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2Opinionated: Six Ways to Spot a Crap Game

We’re all guilty. We’ve all done it. You’ve just gone to your local game store and picked up a game you knew in your heart was going to be a great time. You might have even had it preordered. You tear open the package, take in that the new game smell and eagerly pop it into your console (Note: Real gamers don’t read the manual). About 30 minutes later you’re questioning why you just plunked down sixty dollars for that piece of crap, last gen visuals, broken gameplay, laggy online experience, time and money thief of a game. So in an effort to help us all avoid these future mistakes I offer the following in the way of how to spot a bad game before it ever hits your wallet from the back side.

1. The previews for the game are anywhere from lukewarm to raving even though the content of the preview is clearly reaching to support the opinion.

You know what I’m talking about. How many times did you read these fantastic multi page previews for a game somewhere only to have it fall way short of those original lofty expectations during the final build? It’s like someone sucked all the magic out of the building a few weeks before retail release. Ever go back and read those previews? Notice how a lot of them have one thing common? They were reaching to aspects of the game to make it sound go even though if those aspects really don’t matter. For example, I’m not playing a baseball game because the crowd has dynamic movement. I’m playing it because the game on the field works and the visuals are top notch. I don’t want to have to press the Konami code to throw a fastball.

2. Media that is just too good to be true usually is.

Makeup and airbrushing can turn almost any girl from one you wouldn’t look at twice to Miss Universe. Same rule applies with games. Every game especially early in the development cycle strives to put their absolute best step forward. That includes doing stuff like releasing concept art and renders that look incredible on their own then tossing in a much lower quality version of the same things into the final product to save frame rate and performance.

3. Pre-release trailers for the game show absolutely no actual game play footage and are all cinematic as game nears release.

I guess this is rule 2b. But how many games have you seen a trailer for a week or two prior to retail release and man does it look like the best thing since sliced bread. A few games can get away with not showing anything until they feel like it. Unless your name is Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or in the same ballpark you are definitely not afforded this luxury.

4. The developers themselves seem to have little confidence in the game

This isn’t one many of us get to experience first hand but: It’s always fun speaking with developers and publishers ahead of a release. It’s like they are ushering a child into the world. Some times though, you get that one or two that seem to be protecting their child a bit too much because it’s going to be the one that rides the short bus to the distributor and they know it. Dodging questions, dancing around them, spouting off about a feature nobody is going to care about it. It’s like a shark smelling blood. Sometimes, you sense the prey is in the water and bleeding.

5. Late Reviews. Review days of release.

Nothing raises the red flag on a game quite like having the usual suspect review outlets not getting copies ahead of time. The moment I read an editor post, “We haven’t received our review copy yet” and it’s the day before a game is supposed to ship it automatically means no purchase. This tied in to #4 as well. A publisher with confidence in their game sends that puppy out to everyone about a week and a half to two weeks prior to a review. A publisher with no confidence in their game never sends it out. Don’t believe me? The scores and overall data for such games speak for themselves. I don’t want to name any names to hurt anyone’s feelings.

6. The Exclusive that Everyone Else Says Sucks

Here’s a very common scenario. Ten outlets get a game, one is given the exclusive. The exclusive outlet gives the game a higher score than the other nine. Guess who is more likely in the right?

There are of course exceptions to every rule but these are generally correct. What are your ways to spot a bad game? Send me an email to sgd@2opgaming.com ! The best one may even get a prize of some kind.

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. I absolutely agree

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