To hype or not to hype…
I don’t know about you but, when I hear that a game is coming out that I’ve been waiting for I get a little pumped. Well, depending on the game I could end up messing myself. But when publishers start spamming us with adverts telling us how great their game is going to be because of…. I get a little worried. And rightly so!
When the hype meter hits the high mark, every boy and his blob gets on the band wagon of saying how awesome this game is going to be and why…and how big their e-peen is. I’ve noticed that even the big companies have jumped on this band wagon stating how great the game will be and also giving their obligatory numerical rating out of 10. Generally 8 – 9.5 / 10 from IGN etc. So generally the higher the score the more hype they will produce, making everyone rub their sweaty little palms together in agonising anticipation for its release. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen for this ruse myself and have been royally kicked in the gonads for doing so.
Of course now I need to rattle off some of my opinions to help prove my point. Remember, these are just my opinions and I know that there is one title here that I’m going to be criticised for but this is how I see it.
First case in point and it’s one of my recent purchases. Bulletstorm – Epic Edition!!! I definitely needed those exclamation points to emphasise the EPIC EDITION-NESS of it. Frankly I knew from the beginning that this was not going to be one of those turning points in video game history. After playing the demo I found that I didn’t really want to go back to play it. I enjoyed the copious amounts of swearing and gore but, there wasn’t much to go on from there. It felt and played much like any other First Person Shooter that I’d played and even though it had a “Kill shot” system, where by if you killed someone in a certain way you’d gain bonus brownie points, it became monotonous. So I deleted the demo and went on my humble way. Until!! I came across an article on a gaming website which described more of the story and single player mode. I lost sanity at that moment and rushed to pre-order the Epic Edition! “Damnable fickle brain! After the first play through of the game I was bored and found that I’d completed 90% of the “kill shots” available. I didn’t really fancy playing through the story again, but I did for some achievements and never touched it again. Except for when I traded it…for another steaming pile of manure (Homefront).
Second case in point. An older game but one in which there had been plenty of adverts all over the internet and TV. I didn’t think it would actually have been made as it had been quite some time since the first of the series came out. Mafia II. How disappointed we were when we picked this up thinking that we’d have a ball of a time going through the story and being able to free roam and unlock amazing vehicles at the end of this game. The biggest highlight of the game for me was the boobies. The playboy magazine pictures (from actual playboys of around that time I believe) were tasteful and colourful…and booby-licious. Seriously, that’s the highpoint. The story was lacklustre, with a few moments that made you go “Neato!”. The mechanics were much like any other third person, free roaming action adventure game ala GTA 4. Graphically, it was nothing spectacular but graphics don’t maketh the game! Forsooth! From everything we had heard about this game, I had thought that this would be a game that I’d come back to on a regular basis and I’m glad that I didn’t. It’s still in my collection though. Dusty and unloved, although in time I’m sure I will go back and force myself to admit that there is some enjoyment to have out of it.
My last case in point and I know someone is going to want to have my head on a pike. The Fable series. Dun dun daaaaaaaah! Peter Molyneux likes to hype up his own games. So much so, that people follow him around like he’s some kind of bald messiah. When I’d first heard of Fable for the Xbox and pc, I was hyper excited about it. I didn’t care that some bald guy was making it, or that the graphics were going to be top notch etc. For me it was starting out as a little kid and fate taking a gigantic dump on you and forcing you to become a hero! Instead of it being a game where you started off as a hero or some steroid junkie space marine, you were a child whose family and whole town were slaughtered by bandits and were able to grow into the hero to be! I pity the foo’! Time progressed, surely, but not as you get to play it. You do a few things for each part of your life, skip a few years thanks to a cut scene here and there and the next thing you know you’ve beaten the game. Don’t forget, I’m talking about the original fable at the moment. It took between 4 – 6 hours for me to beat the game, that’s with all the demon doors and nifty weapons etc. At the end of it, I was some 7 foot tall monster of a man, clad in armour that would put a World War II tank to shame and could make a Balverines testicles shrink to the size of an ants head by merely looking at it….uhhh….by looking at the Balverine, not his crotch. I was disheartened by the fact that the game was not as epic as Peter or magazines or the internet had said. I vowed to never buy another fable, if there was ever going to be another fable, again!
Then they decided to crap all over me yet again. Fable 2. I’ll keep this one short. It’s basically the same game. When you cut off all the fat and have a look, it really is the same game. Things were improved to a degree. You had a dog that did bugger all and you could finally jump over fences and off of cliffs. Oh and the game was longer. Probably helped that they released downloadable content for it. In the end, really not worth a buy.
And finally, Fable 3. Major hype over this and yet again another let down. It was fun while it lasted, which was longer than the others. Major improvements over graphics and fortunately you weren’t some weedy little runt who was either orphaned by bandits or just an orphan in general. Royalty this time! “OOooooooOOoooer!” I hear you say. Well, when you get down to it, it’s really nothing special. Do what any good tyrant does and everyone hates you. Do what every good third world country does, and everybody ends up loving you but you still end up poor and starving and cold and despondent. I thought the idea of king was to just make decisions while everyone paid taxes and offered bribes and you could sit on a throne of gold or skulls….or golden skulls…and just watch the plebs shovel shit for you. Nope! You still gotta do all the work. I would really like to see some head of a major corporation slog his guts out for the kind of money he earns, instead of sitting in his glass tower twiddling his thumbs and firing someone for sport. Anyway, I digress yet again. Point is, it’s not really what Peter had told us all and made us come to believe. A fun little romp, but not one that I’ll be visiting again for quite some time. Just like Mafia II, it sits in the cupboard collecting dust.
Now I know I’ve been ranting about a few games with major hype but little enjoyment. Recently I’ve come across two gems for the pc which I’ve not heard anything about. Probably because they are published by a Russian company and do have some pretty bad bugs, but if you can play those above mentioned games, then you can certainly play these.
Xenus 2 : White Gold. Which I think is supposed to be a sequel to a game called Boiling Point which I enjoyed immeasurably. Also The Precursors. Both games are some what the same. Free roaming FPS RPG’s. I’m not going to talk about these too much, except to say that they are enjoyable, they look good and you really can do almost anything.
So, all in all, is hype really all that helpful to a game. Yes it is, in the publisher/developers eyes…well more like pockets. The more people they can get on the band wagon, the more money they make. It doesn’t matter if the game is a stale turd from last month. If they can wrap it up in foil, put some paper clips on it and sell them as earrings and tell us how life changing they are, people will buy it and fondle them and worship them. Hype does nothing for the game itself though. No matter how much praise a game can get, it doesn’t change the content. Fingers crossed Duke Nukem Forever ends up being worthwhile. I need a good fix. And some more pixelated boobies. Hell, I’d still tap that.