Gaming Disappointments And Pleasant Surprises

I previously wrote a post about the power of expectation and how it can affect the way we feel about something. This is especially true for me when it comes to trying out new video games. There’s usually a lot of excitement around the release of a new game and we can be really critical of them when they’re not right. I noticed this trend with some of my favourite games and the ones that left me disappointed. It’s not because my disappointments were bad games that I’ll never play, they just didn’t deliver what I hoped from them. In turn I’ve had many pleasant surprises where I went in with either no initial feeling or even expecting them to be bad. You might have a totally different list to me in respect to this.


  • Assassins Creed – I got a PS3 on launch and Assassins Creed was one of those titles that everybody was looking forward to. I pre-ordered a limited edition, but it never arrived. The store had accidentally taken on too many orders, and while I was sorting this out my friends all had their copies and were rubbing it in how good the game was. Eventually I got my hands on the copy I wanted, put it on and well… the experience fell kind of short. It looked beautiful, but as far as the mechanics and world were concerned I didn’t find it particularly engaging. I haven’t tried an Assassins Creed game since, but I have been told that the series has improved greatly. Once I have the time I do intend to dip back into this franchise, this time with slightly lower expectations.
  • Guild Wars 2 – This game was really hyped up and my friends kept waving the fact that they had early access in my face. When I did finally take the plunge into this game I was surprised to find that I wasn’t finding it fun to play. I stuck with it for a few weeks, but how I felt about it didn’t improve. They changed a lot from the original Guild Wars, which I was a huge fan of, and unfortunately the new direction doesn’t appeal to me as much. Although I can understand why people love the game and I’ve heard it has received a few updates since I last played, so I will eventually be returning.
  • Spore – I’ve always been drawn to games that simulate life in some way and as such the concept behind Spore really appealed to me. I’d already tried out the creature creator and found it to be a lot of fun to play with. When I finally got my hands on a copy of the game however, I wasn’t too keen on how it had been broken down into different sections and some of the gameplay felt a bit more simplified than I’d been led to expect. Since that initial disappoint I have bought the expansion packs and found enjoyment in this game.
  • BioShock – I usually prefer slightly less realistic FPS games with a good story behind them, and so BioShock seemed like the right one for me. I couldn’t play it right away because my graphics card was giving me these weird glitches. I then moved on and forgot about it, but later bought them all on offer with the intention of playing them in order. Well it didn’t turn out to be what I expected and I never got through the first game. The opening was amazing and instantly peaks your curiosity, but after that point the pacing of the gameplay just didn’t work for me. It might just be because games have moved forward a lot since its release. Although the story and themes are still interesting.
  • Prince Of Persia – I loved the Prince Of Persia franchise and so I made sure to get my hands on the collectors edition of this 2008 release. There were some really cool concepts and the art style was eye-catching, but it didn’t have the same impact on me as the previous trilogy. I don’t even remember that much about it except that perhaps the difficulty wasn’t balanced right.

Pleasant Surprises:

  • Demon’s Souls – I was looking for this before this type of game really took off. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I was looking for it, all I’d heard was that it was challenging and that was apparently enough to peak my curiosity. I never expected to finish the game or anything, but once I’d gotten past that steep learning curve I was hooked. Since then I’ve played Dark Souls 1 and 2 and Bloodborne and thoroughly enjoyed each experience. From Software now owns me.
  • Amnesia – I got this game as part of a humble bundle and the only reason I started it up was to see just how scary it was – my friends had been spreading tales again. I was only planning to give it a quick go, but somehow ended up reaching the end of the game. I’d mostly only ever played action horrors before this title, and this changed how I felt about the horror genre. I’ve been interested in Frictional Games since. Outlast is another game I could also add to this list. (See my previous post ‘Amnesia Vs Outlast.’)
  • The Evil Within – I noticed a fair bit of criticism for The Evil Within on its release and I think there were some high expectations with the developer being Shinji Mikami. I’d never actually played much of Resident Evil myself and picked this up because I was simply in the mood for some horror. I really enjoyed the challenge of the gameplay and the weirdness of the plot.
  • Mass Effect – This is another one that might seem a little odd as this franchise is huge. Before the release of the 2nd and 3rd games I picked up the first one cheap and left it untouched on my shelf for a long time. Then after finally making the connection that the developers were Bioware (the same developers behind Knights Of The Old Republic) I decided to check it out to pass the time until the release of Dragon Age: Origins. I was surprised to find that I actually ended up enjoying Mass Effect more than Dragon Age and was reluctant to switch games when the time came.
  • Okami – I was surprised to find that most of my friends have never played this game. I fell in love with it almost instantly from the moment I put it in my console. The art style is wonderful, the gameplay is fun and the story was really sweet.

There were many other games I could have added to these two lists. Sometimes I’ll avoid reading too much about a game before release because things can change during development and I want to be able to form my own judgement on it. Then again it’s nice to allow ourselves to get caught up in the excitement too. While we want to get our moneys worth, I have started to wonder if we do sometimes expect a little bit too much from our games and in doing so taint the experience.


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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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