Friday, July 12, 2013

Game informing, revisited

Four years ago, I wrote a post called "Game informing," in which I gathered the concluding sentences of several previews from a single issue of Game Informer. I did this because I possess the ability to remember things I have read in the past, and to connect those memories to things that have actually happened. Over and over I would read previews that glossed over potential problems and expressed hope that a game would be great, only to play the game for myself months or years later and discover that it had not delivered on the previewer's promises. Optimism is a good quality, but the blue-sky attitude we read in previews rarely matches up with reality.

It's not a problem unique to Game Informer. A lot of previews are too credulous. But I thought it might be worth revisiting that post and seeing what came to pass with those games.
Splinter Cell: Conviction -- "Let's just hope Sam doesn't sneak past his fall release, because we've been waiting long enough to play what's looking like one of the best games of the year."
It sucked. (Partly for this reason.)
The Last Guardian -- "With the PS3 breaking down technical barriers, the possibilities with Team Ico's next masterpiece seem to be endless."
The possibilities are always endless for a game that still doesn't exist.
God of War III -- "With the massive titans waging war, more gods entering the fray, and Kratos determined to topple Olympus, God of War III will be packed with jaw-dropping moments worthy of passing into legend."
It was boring.
Assassin's Creed II -- "We'll know more about whether our high hopes are justified as we get hands on time with the game in the coming months."
They weren't.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves -- "Our time with the game left us confident that Drake's second big journey may be just what Sony needs to draw in PS3 doubters."
This was true.
ModNation Racers -- "If the gameplay shows even half the potential of its customization tools, ModNation Racers might be the game that finally drags the kart-racing genre into the 21st century."
I have no idea what this game is.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii -- "There definitely were bigger, more graphically impressive games at E3, but we'll be surprised if many of them are as anticipated as New Super Mario Bros. Wii."
Sure, I guess.
Dirt 2 -- "We're eager to see what other cities Codemasters has transformed into rally circuits."
Hands up if, in the year 2013, you can name even one city in Dirt 2.
Heavy Rain -- "We can't wait to meet the remaining protagonists in the upcoming months to see if they, too, can dodge a grisly end."
Some of them could! Also, this is way less effusive than most of the rest of these lines, and then Heavy Rain turned out to be the best game of 2010.
Alan Wake -- "While we still have nearly a year before this spooky narrative finally hits the Xbox 360, it looks like the title will be worth the long wait."
It wasn't. I mean, it was a fine game, but it wasn't worth the long wait.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow -- "But if the final game can live up to the excitement caused by the trailer... Lords of Shadow may finally give gamers a 3D action title worthy of the Castlevania name, even if some series staples are missing."
It couldn't.
Borderlands -- "With fast-paced action, strong co-op, and this much variety, we can't wait to gather some treasure hunters and start exploring this promising wasteland."
Again, this is one of the most restrained lines in the whole piece, and it's about the game that ended up as my 2009 GOTY.
Homefront -- "Though it wasn't shown or talked about in detail... what little we've seen of Homefront looks good."
This sounds even dumber today than it did then.
League of Legends: Clash of Fates -- "We've spent a lot of time with DotA and other games, and League of Legends is clearly the most exciting title in the sub-genre to date."

Thanks to @oldgameswriting for reminding me that this post existed.