Experience Points: Missed Gaming Opportunities
Lately I’ve been picking up games that I never had the chance to play on release, and initially felt were not suited to my tastes as a gamer. The beauty of buying older games is that you can pick up titles at a fraction of their day one release price, if you’ve waited one or two years following a game’s release. Recently I picked up Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, a game which while critically well received and sold many units, didn’t entice me to play it the first time around in 2010. Finally, this month I picked up the game for a steal of a price and I realised how good the game actually is, and definitely how my tastes have drastically changed since 2010.
It’s funny how you can see yourself as one type of gamer. Back then, I was primarily still a PC gamer and pirated many of my games. This attitude changed, once I started writing about games professionally in 2011 and now I buy every single game that I play. But in the past, I would play FPS games and on the odd occasion an RPG. I wasn’t as dedicated as I am to playing games now. However, my attitude has slowly changed. In turn, this meant that I missed out on many great games because of my PC dependence at the time. Eventually I did purchase two dedicated consoles with a PS3 and an Xbox 360, and have been playing my way through many games, legally I might add. I was no longer a victim of missed gaming opportunities, as I once was before.
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I began picking up PS3 exclusives and deeply enjoying the Halo series on the Xbox 360. Inevitably this leads to a backlog, which I’m still trying to get through, but alas new games always show up for review diminishing my chances as they appear. Yet what I love is coming across gaming gems that I missed due to speculation. Missing these games comes down to a severe lack of knowledge at the time about how great the game actually is. This was very much the case with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
I only heard good things about the game in 2012 and this year. Oddly enough, the game is receiving a sequel this year, which perked my interest even more. I don’t think it was marketed that well in South Africa at all at the time of its release, but at least now I had a chance to play the game. So far, after playing a bit of Lords of Shadow, the game is definitely worthy of all the praise it gets. The game has fun platforming and puzzle sections, and the combat system is deep and well crafted. The story and characters capture your imagination, and once the story starts developing you are drawn in further. This type of experience was not what I was expecting. I assumed that the game would not meet my tastes and expectations. To the contrary, my expectations have been far exceeded, which brings us to the point of this whole column.
Much of the time, we stifle ourselves with the games we play by choosing the safe options, and missing out on great gaming experiences because we don’t want to take a chance on a new game. I think this has to do a lot with the high price of games, specifically on consoles. Taking chances on newer IPs and games, from genres you’ve never considered, can be a risky move on a your part. Yet taking those risks can be reduced by waiting for a game to drop in price and eventually giving it a go, when you can afford the game. There are really no excuses to not experiment with what types of games you play. You will find that you are missing out on great gaming experiences.