Is Hyping Games Wrong?

With the recent release of Heavy Rain and the impending releases of God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII and Halo Reach, I have got to thinking do we as gamers and journalists hype games too much?

There is certainly plenty of evidence to suggest we do – let’s take Halo ODST as an example, a game which mainly because of its name sold over 2 million units in the first 24 hours of its release and let’s face it, the fact is the game was not really a truly inspirational title. The campaign was short and often disjointed making it feel like Bungie were offering more of a stop gap in between Halo 3 and Reach and the multiplayer is just a rehash of the previously mentioned title.

Another title which it could be argued was the most hyped game of last year was GTA IV, we all know how popular this franchise is and it wasn’t long before full marks were being handed out from all angles, giving the game the impressive 98% average that it currently possesses on Metacritic.

The thing is though, when we look back now we can see that GTA IV although an impressive title, was far from perfect, the multiplayer was limited, the action just a repeat of previous titles and yet again it was all taking place in Liberty City which was hardly original and left a lot of gamers disappointed. Now I’m not saying that it doesn’t deserve its Metracritic average, but I’m just wondering if it would receive that should it be re-rated now, in fact perhaps the Metacritic user score reflects this currently sitting at 7.4 and 7.9 on PS3 and Xbox 360 respectively.

So yet again we are coming to the time of year were we are already hyping titles up, with Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III and Halo Reach more or less already guaranteed a high Metacritic rating before they have even had a chance to take their place inside gamers consoles. There is no doubt that these games are of high quality, but would we be as excited if they were new franchises, would we be hyping them up to the heights that we are currently? I personally think not.

When it comes down to it the rule seems to be if it was a hit before then the sequel is sure to be, how many titles from the GTA, Final Fantasy, God of War or Halo series have not been hyped up? In fact can anyone out there think of a hit title where the next game in the series wasn’t hyped? I highly doubt it, which just goes to prove that when it comes to originality and new franchises we are just not that interested.

Uncharted is probably a great example of what I’m talking about, it’s an absolutely brilliant game which was in no way hyped. Then we have the sequel, which all of a sudden sees a game which was an original franchise being called the saviour of the PS3, before going on to receive numerous awards and outstanding sales, something which in my opinion should have happened with the first title which was also very impressive at the time and still is.

The list goes on with Final Fantasy being one of the biggest culprits. Even though some of the titles in the franchise’s twelve strong line up have been less than impressive, they have still gone on to receive high praise before release, strong sales and then once people have played them for a few days, disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is fantastic that popular franchises continue and improve as fans demand this, but wouldn’t it be nice if we waited until the game was in our possession before we made judgement on it? This way some of the overlooked titles which people have never played may be given a chance to shine.