Opinions Are Just That – The Hype Killer

It has been a while since I did one of these opinion pieces, so let’s do a fun one!

I will fully admit that I am the type of person who can get caught into the hype of something. It can be fun sometimes chatting with people about their excitement about something at the time of learning about it. While most big named things may make the collective populace lose their minds, it takes a special game to be announced that makes me lose control. I don’t have a game I’m currently hyped for at the moment, but once announcements are made at the beginning of Summer, I will most likely have something to look forward to. While it is easy to build up hype, it is also easy to destroy it. There are many ways the hype for something can flicker out. So for fun, I wanted to talk about some of the ways the hype for certain games is ruined for me. Some of these aren’t complete deal breakers for me, but it does stop me from acquiring the game sooner than I anticipated. If you participate in any of the behaviors that I’m about to list, please don’t stop for my sake.

False Advertising

This is a simple one to explain. You hear that a game is being announced that is right up your alley. Let’s say that it is a remake/remastered that you love and that it is getting new features that make it accessible for today’s standards. The day finally arrives where you can purchase the game and enjoy the things that you were promised, only to find out that that is not entirely true. You either notice that a key feature in the old game is gone and replaced with something that ruins the essence of the original, or you notice that your brand new game has a bunch of microtransactions that were not mentioned in the advertisement. Suddenly, your game is ruined by additions or subtractions that don’t make it worth playing at all. This is a hype killer that I’ve been running into a lot recently and has become one of the reasons I wait for sales or buy used copies when a game looks like trash.

My example for this is of course Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered that came out a few couple years ago. I will never stop talking about my disappointment with this game. The day before the game was released, people discovered that one of the key elements of the game was gone: local co-op. Yes co-op was there and they took it an extra step by implementing cross-platform play, but they got rid of the option for you and your friends to start in the same village together. The idea of the caravan was to set out together to protect your village; not just jump into someone’s game and help them complete dungeons. I am going to stop here before I get into another rage frenzy about this game.

Bad Business Practices

While I’m on the subject, let’s talk about the other thing I pointed out in false advertising. Companies sure do love them some money. I mean as a business you want to make money, but there are times where it just feels like greed. Practices like Battle Passes and Microtransactions are not inherently bad, but when the game revolves around it, or some of the best items in the game are locked behind it, then it just comes off companies wanting you to spend more money after you already purchased a $50 or $60 game.

Oh look. I’m beginning to see a pattern. The latest game that made me feel this way was Chocobo GP. I was excited for this game since I enjoy kart games and Final Fantasy. Things were looking good for the game, until reviewers started to point out that the game was heavily bombarded with microtransactions. Not only did the game cost $50 USD, but on top of that Square wanted me to spend more money on in-game currency and a season pass on a game that wasn’t working properly at launch. This was the easiest nope for me when I learned about it, and also one of the more disappointing ones since from what I can tell, it is a fun racing game. I just can’t get by supporting business practices like this even when it happens to the cute and adorable Chocobo.

Social Media/Nobody Shutting the **** Up About Something

This is where things get personal. I like talking about video games with people. I like sharing the joy and excitement with others when a new, fun experience is happening. What I absolutely dislike though is when everyone is sharing, jamming in your face, constantly referencing, praising something to the highest level, and berating others for not appreciating how [insert game here] is/will be the best game that ever exists. I can handle it to the point where I feel like I’m being oversaturated with seeing it everyday and feeling like I can never escape it. Any interest I had in playing it is suddenly gone since the fans want me to believe that no other game can compare to their prized possession. I will recognize that the game is good, but I will not play a minute of it if I can help it. 

I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but there is one game that I have absolutely no desire to play ever since it came out in 2015. That game is Undertale. Do I think Undertale is a good game? Absolutely. Do I think it is one of the best games ever made? Debatable. Do I think Undertale is the pinnacle that all games should try to be? No. For a good while it felt like I could never escape any discussion about this game. Don’t get me started about the whole thing about Sans being Ness because I will just argue that they are all just code in a game that can be easily beaten with a BACKSPACE button. Everything is Undertale and everything that comes out after it is essentially Undertale as predicted in the Tale of Under. Jokes aside, I don’t want to hate the game for being what it is, but it really sours my mood when it is in your face everyday. 

The Last of Us can go in this category as well. I played the beginning and felt nothing since the internet kept talking about it and you could see it coming a mile away.

General Loss of Interest Over Time

This feels like the most natural way that hype can die over time. Something gets announced one day and then the final product doesn’t come out until 3+ years from now. You like the idea that something is coming when it is announced, but start to get impatient when it takes forever to come out. I know people like to pull up the quote about rushed and delayed games, but if I’m still waiting for a game announced in 2016, then I’m going to start focusing on the games around me.

I don’t have any good examples for this category personally. Metroid Prime 4 is a good example, but I’m convinced that it is going to get canceled at some point; so my excitement for it is pretty low. 

Bad Timing

Sometimes a game comes out at the wrong time. This is an aspect that most people don’t consider a lot. The timing of a game’s release is a crucial part of game development. If you are confident in its sales, releasing a game during the peak holiday times will lead to better sales. If not, then it gets drowned out by better titles. Sometimes releasing a game at a random point in time is a gamble since you may have no idea how sales will go; unless you are very cocky about it selling well. For me, if multiple titles are coming out around the same time, I will pick and choose which one I’m most looking forward to and then place the other title in my wishlist. Other times, a game will come out that I would be excited for if it came out one or two years prior.

The perfect game that I can use for this example is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. Monster Hunter Generations on the 3DS was a sour experience for me since they opted to exclude G/Master Rank out of the game. The base game was fine, but the exclusion of the challenging part of the game made me resent the title. When news dropped that Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was coming out only in Japan, my hype died instantly. This was fine since Monster Hunter World was coming out soon and filled that monster hunting itch that needed to be scratched. What baffled me was that a few months later, Capcom released Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate that same year. Talk about bad timing for those who were already playing World. I could have given Generations Ultimate some proper game time, but with me fully invested in World, I did not have the same hype for it when it was first revealed. 

So those are my hype killers. If you share similar feelings with me or have other examples, please share with the rest of the class.

Opinions Are Just That – Game Freak’s Gamble

This game looks bad for 2021 standards. You would think that Game Freak and the Pokémon Company would spend more money and resources to make this one of their greatest games ever. This is a freaking open world Pokémon game! 90s kids have been dreaming of a game like this since the original Red, Green, and Blue came out. It took twenty-five years and five generations of gaming later, but we finally have an open world Pokémon game that we wanted for so long. And the reception? About what you would normally expect from the internet these days. Why does this game look like a late PS2/early PS3 game? Does no one at Game Freak know how to make a good game anymore? Why am I paying money to play a game that could look so much better that other smaller game developers could make? Hopefully all of those buzzwords caught your attention, because in my opinion, I believe that this game will be fun to play even though the visuals leave a different impression. What if I brought to the table the idea that this could be a changing point for the company and we are seeing their transparency unfold before us? I’m about to attempt to explain my point of view about this unreleased game (at the time of this writing) and the highs and lows of its current development.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be Game Freak’s fourth 3D console game. Out of their previous 3D games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee!, Pokémon Sword & Shield, & Little Town Hero, I would argue that the Let’s Go games have the better visuals and polish over the others. While the Let’s Go games visuals were meant to be bright and nostalgic, Legends seems to be going for more of a darker, dimmer time. There is no doubt that this game is taking inspiration from other open world games, but there is a big difference from this game and other studios that have produced wonderful (if not glitchy) open world games.

Game Freak has never developed a 3D open world game before. As far as I can tell (I looked everywhere), this is the first game in a genre like this that the company is developing solely by themselves. To put that into some perspectives, Nintendo had Monolith Soft help them with their visual environments for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo wanted to make sure that Breath of the Wild‘s world was inviting to explore and asked a company who does it really well to help them out with it. Legends has no one but Game Freak working on it. The company who mostly stuck to handheld games up until the Switch’s release has to suddenly break out of their mold to develop new games in a different style that they haven’t been using in almost twenty years. I know someone is quick to point out games like Pokémon Stadium, Coliseum, Pokémon Snap & New Snap, and Poképark on the Wii. Those are 3D games that were not developed by Game Freak (HAL Labs (Stadium), Genius Sorority Inc. (Coliseum), Bandai Namco (New Snap)). Heck, most of their remakes aren’t even developed by Game Freak themselves like in the case with Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl.

So the obvious question. Why doesn’t Game Freak partner with, or let a different studio develop this game? That is a legit question. It feels very idiotic for a company who has never developed a game like this before to create one on their own with no one to help them. Unless Game Freak has talented developers who are confident in their programming skills, this game will feel like a fraction of what it could truly be if they hired some experts or a larger team to help them with it. I wish they would offer secondary help with the environment design, but I can also understand why they may not want to get outside help and develop this solely on their own.

Change is unavoidable. In the past, Game Freak knew how to make fun, charming 2D games that took advantage of the hardware they were working on. None of the Pokémon games on the handheld systems looked bad and only improved as time went on. Even when they moved to 3D models for Pokémon X & Y, they got better improving their work when Sun & Moon came out. Game Freak knows that their game development has to evolve as well. The Switch can handle so much more than the handheld systems did, so now they are forced to change the way they develop to meet the quality standards that their fans want. If I were a game designer in their shoes, I would want to attempt to push my team to our limits and try to create something out of our comfort zone that I know fans would enjoy. Game Freak could have easily paid the money to get all of the outside resources they could want to make this one of the best looking Pokémon games to date. But, they choose to do this themselves to grow as a studio. The best evidence for this can be seen in the recent trailer for the game.

Video from The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel

The game looks so much better from the one that we saw back in February. I can’t jump on the bandwagon to say that Game Freak is being lazy with the graphics in this game. From this trailer alone, the game looks more polished than they did five months ago. Some would say of course that is how game design should be. If that is so, then what we see is what we may get; and I’m totally fine with giving the game a chance if they are committed to the risk they are taking. Do I personally think the game is going to look better than what was shown in the new trailer? Not really. I am a “keep expectations low” kinda guy, so if the finally game looks like this, then I will be totally satisfied. Do I think this game will be riddled with framerate issues at launch? Oh definitely so! It’s these types of low expectations that make me still interested in the game rather than nitpick about how I would solve all these issues on my own. Besides all of that, this makes me excited on how the next game may look and perform. People criticized Sword and Shield for the “tree of low quality,” but I can understand how things like this can take time when you are under contract to make a game that you may be unfamiliar with the technology. I am willing to give Game Freak a chance with a game like this, even though I believe the safer bet would have been to inquire help from another studio to help with their graphic designs.

But, opinions are just that.

I Don’t Like To Binge, But I Can’t Stop Right Now!

So, stuck at home with nothing to do but work, house work, school work, and slowly losing sanity. This is a perfect time to get a lot of gaming done! Nothing helps decompress after a hard days work with a little gaming for 10 hours straight. While I normally get the sweet release from consciousness around the three hour mark, I have been glued to my couch the past few days. A great change of pace that I hope to keep up.

This post kinda ties with one of my previous post where I talked about my reasons for not finishing games. Bingeing is the act of indulging in an activity. Common types of bingeing are eating or watching T.V. As I get older, I find it increasingly harder for me to sit and do one activity for too long. I spend however long I need doing something, and then I move on to the next thing to make the most of my day. There are, however, times where something captivates me so much, that I can’t pull myself away. By now, you can probably guess what game I’ve been playing from dawn to dusk.

Butt Island

It is NOT Animal Crossing! For a few days it was, but the honeymoon phase is slowly fading out. I am still enjoying my time with the game, but I’m currently at a blank as how I want to continue to develop my island. Until then, I still play everyday to gather material and check the shops.

What has captivated me recently came via a tweet from Game Informer on April 1.

Was this a joke? Don’t joke with me like that! The Legend of Heroes series became one of my new favorite franchises in the past year. The first one took me a while to finish just because the story, writing, characters, and world is very fascinating. Top that off with a cliffhanger of an ending that made me immediately start the second game. I was not prepared at all for what this game was going to throw at me. I honestly did not think we would be getting the last installment in this story so soon. It was amazing to see the third one being localized and I guess the series now has a good reception in the West.

I will eventually write why this series has become one of my all time favorites down the road. After finishing the second game, I plan on going back and play the Trails in the Sky trilogy since it connects to the rest of the story in Cold Steel. This may take me months since I can’t help but to do almost everything in these titles. Once the Sky trilogy is complete, I will resume Cold Steel and see this saga to the end. Now let us just hope the Crossbell games make it over to the West so that we can experience the whole story. And then…you know…the game that combines all three stories into one conclusive tale (this is a long series @_@).

That is it for me. Just a short post to say that I am another casualty of binge gaming.

Thanks for reading,