Don't pre-order games. Also I pre-ordered a game. Here's why.

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Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

It's easy to buy into a game's hype. After all, publishers pay employees quite a bit of money to make you so anxious to play a game you'll line up for hours outside a Game Crazy at your local mall, your bag of Naugles tacos in hand while you talk about whether or not Seal could beat up all the Boyz II Men. Which he totally could, b-dubs.

Fuck, I'm old.

The point is, someone's always trying to sell you something like it's their job, right? Because it is. How impressionable you are to this is really only your concern. Hey, you want to get swept up and buy four hundred cans of Mountain Dew's new squid-flavored hypercaffeinated energy drink, it's your money. But it's no real surprise or news that pre-ordering games these days is kind of a silly thing to do. The reasons for this are numerous and have been done to death on these forums and elsewhere, but here's a quick recap - 1) game reviews are still relevant and can save you money if you're willing to wait, and 2) pre-ordering games will lead to butt cancer. I heard that on Facebook so it has to be true.

I haven't pre-ordered a thing since... oh, hell, Fallout 4, maybe? I'm not immune to pre-order hype, but as I grow older, I've begun detaching myself from a lot of the excitement of games in general and have found myself more and more capable of waiting for stuff to go on a deep discount. Having a limited income has helped with this self-control, but it really just boils down to nothing coming out in a good long while that's really stirred up my soul in the way big franchises like Final Fantasy or the aforementioned Fallout used to do. There are tons of great games that've come out in the last few years, but none of them have really spoken to me personally. And that's okay! Saves me money, at the very least.

So here's an oddity for you, then. At the beginning of this month, I decided to punch the pre-order button on a game you might think is an odd decision, considering I didn't particularly love its predecessor. That game is Far Cry New Dawn. Note that there are no spoilers ahead for Far Cry 5, but I do have to talk around some things.

I know. Of all the games to buy before reviews have come out, why the hell would I pick New Dawn? The answer to that isn't as simple as hype. I played Far Cry 5 to completion and did most every side-quest. I wasn't in love with the game. I thought the cult and the ending were intriguing ideas that unfortunately weren't very well fleshed out in ways believable to that universe, leaving me with questions as to just what the hell the plot leaders might have been thinking or doing or planning towards. I don't mean that in a "I have to know more!" sort of way. It was half-assed writing in an otherwise perfectly vanilla update to the Far Cry 3 formula. The Montana setting was fun, especially as I'm from the area, but it wasn't really a selling point for me.


Curiosity killed the cat, and it slaughtered my wallet. I have to know if Ubisoft is capable of making good on any of the more intriguing aspects of that game. I am intrigued by the idea of games exploring spiritual mysticism that isn't a part of some existentialist or nihilisitic viewpoint, and what Far Cry 5 was going for is fairly unique at least in terms of games in that regard. Although it didn't earn its ending, I wholly respect the sheer magnitude of what it was trying to aim for. Maybe that's because I'm deeply in love with the similar ending to the underrated movie Miracle Mile, but I don't think so. Far Cry 5 was so close to greatness that I kind of have to see where New Dawn goes to, if just as a consumer-historian sort of way. And I realize how bizarre that sounds considering how many people across the globe will be covering New Dawn for themselves and how easy that coverage will be to access, but there's still some part of me that hopes, even in some very tiny way, that New Dawn makes good on at least some of the premises from Far Cry 5. It also really doesn't hurt that I love the open-world gameplay from these games, but that's pretty much secondary to knowing how the second chapter to this story will end.

So there you go. It's not a game I expect to hold close to my heart, and I've read some review recaps. I know what I'm in for. I'm okay with that.

So have you pre-ordered any games for an unusual reason? What are your biggest pre-order regrets?

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#1 Posted by hippie_genocide (2456 posts) -

Your reference to Naugles literally stopped me in my tracks. I was convinced of being the only person who remembered that place or was aware of its existance.

Anyway, as a general rule I don't preorder, but everyone has their thing that they're into that they feel can't possibly lead them astray, right? Recently I preordered RDR2 so I could preload and play it right away. RDR was one of my favorite games ever, and this was a newer, better version of that so WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Well, so so so much went wrong for me. I know this isn't a popular opinion but I just kinda hate what they turned that game into.

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#2 Posted by jeremyf (412 posts) -

I used to pre-order more often when Amazon offered discounts for doing so. They've since taken that away, so it's back to scrounging around for deals on pre-owned stuff. I did pre-load Smash Bros. Ultimate since I figured the eshop would have a lot of traffic when it came out.

If you know the game's your thing, I think pre-ordering is totally reasonable. Maybe I just need a big letdown to change my mind.

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#3 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

@jeremyf: I agree, particularly if there's been plentiful coverage to assure you the game is going to be more of the thing you love. But there are always going to be cases like Fallout 76 where no matter how much fans love a formula, publishers will try to foist things on you for a profit or squeak out prodcuts that just aren't up to the quality of the things that came before. And in that regard, it's well worth waiting until the day of the release, if not later.

Also, your point about saving a few bucks is a perfectly valid one too. That Amazon pre-order deal was no joke. Wasn't it like $48 for new games?

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#4 Edited by Slag (8161 posts) -

I've rarely rarely ever pre-ordered Sparky, even back in the day. Always bought used or discounted for 90%+ of my game purchases. In my mind buying at launch is practically like pre-ordering

As best as I can tell I've only pre-ordered in recent years. More plugged into the game news cycles and occasionally there's actually good incentive to now.

Dragon's DogmaBought at launchDemo had me hooked, and I was super excited to game again after years away
Abyss OdysseyPre-orderedE3 trailer looked dope and I got a 33% discount for doing so.
Splinter Cell : BlacklistPack inPre-order came with a Video Card. I guess I regret this one since I never played it?
Dragon Age : InquisitionBought at LaunchGot a 15 dollar discount at Amazon
Witcher 3: The Wild HuntPre-order25% off at Green Man Gaming. Ended up being a major debacle. I eventually got my key but GoG Galaxy only half acts like it's valid
Batman : Arkham KnightPre-orderGmG gave me a 40% coupon to apologize for above. I preordered this and it turned out to be a disastrous PC port with basically nothing in the Season Pass
Mad MaxBought at Launch40% off at GMG
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainBought at Launch~23% discount at GMG
XCOM 2Pre-order23% discount at GMG
Rise of the Tomb RaiderPre-order23% discount at GMG
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FEPre-orderFigured the game was gonna bomb but wanted to try to help it. Also figured a Special Edition was worth it since the music seemed good
Dragon Quest Vii: Fragments of the Forgotten PastPre-orderWanted to support Dragon Quest making a comeback in the west
OverwatchBought at LaunchHad already played it and knew I was going to play a lot. Plus there was a 39.99 version on PC, so felt like a discount
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of ValenciaPre-orderDidn't want to get shut out of a FE special edition again like I did with Fates. Also I appreciated a retrun to old school FE sensibilities
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildBought at LaunchBought purely because I was hyped for Zelda again after years of not being
PUBGBought at Launch-ishMurder Island etc convinced me I wanted to play right away and I was too impatient to wait. Also didn't think it would get marked down for a while
Metroid: Samus ReturnsPre-orderWanted to support the metroid series making a comeback in hopes for more
Final Fantasy XV Windows EditionPre-order25% discount at GMG
Final Fantasy Xii- Zodiac AgePre-order25% discount at Steam plus I had 15 bucks in wallet credit lying around
Dragon Quest Xi: Echoes of an Elusive AgePre-orderSame as Metroid
Shadow of the Tomb raiderPre-order23% discount at Razer Store
Ace Combat ViiBuy at LaunchOnly way to get Ace Combat V remaster

That's more than I thought to be honest.

and of those looks like only 8-9 games I've paid full price for in the last 7 years? I usually don't by anything unless it's at least 50% off, games devalue too quickly anymore to justify paying full price in a lot of case.

Only really regret the Batman : Arkham Knight buy but even then I didn't pay full price. Splinter is whatever, the GPU was the best price with or without the game.

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#5 Posted by jeremyf (412 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: Yep, at least 10 bucks off, on top of the free shipping. Nice while it lasted.

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#6 Posted by Vortextk (944 posts) -

I pre-ordered all the time with discounts: Pc it's still common but console pre-order discounts aren't anymore. I also need a job to do that, which I don't have right now, which has shown me one super obvious fact. I have so many -fucking- games now I just barely give a shit about the new game. Is sekiro going to be good? I bet! But I only ever beat demon's and dark souls 1. Never 2 or 3 or bloodborne. While that doesn't mean I wouldn't like sekiro better(or maybe I hate ds2/3 and BB and only like sekiro), outside of FOMO with the hottest latest, I just don't care. It doesn't matter. Hype is bullshit.

I already own ds2/3/BB. I bought DS2 at launch because surely I need to play this right? I didn't get to it. The beginning seemed rougher than I thought it would be and I just never really went back to it. DS3 I bought super discounted or maybe it was a bundle thing? And BB I more recently bought on sale for friends to play at my house pass n play style between deaths. Was fun, but we did it one time and while it is a game in my head I want to play, we'll see.

Who cares if I play Shadow of War, Mother 3 or Just Cause 4 next? Does it matter if the game is brand new, older or ancient?

Pre-ordering crap with a discount you know will be full price for awhile after release feels great, outside of that, backlogs are just so large and common that they seem -usually- pointless.

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#7 Posted by nutter (2321 posts) -

Back when Best Buy would give you a $20 giftcard and 20% off (or something similarly absurd; these number went up and down), I’d pre-order, play, and pricematch games every week...often selling them back breaking even or making a few bucks.

By the end of the 360 generation, I had over $700 in Best Buy credit that I used to get an Xbox One, extra controller, and some Xbox credit for games. It was crazy.

Nowadays, I’ll wait until games are $30 or so and buy them digital. My backlog is still years long. I’m all about living hassle-free.

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#8 Posted by Efesell (4575 posts) -

I've always been sort of vaguely annoyed by really fervent "Never pre-order games!" folks. I know it's not bad advice and generally comes from a good place but it is what it is.

I've fortunately never pre-ordered one of those games that ends up bombing super hard and then almost immediately going on a really deep sale. I think that's about the only scenario that would cause me to have any serious regrets.

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#9 Posted by Shiftygism (1078 posts) -

This thread reminded me I needed to get in on Target's B2G1F sale this week. I just preordered Days Gone for $40 after canceling two other items. Good deal since I no longer have GCU and don't think it looks quite like the "dogshit" one GB personality's described it as. Wish Dreams and Last of Us' release dates had been announced, I would've scratched them off my list as well for that price.

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#10 Edited by Rawrz (673 posts) -

I tend to preorder everything I buy nowadays since I like being able to preload ahead of time and have the game be ready to go on launch, though I listen to all this sites podcasts and research before preordering so I'm never purchasing blindly.

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#11 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15750 posts) -

Amazon's flat 20% discount on physical games definitely incentivized me to pre-order stuff I knew I was going to get day 1 anyway (see: RE 2 remake.) Now that it's gone I think I'm probably going to wait for stuff to go on sale more often, but I was moving in that direction anyway. It's kind of terrifying to see how quickly some games lose their value. I'm just gonna repeat it here for emphasis, but I got Battlefield V for $35 less than three weeks after it came out, and it dropped another $5 the week after.

At this point, unless you're Nintendo and can get away with marginal discounts like twice a year on first-party stuff, I fully expect to see your game at the $30-40 range within a handful of months and the $20 range within a year. Heck, I got Mass Effect Andromeda for $20 like 3 months after it came out, and now you can get it for $7.50 regularly if you want to truly experience the magic of watching a thing you like be done in the dullest, most soul-shattering way possible.

I still proclaim my *best* pre-order to be that impossible to find, immediately-scalped special edition of Fire Emblem Fates with all 3 campaigns on one cartridge. Sure, only one of those campaigns is especially great in the first place, but it's valuable and I own it. If we're talking *regretful* pre-orders, then I'm going to cheat a little and talk about the time I backed Underworld Ascendant on Kickstarter, because crowdfunding contains many of the worst aspects of pre-ordering. It's probably the only crowdfunded thing I've backed that felt like a total clunker.

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#12 Posted by deckard (365 posts) -

I literally pre-order about 1 game a year at this point. This year it's been The Division 2 because I know I'm going to play it regardless of reviews. Otherwise it's not worth pre-ordering anything, especially with how fast prices go down (on Steam anyway) and the sheer number of games constantly coming out.

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#13 Posted by soulcake (2821 posts) -

I only pre-order stuff that i know i wanna play at launch like the new CIV VI expansion & the new METRO on steam.

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#14 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3903 posts) -

I can't think of the last game I bought on release or pre-ordered. It was possibly Fallout 4.

Since then I've found that nearly every single game that I start feeling like I'm going to miss out on the zeitgeist of, I either get a few days after launch when I've satisfied myself that I'm going to enjoy it or want to check it out, or I skip over it and the zeitgeist goes away. The most recent one is Kingdom Hearts 3. I just do not have the time to play it right now and I thought about pre-ordering it and then getting it on release. I gave it 3 days and suddenly the urge just sort of went away.

I've been applying that to things that aren't games now and it's been working out. Whenever I think "Hey I want that!", I leave it for three days. If I still want it by then, I'll get it. Otherwise I'll throw it on a watch list and wait for a sale.

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#15 Posted by MetalBaofu (1705 posts) -

I don't buy many games that aren't on some sort of sale really, but I do put in the occasional pre-order. Most recently for Kingdom Hearts 3. I only really do so for a game I want to play day one, which isn't many. Aside from KH3, the other stuff I've pre-ordered would be Persona 5 and some Bioware stuff(and the actual PS4 itself).

When it's something I want to have on release day I'll put in an early pre-order through Amazon. I then buy the occasional gift card(5/10 dollars) and put it towards the order. I like paying the order off over a few months instead of paying the total price all at once, and the release day delivery is just nice and convenient.

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#16 Posted by ATastySlurpee (685 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: I had little to no interest in Destiny, was able to play the beta and really enjoyed it enough, so i preordered it. Should've stuck with my original viewpoint. I hated it.

But, I think know I'm in the major minority with FC5. I thought it was fine. Granted I played the majority of the game in coop. I thought the story was fine, nothing great but serviceable. I think most people expected too much out of the story (that's probably Ubisoft's fault) They took a risk and went for something, they didn't nail it, but it was by no means the worst thing in the world. The Far Cry series is a guilty pleasure of mine. I just really like them. I didn't like 2 or Primal, but I've enjoyed the rest of them. I still have fond memories of playing Far Cry 1 on (at that time) my super beefy PC

I know the big internet thing is "Don't preorder games, wait for a sale" but I like videogames and really like certain developers so I like to support the devs. If everybody waited for the sale to buy games, we would never have games to play. Example: I LOVED Darksiders, I liked Darksiders 2, I really want the see the series completed, so I preordered Darksiders 3 and paid full price. Its a great $30 game and could've waited, but it was important to me to pay full price, as to maybe help a 4th (& 5th) game made

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#17 Edited by The_Greg (548 posts) -

I don't pre-order. I buy all of my games digitally so I just wait for the reviews and decide based on those. If I do buy it, it's downloaded within a few hours anyway. Also, I have no interest in little in-game items like the pre-order hat or the day one sunglasses.

The same goes for season passes. I bought the Destiny 2 season pass, only to end up with 2 bad DLCs. When the good DLC came out, they wanted another £40. I didn't buy Forsaken.

Even if you buy discs, most places do next day delivery and embargoes tend to lift before the actual release day. So you can still wait for reviews and get the game on the day of release.

There are exceptions every so often, like if will definitely want to play a game, regardless of reviews. For example, I will buy and play The Elder Scrolls 6 whether people say it's good or not. Even if it ends up being shit, I have to see for myself. There is maybe one game like this every few years for me. The last one was Metal Gear Solid 5.

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#18 Posted by pweidman (2867 posts) -

Your reference to Naugles literally stopped me in my tracks. I was convinced of being the only person who remembered that place or was aware of its existance.

Anyway, as a general rule I don't preorder, but everyone has their thing that they're into that they feel can't possibly lead them astray, right? Recently I preordered RDR2 so I could preload and play it right away. RDR was one of my favorite games ever, and this was a newer, better version of that so WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Well, so so so much went wrong for me. I know this isn't a popular opinion but I just kinda hate what they turned that game into.

I preorder quite a few games with relatively few disappointments after doing the research and deciding...but, RDR2 is one that I did not see coming. Such a disappointment...still stings as I also absolutely loved the first game. I think this feeling/opinion is more widespread than we know hippie genocide.

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#19 Posted by Deathstriker (1177 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: If someone wants to tryout a game and is iffy about how it'll be why not rent the game through Redbox, Gamefly, or whatever. It'll probably take a couple days to beat.

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#20 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3903 posts) -

@deathstriker: Depending on your location those services aren't an option.

In Ireland we've nothing like Redbox or Gamefly. The closest we had was video stores and they're all gone now unless you're in the most rural parts of the country. And even with those, for a long period they wouldn't get new releases to rent out.

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#21 Posted by Pezen (2393 posts) -

I have generally never preordered many games. And since going digital with most of my game purchases, the difference between buying on launch day and preorder is mostly the possibility of playing a few hours earlier if it’s already downloaded and installed. So I can usually wait.

I happened to preorder Anthem though, mostly to get demo access, which is incredibly stupid I admit. Though luckily I had fun so I’ll keep the preorder around. The only time I really preorder games are games I know I am going to buy no matter what and I want to jump in on it as soon as it’s available. But they are generally few and far in between. I can’t say I’m against the idea of preorder, but I also realize it’s a pretty little gamble if the game turns out trash. So I can understand the advice people give of never preordering.

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#22 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

@jesus_phish: That seems like a really smart system. Budgeting has helped me bring down the costs of my gaming habits. Having a clear, well-kept database of my living expenses and things I'd like to get done in the short-term, long-term and simply for fun has really helped me prioritize things.

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#23 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3903 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: It certainly helps. I similarly keep a spreadsheet of my expenses and I've used it to cut out some bad habits. The three day thing is something I've been trying the last few months and I find it certainly helps. There's been 3 big purchases that I would've made on impulse, left it for three days and when I went back I realized I didn't really want them. That alone has saved me a few hundred.

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#24 Posted by Silver-Streak (1995 posts) -

I agree, don't preorder games.

Exception: Unless you are a Best Buy Gamer Club Unlocked member and your membership is about to expire. Then Preorder every game you want as far out as you can through the website. You won't be billed for the preorder and can cancel it or return it (unopened) as needed, but get your GCU discount on it. Mine expired in October of 2018. I have games at $48 before tax all the way through 2020.

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#25 Posted by rocketblast0063 (324 posts) -

I also agree, kinda, don't pre-order games.
(But) I get if people that are fans of Civilization or Fifa pre-orders the next one. Feels like a safe bet.

But Ubisoft and Far Cry? That I don't get.

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#26 Posted by Humanity (18969 posts) -

If there is a sweet deal then I’ll pre-order without a second thought, it’s just how brave I am.

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#28 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

For what it's worth, I'm enjoying the hell out of New Dawn, maybe even more so than its predecessor, but there's a hugely annoying gate to one of the side characters that requires the player to do a shooting gallery. For the visually impaired, this kind of thing is hugely difficult. I hope that if someone from the industry somehow sees this or my Twitter storm tonight about game sequences like this, they'd use their platform to maybe give it a quick shout out. I just don't think it's the kind of thing most developers would think about unless it's brought to light.

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#29 Posted by mems1224 (2511 posts) -

I couldn't decide between this and metro so I went with this. It's familiar and I know what I'm getting into and it sounds like they got rid of the awful story stuff from 5. I haven't started it yet because I decided to check out crackdown and anthem first and then spent the rest of Friday playing apex

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#30 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

@mems1224: It is a completely serviceable Far Cry. There’s not much really that stands out good or bad, but I generally am enjoying myself.

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#31 Posted by Reicher (9 posts) -

For the most part I've stopped pre-ordering games not because of the hype but because of the money savings. I'm not struggling to pay my bills or anything severe like that it's just I am so backed up on games I don't need to have the game at my doorstep on day 1. I've found that I have so many games sitting around that I've bought on day 1 and have yet to be opened that I'm just throwing money away when a lot of those games are now 50% off and I still haven't started playing them despite owning them since day 1.

Another reason is Amazon no longer gives a discount for pre-ordering games so I lose a 20% incentive on pre-ordering and games are creeping up to be $80 before tax in Canada and a whopping $90 per game after taxes for a new standard price release so it just makes more sense to wait for them to drop to $30-40 to grab them if I'm not going to play them immediately anyways. Hell for the most part I've seen "Triple A" releases like far cry drop as low as $15-$20 in a few months so saving $70 per game is worth the wait for me. I've actually seen some placeholder prices for nintendo games being $89.99 so I don't know if Nintendo plans on doing another nintendo tax on their games and making them $10 more expensive than every other console. They were the first to jump to 80 so I wouldn't be surprised if they're the first to jump to 90.

Every now and then there's a game I know will jump the backlog queue and I will play ASAP so I'll pre-order that game but those games are becoming fewer and fewer in between.

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#32 Posted by someoneproud (634 posts) -

I rarely pre-order games anymore, for me it mainly comes down to a company's track record eg. I've never regretted buying a R* or CDPR game on day 1, so maybe their next games get pre-ordered, I've recently got into the souls games and thoroughly enjoyed every one so I may pre-order Sekiro.

Ubisoft/EA/ActivisionBlizzard Studios I approach with skepticism, maybe I'll buy them a few months after release when they're cheap and the MTX situation has come to light (although often not at all these days). I am really interested in Ghosts of Tsushima but I certainly won't be pre-ordering it, the trust just isn't there for me.

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#33 Posted by geirr (3798 posts) -

I pre-order games I want regardless of reviews or first impressions.
If they turn out bad, I get a refund. The last one that turned out bad was Fallout '76
and while it took them a while, I got a refund eventually.

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#34 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8935 posts) -

Just finished up the game. It's not bad. Joseph Seed is once again the highlight, with the twins featured in the marketing turning out pretty great too. They've got a bit of swagger to them I like tremendously, but no one in this game is given a lot of time to really develop. More character action and more to do would have made this game great, but I think what's here is perfectly passable, if not anything more.

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#35 Posted by Bezerker85 (391 posts) -

Gamestop gave me $10 for pre-ordering a $40 game so I was happy, lol.

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#37 Posted by PerkoTreason (20 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: naugles? game crazy? seal??

you’re not old, you’re just fuckin english or something.