GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Trick-or-Treats?

MGS 2Happy Halloween, Sushians!

Or I suppose it’ll be the day after Halloween by the time you read this, but that’s no reason to be any less festive, is it? Every year, we try to give some kind of feature towards the day of ghouls and goblins, and 2011 is no different. While in the past we may have covered a list of scariest games or done a Halloween Pop Quiz, this year I wanted to skew in a bit of a different direction.

In the midst of an avalanche of fall releases, games can easily land on either side of the fence. No matter how many previews we consume or betas we check out, there’s no such thing as a surefire “S”, even for games as big as Uncharted 3 or Skyrim. Sure, we think we know what to expect, but a game can turn out to be brilliant just as easily as it can turn out to be a dud. Think of it as two sides of a coin.

Since it’s Halloween, we can label each side of this proverbial coin as a gaming “trick” or “treat”. In my time as a gamer, I think I’ve experienced equal parts of both. For every surprise treat like Batman: Arkham City I’ve had my fair share of disappointments. I can think of a handful of tricks such as Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Auto IV (I know some of you will completely disagree with me on that one) and others.

Honestly, this duality is part of what makes buying games both nerve wracking and exciting. You never know when a game is totally going to put a smile on your face, exceed your expectations or even change the way you view games on the whole.

So I’ll open this up. When have you guys experienced gaming tricks or gaming treats? Games that either totally surprised you with their high quality or totally landed with a mediocre thud? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

9 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Trick-or-Treats?”

  1. For me, Fable 3, Prince of Persia (THAT one), and the Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter games (I love the original ghost recon, but I hate GRAW), were all tricks, I was really expecting more from them.

    Gaming treats for me would be: Red Dead Redemption, Fallout: New Vegas, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Battlefield: Bad Company.

  2. I’m gonna have to second GTAIV as a trick. I wish I could like it, since it was so loved, but I was just annoyed with it. The only GTA I’ve ever liked was Chinatown Wars on the DS, and all because of the ingenious “skip to mission” button.

    I will, however, disagree with DirefulGnome’s choice of Prince of Persia (yes, THAT one) and label it as a treat. I knew I would like it, but the ending…one of the best in video games. Treats would also include Ico, The Witcher 2, and Demon’s Souls. But the ultimate treat would be Morrowind, a game I picked up expecting to like, starting it three or four times without ever having a clue what was going on, getting frustrated over and over again, but then finally “getting” it…one of my “aha” moments. I eventually spent so much time with that, even though it looked like all it would ever do is collect dust.

  3. As I look back on my gaming life, I realize just how lucky I was to experience some really incredible surprises. Some of them did indeed change how I view gaming from both a cultural and a gameplay standpoint.

    Golden Sun (GBA): My brother saw the cover in Target when we were doing our monthly perusal of the video game section. He checked out the back of the box and thought it looked kewl. We both were amazed by Golden Sun’s quality, and it’s our favorite RPG on the GBA. In fact, a lot of GBA, and some DS, games have been excellent despite not being as big-name as console or PC titles. GS was just such a winsauce surprise that it tops the charts.

    Call of Duty 4 (360): Bear in mind this was BEFORE CoD became a cesspool. I was a huge Halo fanboy prior to CoD4, but when I played through the epic campaign and had several all-nighters of multiplayer awesomeness alone or with friends, CoD4 certainly became the best multiplayer experience of that time. Since then, I’ve had more fun with Battlefield, but CoD4 definitely usurped Halo’s throne of multiplayer dominance back in 2007.

    Fallout 3 (360): I had no idea what I was getting into when I got Fallout 3. It didn’t take long for me to tumble into the Capital Wasteland and lose myself in its size, content, and openness. For every little flaw Fallout 3 had, there were 100 reasons to ignore it. I loved the atmosphere of the Capital Wasteland, leveling up and maintaining equipment, exploring and talking with people, and being able to enjoy Fallout 3’s world for hours and hour and hours…on just one character.

    Deus Ex (PC): The first time I heard really about Deus Ex was when I saw the Deus Ex Human Revolution trailer. From there, I learned that Deus Ex had a huge fan following and was considered one of the best games of all time. I was fortunate to buy DX off of Steam during this last Summer Sale for a mere $2.50. Think about that. Two dollars and fifty cents for what turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in gaming. For a decade-old game, DX aged surprisingly well in terms of gameplay and open-ended-ness, although the graphics and voice-acting are still so bad it’s hilarious. I was blown away by DX’s quality, and my expectations were set high for Deus Ex Human Revolution. Luckily, DXHR really delivered on its promise, at least in my eyes, since I was able to play the whole game twice, going through each of the dungeon areas and even some bits of the city hubs in totally different ways. DXHR wasn’t so much surprising as it was satisfying that it lived up to the outstanding bar that DX placed.

  4. At first i felt Battlefield 3 for pc was all trick, but i soldiered on and started to realise that although it may have bugs which im sure will get ironed out at some point, the game is all treat.

  5. For reasons explained on Mitch’s BF3 article, BF3 (on 360) was a total trick for me, and I felt terrible because of it.

  6. Xenoblade and Dragon Quest IX were the 2 big treats for me in recent years. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, at the time I think Chrono Trigger DS was my only exposure to JRPG’s. I wasn’t gaming in the NES/SNES era, and I had an N64 rather than a PS so when Final Fantasy jumped ship I never got to play them. But I have loved every hour I put into both Xenoblade and DQIX. I really should look into some others in the genre. Any suggestions?

    The only real trick I can think of (with the exception of Bioshock and Fallout 3 which I just couldn’t play at better than about 5 frames per second on my old computer) was the original KOTOR. I think this was mainly because I had played part 2 first, and was going back to the original. For me it would be similar to playing the Mass Effects out of order, the 2nd was just far and away a better game to me. The first Assassin’s Creed is kinda tricking me too. I think I’m about give up on it and just move on to 2. I just can’t get into it, parts of how the game works just don’t click with me.

  7. Deus Ex 2 (or whatever abomination it is titled in stores) was the biggest thud I’ve ever experienced. I was really hoping for something on par with Deus Ex, but it just couldn’t hold a candle. DX:HR was a valiant game that shimmered some reflections of the first title and at least recouped some of the “:(” from the second game.

    On the flip side, I was worried about Portal 2. There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong but they stayed true to what made the first game so mysterious and addictive. It was just right. Very tough to do in this day and age of incredible expectations. Let’s see what they have for us in CS:GO…

  8. Conflict: Vietnam was one helluva big trick. I still, to this day, regret buying it.
    Games like Half Life 2 or Uncharted (both of which I went relitively blind into) treated me.
    I recently picked up Stalker in the Halloween Steam sale (conveniently enough for this post!) and was pleasantly surprised with the game. It’s damn hard, but so rewarding and unique. Thanks for that treat Steam! It’ll make up for putting the past 3 games I bought on sale a week after each purchase. > : ( (FTR, they were L4D2, Plant Vs. Zombies GotY and Bastion)

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