Expectations coloring your reaction


#1

Saturday night, I played through We Know The Devil, and walked away feeling like I missed something. Everyone else really loves this game why don’t I?
Sunday night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the game and about how beautiful it is and how much I love it.

My turn around on WKTD is up to a couple different things I think – reading through the [art book] (https://miaschwartz.itch.io/the-art-of-we-know-the-devil) and two really great articles [on it] (http://feministing.com/2015/09/24/review-we-know-the-devil-is-a-horror-game-about-community-and-survival/) helped a lot – but the most interesting part of it to me was reconciling my expectations with what the game is. I expected a story that is really universal and grounded in reality, when WKTD is very specific in its characterizations and very abstract and supernatural. And once i started thinking about the game on its own terms, rather than what I expected it to be, I ended up liking it a lot more.

Does anyone else have stories where their expectations of things clouded their judgement? I feel like this has happened to me a lot with films, but hardly ever with games. Do you feel similarly, or do you come around on games more often? :heart:


#2

I can’t be sure, but I have sneaking suspicion that had I played Red Dead Redemption without all the legacy behind it present and in the back of my mind I would have probably had a sunnier disposition towards it. What happened when I played it was this constant stream of thought in the back of my head going “what is going on here? why are people so crazy about this? There has to be more here, right?”. I still haven’t finished that game to this day.


#3

I remember back in the year or so before Castlevania Judgement was released, there was a lot of preemptive shit slung at it on forums. And you know, there was always the chance that it could be good, but it was definitely looking like an uphill battle in that regard. It was actually because of all of the shit-talking that I resolved to get it at release and try it for myself.

And you know? it’s not a great game. There are a lot of issues with it, from graphics that look unfinished to motion controls that were the classic Wii waggle. But I actually had a lot of fun with it. Maybe it was my expectations being properly set, or maybe it was because I was determined to just treat it with a positive eye, but I came from it having liked it, for the most part. Really, my biggest critique boiled down to, “Konami didn’t give the game the extra time it really needed for polish.” It didn’t feel to me like a game that was misguided from its core; it was a game that probably could have been remembered more fondly if it had another six months to a year in the oven.


#4

I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time far after the time it had come out, and I think the incredibly lofty expectations (many people consider it the greatest game of all time) definitely upgraded what would have just been disinterest into disappointment and occasionally anger over how much I didn’t like it.

I don’t have any satisfying resolution like the OP…I played it on the 3DS and totally still didn’t like it. It does have one of the greatest SOUNDTRACKS of all time, for sure.

A second, reversed example would be Silent Hill 4: The Room. I remember people HATED this when it came out, for a lot of factors. It was radically different from other Silent Hill games, not all of Team Silent worked on it and there was this rumor that it was another game that got turned into a Silent Hill game late in development, stemming from a badly translated quote from an interview.

I loved this game when I finally got to play it last year. It’s really forward-thinking towards something like PT or Layers of Fear with the way you explore the apartment location and watch things subtly change. Considering the current state of the franchise, it’s also kind of one of the last precious bits of core Silent Hill for me to hold onto dearly. Some of my positivity may have been due to me wanting to tell off the people who didn’t like this game for some reason.


#5

Trails in the Sky SC is this for me 100%.

Background: the game is the second part of the Trails in the Sky series and was sold to me for years as a masterpiece. Nothing in genre(JRPG) comes close to being as good as it is. I had been introduced to this franchise with the sequel series, Trails of Cold Steel. I fell in love with the Cold Steel games hard, had not felt so passionately toward JRPGs since Persona 3 first came out. The Cold Steel games are divisive among the “old guard” fans of the series though and they constantly shit talk them. So the basic setup on Sky SC is: it’s a masterpiece that no one dislikes and the games you like are shit in comparison to it. Okay, I thought, this thing better blow me away.

What I actually got from the game: it’s a decent RPG with good characters and great world building. I didn’t hate it but I also kinda just felt nothing about most of it too. I can certainly see that it’s very well crafted but the passion wasn’t there fro me. Lots of the game felt like a slog with running around environments I didn’t particularly like being in and doing side quests I didn’t care about in the slightest. The main narrative is good(great at times) but the big hook for two of the main characters, a romance, I could not have cared less about. I felt very let down. This is all after really liking the first entry in the Sky series too! I listened to the fandom too much and got burned when I actually went into the game. So it goes.


#6

I think it was around the time AC3 was when I started lowering my expectations on games since AC3 was pretty disappointing after having a whole summer playing through the series and really enjoying it. Since then the only games I’m super exited about are from developers that are able to continue to push out quality games or at least able to stand above it flaws. Every other new game I do a wait and see either after release or if reviews come out early. I get excited for E3 news but never over hype myself on a game till release.


#7

The fact that I knew nothing about Obsidian or Fallout: New Vegas coming into the game other than that I liked Fallout 3 (was my first Bethesda game,) probably had something to do with how mind-blowing it was for me (I was 12 when it came out.) I didn’t know RPGs could actually facilitate and encourage creating unique backstory all your own, I didn’t know dialogue in videogames could be that punchy and/or funny, I didn’t know it was possible to make a game where putting on a hat could delete your saves! I suspect I feel the way about it a lot of people around 10 years older than me feel about Deus Ex, in that I was 12 when I first played it and give it more praise than it needs or maybe even deserves because it expanded my idea of what videogames could be.

Morrowind, on the other hand, I knew a TON about before I first played it in 2013. I spent a lot of 2011-2014 on the Elder Scrolls Lore Forum and at the Imperial Library so I knew a lot about the game’s world before getting in to it, and actually playing it only made me fall more in love with the setting. The game too is well designed in ways it doesn’t get a ton of credit for, mostly because you basically have to be a child or teenager with no job to go to or family to take of to be able to enjoy it.

Can’t really think of any games that left me cold after being hyped up for me by friends + the entire internet. I don’t like Dark Souls as much as most people I guess?


#8

it’s WKTD for me as well. a lot of my friends were really excited about it so i played it as well and had the same exact “am i missing something??” reaction, so i seeked out some writing about it in the following weeks and it turned out that yes, i was missing pretty much every kind of life experience needed to understand any of the subtext in that game. so in a way it was a relief for me that it was that and not that the media enjoying part of my brain had suddenly stopped working.

other than that, i dunno, i feel like paying attention to games media for a long while has given me a pretty decent sense for what i like and dislike, and how to temper expectations. i think Tekken 7 is the last game in a good long while that i was looking forward to the launch of, but there was already so much footage of it being played in tournaments that i kinda knew exactly what i was getting into.


#10

I would always hear people laying heaps of praise on Earthbound, but every time I tried playing it, I would hit a wall at either “Giant Step” (the first dungeon in the game), or “Happy Rest Valley”, (pretty much the area right after Giant Step). I tried and gave up on the game 3 different times in disappointment before reading the “Say mean things about games you like” thread where every time earthbound comes up, the complaints are about the opening areas.

So I decided to give it one more shot, and bought it on my Wii u, and 40 - 50 hours later, I beat it last night! Sorta. Something I don’t think I’ve ever seen get mentioned about that game is that it has a 2 hour optional epilogue where you get to wonder around the world devoid of enemies and see how you have impacted the lives of all the npc’s in the game.

Earthbound is great. Aside from those two areas and the goldmine dungeon labyrinth. The game is still charming, quirky, weird, humorous, and emotional, in today’s world. I can’t imagine playing that game in '92. It would have blown my mind. Believe the hype.


I was in the same position as you (lassemomme), where everyone had nothing but love for the game, and I felt like I was missing something or just didn’t get it. Friends kept telling me that there was this beautiful moment when you first cross the border into Mexico, and I should at least get to that part.

So I play the mission where you cross the river to Mexico, and at the end of it I’m riding my horse up a ridge while the music swells. The music reaches its crescendo just as I get to the ridge crest, revealing a sunset set piece that I had no time to appreciate because a coyote started attacking me. In my panic I accidentally shot my horse in the back of it’s head, pitching me off the ridge to death below. I decided that this was the canon ending for John and have never touched the game again.


#11

Haha! That sounds about 10 times funnier than anything that happened in the 15 hours I put into the game.


#12

I don’t play a lot of games without having something already in the chamber. Usually it’s negative, so I tend to be a little higher on games than other people. From this year, it felt like Persona 5 was being slammed for its translation. My experience, on getting the game, of a translation that is (as far as I can tell) pretty solid for such a huge script therefore was buoyed.

I haven’t had a momentous experience, but your initial outlook is definitely important when it comes to a game. A good first impression from an initial gloominess can send a mediocre game into my heart.


#13

The Persona 5 localization criticism seemed really weird to me. I’ve only played to after the first palace so far, but the localization seems just fine to me. There are points (mostly in the unvoiced responses that you can select) that feel more literally translated than needed, but it’s far from the trash fire some claim it is. I think Anthony Burch said he actually gave up on the game because it was indecipherable (What?) and he’d like to try rewriting it, and the first thought I had was Morgana suddenly sounding like Claptrap spouting outdated memes every other line.


#14

I think maybe part of it stems from Yakuza 0 coming out this year with an absolutely amazing translation, same for Nier: Automata. Persona 5 isn’t egregious, it’s a bit clunky in places but it never caused me to to not understand what they were going for.


#15

Not an individual game but there was a period when I tried playing a bunch of retro games (mostly the pre-VII Final Fantasy games and Ocarina of Time) but I found most of those terribly disappointing. I don’t know if they’d aged poorly or if they weren’t my thing but a lot of the classics didn’t gel with me.