It's similar to asking, "can we possibly ignore hype?" but this is a bit more specific.

So I finally got around to beating Final Fantasy XIII this past week and while I certainly enjoyed the ending and I liked the game, I know it fell well short of my expectations. But at the same time, I have to admit to myself that FFXIII is certainly one of the better titles currently available on store shelves; in comparison to most, it's a superior experience. Plain and simple. And yet, at the same time, it's easily my least favorite entry in the legendary RPG series (with the possible exception of FFV). …does anyone else find this to be out of whack? I know I'm a huge fan and everything, but this whole situation has led me to ask the intriguing question, "can we ignore our expectations?" In other words, can we go into every game with a blank slate, regardless of past affiliations with the title in question…?

There was a time, way back in my idealistic youth, when I believed we could always do that. Just forget about the past. Accept what's in front of you and don't compare it to anything else. If you like it, that's the only important thing. But no matter how much I may recommend FFXIII to other people, I will always say it was, overall, a bit of a disappointment to me. Obviously, it's because past FF installments were so memorable and amazing, perhaps it wasn't even fair to hold FFXIII up to such scrutiny. But then, another part of me says- "What the hell? Of course you have to scrutinize and compare; the franchise has set and reset the bar, so it must continue to live up to its good name!" I keep going back and forth on this and I'm afraid there is no easy solution. The bottom line is that it doesn't seem possible to "ignore the past."

Perhaps it's part of our genetic makeup. Have you ever been able to block out the past? Can you look at one game in an established series that you really enjoy, without letting memories of past entries cloud your judgment? And even if you think you're doing so, are you really ? And what happens when expectations become, in all reality, basically insurmountable? Are we destined to be disappointed at some point down the line? Sorta depressing, I know, but worth discussing.

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piratedrunk
piratedrunk
10 years ago

I feel I am pretty good at ignoring hype.. but personal expectations not so much.

I love FFXIII but it definitely has lowered my expectations of any future FF titles. I hope that works out in my favor.

Kiwi of DOOM
Kiwi of DOOM
10 years ago

I personally loved it and i've played nearly every FF installation…

Bromus398
Bromus398
10 years ago

Yes, FFXIII was the most disappointed I've been in a game that I've waited five years for. I don't think we can ignore our expectations. Hype – yes, what we enjoy a series for and the reasons we look forward to its future iterations for – not so much. I bought FF games because of the experience they've given me since I played the first one back in '90, and that fact that while they may have changed and been different, it was generally for the better (except parts of X and the abomination that was X-2). So, I can't think it's wrong of me to have expectations, that's why I buy into a series because it gives me what I expect and a bit more than what I was expecting. If it doesn't, then I have the right to disagree with what's happening to it before finally devolves into something I want no part of.

kevinater321
kevinater321
10 years ago

Guitar Hero.

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
10 years ago

I think I have a handle on it. I'm very adept at walking into a movie without any expectations.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Most movies are new IPs, and non-interactive, and short. Still, imagine a good series of movies without the things that made you love the first one/s.

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
10 years ago

Most of the PS3 exclusives (or at least many) have been new IPs too, I noticed. Infamous, Heavy Rain etc…. It really keeps things fresh and you never know what's going to happen in the next game. Viva la Sony and their variation in games!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

We are simpatico here, I was been back and forth about expectations concerning FFXIII the entire time I played it. On the one hand there were many enjoyable moments that brought a smile to my face, and the story was well put together. But on the other hand, compared to previous iterations, it just lacked so much that was at the same time a colossal disappointment. So how do you deal with a very good game that is a massive let down?

I wish I knew, all I can hope for is that SE learned their lessons in this sort-of-debacle and return the series to its former greatness. If they had simply added towns and people and other stuff to break up the 50 hours of combat (and maybe some branching plot lines) it would have been a true masterpiece.

So, no, you can't ignore expectations with a beloved series. Long after something dies it can be rebooted (See: Batman franchise) but if it is still alive in the hearts and minds of fans then they have to keep bringing the goodies. Is that greedy to say? Maybe, but the fans are what made it great by buying it.

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

Agreed – but I think this question has 2 parts – Can fans ignore expectations and can critics ignore expectations.

I don't think fans should ever have to ignore expectations. We supported the first games by buying them which allowed to debs to have jobs and make more games. So we expect certain things ( especially from a company that has been making 1 franchise for this many years). So we have every right to say it wasn't as good as any number of past games in the series. And we can critique it just like we have the last 12 games.

However, I think it is a critics job to leave expectations at the door and critique one particular game ( and maybe I'm wrong on this). But take football – the ref has to take an impartial approach to the game even if one of the teams has been their favorite team since they were 12 years old. They are there to do a job, they can't be a fan. And I think that having expectations, or giving a game a lower score because it wasn't as good as the others in the series isn't fair. FFXIII's graphics, production value, and gameplay are all top-notch and it's still better than 90% of the games out there…. But it didn't score like it was that good.

Again, I'm about 70 hours into it and still having fun, which I think says something about how good this game really is. I may never restart and play it over again, but I really don't do that with other FF games either.

Ivan_PSP
Ivan_PSP
10 years ago

I can't ignore my expectations is always with me. Something inside you won't let it go away. I think is good to have some type of expectations it sometimes helps you build a sense of enjoyment to get the game.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

I think relativity plays a major part in people's perceptions of experience. If Halo 1 came out today, exactly as it is, people would think it was dated and archaic. Crappy graphics, some repetitive level design etc. But back up to 2001 and it was contender for GotY along side GTA3. In fact, I think, especially for FPS games, they age the worst for games I enjoy. Whereas, games with compelling story-lines and memorable characters and music age better.

As for Final Fantasy 13. I'm renting it and I'm on chapter 9. Much of what has compelled me about the Final Fantasy series has been the standard-setting design and presentation. The art, technical mastery, and wonder of FF is hard to top. Many of the FF's over the last decade have been nothing short of a multi-million dollar entertainment package in your hands for less than $60.

Maybe it's all the negative critiscm that set my expectations lower than where it would have been otherwise, but I've been really impressed by most of FF13 so far.

The design has changed for sure. It reminds of music bands who alter their style just a bit, creating fans of the old and fans of the new, and then their are the uber-fans of it all.

johnld
johnld
10 years ago

if you're only on chapter 9 and loving the game, wait till further in the game where you actually get to experience a hint of what final fantasy games should be like.

NeoHumpty
NeoHumpty
10 years ago

I was actually disappointed when I got to the chapter where everyone said it "opens up". Guess my expectations were too high for chapter 11. I'm almost finished with it, though. I'm just around 100 hours into it. Debating if I want to try for the Platinum or not. My other games are backing up on me.

johnld
johnld
10 years ago

platinum is gonna take you a while. im around 90+ hours and already beaten the game. Ive been farming for a while now and i only got 4 ultimate weapons maxed out. the lack of gil is irritating. at least i can take out an amantoise without the use of summons or death spell.

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
10 years ago

I find this interesting. If you think a game is going to suck and it ends up being much better than expected would you give it an artificially higher score even if it was mediocre compared to everything else?

We can never look past our expectations, or any part of our life experience, but can we ignore expectations enough to at least come close to being fair? Should we even try to ignore what we expect? If Lexus made a car on par with a Chevy it might still be a good car, but compared to what Lexus usually makes it would be embarrassing. So do standards include the entire industry, or a small sub-industry?

Final Fantasy is known to be amazing, so should the games be graded on a higher curve? FFX got a 91% on metacritic. Do we judge FF13 based on how well it compares to FFX, or how well it compares to other RPGs this generation? Theres no defined measuring stick we all use, so we have to draw upon our own experience and expectations.

Judging is a system that is inherently flawed because of this. Its flawed, but it works. What Ben likes may differ completely from what a fellow at IGN or Gamespot may like, and that allows us, as customers and readers, to understand the games better because we have a momentary glimpse through the eye's of someone else's expectations and we can see the game in ways we wouldnt easily see it on our own or with just one review.


Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 4/16/2010 11:20:29 PM

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

Well said!

So what do we do? Eapecially now that quite a few games are getting close to that coveted "10" rating. What do we do 2 years from now when a game comes out that is 10x's better?? Give it a "10" as well?

Or should we just understand that there is a deflation effect, where a 10 in 2005 equals about a 9.7 in 2010?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Nosmokingbandit makes a good point. Here in our homes we are free to like, dislike, be blown away, or be underwhelmed by any game. It must needs be tainted by what we expect, that's just human nature.

But a review shouldn't be, as a reviewer Ben is conflicted because while the score he gave it was completely reasonable, he might score it much lower in comparison to other Final Fantasies.

I sometimes play a game as if I was going to review it, my mind is just analytical that way but I have plenty of fun too, and while I would have to also give FFXIII a decent objective score, on a personal favorites list it hits almost rock bottom. Aye, there's the rub.

kraygen
kraygen
10 years ago

You simply cannot ignore expectations, to do so would mean giving every game a 10/10.

If you took someone who had never seen a video game and let them play one, they would say it was the best one they ever played. Even if they don't like it, its all they have, they judge it solely for what it was.

So you have to have something to compare it to, otherwise scoring a game at all is unrealistic.

When someone says rpg, we have expectations, ffxiii could be best game ever, but we'd still be a little confused as to where the rpg elements went to.

So I have to say while we don't have to follow the hype, its ok to expect certain things as long as we keep our heads about it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

unless the only game they had was ET.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/17/2010 12:03:55 AM

Kowhoho
Kowhoho
10 years ago

For me, in the case of XIII, I think it worked to my benefit to wait to buy it. At this point people really aren't talking about it as much either way, which makes it easier to just sit down and enjoy what it is. Surprisingly even to me, I may even pick up Modnation Racers before FF. The Dev Diaries made me grin! ūüôā

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

I can never ignore expectations but I can easily ignore what the critics said.

How can we ignore the high expectations for FFXIII when FF is the biggest JRPG franchise of all time?

That's why FFXIII came as a disappointment to me, I stopped playing when I can't get through the part where Snow was fighting alone with some soldiers and then Shiva comes out and you have to fight her.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

umm, if memory serves Snow racks up Ghestalt points pretty easily by just defending with Sentinel powers against Shiva… I think. Just be sure to hit square the second that meter gets near the word next to it. It almost always came down to the last second when I grabbed the Eidolons, you just have to find what makes their meter raise faster, attack, defense, spells, or status changers.

Alienange
Alienange
10 years ago

Wait until you hit Odin. You'll be cursing new curse words.

johnld
johnld
10 years ago

yeah, the eidolon battles are irritating but once you know what they want its pretty easy and almost tedious. just do a libra to see what their description says and just replay so you know what to do without the doom timer running down. i was over it when i was fighting vanille's summon so i just kept spamming autobattle and healing in between. i think snows summon was the easiest one to get. what really irritated me with the game is that they seperated all the characters so you dont have a choice who you can use. also i wouldve liked a 4 person party or a specialist mechanic like FFX had like auron being very useful with heavily armored enemies and switching on the fly.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I got Odin the first time, little biatch.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
10 years ago

I can block hype with a mighty stance, easily.

But personal expectations are deeper than that. Games are like music, it crates certain FEELINGS and memories

It's kinda like Old Metallica and new Metallica

If expectations when it comes to games didn't exist what we'd have is a bunch of random games which go in all kinds of directions.

Sooner or later you'll see Gundams and Transformers in Final Fantasy

(oh wait, don't summons transform into robots in FFXIII?)

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

They turn into crazy ass vehicles of a sort. And what you say is true, and is why I don't listen to Metallica anymore.

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
10 years ago

@Scarecrow- Unfortunately yes the summons do turn into vehicles, and do less damage than physical attacks. I agree with you man we have to have some sort of expectations or criteria for what a game needs to have in it to be fun to us. Some people didnt care for Just Cause 2, but others are having fun with it, it is all about what the gamer is looking for when they pick up the controller I think.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

lol, yah, I was thinking of Metallica when I wrote my post. Though, I'd say Metallica now has three eras.

___________
___________
10 years ago

nope, well i sure cant.
tis the reason why i end up being disappointed with most games, because publishers and more so journalists toot them up too the second coming of christ, so theres bound to be disappointments.
theres only one game that released this gen that i had high expectations for and the game met them, and thats splinter cell conviction.
but that does not really count because i really did not have high expectations for it.
i sort of did because i love splinter cell games, and the footage looked fantastic, but i was worried they turned it into a mindless shooter.

every single game i really enjoyed are the ones who received barley any hype there fore i had no expectations of them.
just cause 2 for example had almost no hype what so ever, normally when a game is due out in a week or so theres a article a day on them, but just cause 2 got barley any!
same goes for infamous, for a ps3 exclusive it was extremely quiet in the hype department.

Alienange
Alienange
10 years ago

I think in the case of FFXIII there is a bit of a mix up. We expected a proper jrpg with leveling up and towns to buy stuff and worlds to explore. That is a sound expectation, but we didn't get that.

Many expected the game to rival FFVII, one of the best installments in the franchise. That, I'd say, was an unreasonable expectation and again, we didn't get that.

So yes, some expectations need to be bridled as they are just unrealistic. We need to view each installment as a new game. One where the dev was able to implement ideas and techniques that he may never have used before in order to bring you a 'new' game.

Having a hankering for the old school FF games is not a bad thing. Forcing those expectations on the latest game release is, unfortunately, just going to lead to disappointment. Does that mean the new game is no good or not deserving of high critical praise? I say no.

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
10 years ago

Well worded post.

slimey
slimey
10 years ago

WorldEndsWithMe hopes that SE learn from this debacle.
I think they will have learnt a lesson, but unfortunately not the one WorldEnds was hoping for. The sales for FFXIII have been stella, compared for intance to the genuine RPG masterpiece FFXII. So the probable lesson they'll take away from this is to dumb down their RPG's into what are essentially linear corridor shooters, and the money will come rolling in.

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
10 years ago

Wait… You didn't like Final Fantasy 5 Ben? What didn't you like about it?

To each his own i guess. But no FF game is as bad as FF2. What a horrible piece of garbage. Not just for a FF game, but in general.


Last edited by aaronisbla on 4/17/2010 5:30:58 AM

shadowscorpio
shadowscorpio
10 years ago

I actually liked FF2. Like you said to each his own.

johnld
johnld
10 years ago

I try not to compare the actual games in a franchise but the experience that each game brings to the table, the final fantasy type of experience if any of that made sense. and by that standard final fantasy falls short of the name final fantasy.

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
10 years ago

I can empathize with that, i have never gotten over the disapointment FFXII put me through.

shadowscorpio
shadowscorpio
10 years ago

I can relate to that. Sad really. I know SE knows people are concerned about their future direction.

They can't possible not know what brought them their success, can they?

Ole_Gunner
Ole_Gunner
10 years ago

Resistance 2.massive let down after being blown away by Resistance which was my first ever PS3 game..

FullmetalX10
FullmetalX10
10 years ago

For me it's very hard to ignore expectations, not so much reviews, because those are different from every reviewer.
But when I have high expectations for a game, it's hard to ignore those, that's why I hate it when they release a lot of information for a game beforehand, that way I get all hyped up, sometimes to the point where the game becomes just way less enjoyable when I play it.
So no, I can't really ignore my expectations.
I really hope FF V XIII turns out really awesome, cuz I'm incredibly hyped up for that and my expectations are insanely high, already.

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
10 years ago

Interesting topic, see i had moderate expectations for Final Fantasy XIII, due to all the bad press it had before the game was released; but i thoroughly enjoyed it. Also i may add my expectations were shattered after XII, that game made me have a lack of faith on the series, it was the biggest disapointment i have ever experienced.

FFXIII made it up to me, it was not overstreched, but very well structured. I actually liked all the characters, although i would have liked to have seen a more prominant antagonist. I can't complain overall, becuase the playable characters all had charisma which was certainly lacking from the previous game. I thought the soundtrack was rather good i espeically loved the melody in Serah's Theme. The gameplay while it can be seen as automated, its what i expect from an FF RPG, in every FF game prior to XII you did not move the characters in battle, so i did not see that as an issue, the paradigm always kept me aware, i was changing it everybattle whilst playing through the adventure. Whilst it could have done with more bonuses the monster hunt for FFXIII was very adictive. Overall i found the game very refreshing and Square-Enix have restored my faith in the series.

pavlovic
pavlovic
10 years ago

You can't just ignore your expectations. Mine were really high about GOW3, and they only grew up with the first hour of gameplay. Sadly GOW3 has a weak story, compared to the previous games.

I ended GOW3 a little disappointed.

If I just wanted to play and never played GOW & GOW2 before, I'm pretty sure I would loved the game. It just doesn't fit in the trilogy.

slimey
slimey
10 years ago

Ultimadream
the FFXIII characters had charisma?
no! They were a bunch of emo eeejits who spent cut scene after cut scene stressing over what their focus might be. And FFXII was a masterpiece, one of PS2's & FF's greatest moments.
I guess the Final Fantasy series really does generate diverging opinions….

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
10 years ago

indeed, thats the one good thing about the FF series in my opinion, it has a very wide variety of game worlds to explore, each is very different from the other. I thought XIII did a good job with the cast, i thought Sazh's determination for his child was admirable. I generally prefered FFXIII due to the story being far more character driven, FFXII focused mainly on the political side of war and in doing so never really focused on the characters as much.

VicTheMighty
VicTheMighty
10 years ago

XII was boring man. Who cares about the political debates of a world I was not even attached too.

The gameplay was sweet and that is what kept me going. But I had no attachment to any of the characters.

The story was lacking in some way that made me totally not care about Van and his little buddies. I found him mostly annoying XD.

But you are right, XIII ain't that much better with all those *emo eeejits* like you call em lol. So many weird cheesy moments in XIII. Sometimes I wished I could slap em good. Can't wait for the move incorporation LOL.

I started the series with VIII then VII… IX, X, X2 and so on…. in my opinion the story in VII,VIII and X were all much better. Some cheesy moments OK but remained good stuff. In XIII I feel like they are trying to comfort suicidal people. They say suicide is an issue in Japan so maybe that's why the people in the game keep saying stuff like *Even if there is no hope, we will keep searching until we find some!* And crap lol.


Last edited by VicTheMighty on 4/17/2010 10:47:56 AM

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
10 years ago

I'm with slimey

FFXII is second only to X and VIII (maybe)
It's hands down one of my favorite FFs ever

THOROUGH game all around, and one of the best underdog VS high authority stories ever.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

XII would have been awesome if it had a turn based ATB.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
10 years ago

The internet has officially taken over. I believe it has the biggest influence over gaming period.

You can't go to any gaming site without reading a preview, a review, or developer speaking about how good his game is.

Everywere you turn, there is a video game forum chocked full of other people's expectations. Some of the forums even have community devs present.

So I guess my answer is no.


Last edited by maxpontiac on 4/17/2010 2:03:56 PM

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

I just want to say, that I think this is one reason that SE will NOT remake FFVII.

Our expectations for that game are already through the roof, and if it wasn't perfect, then people would complain.

But I agree with what people are already going to say….they don't have to CHANGE anything. And they shouldn't change anything. All they have to do is remake the game and I think that people will be just fine with it.

But I still feel like SE would WANT to change something, because they THINK that's what we want….because obviously we all wanted a westernized FF game…and that's what they gave us.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
10 years ago

the cold fact simply is this: the legendary JRPG maker's legendary series has long ago derailed. right now, we are just seeing mediocre after mediocre from the Squeeeenix, i have almost lost faith entirely to this organization.

The JRPGs I cared this gen like Lost Odyssey, Demon's Souls, WKC, Magna Carta 2 … stuff like that, Squeeeeenix's games are way way behind my priority. like i said many times, I will give another chance to FFv13, if they make it nothing different than their other RPGs this gen, I will abandon SE for once and all. thats it!


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 4/17/2010 4:22:15 PM