busy busy.

Anyways, thanks for reading
See you in gears 2 multiplayer. I'll be the one shooting you in the face.
Love Sweep

Moderator
Posted by Virago

Dear Sweep,

I think that you've hit the key element in game reviews; the games you've played will undoubtedly reflect in how you perceive other games. This is especially dificult in the series cames, such as CoD and Fallout. I find it most disconcerting, though, when people love a game solely because it is the franchise. Just because you loved Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid does not mean they're superb now. Each game must be considered a unique entity, otherwise you're not doing the game justice. 
Well done, Sweep, i think you've captured the essence of serial game play accurately. 
Love Virago
Posted by MasterSplinter

To be fair, in an industry where almost every high profile title is a sequel, to disregard expectations is asking a lot especially from a reviewer's standpoint. It's hard to critique a product as a unique entity when the reason it exists in the first place is because of the high success of its predecessor. Maybe I am wrong but expectations are almost unavoidable in this nostalgia driven market, for both the titles and the developers behind them. The times when we see fresh perspectives are when we are blessed with fresh properties such as Portal, LBP, and Mirror's Edge. Regardless, I'll read that IGN UK review and maybe I am going to be swooned by it and have a change of heart.

You should be playing this animal cruelty beta with me in the meantime. =D
Mucho <3

Posted by Oni

When all is said and done, Fallout 3 is a game you should also play Sweep. I know I'm telling you to play all these games but it really is something else :D

Great read as always, almost goes without saying.

Posted by Torb

Now that you mention it, I agree with your comments on the Gears Reviews.

As far as previous games affecting current experiences, well, that's just a fact of life. We make judgment calls on everything we do. As soon as we witness or experience something, we compare it to anything and everything we remember. It just can't be helped...

Very thought provoking sweep!

Posted by Jayge_

Fallout 3's 93 Metacritic average begs to differ with your perception of hurting on the reviews.

Also, I agree on the Gears 2 review; although I would flesh that out with several other comments as to the overall information found in the review, as I did with Fallout 3's.

And in terms of IGN UK, I've never agreed with them on a single review score; although I've disagreed with IGN AU only two or three times in the past year or two. They're impeccable.

Hi Sweep!

Posted by Joseppie

Couldn't agree more with some of your thoughts, especially when you touched on pre-existing bias coloring a player's experience. I've never quite understood why people convince themselves that any game will be as good/bad as they think before it comes out, and then retain that same attitude when they finally get their hands on said game. True, expectations will always exist; there is no real way to approach a game completely fresh. But the stubbornness present in some of gaming community is bewildering at times. I always find myself thinking the same thing: why? You can't save them all though, and as you will be doing, I'd rather spend time just shooting dudes in the face.

Side note: Just realized my last blog post was in August. Congrats! You've inspired me to write a new post!

Posted by Rowr

DUDE I JUST PICKED IT UP.

so yeh, i found it interesting that jeffs gears review was all praise, whereas 7 paragraphs of fallout 3 where critism's.

But yeh we come back to the different forms of reviewing. Reviewing based on your preferences, or reviewing to everyone?

Posted by SmugDarkLoser
MasterSplinter said:
"To be fair, in an industry where almost every high profile title is a sequel
good post, but I disagree to an extent, but at the same time I agree.  If Halo went COD I would hate that fact or if Final Fantasy stayed like FF12 I would be disappointed.  THat being said, however, I'm really liking Nuts and Bolts and I'm a hardcore banjo fan (i know all about stop n swap).

But anyway, why i snipped your quote.  This is only true to the extent that this is only what people pay attention to.
You have to pay attention to games like Lost Odyssey <-- otherwise the games that are awesome yet they are just thrown in the backburner (granted though, it sold 800,000, but most disregard it due to score).  An even better example is Blue Dragon.  Such a trashed game by the community.  That being said, this is a game made for anime-traditional jrpg lovers.  If you are that, this title can be huge.  And it is VERY polished.  Niche games are much too often. 

COD is the perfect example of what you said.  However, as I've sort of put out, Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon have just as much quality, if not more, than COD and they're actually made with large amounts of care and attention to detail. 
Edited by Claude

If I'm into a game, I want to defend it. The synapses are firing, they notice things I wouldn't have otherwise noticed. I then go through a process of many. These processes live on a spectrum, depending on my cognitive and emotional attitude toward the game I'm playing. In the end and as an example, Gears of War 2, never played it, I'm interested, but probably well not buy it. Jeff's written review had no impact on me, except the five stars, but the video review made a few synapses fire... just a few.

Posted by phlegms

Dude you cant say the word "eejit", you're not Irish. Give it back to my people now plz.

Posted by SleepyDoughnut

I share similar feelings. I feel that if a game such as Far Cry 2 wasn't being reviewed as a "sequel," it would be getting much higher praise. On the flip side is Dead Space, when you consider it influenced by System Shock or whatever. Perception is an interesting thing.