Monday, December 17, 2012
The Perilous Power of Preconceptions
To say that I go into every game with absolutely nothing to sway my opinion of it, positively or negatively, would be an outright lie, as it is an impossibility. To say that I try, however is not a lie at all, but just how successful I am at it is..well, probably suspect. The last two games I have played have probably been victims to this and the next one I am looking forward to playing will likely fall into it as well. At least, the next game that I am looking forward to playing outside of things that I might expect as gifts or something. Basically, the next game that I am looking forward to purchasing and popping in the Playstation for a play is the game that I worry I will not be able to judge objectively because of what I already know of it. What that could mean means that it is, indeed, a very valid concern to have.
The game I'm talking about, of course, is the above-pictured Far Cry 3 which just got a rather glowing review from Chance that is, in fact, entirely responsible for my desire to pick it up. I had absolutely zero interest in Far Cry 3 prior to the review, which is unfortunate, since I just saw another FPS, but I am assured that it is quite more than that, something much bigger and much better than that. In fact, what I have been promised, by Chance, is that the game is a tantalizing package of fun that offers things that I -want- and things that I cannot get in other games. The prospect of a compound bow, of complete stealth in a FPS setting, of situations where I can make my own 'stories' of conquest as it were is almost mouth-watering and by the end of the read, it was all I could do to -only- put the game on my "Dear Mogs, you have to buy this, Love Mogs" list, rather than try to figure out the easiest way I could go out and purchase it -now- (or the best equivalent to 'now' which is generally 'tomorrow'.)
I am excited for Far Cry 3 and that is a dangerous scenario since I was also excited for Final Fantasy XIII-2, having been assured by the echo chamber that is the internet that it was 'the fun one', and overall a 'better game' than XIII. While I tried to stay impartial, I was -hopeful- to say the least as, even though I liked Final Fantasy XIII, it had its many, many flaws, and to say that I was disappointed with XIII-2 is like saying The Big Bang was kind of a thing that happened. It is infinitesimally understating matters and when I get around to reviewing the game, I imagine I will make that much clear. However, in a similar fashion, I went into Final Fantasy XIII expecting something bad, indeed almost feared playing it, yet managed to walk away with a net positive feeling of the game. That's the rub of it all, really, we color our experiences of a game, the end result of it, by what we went in expecting and, in general, I don't think it does a -lot-, but unfortunately when it does, you can't help but wonder what could have been if you just hoped for something different.
The difference in the scenarios, I imagine, is that what Chance has offered with his painting of Far Cry 3 is something that is tangible, where Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel were always unknowns. Hearing of sneaking to the tops of towers and shanking a guy before clearing a base with a silenced sniper rifle or, indeed, a compound bow is something that I can quantify enjoyment out of in just theory. Basically he is describing things in a positive light because they are inherently positive, with not much left up to 'opinion' as it were. Final Fantasy XIII's battle system, on the other hand, is more objective in that someone can basically love or hate it for the -exact- same reasons, and it just has to be something you accept and/or enjoy, or something that pushes you away completely. I'm sure it could be argued that Far Cry 3's activities have the same propensity, but look, you know what I meant, damnit. There just seems to be something of a thrill to be had with Far Cry 3's offerings, simply as they are, where FFXIII could always have been something that just wasn't 'for' me.
Whatever the reason, I think it speaks volumes that it took just a well-written review to put a game directly on my radar, and towards the center of it no less when I had previously intended on giving it no other look than the one I had given to acknowledge it existed. Yet it is always those experiences, -those- stories that seem to be the ones that end in a complete high note or an unexpectedly low one simply because the amount of pressure the game actually has on it is palpable. I am confident in Far Cry 3's ability to deliver, however, and when I pick up a copy, likely post-holidays, I cannot wait to delve into its delicious-sounding offerings. Of course, you know that means that you are totally on the hook, Chance. So if I don't like the game, that's squarely on your head for making me so excited for the game. Because I am so very excited for it if that wasn't completely and totally obvious.